Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Prince Wilhelm of Sweden endorses Melachrino cigarettes

Question: What's better than having Major League Baseball players endorse your cigarettes?

Answer: Getting members of European royalty to endorse your cigarettes.

This is a late 1920s advertisement1 for Melachrino cigarettes. These particular cancer sticks are touted as "The One Cigarette Sold the World Over."

And they receive a prestigious endorsement from Prince Wilhelm of Sweden (1884-1965), who states: "This is to inform you that I have smoked the very excellent Melachrino cigarettes and found them to possess a very mild and agreeable aroma."

I wonder how much Melachrino paid the prince for that puff of prose.

Prince Wilhelm wasn't the only member of royalty or the upper class to endorse Melachrino products. According to this 2009 post on the Women's Lens blog, other endorsements came from Prince Clemente Rospigliosi of Italy, Paul of Greece, Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich of Russia and...
(deep breath)

Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener KG, KP, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, ADC, PC
2 3


Here is some more from the Women's Lens blog on Melachrino cigarettes:
"Militiades Melachrino was a successful late 19th century Cairo, Egyptian cigarette manufacturer. In 1904 he expanded his operations to the United States and began making his cigarettes in New York. ... This Egyptian style cigarette was manufactured from the finest Turkish tobacco, and was famous throughout the world with some help from the British army. When soldiers that had been stationed in Egypt went to other posts globally, their enchantment with the cigarettes was far-flung. The advertisements sometimes used distinguished people, whose 'purple' prose was quite lyrical, as in the translation of a French advert: 'The Melachrino cigarettes are enchanting. They are the gift of the Orient to the Occident. They are a joy and a dream that evaporate in geometric spirals. The Melachrino cigarettes are rest, luxuriousness and forgetfulness.' The cigarette boxes and tins were very colourful and stylish."
And what about the endorser of Melachrino in today's advertisement?

Carl Wilhelm Ludvig -- Prince Wilhelm -- was the prince of Sweden and Norway and, officially, Duke of Södermanland.4

He was the second son of Gustaf V. In addition to enjoying mild cigarettes with an agreeable aroma, Prince Wilhelm was an author and photographer.

In 1908, he married Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia. They had two children, but the marriage didn't work out and they divorced in 1914. According to Wikipedia:
"[T]he marriage eventually broke up when Maria discovered that there were as many restrictions on life at the Swedish court as at the Russian and that her husband Wilhelm, as a naval officer, had little time to spend with her. She found him 'cold, shy, and neglectful', and when she tried to approach him he walked away from her in tears. On a five-month trip to Siam in 1912, as representatives to the coronation of the King of Siam, Maria had an opportunity to meet other men and flirt with them, which she enjoyed.5. On another trip, to Germany in 1913, Marie told her husband she wanted a divorce."
After his divorce, Prince Wilhelm had a long relationship with Jeanne Leocadie de Tramcourt, which lasted until she died in a 1952 car accident in which Wilhelm was driving. He died 13 years later, at age 80.

1. It measures 5 inches wide by 7⅝ inches tall. On the other side, there is an advertisement for Kelly Balloons.
2. Herbert Kitchener is the man featured on Alfred Leete's 1914 British World War I recruitment poster, the design of which served as the inspiration for the campaigns of Uncle Sam, Smokey Bear and Apollo Creed.
3. Herbert Kitchener is not related to the Kitchener Ironworks.
4. Södermanland is an ancient, historical province on the southeastern coast of Sweden. It was first settled in the early Stone Age. Two notable relics from Södermanland are the Skåäng Runestone and the Gripsholm Runestone.
5. Maria Pavlovna spoke six languages, which probably helped with international flirting.

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