A sheep carrying a flag. A snake. A sun and a spiral. The intriguing symbols that adorn the silver signet ring, left by Wilhelm Achilles d’Orey in the care of his family, have remained undecipherable for 170 years. Guilherme d’Orey, a senior executive at Volkswagen, residing in Wolfsburg, Germany, has tried in vain to find a meaning for iconography. It would be another piece to know the origins of his enigmatic ancestor, a Prussian who landed in Lisbon in 1852 and who, through his marriage to Luísa Henriqueta Mouzinho de Albuquerque, originated one of the largest – if not the largest – Portuguese family. Achilles and Luísa had ten children, followed by approximately 4000 d’Orey in just over a century and a half.
Like thousands of relatives, Guilherme, 48, grew up hearing the story that his ancestor was a descendant of the kaiser (German emperor, who at that time probably referred to Wilhelm I), the result of an illegitimate relationship with a princess of the powerful Lubomirski. “I went after this kaiser story when I started to investigate,” says Guilherme to SÁBADO. “A cousin told me that Wilhelm’s mother, Ulrike Uden Achilles, was from Wusterhausen an der Dosse, northwest of Berlin, and I went to Google and saw that the old family home was a museum. It was the end of the line , I started to unravel the skein and discovered a lot of stories so rich that I started to write them “. O The process gave rise to a book, “Der Romantische Preuße” (“The Romantic Prussian”), published in 2019 only in German, which reveals a new version of the d’Orey story, much to the chagrin of some.
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