Holiday season

How Cleopatra Oettingen-Spielberg celebrates the holiday season

CHRISTOPHER BUSCH / BREITLING

“I have to confess, it took a while to get used to it, ”explains Cleopatra Oettingen-Spielberg from Oettingen in Bayern, the small Bavarian town (5,047 inhabitants, at the last available count) where she took up residence in 2016 after marrying the prince hereditary Franz-Albrecht zu Oettingen-Spielberg. The lavish wedding celebration saw the locals swell to almost 800 guests, but the day-to-day reality is far more laid-back. Previously, former Baroness Cleopatra von Adelsheim von Ernest (who goes by Cleo) had lived in Paris, Barcelona and Berlin, studying journalism and later pursuing a career as an actress and model – a prophetic cast saw her playing a German princess in a 2015 German film. TV movie. Now a mother of two, she can’t imagine living anywhere else, especially as the holiday season approaches.

cleopatra oettingen spielberg's children, prince louis albrecht and princess matildagalilea, admire the christmas tree that the family collects every year in the oettingen forest
The children of Oettingen-Spielberg, Prince Louis-Albrecht and Princess Mathilde-Galilea, admire the Christmas tree that the family picks every year in the Oettingen forest.

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“Wherever your kids grow up, this will instantly become your home,” she says, happy to return to the countryside after a few days of absence when, say, one of the many brands she works with (Chanel and Breitling among them ) calls him. in Munich. She also embraced the duties of marriage to one of Germany’s oldest families, including the preservation of three historically significant properties and the surrounding forests. In addition to maintaining good relations with neighboring towns and farms, there are of course the interiors to maintain. Although the family values ​​history and tradition, each generation leaves its own mark. “There is always something to do, and as soon as it’s finished, another project emerges,” explains Oettingen-Spielberg. One of them is particularly enthusiastic about the ceiling of the Schloss Oettingen ballroom: it has four panels representing each season, but its empty central panel has remained a mystery for centuries. Plans are currently underway to finally fill the space with a daring contemporary work. And when the time comes to unwind, the large, airy space is the perfect setting for a yoga moment or even the local high school prom or graduation party.

when closed to visitors, the schloss oettingen grand ballroom is the perfect makeshift yoga studio cleopatra oettingen spielberg
When closed to tours, the Grand Ballroom at Schloss Oettingen is the perfect makeshift yoga studio.

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For Oettingen-Spielberg, who spent many sweet Christmases with her parents in Chile (where her mother was from), it has become an idyllic, snowy place to spend the holidays. “It’s very traditional in appearance, but the vibe is very relaxed,” says Oettingen-Spielberg of Christmas in Bavaria. This means that the family’s silverware and porcelain come out for a festive dinner at his in-laws, the baroque palace and family seat known as Schloss Oettingen, on December 24, followed by gifts and a day. Christmas “super relaxed”. The area is famous for Nymphenburg porcelain, and a favorite hand-painted design from Oettingen-Spielberg features the family crest and each of the 36 butterflies that inhabit the Oettingen Forest, along with their taxonomic names. Large-scale flower arrangements also help set the scene, thanks to the work of a talented staff member who uses the flowers from the castle gardens whenever possible.

“I will always choose comfort over caviar. ”

—Cléo Oettingen-Spielberg

the cleopatra oettingen spielberg venetian-inspired living room decorated with joachim von schÖnberg by hahne schÖnberg
The Venetian-inspired living room Oettingen-Spielberg decorated with Joachim von Schönberg from Hahne & Schönberg.

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Oettingen-Spielberg has an office at Schloss Oettingen, which is open to the public for tours. The building was commissioned by one of her husband’s ancestors, the widowed Countess Ludovica Rosalie, in a move that was considered daring enough for a woman in 1679. Oettingen-Spielberg and her immediate family live nearby in their own castle , Schloss Hirschbrunn, a hunter lodges. There, she favors a traditional palette of red and gold for the season, and admits embracing LED candles (as the building is mostly constructed of wood) and comfort food. “I love cheese fondue and will always prefer comfort over caviar,” says Oettingen-Spielberg, who also hired Munich interior designer Joachim von Schönberg, from Hahne & Schönberg, to help with the overall decor. . A result of their collaboration: a living room that channels the drama of Venice, one of its favorite destinations, and features wallcovering with a Renaissance scene, its jewel tones enhanced by a scattering of velvet pillows on a crimson velvet window seat, surrounded by heavy curtains and dimly lit lamps and sconces. “I would say it’s a very happy house in the sense that every room is completely different,” she says. “There are a lot of colors, a lot of wallpapers, but I also adapted my style to the house.

Cleopatra Oettingen Spielberg

Courtesy of Subject

the family burrows add to the surprisingly warm atmosphere of the castle cleopatra oettingen spielberg

Courtesy of Subject

schloss oettingen fully dressed for the holidays and covered in snow
Schloss Oettingen fully dressed for the holidays and covered in snow.

Courtesy of Subject

For those visiting Bavaria during the season, Oettingen-Spielberg says holiday markets are a must-see for handcrafted gifts and ornaments. “The region is full of them,” she says, including the famous Nuremberg market, one of the oldest in the world. She also recommends visiting the magnificent castles in the region, such as the famous Neuschwanstein. Vintage Love in Munich is a favorite for its “incredible selection of vintage dirndl at great prices”, while the Bayerischer Hof hotel and the Mandarin Oriental, Munich provide an ideal base. The Dallmayr Food Market, which is over 300 years old, offers local specialties to taste or send home, but if you like loden, the famous wool used for outerwear, you might not want to bring in more than a coin or two. Oettingen-Spielberg has just finished fighting moths, and the distinctive green fabric has been named the culprit. “We had a parcel loden in the house, ”she said. # castle problems.

This article appeared in the December / January issue of ELLE.

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