After a long honeymoon, newlywed Madeleine Astor and her rich and famous husband John Jacob Astor IV went to Cherbourg (la Cité de la mer). It was here, were they stepped on to the unsinkable RMS Titanic to head home for New York.
The pair was quite an interesting topic. Back in the day, it was scandalous that John Jacob Astor IV divorced his wife and married a very young woman. The society was quite shocked about the age gap and many newspapers were filled with what we now know as gossip. (John Jacob Astor was 47 and Madeleine had just turned 18)
During their long honeymoon, Madeline discovered that she was pregnant. John Jacob Astor IV suggested it would be the best, to head home for birth. So in early April he booked their tickets on ill-fated RMS Titanic.
With them, was as always Astor’s pet Kitty. It was not, as the name suggested a cat, in fact it was an airedale terrier. The entourage also included Rosalie Bidois, Caroline Endres and Victor Robbins. A maid, a nurse and a valet. All of them were booked into first class cabins. C62/64.
During the voyage Madeline flaunted the newest fashion on board they bought in paris a few days prior. But she then rested most of the day in her luxurious cabin due to her pregnancy.
The few days on the Titanic went by, smooth and without any remarkable incident. The promenade decks were filled with the rich and the cafe and restaurants held many parties.
When the Titanic struck the Iceberg on April 14th 1912 at 22:40, Madeleine Astor thought that the rumble was caused by something in the kitchen. She thought nothing about it and went back to bed. Her husband still in the smoking room. A little time later, John Jacob decided to wake up his wife as the order was given, woman and children into the lifeboats.
He brought his wife to the promenade deck where she was put into lifeboat 4. He asked second officer Charles Lightoller, if he could join his wife due to her delicate condition. But he was refused to take a seat. He then lit himself a cigarette and gave Madeleine his gloves. It was the last time, she saw her husband. He asked for the number of her lifeboat so he would be able to find her afterwards.
For a little explanation as to why John Jacob Astor was so cool about the sinking, he and many other simply didn’t believe the Titanic was going down. The officers told them all to stay calm and that they were all put into lifeboats for precaution. And they’d all be back for breakfast or at the worst would be taken onboard the ship they could see on the horizon. And after all, the ship was declared Unsinkable.
We do not know how Madeline experienced the sinking, if she closed her eyes or if she thought about her husband. Maybe she, as a mother to be, was just relieved that her baby was save. Maybe she hoped her husband was on another lifeboat. (as many other women hoped that night)
As the Titanic went down, screams of the over 1500 people left behind emerged and hauled over to the few lifeboats. And it only took a few minutes and the screams stopped one by one and left the survivors in a silent pitch dark night with no moon.
The Carpathia arrived after daylight and picked all survivors up and carried them to New York. Its not known what Madeline Astor felt during this disaster, but it is know that she was brought to a hospital afterwards.
She gave birth exactly 4 month later on August 14th 1912 to a baby boy she named John Jacob Astor VI.
John Jacob Astor’s body was found on April 22 1912 floating in the ocean. He was buried in New York next to his mother.
written by Monia Schendel
references : wikipedia