Goldfleck the lion cub

Goldfleck the lion cub

Our recent feature about the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery and Crematory just outside New York has sparked interest in the pets buried there.

One of the most unusual pets resting at Hartsdale is Goldfleck the lion cub.

The inscription on the headstone of Goldfleck's grave reads: "Beneath This Stone Is Buried The Beautiful Young Lion Goldfleck, Whose Death Is Sincerely Mourned By His Mistress Princess Lwoff-Parlaghy, New York, 1912".

Elisabeth von Parlaghy was born in Budapest in 1863. In 1899, she married the Russian Prince Lwoff. Although they divorced, she continued to call herself the "Princess Lwoff-Parlaghy".

A talented portrait painter who worked in Germany and America, she was responsible for at least 120 portraits of prominent Americans and Europeans - including Edward, Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VII.

She was also known for her great love of animals. She raised money for animal welfare charities and owned a number of pets - which did not go down too well with the famous Waldorf Astoria hotel that declined to take her and her menagerie as guests.

However, she was welcomed by New York's Plaza hotel - even when her entourage included Goldfleck the lion.

The Princess first saw the cub at the Ringling Brothers Circus and tried to buy him - but the circus bosses refused to sell him to her.

Eventually, it is claimed, the American Civil War hero Daniel E. Sickles - whose portrait the Princess had recently painted - agreed to pose as the buyer. The circus sold the cub to him and he gave the cub immediately to the grateful Princess as a gift.

The manager of the Plaza allowed the Princess to keep the lion in his own room - with a trainer - at the hotel.

Sadly, Goldfleck died young and the heartbroken Princess held a wake for him and he lay in state surrounded by his favourite toys before he was buried at Hartsdale.

Another famous pet cemetery - the Cimetiere du Chiens at Paris - is also the final resting place of a lion called 'Tiger' owned by French actress, journalist and suffragette Marguerite Durand who had been instrumental in establishing the Parisian cemetery.

You can read more about the Princess and Goldfleck at the Hartsdale website.

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