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Royal News: Thursday 19 January 2017

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Royal News: Tuesday 17 January 2017

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Royal News: Saturday 14 January 2017

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Adolf Friedrich VI, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

source: Wikipedia

source: Wikipedia

Adolf Friedrich VI, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Adolf Friedrich VI was the last Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He was born on June 17, 1882 in Neustrelitz, the elder son of Adolf Friedrich V, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Elisabeth of Anhalt. He had three siblings:

At his christening on July 19, 1882, he was given the names Adolf Friedrich Georg Ernst Albert Eduard. He had 12 godparents:

Adolf Friedrich was educated privately at home, tutored for several years by the Protestant theologian Carl Horn.  He then attended the Vitzthum-Gymnasium in Dresden along with his relative, and close friend, Grand Duke Friedrich Franz IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and in 1902, moved to Munich to study law.

During this time, he was made a Lieutenant in the Prussian Army’s Grand Ducal Mecklenburg Grenadier Regiment No. 89.  However, his active military career didn’t begin until after he’d finished his studies – joining the Prussian Army’s 1st Uhlan Guards Regiment in Potsdam.  Just two years later, he became Hereditary Grand Duke upon his grandfather’s death and his father’s accession the grand ducal throne.

 

Hereditary Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich, c1909. source: Wikipedia

Hereditary Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich, c1909. source: Wikipedia

In 1911, he resigned his army commission and returned to Neustrelitz to prepare for his future role.  He also spent several summers living in the United Kingdom, having developed a strong love for the country – likely influenced by his grandmother, who was born Princess Augusta of Cambridge, and was a granddaughter of King George III of the United Kingdom.  Adolf Friedrich took every opportunity to visit Britain, and often represented his father and grandfather at official functions, such as the funerals of Queen Victoria and King Edward VII, and the coronations of King Edward VII and King George V.

 

Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich VI, c1912. source: Wikipedia

Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich VI, c1912. source: Wikipedia

Upon his father’s death in June 1914, he became the reigning Grand Duke as Adolf Friedrich VI. He had little time to adjust to his role as World War I was breaking out in Europe.  He was given a commission as a colonel on the staff of the German 17th Division, and served on the Western front through much of the war.  In 1917, he was promoted to Major General.

After years of being linked to various princesses throughout Europe – including Viktoria Luise of Prussia, Patricia of Connaught, and Mary, Princess Royal – Adolf Friedrich’s close friend, Princess Daisy of Pless, set out to find him a bride.  Soon it was settled that he would marry Princess Beninga Reuss of Köstritz, and negotiations began.  However, there was a scandal brewing which needed to be dealt with first.  Years earlier, when based in Potsdam, Adolf Friedrich had a relationship with a woman named Margit Höllrigl.  Allegedly, he had proposed to her so that he could renounce his succession rights in favor of his younger brother.  But his brother had since died, and he attempted to pay off Höllrigl to release him from any obligation of marriage.  Höllrigl, however, had other plans.  She claimed to have correspondence which linked Adolf Friedrich to “certain homosexual circles” and threatened to release them to the public unless he gave into her demands for more money.

With war still raging, and the possibility of these letters being made public, Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich VI left his home on the evening of February 23, 1918 to take his dog for a walk. The following morning, his body was found in a nearby canal with a gunshot wound to his head. He left behind a suicide note which suggested that a woman was attempting to smear his name. However, his close friend, Princess Daisy of Pless suggested that he had developed severe depression over the war and the loss of his beloved grandmother.

In his will, he had requested that Duke Christian Ludwig of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the son of his good friend Grand Duke Friedrich Franz IV, become the new Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The heir presumptive – Duke Carl Michael – lived in Russia and had previously indicated that he wished to renounce his rights to the grand ducal throne. However, before the matter could be resolved, Germany became a republic and the various sovereigns lost their thrones.

The Tomb of Adolf Friedrich VI Von Niteshift (talk) - Eigenes Werk (photo), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9970644

The Tomb of Adolf Friedrich VI Von Niteshift (talk) – Eigenes Werk (photo), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9970644

Following his funeral, Adolf Friedrich VI was buried on Lover’s Island in Mirow, just near the Johanniterkirche, the traditional burial place of the Mecklenburg-Strelitz grand ducal family.

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Royal News: Thursday 12 January 2017

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Elisabeth of Anhalt, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

source: Wikipedia

source: Wikipedia

Elisabeth of Anhalt, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Princess Elisabeth Marie Friederike Amalie Agnes of Anhalt was born on September 7, 1857 at the Wörlitz Palace near Dessau, to Hereditary Prince Friedrich of Anhalt (later Duke Friedrich I) and Princess Antoinette of Saxe-Altenburg. She had five siblings:

Her christening was held on October 1, 1857 at the Wörlitz Church. She had the following godparents:

Her childhood was spent at the Hereditary Princely Palace in Dessau and the Wörlitz Palace, where she was educated privately by the family’s tutor and her governess. In 1871, her father succeeded as reigning Duke of Anhalt, and the family moved to the Residence Palace in Dessau.

Adolf Friedrich V, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. source: Wikipedia

Adolf Friedrich V, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. source: Wikipedia

Several years later, in 1876, she first met her future husband, the Hereditary Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He was the son of Friedrich Wilhelm, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Augusta of Cambridge. The two were second cousins once removed through their mutual descent from Carl II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. They met again later that year when Adolf Friedrich was visiting some mutual relatives, and they became engaged on December 29, 1876. They married at the Dessau Palace on April 17, 1877, and had four children:

Quickly adapting to her role as Hereditary Grand Duchess, Elisabeth found a great ally in her mother-in-law, with whom she shared many interests. The two often hosted musical concerts and promoted numerous artists and musicians. She tried to use her public profile to bring attention to causes which were near to her heart, including nature and flowers, becoming an honorary member of the Association for the Protection of Birds. After becoming Grand Duchess in 1904 following her father-in-law’s death, she continued to support her causes while taking on a much more public role. Following the death of her youngest son in 1910, she established the Duke Carl Borwin Memorial Home in Neustrelitz, to provide a home for orphans and children in need.

source: The Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

source: The Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Following her husband’s death in 1914, she remained first lady of Mecklenburg-Strelitz during the reign of her unmarried son, and became very active with the Red Cross during World War I. Following the abolition of the monarchy in 1918, Elisabeth remained in Neustrelitz, taking up residence in the Park House which she had inherited earlier that year from her son. The Neustrelitz Palace had been taken over by the government, and she continued to fight for compensation for the loss of the family’s property. Remaining active right up until her death, Elisabeth remained in Neustrelitz, often hosting visits from her daughters and grandchildren, and staying in close contact with various relatives throughout Europe. Her last public appearance was on July 19, 1933, when she attended a ceremony at the Hohenziertz Palace commemorating the death of Queen Luise of Prussia, who had been born a Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

The following day, on July 20, 1933, Grand Duchess Elisabeth died in Neustrelitz. Following her funeral, her remains were placed in the New Crypt at the Johanniterkirche in Mirow, alongside her husband and sons.

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Royal News: Tuesday 10 January 2017

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Adolf Friedrich V, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

source: Wikipedia

source: Wikipedia

Adolf Friedrich V, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Adolf Friedrich V, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, was born on July 22, 1848 in Neustrelitz, the son of Friedrich Wilhelm, Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Augusta of Cambridge. At the time of his birth, he was 14th in line for the British throne, as his mother was a granddaughter of King George III of the United Kingdom. Adolf Friedrich was the highest ranking person in the British succession who did not hold any British titles. As the only surviving son (an elder brother had died hours after birth in 1845), Adolf Friedrich held the title Hereditary Prince of Mecklenburg-Strelitz from birth.

His christening took place at Schloss Neustrelitz on August 12, 1848. Given the names Adolf Friedrich August Viktor Ernst Adalbert Gustav Wilhelm Wellington, he had 12 godparents:

At the age of 12, Adolf Friedrich became the Hereditary Grand Duke upon his father’s accession to the grand ducal throne. Initially educated privately at home, he later attended school in Dresden and then studied law at the University of Göttingen. After finishing his studies, he began a military career in the Prussian Army, where he fought during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and served on the General staff of King Wilhelm I of Prussia. The following year, he represented his father at the proclamation of King Wilhelm I as German Emperor at the Palace of Versailles.

In 1876, while traveling through Germany, he first met his future bride, Princess Elisabeth of Anhalt. She was the daughter of Friedrich I, Duke of Anhalt, and Princess Antoinette of Saxe-Altenburg. The two met again later that year while Adolf Friedrich was visiting some mutual relatives, and became engaged on December 29, 1876. The couple were second cousins once removed, through their mutual descent from Carl II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Adolf Friedrich and Elisabeth married at Schloss Dessau on April 17, 1877. After a honeymoon at Lake Geneva in Switzerland, they took up residence at the Hereditary Grand Ducal Palace in Neustrelitz. They had four children:

source: Wikipedia

source: Wikipedia

After being heir apparent for 43 years, Adolf Friedrich succeeded to the grand ducal throne on May 30, 1904 following his father’s death. He made efforts to soothe the rocky relationship with Prussia, and brought a more militaristic atmosphere to the grand ducal court. Much more liberal than his father, he made attempts to modernize the feudal system of government, in keeping with the rest of the German Empire. (Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Mecklenburg-Schwerin were the only two states which did not have an elected assembly at the time.) In 1908, he introduced a ministerial form of government, but continued to meet resistance from the nobility when trying to make further reforms – such as the introduction of a new constitution. Thwarted at every attempt, in 1912 the Grand Duke offered to donate $2.5 million of his own funds to the national treasury, and forfeit some of his sovereign rights, in exchange for a new constitution. But again, he was denied by the nobility. This was just a small example of his vast personal wealth. In January 1914, just months before his death, he was reported to be the second richest German sovereign, with a personal fortune of $88.75 million(over $2 billion today).

source: The Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

source: The Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

In March 1914, the Grand Duke fell ill and underwent an operation in a private hospital in Berlin. He never fully recovered and died at the hospital on July 11, 1914. He is buried in the New Crypt at the Johanniterkirche in Mirow.

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Friedrich Wilhelm, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

source: Wikipedia

source: Wikipedia

Friedrich Wilhelm, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Friedrich Wilhelm,Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was born in Neustrelitz on October 17, 1819. He was the eldest son of Georg, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Marie of Hesse-Kassel, and had 3 siblings:

He was christened on November 2, 1819 and given the names Friedrich Wilhelm Karl Georg Ernst Adolf Gustav. Among his 19 godparents was his namesake – and cousin – the future King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia.

Along with his brother, Friedrich WIlhelm was educated privately at home. Shortly before turning 18, he left Neustrelitz to study law and history at the University of Bonn. After leaving Bonn in 1839, he spent some time at the Prussian court of his uncle, King Friedrich Wilhelm III, before traveling through Europe the following summer. On this trip, he spent time in Italy with his aunt and uncle, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as their daughter, Augusta. Returning to Neustrelitz, he attended his sister’s wedding to the future King Frederik VII of Denmark and accompanied her to her new country. He then travelled to Potsdam, joining the Prussian Army in September 1841.

The following year, Friedrich Wilhelm traveled to London and became engaged to his cousin, Princess Augusta of Cambridge. She was the daughter of Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge (a son of King George III of the United Kingdom) and Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel. Friedrich Wilhelm and his finacée were first cousins through their mothers, and second cousins through their fathers. After receiving Queen Victoria’s consent to marry, Friedrich Wilhelm returned to Germany where he requested, and received, a discharge from active service in the Prussian Army.

The marriage of Friedrich Wilhelm and Augusta, source: Wikipedia

The marriage of Friedrich Wilhelm and Augusta, source: Wikipedia

Friedrich Wilhelm and Augusta married on June 28, 1843 in the Private Chapel at Buckingham Palace. Following the wedding, he brought his new bride home to Neustrelitz where they received a warm welcome. They later returned to the United Kingdom, where Friedrich Wilhelm continued his education, earning his Law degree from the University of Oxford. Following the birth of a stillborn son in 1843, the couple went on to have two children:

While continuing to visit his wife’s family often in Britain, Friedrich Wilhelm began to spend more time living in Neustrelitz, preparing himself for his future role as Grand Duke. In 1851, he suffered an injury to his left eye which left him partially blind. Within a few years, the injury also took the sight in his right eye, leaving him completely blind. Because of this, he developed a close friendship with his cousin, King Georg V of Hanover, who was also blind.

In the summer of 1860, while on a visit with his wife’s family, he learned that his father was gravely ill. He and Augusta returned to Neustrelitz, where his father died days later, on September 6, 1860. Friedrich Wilhelm succeeded his father as Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. His reign saw great changes in what would later become the German Empire. Initially, during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Mecklenburg-Strelitz remained neutral, and Friedrich Wilhelm was given a guarantee by the Prussian king that this would be respected. However, the Prussian minister Otto von Bismarck, disagreed. He threatened to invade the Grand Duchy if Friedrich Wilhelm didn’t agree to mobilize his troops to fight alongside Prussia. Having no other choice, the Grand Duke acceded to the demands and joined the war against Austria. While going against what Friedrich Wilhelm had wanted, the move likely extended his reign. While other states were annexed by Prussia and their rulers deposed, the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz remained intact. Despite his animosity toward Prussia, Mecklenburg-Strelitz joined the North German Confederation later that year.

source: The Grand Ducal Family of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

source: The Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

In 1870, he was once again coerced into joining Prussia in its war against the French Empire. Following Prussia’s overwhelming victory, the German Empire was established, and the Prussian king named Emperor (Kaiser) in 1871. The unification brought about great advancements in the Grand Duchy, and the Grand Duke took particular interest in restoring and building churches. He also focused much of his time on improving the education systems, as well a building and refurbishing schools throughout the Grand Duchy. Grand Duke Friedrich Wilhelm is credited with restoring the Grand Duchy’s financial resources, taking a country which was riddled with debt after the war and amassing a great fortune in their treasury. In addition, his personal wealth made him the wealthiest of the German sovereigns at the time.

Schloss Neustrelitz, c1910. source: Wikipedia

Schloss Neustrelitz, c1910. source: Wikipedia

In early 1904, the Grand Duke fell ill, and died at Schloss Neustrelitz on May 30, 1904. His funeral was held the following week at the Schloss Church, and was attended by the German Emperor – Kaiser Wilhelm II. In keeping with tradition, his remains were placed in the New Crypt at the Johanniterkirche in Mirow.

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Royal News: Tuesday 3 January 2017

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