Grand Duchy of Hesse
The Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine was a grand duchy in western Germany that existed from 1806 to the end of the German Empire in 1918. The grand duchy formed on the basis of the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1806 as the Grand Duchy of Hesse. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, it changed its name in 1816 to distinguish itself from the Electorate of Hesse, which had formed from neighboring Hesse-Kassel. Colloquially, the grand duchy continued to be known by its former name of Hesse-Darmstadt, it joined the German Empire in 1871 and became a republic after German defeat in World War I in 1918. Hesse-Darmstadt was a member of Napoleon's Confederation of the Rhine during the Napoleonic Wars. Expanding during the mediatizations, Hesse-Darmstadt became an amalgamation of smaller German states, such as the Electorate of Cologne; the legal patchwork of the state culminated in a decree issued on 1 October 1806 by Louis I. The old territorial estates were abolished, which altered Hesse-Darmstadt "from a mosaic of patrimonial fragments into a centralized, absolute monarchy."
The Duchy of Westphalia, which Hesse-Darmstadt had received in 1803, was ceded to the Kingdom of Prussia during the Congress of Vienna. However, Hesse-Darmstadt was compensated with some territory on the western bank of the Rhine, including the important federal fortress at Mainz; the neighboring Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel had backed Prussia against Napoleon and was absorbed into the Kingdom of Westphalia. At the Congress of Vienna, Hesse-Kassel was reestablished as the Electorate of Hesse. To distinguish the two Hessian states, the grand duchy changed its name to the Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine in 1816. In 1867, the northern half of the Grand Duchy became a part of the North German Confederation, while the half of the Grand Duchy south of the Main remained outside. In 1871, it became a constituent state of the German Empire; the last Grand Duke, Ernst Ludwig, was forced from his throne at the end of World War I, the state was renamed the People's State of Hesse. After World War II, the majority of the state combined with Frankfurt am Main, the Waldeck area and the former Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau to form the new state of Hesse.
Excluded were the Montabaur district from Hessen-Nassau and that part of Hessen-Darmstadt on the left bank of the Rhine, which became part of the Rhineland-Palatinate state. Wimpfen—an exclave of Hessen-Darmstadt—became part of Baden-Württemberg, in the district of Sinsheim. After a plebiscite on 29 April 1951, Bad Wimpfen was transferred from Sinsheim district to Heilbronn District; this change to Heilbronn was carried out on 1 May 1952. Because of the disjointed nature of the state, it did not develop its own state railway to begin with, but set up joint railway projects with its neighbouring states: These were the: Main-Neckar Railway with Frankfurt and Baden Main-Weser Railway with Frankfurt and Kurhessen Frankfurt-Offenbach Local Railway with the Free City of FrankfurtIn addition the state encouraged numerous other projects by the owned Hessian Ludwig Railway Company. In 1876 the state founded its own company, the Grand Duchy of Hesse State Railways, which continued to expand the network until it was merged into the Prussian-Hessian Railway Company in 1897.
The Grand Duchy of Hesse was divided into three provinces: Starkenburg: Right bank of the Rhine, south of the Main. Rhenish Hesse: Left bank of the Rhine, territory gained from the Congress of Vienna. Upper Hesse: North of the Main, separated from Starkenburg by the Free City of Frankfurt. List of rulers of Hesse Line of succession to the former Hessian throne Hessenlager Constitution of Hesse Das Großherzogtum Hessen 1806–1918 Großherzogtum Hessen 1910
Frederick III, German Emperor
Frederick III was German Emperor and King of Prussia for ninety-nine days in 1888, the Year of the Three Emperors. Known informally as "Fritz", he was the only son of Emperor Wilhelm I and was raised in his family's tradition of military service. Although celebrated as a young man for his leadership and successes during the Second Schleswig, Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian wars, he professed a hatred of warfare and was praised by friends and enemies alike for his humane conduct. Following the unification of Germany in 1871 his father King of Prussia, became the German Emperor. Upon Wilhelm's death at the age of ninety on 9 March 1888, the thrones passed to Frederick, who had by been German Crown Prince for seventeen years and Crown Prince of Prussia for twenty-seven years. Frederick was suffering from cancer of the larynx when he died, aged fifty-six, following unsuccessful medical treatments for his condition. Frederick married Victoria, Princess Royal, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.
The couple were well-matched. Frederick, in spite of his conservative militaristic family background, had developed liberal tendencies as a result of his ties with Britain and his studies at the University of Bonn; as the Crown Prince, he opposed the conservative Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in speaking out against Bismarck's policy of uniting Germany through force, in urging that the power of the Chancellorship be curbed. Liberals in both Germany and Britain hoped that as emperor, Frederick III would move to liberalize the German Empire. Frederick and Victoria were great admirers of Queen Victoria's husband, they planned to rule as consorts, like Albert and Queen Victoria, to reform what they saw as flaws in the executive branch that Bismarck had created for himself. The office of Chancellor, responsible to the Emperor, would be replaced with a British-style cabinet, with ministers responsible to the Reichstag. Government policy would be based on the consensus of the cabinet. Frederick "described the Imperial Constitution as ingeniously contrived chaos."
The Crown Prince and Princess shared the outlook of the Progressive Party, Bismarck was haunted by the fear that should the old Emperor die—and he was now in his seventies—they would call on one of the Progressive leaders to become Chancellor. He sought to guard against such a turn by keeping the Crown Prince from a position of any influence and by using foul means as well as fair to make him unpopular. However, his illness prevented him from establishing policies and measures to achieve this, such moves as he was able to make were abandoned by his son and successor, Wilhelm II; the timing of Frederick's death and the length of his reign are important topics among historians. The premature demise of Frederick III is considered a potential turning point in German history. Frederick William was born in the New Palace at Potsdam in Prussia on 18 October 1831, he was a scion of the House of Hohenzollern, rulers of Prussia the most powerful of the German states. Frederick's father, Prince William, was a younger brother of King Frederick William IV and, having been raised in the military traditions of the Hohenzollerns, developed into a strict disciplinarian.
William fell in love with his cousin Elisa Radziwill, a princess of the Polish nobility, but his parents felt Elisa's rank was not suitable for the bride of a Prussian prince and forced a more suitable match. The woman selected to be his wife, Princess Augusta of Saxe-Weimar, had been raised in the more intellectual and artistic atmosphere of Weimar, which gave its citizens greater participation in politics and limited the powers of its rulers through a constitution; because of their differences, the couple did not have a happy marriage and, as a result, Frederick grew up in a troubled household, which left him with memories of a lonely childhood. He had one sister, eight years his junior and close to him. Frederick had a good relationship with his uncle, King Frederick William IV, called "the romantic on the throne". Frederick grew up during a tumultuous political period as the concept of liberalism in Germany, which evolved during the 1840s, was gaining widespread and enthusiastic support.
The liberals sought a unified Germany and were constitutional monarchists who desired a constitution to ensure equal protection under the law, the protection of property, the safeguarding of basic civil rights. Overall, the liberals desired; when Frederick was 17, these emergent nationalistic and liberal sentiments sparked a series of political uprisings across the German states and elsewhere in Europe. In Germany, their goal was to protect freedoms, such as the freedom of assembly and freedom of the press, to create a German parliament and constitution. Although the uprisings brought about no lasting changes, liberal sentiments remained an influential force in German politics throughout Frederick's life. Despite the value placed by the Hohenzollern family on a traditional military education, Augusta insisted that her son receive a classical education. Accordingly, Frederick was tutored in both military traditions and the liberal arts, his private tutor was a famous archaeologist. Frederick was a talented student good at foreign languages, becoming fluent in English and French, studying Lati
Order of the Black Eagle
The Order of the Black Eagle was the highest order of chivalry in the Kingdom of Prussia. The order was founded on 17 January 1701 by Elector Friedrich III of Brandenburg. In his Dutch exile after World War I, deposed Emperor Wilhelm II continued to award the order to his family, he made Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz, a Lady in the Order of the Black Eagle. The statutes of the order were published on 18 January 1701, revised in 1847. Membership in the Order of the Black Eagle was limited to a small number of knights, was divided into two classes: members of reigning houses and capitular knights. Before 1847, membership was limited to nobles, but after that date, capitular knights who were not nobles were raised to the nobility. Capitular knights were high-ranking government officials or military officers; the Order of the Black Eagle had only one class, but could be awarded at the king's prerogative "with the Chain" or without. By statute, members of the order held the Grand Cross of the Order of the Red Eagle, wore the badge of that order from a ribbon around the neck.
From 1862, members of the Prussian royal house, upon award of the Order of the Black Eagle received the Prussian Crown Order 1st Class. The badge of the Order was a gold Maltese cross, enameled in blue, with gold-crowned black eagles between the arms of the cross; the gold center medallion bore the royal monogram of Friedrich I. This badge was worn from either a collar; the ribbon of the Order was an orange moiré sash worn from the left shoulder to the right hip, with the badge resting on the hip. The sash color was chosen in honor of Louise Henriette of Nassau, daughter of the prince of Orange and first wife of the great elector; the collar or chain was worn around the neck and resting upon the shoulders, with the badge suspended from the front center. The star of the Order was a silver eight-pointed star, with straight or faceted rays depending on the jeweler's design; the center medallion displayed a black eagle on a golden background, surrounded by a white enamelled ring bearing a wreath of laurels and the motto of the Order.
At meetings of the chapter of the Order of the Black Eagle and at certain ceremonies, the knights wore red velvet capes with blue linings. Embroidered on the left shoulder of each cape was a large star of the Order. From its founding in 1701 to 1918, the Order of the Black Eagle was awarded 407 times, with 57 of these installations occurring during the reign of Friedrich I. In 1918, the knights of the order totalled 118 — 14 were members of the Prussian royal house, one was a member of the Princely House of Hohenzollern, 49 were members of other reigning houses, 54 were nonroyal Germans. Subjects of the Prussian King receiving the order, only given in one class were promoted to the peerage and received hereditary title. From the Prussian State Handbooks, it is clear that the Order of the Black Eagle was conferred upon all male members of the royal family on their 10th birthdays; the Order was conferred upon Prussian queens, though other female members of the royal family received the Order of Louise instead.
Friedrich I of Prussia — founder of the Order of the Black Eagle. August Wilhelm, Prince of Prussia — second son of Friedrich Wilhelm I.
Charles Frederick, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Charles Frederick was the reigning Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. Born in Weimar, he was the eldest son of Charles Augustus, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and Luise Auguste of Hesse-Darmstadt. Charles Frederick succeeded his father as Grand Duke when the latter died in 1828, his capital, continued to be a cultural center of Central Europe after the death of Goethe, in 1832. Johann Nepomuk Hummel made his career in Weimar as Kapellmeister until his death in 1837. Franz Liszt settled in Weimar in 1848 as Kapellmeister and gathered about him a circle that kept the Weimar court a major musical centre. Due to the intervention of Liszt, the composer Richard Wagner found refuge in Weimar after he was forced to flee Saxony for his role in the revolutionary disturbances there in 1848-49. Wagner's opera Lohengrin was first performed in Weimar in August 1850. Charles Frederick died at Schloss Belvedere, Weimar, in 1853 and was buried in the Weimarer Fürstengruft. In St. Petersburg on 3 August 1804, Charles Frederick married the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia, daughter of Emperor Paul I.
They had four children: Paul Alexander Karl Constantin Frederick August. Marie Luise Alexandrine, married on 26 May 1827 to Karl of Prussia. Marie Luise Augusta Katharine, married on 11 June 1829 to Wilhelm of Prussia, who became Wilhelm I, German Emperor. Karl Alexander August Johann, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, married on 8 October 1842 to Sophie of the Netherlands
Prince Wilhelm of Prussia (1906–1940)
Prince Wilhelm of Prussia was the eldest child of Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany and Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. At his birth, he was second in line to the German throne and was expected to succeed to the throne after the deaths of his grandfather and father, both of whom, outlived him. Wilhelm was born on 4 July 1906 at the Hohenzollern family's private summer residence, Marmorpalais, or Marble Palace, near Potsdam, where his parents were residing until their own home, Schloss Cecilienhof, could be completed, his father was Crown Prince Wilhelm, the eldest son and heir to the German Emperor, Wilhelm II. His mother was Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria was one of the Prince's godfathers; the selection of a nanny for Wilhelm and his younger brother, Louis Ferdinand caused considerable distress within the family. On his tenth birthday in 1916, Wilhelm was made a lieutenant in the 1st Guards Regiment, was given the Order of the Black Eagle by his grandfather.
Two years when he was only twelve, the German monarchy was abolished. Wilhelm and his family remained in Germany, though his grandfather, the former Emperor, went into exile in the Netherlands; the former Crown Prince and his family remained in Potsdam, where Wilhelm and his younger brothers attended the local gymnasium. After graduating from secondary school, Wilhelm went on to study at the Universities of Königsberg and Bonn. In 1926, while a student at the University of Bonn, Wilhelm joined the Borussia Corps, a student organization of which his father and other members of the Prussian Royal Family were members. While a student at Bonn, Wilhelm fell in love with Dorothea von Salviati, his grandfather did not approve of the marriage of a member of the minor nobility with the second in line to the German throne. At the time, the former Kaiser still believed in the possibility of a Hohenzollern restoration, he would not permit his grandson to make an unequal marriage. Wilhelm told his grandson, "Remember, there is every possible form of horse.
We are thoroughbreds and when we conclude a marriage such as with Fräulein von Salviati, it produces mongrels, that cannot be allowed to happen."However, Wilhelm was determined to marry Dorothea. He renounced any rights to the succession for himself and his future children in 1933. Wilhelm and Dorothea married on 3 June 1933 in Bonn, they had two daughters. In 1940, the ex-Emperor recognised the marriage as dynastic and the girls were accorded the style of Princesses of Prussia, although their father was not restored to his former place in the putative line of succession, HRH Princess Felicitas Cecilie Alexandrine Helene Dorothea of Prussia, she married Dinnies von der Osten on 12 September 1958 and they were divorced in 1972, they have five grandchildren. She remarried Jorg Hartwig von Nostitz-Wallwitz on 27 October 1972, they have two grandchildren. HRH Princess Christa Friederike Alexandrine Viktoria of Prussia, she married Peter von Assis Liebes on 24 March 1960, without issue. During the Weimar Republic, Wilhelm inadvertently caused a public scandal by attending Army manoeuvres in the uniform of the old Imperial First Foot Guards without first seeking government approval.
The commander of the Reichswehr, Hans von Seeckt, was forced to resign as a result. At the beginning of World War II, Wilhelm was among a number of princes from the former German monarchies who enlisted to serve in the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Germany. In May 1940, Wilhelm took part in the invasion of France, he was wounded during the fighting in Valenciennes and died in a field hospital in Nivelles on 26 May 1940. His funeral service was held at the Church of Peace, he was buried in the Hohenzollern family mausoleum in the Antique Temple in Sanssouci Park; the service drew over 50,000 mourners, by far the largest unofficial public turnout during Nazi rule in Germany. His death and the ensuing sympathy of the German public revealed that despite years of Nazi ideologic indoctrination large parts of the German society still were affectionately bound to the former German royal houses. Shortly after Wilhelm's death, a decree known as the Prinzenerlaß, or Prince's Decree, was issued, barring all members of the former German royal houses from service in the Wehrmacht.
Newspaper clippings about Prince Wilhelm of Prussia in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics
Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1800–1831)
Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg was the wife of Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and the mother of Duke Ernst II and Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. She was the paternal grandmother of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, she is the paternal great-great-great grandmother of Elizabeth II. Princess Louise was the only daughter of Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg and his first wife Louise Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, daughter of Frederick Francis I, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. On 31 July 1817 in Gotha, sixteen-year-old Louise married her thirty-three-year-old kinsman Ernst III, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld after he failed to win the hand of a Russian grand duchess. Louise was considered "young and beautiful", they had two children: Ernst, who inherited his father's lands and titles, Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. The marriage was unhappy because of Ernst's infidelities and the couple separated in 1824.
St. Wendel, in the Principality of Lichtenberg, was assigned as her new residence, Louise was forced to leave her two sons behind. Biographer Lytton Strachey noted in 1921: "The ducal court was not noted for the strictness of its morals. There were scandals: one of the Court Chamberlains, a charming and cultivated man of Jewish extraction, was talked of. On 31 March 1826 their marriage was dissolved. Seven months on 18 October 1826, Louise secretly married in St. Wendel her former lover, the Baron Alexander von Hanstein. In her previous marriage, she had taken great interest in the social life of the principality and was revered as its Landesmutter; this happy life ended in February 1831, when her secret marriage to von Hanstein was discovered and she lost her children permanently. Louise died of cancer on 30 August 1831. Years after her death, Queen Victoria described Louise in an 1864 memorandum: "The princess is described as having been handsome, though small. Louise was reinterred from her initial burial site at Morizkirche to the ducal mausoleum at Friedhof am Glockenberg after it had been completed in 1859.
Grey, Hon. Charles; the Early Years of His Royal Highness The Prince Consort. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers. Weintraub, Stanley. Uncrowned King: The Life of Prince Albert. London: John Murray Inc. ISBN 0-7195-5756-9. Media related to Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg at Wikimedia Commons
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family in the context of a feudal or monarchical system, but sometimes appearing in elective republics. Alternative terms for "dynasty" may include "family" and "clan", among others; the longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BC. The dynastic family or lineage may be known as a "noble house", which may be styled as "royal", "princely", "ducal", "comital" etc. depending upon the chief or present title borne by its members. Historians periodize the histories of numerous nations and civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt and Imperial China, using a framework of successive dynasties; as such, the term "dynasty" may be used to delimit the era during which a family reigned, to describe events and artifacts of that period. The word "dynasty" itself is dropped from such adjectival references; until the 19th century, it was taken for granted that a legitimate function of a monarch was to aggrandize his dynasty: that is, to expand the wealth and power of his family members.
Prior to the 20th century, dynasties throughout the world have traditionally been reckoned patrilineally, such as under the Frankish Salic law. In nations where it was permitted, succession through a daughter established a new dynasty in her husband's ruling house; this has changed in some places in Europe, where succession law and convention have maintained dynasties de jure through a female. For instance, the House of Windsor will be maintained through the children of Queen Elizabeth II, as it did with the monarchy of the Netherlands, whose dynasty remained the House of Orange-Nassau through three successive queens regnant; the earliest such example among major European monarchies was in the Russian Empire in the 18th century, where the name of the House of Romanov was maintained through Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna. In Limpopo Province of South Africa, Balobedu determined descent matrilineally, while rulers have at other times adopted the name of their mother's dynasty when coming into her inheritance.
Less a monarchy has alternated or been rotated, in a multi-dynastic system – that is, the most senior living members of parallel dynasties, at any point in time, constitute the line of succession. Not all feudal states or monarchies were/are ruled by dynasties. Throughout history, there were monarchs. Dynasties ruling subnational monarchies do not possess sovereign rights; the word "dynasty" is sometimes used informally for people who are not rulers but are, for example, members of a family with influence and power in other areas, such as a series of successive owners of a major company. It is extended to unrelated people, such as major poets of the same school or various rosters of a single sports team; the word "dynasty" derives from Latin dynastia, which comes from Greek dynastéia, where it referred to "power", "dominion", "rule" itself. It was the abstract noun of dynástēs, the agent noun of dynamis, "power" or "ability", from dýnamai, "to be able". A ruler from a dynasty is sometimes referred to as a "dynast", but this term is used to describe any member of a reigning family who retains a right to succeed to a throne.
For example, King Edward VIII ceased to be a dynast of the House of Windsor following his abdication. In historical and monarchist references to reigning families, a "dynast" is a family member who would have had succession rights, were the monarchy's rules still in force. For example, after the 1914 assassinations of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his morganatic wife Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg, their son Duke Maximilian was bypassed for the Austro-Hungarian throne because he was not a Habsburg dynast. Since the abolition of the Austrian monarchy, Duke Maximilian and his descendants have not been considered the rightful pretenders by Austrian monarchists, nor have they claimed that position; the term "dynast" is sometimes used only to refer to agnatic descendants of a realm's monarchs, sometimes to include those who hold succession rights through cognatic royal descent. The term can therefore describe distinct sets of people. For example, David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth II through her sister Princess Margaret, is in the line of succession to the British crown.
On the other hand, the German aristocrat Prince Ernst August of Hanover, a male-line descendant of King George III of the United Kingdom, possesses no legal British name, titles or styles. He was born in the line of succession to the British throne and was bound by Britain's Royal Marriages Act 1772 until it was repealed when the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 took effect on 26 March 2015. Thus, he requested and obtained formal permission from Queen Elizabeth II to marry the Roman Catholic Princess Caroline of Monaco in 1999. Yet, a clause of the English Act of Settlement 1701 remained in effect at that time, stipulating that dynasts who