Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Prince Wilhelm of Prussia marries commoner, loses right to throne

June 3, 1933

Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, 27, "followed the call of his heart and married below his royal station in Bonn today," reports the Chicago Daily Tribune. The eldest son of Crown Prince Wilhelm and Crown Princess Cecilie of Prussia, Prince Wilhelm relinquished his rights to the former German throne by marrying a commoner, a "vivacious young woman" of 26, Dorothea von Salviati.

The Crown Prince and Princess "emphasized their disapproval" but not attending the marriage. Kaiser Wilhelm II, in exile in Doorn, sent "only his chamberlain to witness the marriage of his first born grandson." The only member of the family to attend was Wilhelm's younger brother, Prince Hubertus.

After the wedding took place, Kaiser Wilhelm released the following statement through his German representative. "Prince Wilhelm of Prussia on reaching his majority renounced all rights derived from primogeniture in the event of his entering upon a marriage that runs counter to the house law of the royal family.

This eventuality became a reality by his marriage to Dorothea von Salviati."
Prince Wilhelm wore the "uniform of a Steel helmet major" at the wedding, and his bride was clad in a "white satin dress."

Despite the lack of family approval, Wilhelm and his bride received support from the bride's hometown. The New York Times reported that one-half of "aristocratic Bonn turned out to give enthusiastic acclaim to the couple. There is obvious sympathy for the young couple's plight. But there was the other half "that took its cue" from the groom's parents and "that attitude was one of ostentatious and cool reserve."

The ceremony was simple, and only closest members of the families and friends were admitted to the church. It was the wish of the couple that the wedding "be as simple as possible."

The bridal couple entered the church to the organ playing a Bach prelude. The wedding procession including the bride's mother and her three brothers, one in a Reichswehr uniform, one in a Steel helmet uniform, and the third brother wearing the uniform of a Nazi storm trooper.

Prince Albrecht of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen represented the Roman Catholic branch of the family. Earlier in the day, Prince Wilhelm and Dorothea were married in a civil ceremony. A reception was hosted by Bonn's Mayor and the municipal government.

In the evening, Steel Helmet (Stahlhelm) groups from the universities of Bonn and Cologne "held a torchlight parade in honor of the couple." Prince Wilhelm accepted the honors "as being intended not for himself but for the entire fighting front of the fatherland."

He told the cheering crowds "We must stand together for home and people."
Prince Wilhelm's younger brother, Prince Louis Ferdinand, who is the second son of the Crown Prince, now moves into the position as second line to the throne. Prince Louis Ferdinand is shortly to return to the United States where he has "longed worked" for Henry Ford, and he has told friends that "he is not interested in any throne."

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