Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Royal annuities are being stopped

Embed from Getty Images 
 December 19, 1918

The New York Times is reporting from Berlin (via Copenhagen) that former Kaiser Wilhelm II's "private cash fortune" is in the amount of 20 million marks.  The money has been kept in various banks at 4.5 % interest.

Prince Eitel Friedrich, the former Kaiser's second son, has now taken charge of the family's assets, having been appointed as head of the family in Germany by his father.

In 1840, King Friedrich Wilhelm III established the family fortune. The King was Wilhelm II's great-grandfather, and it was "bequeathed by him to his successor to the crown, with the proviso that one-half should be left intact unless Prussia was in a desperate condition."

It is expected that Wilhelm, now in the Netherlands, will assume control of the money.

Members of the imperial family are claiming ninety estates, which consist of "castles, farms, forests and moorlands."  All but seven of these estates are private property. 

The new Finance Minister is investigating these claims as the "revolutionary Government" had "provisionally decided to confiscate all crown property."

Prince Eitel Friedrich and Count zu Eulenberg, the former minister of Imperial House, have stated that they have the documentation to prove their claims.  They claim that Bellevue Palace and Montbijou with the English church in Berlin are private property, as well as thirteen palaces in Potsdam, Wilhelmshöhe in Castle, and palaces in Charlottenburg, Koblenz, Wiesbaden, Freinwalde, and other estates.

The Hohenzollerns also own homes in Trouville, France, on Corfu, and the Cafareli Palace in Rome.

These homes "represent enormous value," and Wilhelm II and his family will remain comfortable if they are permitted to retain their estates.

But there are also plans in Germany to pass a special law "compelling" the Hohenzollerns to pay "large sums in taxes."  They may also be asked to return fifteen million marks which Wilhelm I, the grandfather of Wilhelm II, "appropriated as his share of the war indemnity paid by France."

The large annuities paid to the member of the Prussian royal house have been stopped, but no law has been passed to abolish these payments.

In the former grand duchy of Mecklenburg, the new government has "abolished all payments" to the grand ducal family members.  Grand Duchess Anastasia, the widow of Friedrich Franz III, and mother of former Crown Princess Cecilie loses her annual payment of 200,000 Marks.  She is wealthy anyway, as she used to "spend most of her income in France and at Monte Carlo."

By ending these annual allowances to the grand ducal family, Mecklenburg will save 700,000 Marks.

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