Corsican Monarch. Born Theodor Stephan Freiherr von Neuhoff, the son of an impoverished Westphalian aristocrat, as a youth he was sent to Versailles to serve as a page to Princess Palatine. He gained a reputation there as a brilliant and glib speaker, a rake, and was noted for his capacity for intrigue. He served in both the French and Swiss army before it is believed he was sent to Spain where he married while also apparently serving as a double agent. Abandoning his wife, he resumed his travels, and while in Genoa fell in with Corsican rebels in revolt against the Genovese hegemony. Apparently convinced of his own skill in the political sphere, he agreed to free their country in exchange for the throne. In March 1736 he and his allies landed on Corsica where he was elected sovereign and crowned king and then styled himself King Theodore I. Throughout the summer he issued edicts and instituted an order of knighthood. He carried on the rebellion to some brief original success before departing from Corsica in November with a Genoese bounty upon his head. He eventually made his way to the Netherlands where he was imrisoned for debt. He returned to Corsica in 1738, 1739, and 1743, but never regained his status. He took refuge in England in 1749 where he was again imprisoned for debt, and remained incarcerated for six years. Declared bankrupt, he was released after which he subsited upon charity until his death the following year. He was interred in Soho under an epitaph written by horace Walpole: "The grave, great teacher, to a level brings/ Heroes and beggars, galley slaves and kings/But Theodore this moral learned ere dead:/Fate poured its lessons on his living head,/Bestowed a kingdom, but denied him bread." A man claiming to be his son wrote a memoir of von Neuhoff's life; "Memoires pour servir a l'histoire de la Corse," in 1768.
Bio by: Iola