In 1981, Prince Ernst August of Hanover married a Swiss heiress, Chantal Hochuli, the marriage was seen as a new beginning for the house of Hanover. Ernst August's marriage to a commoner was the first to be approved as equal and accepted by the head of the house, who also happened to be Ernst August's father, Ernst August.
Chantal gave birth to two sons, Ernst August and Christian, and the family lived a charmed life with homes in the Germany and London. But eventually cracks soon to appear. Ernst August was a serial adulterer, but Chantal put up with the infidelities as long as Ernst August was discreet.
Ernst August's family connections were strong. The Queen of Spain and King Constantine II of the Hellenes are first cousins, and these family ties are evident at the baptisms of his two sons. The sponsors for Ernst August's elder sons were the Prince of the Asturias, King Constantine, Prince Andreas zu Leiningen (married to Ernst August's sister, Alexandra), Prince Ludwig Rudolf of Hanover, Stephan von Watzdorf, the Margrave of Baden (whose grandmother was a princess of Hanover), Rolf Sachs, Princess Andreas of Leiningen (Alexandra of Hanover), and the Prince of Schaumburg-Lippe (Philipp-Ernst). Prince Christian's godparents were equally impressive: Prince Heinrich of Hannover, Prince Clemenz of Croy, Paul Schlenker, Frank Hochuli, Count Peter Seilern, Prince Welf-Heinrich of Hanover, Baron Wilhelm Ernst von Cramm and Hereditary Grand Duke Friedrich-Franz of Meckenburg (whose mother Princess Alexandra of Hanover.)
In December 1995, Prince Ernst August and Princess Caroline stayed at the £3000 a night penthouse suite at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. The news was first reported by the German magazine, Bunte, in February 1996. A Monegasque spokesman for Princess Caroline said at the time "They were in Thailand together on a cultural trip but there is nothing between Princess Caroline and the Prince of Hanover."
It was not until a year later, when Ernst August and Caroline were caught kissing in the South of France. Chantal decided she finally had enough, and filed for divorce. In an interview some months earlier, Chantal said: "My husband and I have been married for 15 years and we are a united and happy family. Don't pay attention to these totally unfounded rumors."
Prince and Princess Ernst August were divorced in London in September 1997.
Princess Caroline and Prince Ernst August were married in a civil ceremony in Monaco on January 23, 1999. Caroline was two months pregnant at the time.
This marriage is not recognized by the Roman Catholic church because Ernst August is divorced. Princess Caroline is free to marry in the Roman Catholic church as her first marriage was annulled. (Her second marriage was a civil ceremony only because at the time she was not free to marry in the Roman Catholic church.)
Caroline and Ernst August could have married in the Lutheran church as Ernst August is Lutheran. Divorced persons can remarry in the Lutheran church. But this would not have helped Caroline as such marriage would not have been sanctioned by her church, due to Ernst August's status as a divorced person.
The couple's daughter, Alexandra, was born in July 1999 and was baptised in the Lutheran church.
There have been rumors about this marriage for several months. Princess Caroline spent Christmas at Crans-Montana, a Swiss ski resort, while her husband was allegedly photographed kissing a younger woman in Phuket, Thailand.
(Hmm, Ernst August was in Thailand in December with a woman who is not his wife. He was in Thailand when he was first seen with Caroline.)
According to the report in Bunte, "Tourists from all over the world could witness him with his pretty companion, kissing her with his arms around and swimming in the sea, and how she let him rub sun cream into her body."
Princess Caroline, who was once the other woman, is now in the same position that Chantal was in when she saw photographs of her husband with Caroline.
I can only imagine Princess Caroline's comment after learning about the photographs, which have been published in the magazines, Bunte and Paris Match. "Phuket!"
(The magazines have not put the photos on their websites. )