Category Archives: German Royals

George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven

source: Wikipedia

George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven

George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven was born on December 6, 1892, at The New Palace in Darmstadt. At the time of his birth, he was HSH Prince George Louis Victor Henry Serge of Battenberg, the third child and elder son of Prince Ludwig (Louis) of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. George had three younger siblings:

George with his mother, Victoria.

A remarkably intelligent and clever child, George had his own workshop at his father’s Heiligenberg Castle by the age of ten, and was soon designing and building precise working models of steam engines. He enjoyed complex math problems “for relaxation” and was recognized by his superiors at Dartmouth Naval College for being perhaps the most clever cadet the college had ever seen. During his time in the Royal Navy, he devised a system to provide air conditioning in his cabin, and invented a device which would brew his morning tea, triggered by an alarm clock.

Wedding portrait of George and Nadejda.

On November 15, 1916 at the Russian Embassy in London, George married Countess Nadejda Mikhailovna de Torby. Nadjeda was born in Cannes on March 28, 1896, the younger daughter of Grand Duke Mikhail Mikhailovich of Russia and Countess Sophie von Merenberg. Following their wedding, George and Nadejda settled at Lynden Manor, in Bray, Berkshire, and had two children:

The following year, in 1917, King George V of the United Kingdom asked his relatives to relinquish their German royal titles. On July 14, 1917, the Battenbergs gave up their titles and styles, and took on the surname Mountbatten. George, having previously been created a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, became Sir George Mountbatten. Four months later, on November 7, 1917, his father was created Marquess of Milford Haven, and George assumed the courtesy title Earl of Medina. Four years later, in 1921, George succeeded his father as 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven.

In the late 1920s, having lost most of his inheritance to German inflation – and having a wife with very expensive tastes – George left the Royal Navy for a career in business. He worked for a brokerage house before moving to the British Sperry Gyroscope Company where he became chairman. He also served as director for several large companies, including Electrolux and Marks & Spencer.

In 1930, George became instrumental in the upbringing of his nephew, Prince Philip of Greece. Philip’s mother suffered a breakdown that year, and his father was more-or-less separated from the family, living with a mistress on the French Riviera. George became Philip’s primary guardian, serving as a surrogate father and arranging for, and financing, Philip’s education.

In 1934, George and Nadejda were brought into the international spotlight during the custody battle for the young Gloria Vanderbilt in New York City. Allegations had been raised that Nadejda and Gloria’s mother – Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt – had been lovers. Nadejda traveled to New York to testify in the case, decrying the allegations as “malicious, terrible lies.”

In December 1937, George suffered a fall and broke his femur. A month later, when it didn’t appear to be healing, further examination found that he was suffering from bone marrow cancer. Fearing that the diagnosis would cause him to decline quite quickly, the doctors chose to withhold it from him, in agreement with the family. He lingered for several months, finally losing his battle on April 8, 1938. He is buried at the Bray Cemetery. By the time of his death, George had accumulated a large collection of erotic art, which he left – on permanent loan – to the British Library. The library’s index describes the collection as “prospectuses and catalogues of erotic and obscene books, pictures and instruments, dating from 1889 to 1929. 81 parts. Collected by George Mountbatten.”

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Princess Cecilie of Greece, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine

source: Wikipedia

Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine

Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark was born at Tatoi Palace on June 22, 1911. She was the third daughter of Prince Andreas of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. Cecilie had four siblings:

Cecilie with her husband and two sons, c1933. photo: personal collection

On February 2, 1931, in Darmstadt, Cecilie married her first cousin once removed, Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine. He was the son of Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich. Cecilie and Georg Donatus (known as Don) had three children:

Cecilie’s life came to a tragic end on November 16, 1937. A very pregnant Cecilie, her husband, their two sons, and her mother-in-law, were traveling by plane to London to attend the wedding of Don’s brother, Prince Ludwig and Margaret Geddes four days later. Facing bad weather, the plane was unable to land in Brussels as scheduled, and was instead diverted to Ostend. While attempting to land, the plane clipped a chimney on a factory near the airport, and the plane crashed leaving no survivors.

Having received the news, a private wedding ceremony was hastily arranged for Ludwig and Margaret the following day. They then traveled to Belgium to accompany the bodies back to Darmstadt. A funeral was held a few days later, attended by all of Cecilie’s family. Cecilie and her family were all buried in the burial ground next to the New Mausoleum in the Rosenhöhe.

Ludwig and Margaret adopted Cecilie and Don’s only surviving child, Princess Johanna. Sadly, less than two years later, Johanna contracted meningitis and died. She was buried alongside the rest of her family.

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Princess Theodora of Greece, Margravine of Baden

Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark, Margravine of Baden

Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark was born on May 30, 1906 at Tatoi Palace, the second daughter of Prince Andreas of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. She had four siblings:

Theodora with her sisters in 1922. (l-r) Margarita, Cecilie, Theodora, Sophie.

Raised primarily in Greece, Theodora and her family had to leave Greece several times due to the political unrest, and repeated overthrow of the monarchy.  They spent several years living in Switzerland, and later settled outside of Paris.  After her mother suffered a nervous breakdown in 1930, Theodora and her sisters were quickly married, all into formal German royal families.

On August 17, 1931, Theodora married Berthold, Margrave of Baden. He was the son of Maximilian, Margrave of Baden and Princess Marie Luise of Hanover. The couple were second cousins through their mutual descent from King Christian IX of Denmark. They took up residence at Schloss Salem had three children:

Theodora with her husband and two elder children, c1936. source: private collection

In her later years, Princess Theodora spent time with her children and grandchildren, and made occasional visits to England to see her brother Philip and his family.  At just 63 years old, she died in Büdingen in Hesse on October 16, 1969, just five weeks before the death of her mother. She was buried alongside her husband in the family cemetery in Salem.

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Richard, 6th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, husband of Princess Benedikte of Denmark, has died

Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Richard, 6th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, head of the House of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and husband of Princess Benedikte of Denmark, died at his home, Berleburg Castle, in Bad Berleburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany late on March 13, 2017 at the age of 82. Princess Benedikte is the elder of the two younger sisters of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. Prince Richard underwent surgery for treatment of prostate cancer in 2003 and previously, had undergone treatment for skin cancer.

The announcement from the Danish Royal House via Tommy Paulsen, Private Secretary of Princess Benedikte, gave no cause of death: “It is with great sadness that I, on behalf of Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte, have to announce that His Highness Prince Richard has died. His Highness died suddenly at the castle in Berleburg last night, Monday, March 13. Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte, after a short stay in Denmark, returned home to Berleburg Tuesday morning.”
Kongehuset: Pressemeddelelse: Hans Højhed Prins Richard er afgået ved døden

At the wedding of Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1966, Prince Richard met his future wife, the second of the three daughters of King Frederik IX of Denmark. The couple married at the Fredensborg Palace Church in Denmark on February 3, 1968. Richard and Benedikte had one son and two daughters. Because their three children were not raised in Denmark, they are not in the line of succession to the Danish throne.

Prince Richard was active in a number of conservation programs including a project to reintroduce European bison on his 30,000-acre estate. See NPR: German Prince Plans To Put Bison Back In The Wild.

Princess Margarita of Greece, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg

Margarita, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. photo: private collection

Princess Margarita of Greece and Denmark, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg

Princess Margarita of Greece and Denmark was born on April 18, 1905 at the Royal Palace in Athens. She was the eldest child of Prince Andreas of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg, and was the first great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Margarita had four younger siblings:

1930-1931 saw the marriages of Margarita and her three sisters. Although she was the eldest, Margarita was the third to marry. Her groom was Gottfried, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. He was the son of Ernst II, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Margarita and Gottfried were second cousins once removed through their mutual descent from Queen Victoria, and third cousins through Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. They married in Langenburg on April 20, 1931, and had five children:

  • Kraft, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1935) – married (1) Princess Charlotte of Croÿ, had issue; married (2) Irma Pospesch, no issue
  • Princess Beatrix of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1936) – unmarried
  • Prince Georg Andreas of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1938) – married Luise, Princess of Schönburg-Waldenburg, had issue
  • Prince Rupprecht of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1944) – unmarried
  • Prince Albrecht of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1944) – married Maria-Hildegard Fischer, had issue

In 1934, Margarita and her husband traveled to New York to testify in the famous custody battle for the young Gloria Vanderbilt. Gottfried had at one time been in a romantic relationship her mother, Mrs. Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, and during the custody hearing, a housemaid made some rather salacious allegations about the relationship between the two. Margarita also testified as a character witness for Mrs. Vanderbilt.

Although Margarita and her sisters were not invited to their brother Philip’s wedding (due to strong anti-German sentiment so soon after the war), she and Philip remained close, and in 1950, she was named as one of the godparents for Philip’s daughter, Princess Anne. And in 1953, Margarita, her surviving sisters and their mother, were prominent guests at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

After being widowed in 1960, Margarita maintained a quiet life in Langenburg, visiting with her children and grandchildren, as well as occasional trips to visit Philip and his family in the UK. At the age of 76, Princess Margarita died in Langenburg on April 24, 1961. She is buried beside her husband in the family cemetery.

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Princess Alice of Battenberg, Princess Andreas of Greece

Princess Alice, c1967.

Princess Alice of Battenberg, Princess Andreas of Greece and Denmark

Princess Alice of Battenberg was the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She was born HSH Princess Victoria Alice Elisabeth Julia Maria on February 25, 1885, in the Tapestry Room at Windsor Castle. Her parents were Prince Ludwig (Louis) of Battenberg, later 1st Marquess of Milford Haven, and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. She was the eldest child, with three younger siblings:

Alice was christened in Darmstadt on April 25, 1885, with the following godparents:

As a child, Alice was diagnosed with congenital deafness, and learned to lip-read in both English and German. Later, she also learned French and Greek. Her childhood was spent in Darmstadt and Jugenheim (German), as well as London and Malta where her father was stationed. The family was very close to their British relatives, and Alice served as a bridesmaid at the 1893 wedding of the future King George V of the United Kingdom and Princess Mary of Teck. They were also very close to their Russian relatives (Alice’s aunt was the Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna), and often spent holidays together in Darmstadt.

At the 1902 coronation of her great-uncle, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, Alice met Prince Andreas of Greece and Denmark. They quickly fell in love and were married in a civil ceremony in Darmstadt on October 6, 1903. The following day, two religious ceremonies were held – one Lutheran and one Greek Orthodox. Their wedding was one of the last large gatherings of European royals before World War I. The couple settled into a wing of the Royal Palace in Athens, and went on to have five children:

While Andreas pursued his military career, Alice raised her family and became very involved in charity work in Greece. However, the political situation in Greece was often tenuous, and the family was forced into exile several times. They lived in Switzerland for several years before King Constantine was restored to the Greek throne in 1920. Their return to Greece was short-lived. In 1922, the King was forced to abdicate, and Prince Andreas was arrested and charged with treason. He was court-martialed and convicted, and would have probably been executed had it not been for the intervention of Alice’s cousin, King George V of the United Kingdom. King George sent a British cruiser – HMS Calypso to take Andreas, Alice and their children safely into exile.

The family settled in Saint-Cloud, outside of Paris, in a small house owned by Andreas’s sister-in-law, Princess George of Greece (the former Marie Bonaparte). There, Alice worked in a charity shop for Greek refugees, and became very religious. On October 20, 1928, she very quietly converted to the Greek Orthodox Church. Soon, Alice began to show signs of mental illness. In 1930, following a nervous breakdown, Princess Alice was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. She was institutionalized in a sanatorium in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, under the care of Dr. Ludwig Binswanger. After two years in Kreuzlingen, and a brief stay at a clinic in Merano, Italy, she was released. It would be another four years before she had contact with her children, having only maintained ties with her mother. During her absence, all four of her daughters had married and begun their own families. Sadly, it was a tragic event which brought Alice back into contact with her children. On November 16, 1937, Alice’s daughter Cecilie, along with her husband, two children and mother-in-law, were killed in a plane crash in Belgium. Alice attended the funeral in Darmstadt, reconnecting with her surviving children, and meeting her husband for the first time in six years.

In 1938, Alice returned to Greece, continuing her work with the poor. Along with her sister-in-law, Princess Nicholas of Greece (the former Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia), Alice worked with the Red Cross during World War II to organize shelters and nurses in the poor neighborhoods of Athens. Alice and Elena had been the only two members of the Greek Royal Family to remain in the country, while the rest had gone into exile in South Africa. In 1943, after the German Army had occupied Athens, and while most Jews were being deported to concentration camps, Alice hid a Jewish widow, Rachel Cohen, and two of her children in her home. Thirty years earlier, Mrs. Cohen’s husband had come to the aid of King George I of Greece, and the King had offered to someday repay him if there was ever anything he could do for him. Mrs. Cohen remembered this promise, and reached out to Princess Alice. Alice, who saw both the opportunity to repay the debt, and the help save their lives, took the family in, risking her own life in doing so. The following year, she was widowed when Prince Andreas died in Monte Carlo. The two had not seen each other since 1939.

In November 1947, Alice returned to Britain for her son’s wedding. Some of her jewels were used to create Elizabeth’s engagement ring, as well as a bracelet that Philip designed for her as a wedding gift. On November 20, 1947, Alice attended the wedding, although none of her daughters had been invited (due to their marriages to Germans, and the still-strong anti German sentiment after the war). In the group photo from the wedding above, Princess Alice is seen in the front row, standing next to Queen Mary. Alice’s mother, the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven is seen on the far right, next to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

Just over a year later, Princess Alice founded a nursing order of nuns, the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary. She established a home for the order just north of Athens, and trained on the Greek island of Tinos. In order to raise funds to support the order, Alice made two tours of the United States. Many were perplexed by this venture – none more so than her own mother, the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven, who reportedly said “What can you say of a nun who smokes and plays canasta?” Unfortunately, the order didn’t last very long, due to a limited number of applicants. But Alice continued with her work supporting those in need, and dressed as a nun for the rest of her life.

Alice leading her family’s procession at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, June 1953

On June 2, 1953, Princess Alice attended the coronation of her daughter-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, at Westminster Abbey in London. Wearing a gown designed to look like a nun’s habit, she led the formal procession of Philip’s family, including his three surviving sisters and his uncle, Prince George of Greece.

photo: Hello!

Alice remained in Greece, working to help the poor and those in need. However, as the political situation worsened, and with her children’s growing concern for her safety, it soon became obvious that she would need to leave the country that she’d grown to love so much since first arriving in 1903. She left Greece in 1967 following the Colonels’ Coup, and was invited by her son and daughter-in-law to take up residence at Buckingham Palace in London. She died there on December 5, 1969, at the age of 84. Following her funeral, her remains were placed in the Royal Crypt at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. However, she had previously expressed her wish to be buried near her aunt, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, at the Convent of Saint Mary Magdalene on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. On August 3, 1988 – nearly 19 years after her death – her remains were moved to Jerusalem and placed in a crypt below the church.

Prince Charles visiting his grandmother’s tomb, September 2016. photo: Clarence House/PA

On October 31, 1994, Princess Alice was posthumously recognized as Righteous Among the Nations for her sheltering of persecuted Jews during World War II. And in 2010, she was named a Hero of the Holocaust by the British Government.

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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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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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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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