Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Prince Welf August of Hannover?

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Bunte is reporting that the newborn son of Hereditary Prince Ernst August and Hereditary Princess Ekaterina has been named Welf August.  The family has not confirmed this and the report is based on a now deleted Instagram post, where one friend wrote "Welcome Welf August."

The little prince was born on March 14 at the Henriettenstift in Hanover.

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The tradition of naming the eldest son, Ernst August, actually began in 1914, when  Prince Ernst August of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and his wife, Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia, the only daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II.

The Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg was the third son of the former Crown Prince Ernst August of Hanover and Princess Thyra of Denmark.  Crown Prince Ernst August was the only son of King Georg V of Hanover.   Ernst August, who adopted the use of his father's British peerage, Duke of Cumberland, after King Georg V's death in 1878, was the third son.

The eldest son, Prince Georg Wilhelm, was killed in a car accident en route to his uncle, King Frederik VIII of Denmark's funeral in May 1912.  The second son, Prince Christian, was only 16 years old when he developed appendicitis that led to peritonitis, which caused his death in September 1901.

Thus, Prince Ernst August did not become his father's heir until Georg Wilhelm's death.   He named his second son, born in 1915, for his eldest brother.

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 The former Duke of Cumberland - he lost his British titles in 1917 with the Titles Deprivation Act - died in 1923 and was succeeded as head of the house of Hanover by his youngest but only surviving son, Ernst August.

Ernst August was married in 1951 to Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.   He succeeded his father as head of the house in January 1953.  The couple's first son (and second child) was born in February 1954 and was given the first name Ernst August. 

In 1981, Prince Ernst August married Chantal Hochuli.  They had two sons,  Ernst August (1983) and Prince Christian (1985).   It is this Prince Ernst August, who now runs the family businesses, who has chosen to break the nearly 115 year old tradition of the naming the eldest son, Ernst August.

Welcome Prince Welf August.    Welf is also a Hanover family name. The name has been used twice in the 20th century:  Prince Welf  Heinrich (1923-1997), the youngest son of  the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick and Prince Welf (1947-1981), the eldest son of  Prince Georg Wilhelm and Princess Sophie (of Greece and Denmark.)  The latter Prince Welf was a first cousin of the Prince of Wales.

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It must said that the use of Ernst August as the name for the eldest son appears to apply to legitimate children.

Baroness Maria Anna von Humboldt-Dachroeden, the first wife of Prince Hubertus of Prussia, gave birth to a son, Christian Ernst August Hubertus Freiherr von Humboldt-Dachroeden on December 27, 1943.  She had married Prince Hubertus in December 1941. The marriage was dissolved a year later and is June 1943,  Hubertus married Princess Magdalene Reuss.

It appears that Maria Anna was in love with Hubertus' first cousin, Prince Ernst August of Hanover (1914-1980) and he was the father of her son, Christian.

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