Hohenzollern Funeral Service

Photos: copyright Gabi P

The funeral of Prince Johann Georg von Hohenzollern, who died in München, Germany, on 2 March 2016, was rather a private one. On 12 March the funeral service took place in the Hedinger Church in Sigmaringen, however the streets around the church were closed. Even only very few guests were allowed to drive all the way down to the church, and had to walk the last part. Of course the closest family didn’t have to and was driven straight to the church. After the service there was a reception at Sigmaringen Castle. Many German royals and nobles came to Sigmaringen to say goodbye.

Johann Georg Carl Leopold Eitel-Friedrich Meinrad Maria Hubertus Michael, Prince von Hohenzollern – called Hansi by friends and family – was born at Sigmaringen Castle on 31 July 1932 as sixth of the seven children of Fürst Friedrich von Hohenzollern an Princess Margarete of Saxony. In December 1960 his engagement to Princess Birgitta of Sweden was announced and they got married in May 1961. They separated in 1990, but remained legally married. They had issue: Carl Christian (* 1962), Désirée (* 1963) and Hubertus (* 1966). Johann Georg leaves a widow, his three children, two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law and a former son-in-law, four grandchildren and a foster-grandchild. Prince Johann Georg was a fine art expert. He was the director of the Bavarian National Museum 1986-1991, director general of the Bavarian State Picture Collection 1991-1998, and director of the Hypo-Kunsthalle 1998-2006.

What happened to Count Adolf?

Graaf Adolf is gebleven (Count Adolf stayed behind)
in Friesland in de slag, (in battle in Frisia)
zijn ziel in ‘t eeuwig leven (His soul in the eternal life)
verwacht de jongste dag. (awaits the final judgement)

These are the last lines of the fourth verse of the Dutch national anthem (there are fifteen verses, just for your information). Who is this Count Adolf?

He was born in Dillenburg on 11 July 1540 as fourth of the five sons of Count Wilhelm I “The Rich”of Nassau-Dillenburg and his second wife Countess Juliana zu Stolberg. And he was killed in action in 1568. 1568 is seen as the starting year of the Eighty Years’ War, also called the Dutch War of Independence – a revolt of the seventeen Dutch provinces against the Spanish. Leader of the revolt was Willem I “The Silent”, Prince of Orange, Count of Nassau, the eldest brother of Adolf. Willem and his brothers Ludwig and Adolf gathered an army and in 1568 invaded the Netherlands from three sides. Ludwig led the troops that were to enter the country through Friesland, in the northeast of the country. Adolf came along with him. In the meantime the Spanish troops under the command of Jean de Ligne, Duke of Arenberg gathered in the area. On 23 May 1568 the Spanish and Dutch met at Heiligerlee, a village not very far from the German border. Ludwig survived, Adolf however, only 27 years old, was killed. Ludwig himself was killed in action, as well as did the youngest brother Heinrich, in the battle of the Mookerheide on 14 April 1574. Their bodies were never recovered. Willem himself was murdered in Delft on 10 July 1584. Johann VI (1536-1606) was the only one of the five brothers who managed not to be killed during the Eighty Years’ War

There is a museum in Heiligerlee about the battle, and a monument was erected there for Adolf in 1868 on the occasion of the 300th anniversary. For centuries historians and researchers have wondered, what did actually happen to Adolf? There were some interesting articles about it in Dutch and German newspapers last week which made me curious. The Groninger historian Lammert Doedens for many years searched for the final resting place of Adolf, and thinks he has finally solved the mystery after almost 450 years.

Although some stories say that he was killed on the battlefield by the Duke of Arenberg personally, shortly before he died himself, Doedens thinks that is incorrect. However Adolf must have found himself surrounded by Spanish troops and was killed. When Ludwig inspected the battlefield the day afterwards – the Dutch had won – he found the body of his brother. Both Adolf and the Duke of Arenberg were taken to the monastery church of Heiligerlee, where they were likely enbalmed. The body of Adolf was taken to the Castle in nearby Wedde and buried there. Already a few days later the body was removed in the middle of the night on request of Ludwig. The situation in the area was still too insecure and he didn’t want his brother’s remains to fall into the hands of the Spanish. But where was Adolf taken to? At the time only a few people must have known. And when the war was finally over, nobody who had known was alive. All that seems to be pretty certain, is that he was buried in a nearby town in Germany. Doedens came to the conclusion that they might well have tried to take Adolfs remains back home to Dillenburg, but they never arrived there, that’s for sure. But along which route would they have travelled into the direction of Dillenburg? Rumours go that Adolf was buried at the vault of the Counts of Ostfriesland (East Friesland) in Emden, where supposedly also his armour (or that of Ludwig) is still being kept at the Ostfriesisches Landesmuseum. However the archives of the church in Emden don’t mention Adolf and in 1943 the church and the vault were destroyed in an air raid. The remaining parts of the skeletons were buried in the Mausoleum of the Counts of Ostfriesland in Aurich. Doedens did research in the Johannes Lasco Library in Emden but came up with nothing. Emden also was not a very logical burial place as that was up north and probably too close to the enemy. A route to the south was impossible, as this area remained Catholic and was thus dangerous for the Protestant Dutch. Most plausible would have been if they had taken Adolf to the east via Oldenburg, to try to get him to Dillenburg through protestant soil.

When Doedens held a lecture about Adolf an archaeologist afterwards came up with an interesting theory. He told him about the renovation of the vault in the Lamberti Church in Oldenburg in 1937. The Rev. Ralph Hennings of this church informed him that during renovation several coffins had been found. Among them the coffins of Count Anton von Oldenburg and his wife. But also some remains of about five other people. A complete skeleton was found at the very bottom of the vault, but in 1937 nobody had any idea who he was and the remains were placed back in the vault. Ralph Hennings says he thinks it could also be Count Christoph von Oldenburg. In the Royal House Archives in The Hague Doedens found out that Count Anton von Oldenburg had actually known the family. In 1567 Anton had been one of the godfathers of Willem of Orange’s son Maurits, and together with two sons had attended the christening in person. Ludwigs troops had been allowed to pass through Oldenburg and Oldenburg troops even fought side by side with the Dutch.

The coming months will be very exciting. The University of Göttingen has paid for DNA-research, and permission has been given to open the vault in Oldenburg. There is also permission to exhume the remains of Adolfs sister Catharina (1543-1624), who was married to Count Günther XLI zu Schwarzburg-Arnstadt. She was buried in the Liebfrauenkirche in Arnstadt. The DNA will then be compared. Doedens himself is quite positive about the results and thinks there is a 75 % chance that the remains in Oldenburg are Adolf’s. That would make an end to the almost 450 years of uncertainty about the burial place of Count Adolf.

A tiny, tiny exhibition called “Speurtocht naar graaf Adolf van Nassau” (Quest for Count Adolf von Nassau) opened on 20 January 2016 at the University Museum in Groningen, The Netherlands. To my opinion – I went to see it today as I live nearby (and accidentally also saw Mr Doedens, although I didn’t talk to him) – much too small for a special trip to Groningen. But when you’re in town anyway, just go and have a look as it is very small but interesting. The entrance is free. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 1pm to 5pm.

Burial of the Fürst von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg

Almost 600 people, among them many members of the Gotha, gathered in Parish Church St Verena in Bad Wurzach, Germany, on 12 December 2015 for the funeral of Georg Fürst von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg, who had died at Zeil Castle on 2 December 2015, aged 87. During the orations during the funeral service the remains of the Fürst were carried to a gun carriage pulled by four black horses. He was taken back to Zeil Castle, the residence of his family since 400 years, and was buried at the cemetery of the Parish Church St. Maria there. About 1000 people had gathered there and said goodbye at the open grave.

Photos & Copyright: Gabi P.

Among the guests were Grand Duke Henri of Luxemburg, Fürst Hans Adam II and Fürstin Marie von und zu Liechtenstein, Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie von und zu Liechtenstein, Archduke Karl of Austria, Archduke Carl Christian and Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria, Franz Duke of Bavaria, Duke Max and Duchess Elizabeth in Bavaria with their daughters Elizabeth and Anna with husbands, Duke Carl and Duchess Diane von Württemberg with their four sons and daughter, the Fürst von Hohenzollern, Hereditary Prince Bernhard von Baden and his wife Stephanie, the Fürst von Fürstenberg, the Fürst and Fürstin von Leiningen, the Duke of Croÿ, Fürst Karl von Schwarzenberg, Fürst Albert von Thurn und Taxis, other members of the royal family of Bavaria, and many others.

Georg Fürst von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg was born on 5 June 1928 in Würzburg as son of Erich August Fürst von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg (1899-1953) and Princess Monika zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg (1905-1992). In 1957 he married Princess Marie Gabrielle of Bavaria (* 1931) and had six children: Walburga (* 1958), Maria Gabriele (* 1959), Monika (* 1961), Erich (* 1962), Adelheid (* 1964) and Elisabeth (* 1966).

Death of Prince Armin zur Lippe

specials_various_2004_armin_03So sad to read this morning about the death of Dr Armin Prinz zur Lippe, head of the Princely House of Lippe. He died in Detmold on 20 August 2015 after a short, serious illness. He was born on 18 August 1924 as son of the last reigning prince of Lippe, Fürst Leopold IV, and his second wife Princess Anna zu Ysenburg und Büdingen.

A statement by the family said he was the last surviving son of a ruling German Prince, that is someone who actually ruled before the end of the monarchy in November 1918. A friend of mine pointed out that the head of the Ducal Family of Anhalt is also a son of someone who was officially the ruler, but in this case the father wasn’t yet 18 and thus a minor when he was the Duke, and ruled under regency.

Prince Armin’s father died in 1949 and had appointed his youngest son Armin as the heir. Four years later Armin married Traute Becker. The couple had one son, Stephan, who will be the new head of the house. Prince Stephan is married to Countess Maria zu Solms-Laubach and has three sons and two daughters.

Prince Armin studied natural science at the university of Göttingen. He met his wife during that time. She studied biology.

He was very much involved in the life in the old Principality of Lippe and the heritage of the Lippe family. His family also remained in touch with their Dutch relatives, Armin being a full cousin of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. Armin was one of the bridal children when in 1937 Bernhard married Princess Juliana of the Netherlands.

Two years ago I wrote a piece on the Diamond Wedding Anniversary of him and his wife. I also attended his 80th birthday reception in 2004.

Carl Fürst zu Wied (1961-2015)

Carl Fürst zu Wied died completely unexpectedly in the early hours of Thursday 12 March 2015 in the Marienhaus Klinikum St. Elisabeth in Neuwied after an heart attack. He was only 53 years old. The funeral service will take place in Neuwied on 20 March 2015, followed by the burial at the family cemetery near the Monrepos Castle in Neuwied.

Carl was the 8th Fürst zu Wied. He was born in Neuwied on 27 October 1961 as youngest of the two sons of Friedrich Wilhelm Fürst zu Wied and his first wife Guda Prinzessin zu Waldeck und Pyrmont (* 1939). They were married in 1958 and got divorced in 1967. Both parents remarried. His father had another son and daughter, his mother had two more sons. Friedrich Wilhelm Fürst zu Wied died in Salmon Arm, Canada, on 28 August 2000, aged 69, while visiting the family’s property there. Carl’s elder brother Alexander (* 1960) formally renounced his rights as first born son on 4 October 2000, and is not regarded as having succeeded his father.

Fürst Carl with daughter Luise and his mother-in-law, Potsdam, August 2011.

Fürst Carl with daughter Luise and his mother-in-law, Potsdam, August 2011.

Fürstin Isabelle and her younger son Friedrich Wilhelm, Potsdam, August 2011.

Fürstin Isabelle and her younger son Friedrich Wilhelm, Potsdam, August 2011.

Carl married in Birstein on 25 April 1998 Princess Isabelle von Isenburg (* 1973), daughter of Fürst Franz Alexander and his wife Countess Christine von Saurma, Freiin von und zu der Jeltsch. The couple had four children: Maximilian (* Neuwied 10 August 1999), Friedrich Wilhelm (* Neuwied 12 June 2001), Marie Elisabeth (born and died Neuwied 29 March 2003) and Luise (* Neuwied 2 November 2004). Maximilian, only 15 years old, will be the new Fürst. The family lives at the residence castle in Neuwied, Germany, built between 1707 and 1756.

Maximilian, Potsdam, August 2011.

Maximilian, Potsdam, August 2011.

Fürst Carl studied business administration. After the death of his father he led the family property. He managed about 5,500 hectares of forest and was shareholder of a steel company. He was very much involved in the conservation of nature and environmental pollution. Since 2000 he was the president of the Naturpark Rhein-Westerwald. Only early this month he had been chosen as spokesperson for the president of the Naturparke in Rheinland-Pfalz. He also was the patron of the Rheinische SchützenBund. Hunting was his hobby.

An interesting portrait about his work and his love for hunting can be seen here.

The Wied family tree starts with Sifrid I Lord of Runkel, who was mentioned in a document in 1159.. Friedrich von Runkel in 1462 inherited the County of Wied. He was a son of Dietrich IV von Runkel and Countess Anastasia von Isenburg-Wied († 1454), who was the heiress of her father Count Wilhelm II († 1462). The title of “Reichsfürst” (Prince of the Holy Roman Empire) was given to Johann Friedrich Alexander Graf zu Wied on 29 May 1784. Since 1824 the head of the house has the titles Fürst zu Wied, Graf zu Isenburg, Herr zu Runkel und Neuerburg, and is called “Durchlaucht” (Serene Highness).

Merry Christmas & A Royal 2015!

christmascard2014 has been a year full of royal events with as a highlight of course the abdication of King Juan Carlos of Spain and King Felipe ascending the throne there. Royals were born, got married, died … The most important births were Princess Leonore of Sweden on 20 February, Princess Amalia of Nassau (Luxembourg) on 15 June, Princess Noor bint Hamzah of Jordan on 5 July, Princess Halaevalu Mata’aho of Tonga on 12 July … and on 10 December the long awaited twins from Monaco were born at the Centre Hospitalier Princesse Grace de Monaco in Monte Carlo. They were named Gabriella Thérèse Marie, countess de Carladès, and Jacques Honoré Rainier, marquis des Baux. The latter one is the heir to the throne, even when he was born two minutes after his sister. And surprise, surprise, announced on Friday, Princess Leonore is having a brother or sister in Summer 2015. Princess Madeleine of Sweden is pregnant again. Also expected is the second child of Andrea Casiraghi (Monaco) and Tatiana Santo Domingo.

Married were amongst others Prince Faisal bin Al Hussein of Jordan and Zeina Lubbadeh (his third) on 4 January, Andrea Casiraghi and Tatiana Santo Domingo religiously on 1 February, Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco and Oum Keltoum Boufarès on 15 June and 14 November, Prince Amedeo of Belgium Archduke of Austria-Este and Nobile Elisabetta Maria Rosboch von Wolkenstein on 5 July. O yes, also the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini was married to his sixth wife Zola Zelusiwe kaMafu on 26 July and some time also King Mswati III of Swaziland and Sidiswa Dlamini (his 14th wife). We’re looking forward to the marriage of Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Sofia Hellqvist in Stockholm on 13 June 2015. Sadlier Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand and his third wife Srirasmi Suwadee have divorced or are to divorce. He already seems to have a mistress he wants to marry to. Srirasmi was stripped of all her titles this month.

The world had to say goodbye to the Japanese Prince Katsura on 8 June, Princess Lalla Fatima Zahra of Morocco on 10 August, Princess Kristine Bernadotte on 4 November and Queen Fabiola of Belgium on 5 December. Also several German heads of royal and noble families died.

Burial of Count Alois von Waldburg-Zeil

On 14 December Count Alois von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg died aged 81. He was born at Zeil Castle on 20 September 1933 as son of Erich August Fürst von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg and Monika Princess zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. He is mourned by his wife Clarissa née Countess von Schönborn-Wiesentheid, three of his five children and his twelve grandchildren. He was a younger brother of Georg Fürst von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg.

He was a politician and longtime member of the “Deutsche Bundestag”, 1980-1998.

The funeral service took place in the Parish Church St. Georg in Ratzenried on 20 December, followed by the burial at the cemetery of Ratzenried.

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