Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Royal death: HRH Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia

HRH Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia died yesterday (September 29) after a long illness in Berlin. He was 76 years old.

He was the eldest son of the late HI&RH Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia and HIH Grand Duchess Kira of Russia.

Prince Louis Ferdinand Friedrich Wilhelm Hubertus Michael Kyrill was born on February 9, 1939.  He was the heir to his father until September 18, 1967, when he renounced his succession rights following his marriage to a German commoner, Waltraud Freytag.   The couple were married on August 22, 1967.  His second marriage to Ehrengard von Reden on April 23, 1976.   These two marriages were dissolved by divorce in 1971 and 2004, respectively.

He is survived by his third wife, Sibylle Kretschmer, an artist, whom he married in March 23, 2004,  four children, Philip (a Lutheran pastor), by his first wife, and Friedrich Wilhelm, Viktoria-Luise and Joachim-Albrecht, by his second wife.  As his children are not members of the Prussian royal family, they are styled by the surname Prinz or Prinzessin von Preussen.  He also has seven grandchildren.   He is also survived by two siblings, HRH Princess Marie Cecilie and HRH Prince Christian Sigismund of Prussia, and numerous nieces and nephews, including HI &RH Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia, who is head of the Prussian royal house.

In the early 1960s,  Prince Friedrich Wilhelm wanted to marry Helena Kirby, the daughter of Princess Leonide Bagration and Woolworth heir Sumner Moore Kirby. (This marriage ended in divorce after only three years in 1937.  Kirby died in a hospital at Leau, near Buchenwald. He and other British and American civilians had been deported to the concentration camp by the Vichy government in 1944.)

Leonide's second marriage was to Grand Duke Wladimir of Russia, who was Friedrich Wilhelm's uncle.   Despite this family connection,  Friedrich Wilhelm's father,  Prince Louis Ferdinand, would not agree to the marriage as Helena was not of equal rank (although she inherited a lot of money from her late father.)

In the 1970s,  Prince Friedrich Wilhelm had to return his doctorate after acknowledging that he had cheated on his doctorate.  He finally received the Ph.d in 1981.

He was a great-grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Prince Friedrich Wilhelm was a historian who specialized in his family's history.  He wrote several books, most recently about Friedrich II.

The funeral will take place at Berlin's Gedächtniskirche on October 9.

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