As reported in the Times (London), Le Temps (France), and Harper’s Weekly (Americas)
January 10, 1875, Paris, France – Armand de Nemours, Prince de Nemours, announced today that he is developing a new type of airship, capable of carrying 25 persons with only a crew of 5. Production is expected to begin later this year.
August 1, 1875, Paris, France – Mysterious fire destroys prototype airship, 37 killed in blaze. The airship, under development by Industrie Nemours, was a total loss. Among those killed were the projects Chief engineer Reynard de Vielles and Architect Xavier Francesco. The fire is under investigation. Prince Armand expressed his grief by establishing a pension for the families of those killed.
December 30, 1875, Vienna, Austria – Missing Royals – Armand de Nemours, Prince de Nemours, and his wife Stéphanie Alexandra de Conti de Nemours, were reported missing this past week from their estate in Vienna by personal servants, who reported that a significant burglary had been interrupted by the couple’s unexpected return to the home. The couple had been on holiday at Princess Stéphanie Alexandra’s family estates in Saint-Maurice, France, and had not been expected to return until after the Christmas holidays. The couple were reportedly taken captive by persons unknown during the conflict. The servants are being held for additional questioning. Several rumours have surfaced that the robbery and kidnapping may be related to a series of unfortunate incidents this past year involving the Prince’s company, Industrie Nemours, and their attempts to develop a new type of airship.
February 18, 1976, Munchen, Bayern – Royals Found! Missing royal Stéphanie Alexandra de Conti de Nemours, was rescued earlier this week near the northern border of Bayern. Also recovered at that time was the body of her husband, Armand de Nemours, Prince de Nemours. Lady Stéphanie is reported to be in good health, although distressed from the ordeal. Prince Armand was reportedly killed during the captivity, and his body is being returned to the couple’s estate in Vienna for proper burial. Lady Stéphanie Alexandra was not available for comment, and there is no word as to by whom the couple had been captured.
Reputable sources indicated that the Prince had “been severely tortured prior to death” and that Lady Stéphanie had been forced to watch, and that she, herself, had also been subjected to “severe mistreatment” at the hands of their captors before managing to effect her escape from confinement, where she was found by a team of mountain climbers who happened to be in the area. According to a member of that team, Wilhelm Matousek, Lady Stéphanie reputedly attributed her survival and escape to her “Guardian Angel” and was beside herself with grief that her husband could not have been rescued alive as well. Prince Armand was born on October 31, 1836 in Vienna, Austria. Inheriting the family title and lands upon the death of his elder brother, Jean Marc Robert de Nemours, who was unmarried at the time of his death. Prince Armand was a well-respected member of Viennese and Parisian society, and had a distinguished reputation among the scientific community. Under his guidance, Nemours Industrie had grown from largely a textile fabrication plant to a strong, diversified group with interests in manufacturing, research and development, including a reputed “Engine Magick” department, which division had been the primary section involved in last year’s airship mystery.
Lady Stéphanie Alexandra de Conti de Nemours was born on January 13, 1848 in Saint-Maurice, France. She is a descendant of Amélie Gabrielle Stéphanie Louise de Bourbon-Conti, who maintained an unproven claim as illegitimate daughter of Louis-François I, Prince de Conti. Nevertheless, Amélie received a pension of Louis XVI, and was known in her lifetime as “an adventurous one”. The couple met in Paris in 1870, and following a rapid engagement were wed less than three months later. Despite the admitted concerns of many in higher society, there seemed to have been no improprieties necessitating such a rapid ceremony. The couple have no children. The death of Prince Armand shifts ownership and control of Nemours Industrie to his brother, Louis Antoine de Nemours, who also inherits the ancestral title and properties. Lady Stéphanie is expected to retain the couple’s properties in Vienna and Paris and to derive an independent income from patents held by her late husband. There were no comments from either family regarding the situation, other than an expression of relief that “the ordeal is at last over.”