by Scott Mehl
Prince Albert, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein
Prince Albert, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein (Albert John Charles Frederick Arthur George) was the second son of Princess Helena of the United Kingdom and Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. He was born on February 26, 1869 at Frogmore House.
Albert had four siblings:
- Prince Christian Victor (1867-1900) – unmarried, no issue
- Princess Helena Victoria (1870-1948) – unmarried, no issue
- Princess Marie Louise (1872-1956) – married Prince Aribert of Anhalt (divorced), no issue
- Prince Harald (1876-1876) – lived just 8 days
Like his elder brother Christian Victor, Albert attended Lambrook and was destined for a military career. However, unlike his brother, Albert joined the Prussian Army, eventually reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. This meant that Albert was separated from his family during World War I. Having refused to fight against the British, Albert’s cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm II, excused him from active service, and he spent the war years serving on the staff of the Governor of Berlin.
By the end of the war, Albert was the heir apparent to his childless cousin, the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein (a brother of the German Empress Augusta Viktoria). He succeeded to the Dukedom in 1921, also becoming head of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg.
Albert never married, but just before his death, he acknowledged an illegitimate daughter born in 1900. The child, Valerie Marie, had quickly been given up and was raised by a Jewish family. Albert wrote to her just weeks before he passed away, acknowledging that he was her father. He also informed his two sisters, although he never disclosed the mother’s name to any of them. Some years later, when Valerie was planning to marry the Duke of Arenberg, this acknowledgment would become very important. At the time, because of her perceived Jewish heritage, she was not permitted to marry the Duke. Fortunately, Albert’s sisters attested to her true parentage, and the wedding was then permitted. Valerie died, by apparent suicide, in 1953.
Prince Albert, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein died on April 27, 1931 in Primkenau, Germany (now Przemków, Poland). He is buried near the church in Primkenau.