Tuesday, December 28, 2010

If circumstances had been different ...

Christian Freiherr von Humboldt-Dachroeden
Christian Ernst August Hubertus Freiherr von Humboldt-Dachroeden, a respected Hamburg lawyer, 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, 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 a First Lieutenant in the German Air Force.  The wedding toook place on December 29, 1941 at Schloss Oels in Silesia.  It was a war time wedding, not a lot of pomp and circumstances.   There were also questions about the marriage'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 rather well in the marriage stakes when he married Grand Duchess Kira of Russia, whose father, Kirill, was the de jure Russian Emperor.

The 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 was not eligible to marry into the family."  But was the reason for divorce due to Maria-Anna's lower rank, or were others involved?

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

Is it also possible that Maria Anna was 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.   There was certainly something going on between Maria-Anna and Ernst August by early 1943, as she was 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 what the reaction was when Ernst August 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?   One assumes that Ernst August's parents expected a far better marriage for their eldest son.   In 1951, Ernst August obliged by marrying Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein.

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.  It was during the interview that Prince Heinrich, himself 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 war time romance and his illegitimate son,  the subject was never discussed by the family

Christian Freiherr von Humboldt-Dachroeden was 66 years old at the time of Heinrich's interview.  He celebrated his 67th birthday yesterday.  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, born in 1980, and Ferdinand, in 1982.  On October 23, 2010,  Alexandra married Count Ferdinand Guyard de Saint Julien  von und Wallsee.

The late Prince Ernst August was largely 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, as 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.

Is it possible the disintegration between mother and son began with his relationship with Maria Anna? Was he denied the opportunity to marry the woman he loved in order to maintain his own position as heir?   The answer is not known.  Ernst August died in 1987, and his wife, Princess Ortrud, died in 1980.

Baroness Maria Anna died in 2003. 

I cannot answer these questions.  But I can say that Christian and his two children are  descendants of Queen Victoria.


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.