Having been preoccupied last month as far as European history was concerned with the centennial of Sarajevo on June 28, as well as my orchestra's annual residency in Vail, Colorado, I neglected to mention two interesting round-numbered anniversaries on June 25, which was both the 150th anniversary of the death of King Wilhelm I of Württemberg and the accession of his son King Karl I in 1864, and the 100th anniversary of the death of Duke Georg II of Saxe-Meiningen and the accession of his son Duke Bernhard III (the last Duke) in 1914.
When Wilhelm I (1781-1864) died after a reign of 48 years, the last monarch to have been born before the French Revolution, he had been Europe's senior monarch for some time; wondering exactly how much time that was (it turned out to be 24 years) led me to create this chart on the seniority of European monarchs, indicating who held the position of longest-reigning monarch at every point in European history over the past 500+ years.
Georg II (1826-1914), the "Theater Duke," was one of the most fascinating and admirable local rulers of the German Empire, celebrated for his active and
gifted involvement with theater and music. When he died, Wilhelm II, German Emperor and King of Prussia, became the longest-reigning of all the rulers of the German Empire. In the
wake of the events in Sarajevo three days later, the clouds of war gathered in Europe. It is often forgotten that the war
would mean the abdication less than five years later of not only the
Kaiser but all the local dynastic
rulers, whose families had reigned there for centuries and had nothing
to do with the outbreak of the war.