The Countess Marie Larisch von Moennich led a turbulent life. She was born as an illegitimate daughter of Ludwig Wilhelm, Duke of Bavaria and grandson of a king and actress Henriette Mendel.
At age sixteen Marie became the confidante of Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sissi). At the age of nineteen she married to Count Georg Larisch of Moennich, as arranged by the Empress. She had 5 children in this marriage. The second daughter, Marie Henriette, is probably portrayed in the current painting. She divorced the Count in 1896.
Marie's life took a turn for the worse as Elisabeth's son, the Archduke Rudolph killed himself and his mistress Marie Vetsera and it became known that she assisted in the affair. She lost the benignity of the Empress and became and outcast of the nobility.
She wrote memoirs during her second marriage to musician Otto Brucks and was paid large sums of 'hush money' by the imperial house to stop the publishing of her book.
The Countess is also known for her appearance in the famous poem The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot. It is most likely that Eliot met her when he was residing in Munich in 1911 and was attracted to her elegant, romantic personage and her dramatic story and included her in his masterpiece.
Marie worked as a nurse in World War I but lost all her belongings when Metz, her residence, was given to France after the war. She married a third time to an American, William Meyers, and moved to Florida, but was mistreated by him. After her divorce she moved back to Germany in 1928 and eventually died poor in Augsburg in 1940.