We at Potomac Review are proud to present to you novelist C.M. Mayo. Issue 44 of Potomac Review contained an excerpt from the first chapter “The Darling of Rosedale,” of her novel The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire (Unbridled Books), which is out today!
Who knew that Mexico had a half-American prince? Or that this little boy’s future was hotly debated not just in Mexico but in Washington D.C. and in every court in Europe? Set in the mid-19th century when Maximilian von Habsburg was Emperor of Mexico, my novel The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire published today— Cinco de Mayo— by Unbridled Books, is based on the true and never before completely told story about a half-American, half-Mexican boy who, as in a fairytale, became a prince and then a pawn in the struggle-to-the-death over Mexico’s destiny.
The prince’s mother was Alice Green de Iturbide, who grew up at Rosedale, the historic Washington D.C. estate founded by her grandfather, General Uriah Forrest. Hence the title of the novel’s opening chapter, “The Darling of Rosedale,” first published in Potomac Review last fall.
How did a Washington belle end up in Mexico? Back in the 1820s, after Mexico’s first emperor, the “Liberator” Agustin de Iturbide, was executed by firing squad, his widow and children came to live in Washington, D.C., on Georgetown’s “Holy Hill,” near Visitation Convent and the Jesuit college. So it happened that in the 1850s, the second son of the emperor, Angel de Iturbide, was the secretary for the Mexican Legation in Washington. As Alice was from a Catholic family, they might have met at Trinity Church in Georgetown, but I decided it would more fun to have them meet at a White House levée— the “see and be seen” event of antebellum Washington’s social season— introduced by Mexico’s ambassador, General Juan Nepomuceno Almonte. Almonte was, in fact, guest of honor at their 1855 wedding in the parlor at Rosedale and, later, he played a shadowy but key role in arranging both Maximilian’s coronation and Maximilian’s subsequent secret contract with the Iturbide family.

I’ll be presenting the novel at the Mexican Cultural Institute of Washington DC on Tuesday May 12 at 6:30 pm (with an introduction by Professor John Tutino, Dept History, Georgetown University). For more about event and others, visit www.cmmayo.com/events.html