Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia (1939-2015)

RIP Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia, who died yesterday at 76 after a long illness. The eldest son of Kaiser Wilhelm II's grandson Prince Louis Ferdinand (1907-1994) and Grand Duchess Kira of Russia (1909-1967), he would have succeeded him as head of the House of Hohenzollern had he not married a commoner. (Deposed royal families are often stricter about their marriage laws than reigning ones, since they have no way to change the rules that were in place during the monarchy. Had the German/Prussian monarchy endured, it's likely that the marriage requirements would have been weakened eventually.) A historian who specialized in his own family including Frederick the Great, he is survived by four children including Philipp, a Lutheran pastor, who has advocated the restoration of monarchy in Germany.

Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) holding his great-grandson Prince Friedrich Wilhelm (1939-2015)

I neglected to mention at this blog that his former sister-in-law Duchess Donata (née Countess of Castell-Rüdenhausen), married firstly to Friedrich Wilhelm's younger brother Prince Louis Ferdinand (1944-1977), with whom she had the actual current head of the family Prince Georg Friedrich, and secondly to their sister's ex-husband Duke Friedrich of Oldenburg, died on September 5 at 65. So the Prussian royal family is doubly bereaved this month. May they both rest in peace, and may the Monarchy they ought to have been able to serve one day rise again.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Queen Elizabeth II: The Longest Reign

Today, in a remarkable milestone, HM Queen Elizabeth II (r 6 Feb 1952 - ) becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history, breaking the record of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria (r 20 Jun 1837 - 22 Jan 1901). Congratulations to Her Majesty on her many years of tireless service to Britain and the Commonwealth! God Save the Queen.

Here is my updated list of Europe's longest reigning monarchs. It has not been as often noted today that Queen Elizabeth II is now not only the longest reigning monarch in British history, but the third longest reigning monarch of ANY kingdom or empire in European history; only King Louis XIV of France (72: 1643-1715) and Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary (68: 1848-1916) still outrank her. If smaller states are included, the picture might get a little more complicated, but to my knowledge only Johann II of Liechtenstein (71: 1858-1929) would need to be added; the Queen has already bested Elector/King Friedrich August III (I) of Saxony (1763-1827).