Monday, July 11, 2011

Wilhelm II names new ambassador to Constantinople

July 11, 1915

Kaiser Wilhelm II has named the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg as the new ambassador to Constantinople, after recalling Baron Hans von Wangenheim.

Prince Ernst is the head of the princely house of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, and he still retains the right to bestow the family's own order of knighthood, the Order of Phoenix.   He is married to Princess Alexandra of Edinburgh,  a niece of the late King Edward VII.  She is the third of four daughters of the late Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, and sovereign duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.  Alfred died in 1900. 

Princess Alexandra grew up "wholly in England," and "as an English girl was one of the favorite grandchildren of Queen Victoria."  The Queen was said to be delighted when Alexandra's "heart and hand were won by Prince Ernst of Hohenlohe-Langenburg."

Prince Ernst is a grandnephew of the late Queen.  His father, Prince Hermann, former governor of  Alsace-Lorraine, "was a particularly dear nephew" of Queen Victoria.   Prince Hermann's mother, Princess Feodora, was Queen Victoria's older half-sister.

Victoria's mother, Princess Victoire, Duchess of Kent, was married first to the Prince of Leiningen, by whom she had two children, Prince Carl, and Princess Feodora, who married the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.   They had six children, including Prince Hermann, and Princess Adelheid, who married the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenberg, and are the parents of the Empress Auguste Viktoria.

Thus, the Kaiserin and the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg are first cousins, as are the Kaiser and the Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.  Wilhelm II and Princess Alexandra are both grandchildren of Queen Victoria. 

The Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg was also attached to the German Embassy in London, when Count Paul Hatzfeldt was the ambassador.  Afterwards, he was named regent for the young Duke of Alnbay, who had succeeded Alexandra's father as Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.    The Duke is also a grandson of Queen Victoria.  His wife, Princess Viktoria Adelheid of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, is a niece of the German Empress, and a great-granddaughter of the late Princess Feodora. 

The Marquise de Fontenoy reports that the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg's regency was "administered with rare sagacity, ability, and above all, liberalism during the minority of the present Duke."  He is a "man of considerable ability."  He was selected for the position not "only because he enjoys in a very exceptional degree the confidence of his cousins, the emperor and empress of Germany," but also because he has a "particular intimacy" with the new King Ferdinand of Roumania, whose "beautiful wife," Marie is the Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg's eldest sister.

During his time spent in Coburg, as regent,  Prince Ernst also developed "intimate contact" with King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, a member of the Catholic branch of the house of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Kaiser Wilhelm II hopes that by sending his cousin to Constantinople,  the prince will be able to use his influence to deter Bulgaria and Roumania from joining the Triple Entente against Germany, Austria and Turkey.

The Prince makes friends where ever he is sent.  He is said to be "broadminded, progressive, genial mannered, wholly unaffected, and democratic in his ways and utterances."  He is very much "the principal servant of his people."

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