About Blanceflor

Who was the lady with the long complicated name?Blance

Blanceflor was born in Siena, Italy, in 1891. She was the daughter to baron Carl Bildt and his wife Alexandra, née Keiller. Her father serviced as envoi and minister to the Swedish legation in Rome from 1889 – 1920. He was also a successful writer and historical researcher, elected to the Swedish Academy, honorary PhD and even honoured with a street name in Rome: Via Carlo de Bildt. He lived in Rome until his death in 1931.

Blanceflor grow up in a culturally rich home and was given a comprehensive education. She spoke fluent Italian, French and English. In spite that she was born in Italy and never lived in Sweden more than shorter periods she spoke an excellent Swedish as well. Blanceflor became during her life a very appreciated person in Rome’s cultural scene.

‘La principessa’

When Blanceflor was in her twenties she and a young Italian prince fell in love with each other. His name was Andrea Boncompagni Ludovisi and they decided to marry. The year was 1913 and in their circles it wasn’t that easy then, because the prince’s parents had agreed with the wealthy American Preston family that Andrea and their daughter Margret should marry, a marriage that took place in 1916.

However, the agreement also comprised that if the couple stayed childless, and if the prince so desired, the alliance could be dissolved after ten years. The prince would then obtain two large holding companies in the US and Margaret Preston Draper would maintain her princess title.

In 1924 the marriage was annulled and the same year prince Andrea and Blanceflor – who had been waiting for her prince during ten years – married. Their marriage was a happy one.

A Foundation for education and research

Blanceflor and prince Andrea stayed childless and when he deceased in 1948 Blanceflor inherited the American possessions, the residence at 18 Via Boncompagni in Rome where she lived and a domain in Umbria. Later she also acquired a mansion, La Sosta, in the Alban Hills. Her life style remained imprinted of past times.

Blanceflor later married the Italian lawyer Adolfo Gancia whom she also survived, he died in 1966. Blanceflor herself passed away in 1972, she is buried beside her parents in Rome.

The Boncompagni residence in Rome was donated to become a centre to support culture and is today a museum; it was inaugurated in 1995 after a thorough renovation.

The Foundation for scientific education and research that Blanceflor gave her own name was established already in 1955, although with a modest capital during her life time, but after her decease the Foundation received a significant part of the US holdings, together with some assets in Sweden and Switzerland.