Emanuela Orlandi – the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican clerk – went missing in 1983 when she failed to return home after a music lesson in Rome. The search for her continues to this day and her family recently received an anonymous letter saying that her body could be buried in the Teutonic cemetery, which is a burial ground just inside the Vatican’s walls.
The two tombs that were opened in the Teutonic cemetery belonged to two Princesses. The first, Princess Sophie of Hohenlohe, was the daughter of Ludwig Carl Franz Leopold of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Bartenstein and Friederike Polyxena of Limburg-Stirum. Not much is known about her. She was their eldest daughter, and she was born on 13 December 1758. She died in Rome on 20 January 1836. It appears that she never married or had children.
The second Princess is better known. Duchess Charlotte Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin was born on 4 December 1784 as the daughter of Frederick Francis I, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. She married the future Christian VIII of Denmark 1806, but their marriage was unhappy. They had one son together – the future Frederick VII of Denmark – before divorcing in 1810. She was reportedly banished from court after an affair and was not allowed to see her son. In 1830, she travelled to Rome where she settled and later converted to the Catholic faith. She died there in 1840 and was also buried in the Teutonic cemetery.
However, officials were left bewildered after finding both tombs completely empty. “The result of the search was negative. No human remains, or funeral urns were found,” the Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said. Princess Sophie’s tomb even led to a large underground room. The Vatican has said it will investigate why the remains of the two Princesses were relocated.