Thursday, March 9, 2017

A summer royal wedding

The marriage of  Prince Ernst August of Hanover, elder son of Prince Ernst August of Hanover (Prince of Hanover) and his first wife, Chantal Hochuli, and Ekaterina Malysheva will take place on July 8th at the Marktkirche in Hannover.  This will be the religious celebration of their marriage.  The legal ceremony -- the civil ceremony, as required by German law -- will take place in Hannover on July 7th.

Following the church wedding, there will be a reception at the Herrenhausen in Hannover, which will be followed by a more private celebration at Schloss Marienburg.

I expect the bride to wear Queen Charlotte's nuptial crown.

Schloss Marienburg will be closed between July 3 and July 12th.

This will be one of the more important royal/society weddings of the year.  The groom is well connected to most of Europe's royal houses.  The groom is a descendant of Queen Victoria, but the family's use of the title Prince or Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland refers to their direct male line descent from George III.

When William IV died in June 1837, the next in line to the British throne was his niece, Princess Victoria of Kent.  William IV was also King of Hanover, but this small German country did not allow for female succession, so the next male heir to the throne was William IV's brother, Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale.

A week after William's death, the new King Ernst August of Hanover, began his journey to his new kingdom.  He and his family retained their succession rights and British titles.  I am sure many of my readers have watched the series Victoria, where the Duke of Cumberland is hovering around the palace, hoping Victoria drops dead, so he can become king.  This is false.   The new king returned only once to the United Kingdom.  He arrived several days late in June 1843 to attend the baptism of Victoria and Albert's third child, Princess Alice (he was one of the godfathers), but just in time to attend the wedding of his niece, Princess Augusta of Cambridge, who was marrying her first cousin, the Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, whose paternal aunt, Frederika, was the King of Hanover's wife.

King Ernst August's only son, Georg, was the last king of Hannover.   Hannover sided with Austria in the Austro-Prussian war.  Bismarck retaliated against the king and the small country.  Georg V lost his throne, and the royal family went into exile in Austria.   Hannover was annexed by Prussia.

King Georg V died at Paris in June 1878.  He was succeeded as the de jure king of Hanover and as Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale by his only son, Ernst August, who was styled (in the United Kingdom) by his British peerages.  He was married to Princess Thyra of Denmark, youngest sister of the Princess of Wales (Queen Alexandra).

The Duke and Duchess of Cumberland's eldest surviving son, Ernst August, married Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia, the youngest child and only daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II, thus healing the breach between the two families.

The Duke of Cumberland had become the heir to the duchy of Brunswick und Lüneburg, following the death of his kinsman, Duke Wilhelm VIII of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, in 1884, but because neither he nor his son would renounce their claim to Hanover,  Prince Albrecht of Prussia was named as Regent.

Following his marriage to Viktoria Luise,  Ernst August was named as Duke of Brunswick und Lüneburg.

The Hannover royal family retained their British titles until 1917.  The Duke of Cumberland and his son, Ernst August, sought permission to marry their wives from the British sovereign due to the Royal Marriages.

The Duke and Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneberg's eldest son, Prince Ernst August, born in 1914, was styled in the United Kingdom as HH Prince Ernst August.  A representative from the Home Office was present for his birth.

The first world war changed everything for the Hannover Royal Family.  In 1917.  the British Parliament stripped the Duke of Cumberland and the Duke of Albany (Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) of their British peerages, as they were Germans and the enemy.    George V's Letters Patent regarding the title of Prince/ess and the HRH in July 1917, also affected both families.  The title Prince and Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland  and style of Royal Highness were limited to the children of the sovereign, the grandchildren of the sovereign in the male line and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.   The HH (His/Her Highness) which had applied to male lines apart from the children of the sovereign, the grandchildren of the sovereign in the male line and the grandchildren of the then Prince of Wales (1898).  The Duke of Cumberland was the great-grandson of George III.

In November 1918, the Duke of Brunswick abdicated as duke as the German monarchies fell in the final days of World War II.  His father-in-law, Kaiser Wilhelm II, was forced into exile in The Netherlands.

After the issuance of the Letters Patent,  members of the Hannover royal family ceased to be British Princes and Princesses.   The Duke of Cumberland died in 1923, and was succeeded as head of the house by the Duke of Brunswick.  In 1931, the duke issued a non-binding decree stating that he and his family would continue to use the British titles of Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland due to their male line descent from George III.

One assumes this did not go down well at Buckingham Palace, but it must be noted that George V nor George VI nor Elizabeth II never denied the Hannovers the use of their British titles, even though the 1917 Letters Patent made it clear that they were no longer British royals.

The Hannovers were also adamant in continuing the use of the Royal Marriages Act.  All but two of the members of the Royal House applied to the British sovereign for permission to marry.  The two exceptions are the late Prince Georg Wilhelm (second son of the Duke of Brunswick) who was engaged to marry Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark in 1946) and Prince Christian (third son of the Duke of Brunswick) who married 17-year-old Mireille Dutry in 1963.
The present head of the family, Prince Ernst August (1954) applied for permission for both his marriages, the first two Chantal Hochuli in 1981, and again in 1999, when he married Princess Caroline of Monaco. The latter was issued in an Orders in Council.

The last member of the family to receive permission to marry was Ernst August's younger brother, Prince Heinrich, who married Thyra von Westernhagen, on June 19, 1999, the same day as Prince Edward's marriage to Sophie Rhys-Jones.

So that brings us to 33-year-old Prince Ernst August, a financier, who lives and works in London.  His fiancee runs her own design business, Ekat.

The younger Prince Ernst August has also run the family businesses for some years now.

Prince Ernst August will not need to seek permission from Queen Elizabeth II to marry.    She probably won't mind having to sign the paperwork, as there are few ties these days between the two royal houses.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be visiting Germany in July, but they will not be receiving an invitation to the wedding. Let me repeat this: William and Catherine will not be at the wedding.  I do expect members of the Greek and Spanish royal families to attend.   King Constantine II of the Hellenes and King Felipe V of Spain are two of Ernst August's godfathers.   Constantine and Felipe's mother, Queen Sofia,  are two of the three children of Princess Frederika of Hannover and King Paul of the Hellenes.

Frederika was the only daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick und Lüneburg.  Her children are the first cousins of the groom's father.

I won't be surprised if Princess Beatrice and/or Princess Eugenie are invited to the wedding as they attended the Great Britain Mini Tour in Hanover in 2013.

Princess Beatrice has also met the groom's father.

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