Prince Ernst August of Hannover is recovering from emergency pancreatic surgery at a clinic in Feldkirch, Austria.
His doctors diagnosed a life-threatening pancreatic inflammation, which was leading to organ failure. He underwent emergency surgery. His friends are concerned about his "unsteady lifestyle" and his excessive use of alcohol.
Last month the 64-year-old prince threw a spanner into the sale of Schloss Marienburg by his son, Prince Ernst August, to the German state of Saxony for one Euro. The sale is now on hold, although the younger Ernst August has proved the at he is the sole owner of Schloss Marienburg as his is the only name on the land register.
"The preservation of such cultural assets has never been easy, yet I and the other family members currently see no understandable reason to impose these costs without necessity to the citizens of Lower Saxony," Ernst August senior told a newspaper last month.
His son responded: "Contractually it was always clear from the beginning that I may dispose of real estate like a liberated forerunner - contrary statements are false and do not correspond to the contractually recorded facts."
The younger Ernst August chose to sell the castle to the state government because he could not afford to finance the massive work that the castle needs.