Tuesday, December 28, 2010

If circumstances had been different ...

Christian Freiherr von Humboldt-Dachroeden

Christian Ernst August Hubertus Freiherr von Humboldt-Dachroeden is a respected Hamburg lawyer who would be the head of the house of Hannover, and not his younger half-brother, Prince Ernst August if his parents had married before his birth.

On October 2, 1941,  the engagement of Prince Hubertus of Prussia, the third son of former Crown Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, and Baroness Maria-Anna von Humboldt-Dachroesen was announced in Potsdam.  At the time, the Prince was a First Lieutenant in the German Air Force.  They married on December 29, 1941, at Schloss Oels in Silesia.  It was a wartime wedding, without pomp.

There were also questions about the bride's status.  Maria-Anna was a mere baroness, and, not the usual choice for a bride in the house of Hohenzollern.  Hubertus' eldest brother, Prince Wilhelm, lost his succession rights when he married Dorothea von Salviati.   The second brother, Prince Louis Ferdinand, did well in the marriage stakes when he married Grand Duchess Kira of Russia, whose father, Kirill, was the de jure Russian Emperor.

Hubertus' marriage lasted for only a year.  It was announced in December 1942 that Prince Hubertus had divorced his wife, a "society beauty, but by Hohenzollern standards, Maria Anna was not eligible to marry into the family."   Was her lower rank the reason for the divorce, or was it something else?  Or someone else?

Prince Hubertus wasted no time heading to the altar for a second time.  On June 8, 1943, he married Princess Magdalene Reuss, a marriage considered equal. 

Was it possible that Maria Anna had fallen in love with another prince?  Was she an adulteress who cheated on Prince Hubertus with his first cousin, Prince Ernst August of Hannover, eldest son of the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia, the Kaiser's only daughter?   By early 1943,  Maria-Anna and Ernst August were lovers.  She became pregnant.  On December 27, 1943,  Baroness Maria Anna gave birth to a son, Christian Ernst August Hubertus.  The child was given her surname, using the male version, Freiherr von Humboldt-Dachroeden.  

One can only assume Ernst August's reaction was when he learned that Maria-Anna was pregnant.  Marriage was out of the question.  Maria Anna, a divorced woman, would certainly not have been accepted by the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg. 

Very, very little is known about this romance and the aftermath.  Was Ernst August prevented from marrying Maria Anna because she was divorced and of a lower rank?   Ernst August's parents expected a far better marriage for their eldest son.   In 1951, Ernst August obliged them by marrying Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein.   This marriage was not a love match.

In September of this year,  Ernst August's youngest son, Prince Heinrich, was interviewed by the German magazine, Bunte.   He recently published Mätressen und Favoriten by Anna  Eunike Röhrig.  The book is a biographical handbook about royal mistresses.  During the interview Prince Heinrich, the father of an illegitimate son, discussed his father's love affair.  "From this relationship, I have a brother.  We have a close relationship, he is 66, and he is a counsel with a Hamburg bank." 

Although Heinrich's mother knew about her husband's wartime romance and his illegitimate son,  the subject was never discussed by the family

Christian Freiherr von Humboldt-Dachroeden was 66 years old when Heinrich was interviewed.   Since 2008, he has been the Syndikus und Rechtsanwalt with the Conrad Hinrich Donner Bank in Hamburg.  In 1979, he married Baroness Marie von Maltzahn.  They have two children, Alexandra (1980) and Ferdinand,(1982.)  

On October 23, 2010,  Alexandra married Count Ferdinand Guyard de Saint Julien von und Wallsee.

The late Prince Ernst August was long estranged from his mother, Princess Viktoria Luise.  Theirs was a difficult relationship, fraught with tension.  On the occasion of Viktoria Luise's 70th birthday,  Ernst August, the eldest son, had been expected to give a speech.  According to his mother's memoirs, he refused to speak to anyone, including the guests, leaving the job of making the congratulatory speech to his younger brother, Prince Georg Wilhelm.

Did the strife between mother and son begin with his relationship with Maria Anna?  His father would not give his permission for Ernst August to marry the woman he loved.  In 1951, Prince Ernst August married Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein- Sonderburg-Glücksburg .  They had six children.  Their second child and eldest son, Prince Ernst August is the head of the house of Hanover.

 Was he denied the opportunity to marry the woman he loved to maintain his own position as heir?    Ernst August died in 1987, and his wife, Princess Ortrud, died in 1980.

Baroness Maria Anna died in 2003. 


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Paul Harten said...

Very interesting and good to see the new grand-daughet making a good marriage too ;-).
Do you know if the 'alleged' son of Prince Chrisitan (1919-81) by a fairly well known TV (less on tv nowadays) personality was or has ever been acknowledged ?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

The mother said that Christian was not the father.