Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick

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Ernest Augustus
Duke of Brunswick
Reign1 November 1913 – 8 November 1918
Predecessor William VIII
SuccessorMonarchy abolished
Head of the House of Hanover
Pretence14 November 1923 – 30 January 1953
Predecessor Ernest Augustus, Crown Prince of Hanover
Successor Ernest Augustus, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick
Born(1887-11-17)17 November 1887
Penzing, Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Died30 January 1953(1953-01-30) (aged 65)
Marienburg Castle, Hanover, Lower Saxony, West Germany
Burial1 February 1953
Berggarten Mausoleum, Hanover, Lower Saxony, West Germany
Spouse Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia
Issue Ernest Augustus, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick
Prince George William
Frederica, Queen of the Hellenes
Prince Christian Oscar
Prince Welf Henry
Full name
Ernest Augustus Christian George
German: Ernst August Christian Georg
House Hanover
Father Ernest Augustus, Crown Prince of Hanover
Mother Princess Thyra of Denmark

Ernest Augustus (Ernest Augustus Christian George; German : Ernst August Christian Georg; 17 November 1887 – 30 January 1953) was the reigning Duke of Brunswick from 2 November 1913 to 8 November 1918. He was a grandson of George V of Hanover, whom the Prussians had deposed from the Hanoverian throne in 1866, and Christian IX of Denmark.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium and Liechtenstein. It is one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages that are most similar to the German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch, including Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Duchy of Brunswick duchy in Germany

The Duchy of Brunswick was a historical German state. Its capital was the city of Brunswick (Braunschweig). It was established as the successor state of the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. In the course of the 19th-century history of Germany, the duchy was part of the German Confederation, the North German Confederation and from 1871 the German Empire. It was disestablished after the end of World War I, its territory incorporated into the Weimar Republic as the Free State of Brunswick.

George V of Hanover King of Hanover

George V was the last king of Hanover, the only child and successor of King Ernest Augustus. George V's reign was ended during the Unification of Germany.


Early life

Ernest Augustus was born at Penzing near Vienna, the sixth and youngest child of former Crown Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover and his wife, Princess Thyra of Denmark. His great-grandfather, Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, the fifth son of George III of the United Kingdom, became king of Hanover in 1837 because Salic Law barred Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom, from inheriting the Hanoverian throne.

Penzing (Vienna) 14th District of Vienna in Austria

Penzing is the 14th borough of Vienna and consists of the localities of Penzing, Breitensee, Baumgarten, Hütteldorf and Hadersdorf-Weidlingau. In the west, it shares a border with Purkersdorf and Mauerbach. A large portion of the district is made up of greenery, including the Steinhof park, the Dehnepark and a portion of the Wienerwald.

Vienna Capital of Austria

Vienna is the federal capital, largest city and one of nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union.

Ernest Augustus, Crown Prince of Hanover British prince

Ernest Augustus, Crown Prince of Hanover, 3rd Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, was the eldest child and only son of George V of Hanover and his wife, Marie of Saxe-Altenburg. Ernst August was deprived of the thrones of Hanover upon its annexation by Prussia in 1866 and later the Duchy of Brunswick in 1884. Although he was the senior male-line great-grandson of George III, the Duke of Cumberland was deprived of his British peerages and honours for having sided with Germany in World War I. Ernst August was the last Hanoverian prince to hold a British royal title and the Order of the Garter. His descendants are in the line of succession to the British throne.

His father succeeded as pretender to the Hanoverian throne and as Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale in the peerage of Great Britain in 1878. The younger Ernest August became heir apparent to the dukedom of Cumberland and to the Hanoverian claim upon the deaths of his two elder brothers, George and Christian. Through his mother, he was a first cousin of Christian X of Denmark, Haakon VII of Norway, George V of the United Kingdom, Constantine I of Greece and Nicholas II of Russia.

Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale

Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale was a title in the Peerage of Great Britain that was held by junior members of the British Royal Family, named after the county of Cumberland, England and after Teviotdale, Scotland. Held by the Hanoverian royals, it was suspended under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917, which revoked titles belonging to enemies of the United Kingdom during the Great War.

Great Britain island in the North Atlantic off the north-west coast of continental Europe

Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of 209,331 km2 (80,823 sq mi), it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island, and the ninth-largest island in the world. In 2011, Great Britain had a population of about 61 million people, making it the world's third-most populous island after Java in Indonesia and Honshu in Japan. The island of Ireland is situated to the west of Great Britain, and together these islands, along with over 1,000 smaller surrounding islands, form the British Isles archipelago.

Prince George William of Hanover (1880–1912) Hanovarian prince

George William, Hereditary Prince of Hanover was the eldest son of Ernest Augustus, Crown Prince of Hanover (1845–1923) and Princess Thyra of Denmark (1853–1933), the youngest daughter of Christian IX of Denmark (1818–1906) and Louise of Hesse-Kassel (1817–1898). George William was a great-great-grandson of George III of the United Kingdom (1738–1820) and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744–1818).

In 1884, the reigning Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, a distant cousin, died. Since the younger branch of the House of Guelph ended with him, under house rules it would have passed to the Duke of Cumberland, who immediately claimed the throne. However, the Imperial Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, managed to get the Federal Council (Bundesrat) of the German Empire to rule that the Duke of Cumberland would disturb the peace of the empire if he ascended the throne of Brunswick. Bismarck did this because the duke had never formally renounced his claims to the kingdom of Hanover, which had been annexed to Prussia in 1866 following the end of the Austro-Prussian War (Hanover had sided with losing Austria). Instead, Prince Albrecht of Prussia became the regent of Brunswick. After Prince Albrecht's death in 1906, the duke offered that he and his elder son, Prince George, would renounce their claims to the Duchy in order to allow Ernest Augustus, his only other surviving son, to take possession of the Duchy, but this option was rejected by the Bundesrat and the regency continued, this time under Duke Johann Albrecht of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who had previously acted as regent for his nephew in Mecklenburg.

Wolfenbüttel Place in Lower Saxony, Germany

Wolfenbüttel is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany, the administrative capital of Wolfenbüttel District. It is best known as the location of the internationally renowned Herzog August Library and for having the largest concentration of timber-framed buildings in Germany. It is an episcopal see of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brunswick. It is also home to the Jägermeister distillery and houses a campus of the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences.

Otto von Bismarck 19th-century German statesman and Chancellor

Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg, known as Otto von Bismarck, was a conservative Prussian statesman who dominated German and European affairs from the 1860s until 1890 and was the first Chancellor of the German Empire between 1871 and 1890. In 1862, King Wilhelm I appointed him as Minister President of Prussia, a position he would hold until 1890, with the exception of a short break in 1873. He provoked three short, decisive wars against Denmark, Austria, and France. Following the victory against Austria, he abolished the supranational German Confederation and instead formed the North German Confederation as the first German national state in 1867, leading it as Federal Chancellor. This aligned the smaller North German states behind Prussia. Later receiving the support of the independent South German states in the Confederation's defeat of France, he formed the German Empire in 1871, unifying Germany with himself as Imperial Chancellor, while retaining control of Prussia at the same time. The new German nation excluded Austria, which had been Prussia's main opponent for predominance among the German states.

Prussia state in Central Europe between 1525–1947

Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital first in Königsberg and then, in 1701, in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.

Marriage and accession to the duchy of Brunswick


When Ernest Augustus's older brother George died in an automobile accident on 20 May 1912, the German Emperor, Wilhelm II, sent a message of condolence to the Duke of Cumberland. In response to this friendly gesture, the Duke sent his only surviving son, Ernest Augustus, to Berlin to thank the Emperor for his message. Ernest Augustus and Wilhelm II were third cousins through George III of the United Kingdom. In Berlin, Ernest Augustus met and fell in love with the emperor's only daughter, Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia.

German Emperor Head of state of Germany 1871–1918

The German Emperor was the official title of the head of state and hereditary ruler of the German Empire. A specifically chosen term, it was introduced with the 1 January 1871 constitution and lasted until the official abdication of Wilhelm II on 28 November 1918. The Holy Roman Emperor is sometimes also called "German Emperor" when the historical context is clear, as derived from the Holy Roman Empire's official name of "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" from 1512.

Wilhelm II, German Emperor German Emperor and King of Prussia

Wilhelm II or William II was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia. He reigned from 15 June 1888 until his abdication on 9 November 1918 shortly before Germany's defeat in World War I.

On 24 May 1913, Ernest Augustus and Victoria Louise, third cousins once removed through descent from George III's sons King Ernest Augustus of Hanover and Edward, Duke of Kent, were married to each other. This marriage ended the decades-long rift between the Houses of Hohenzollern and Hanover. The wedding of Prince Ernest Augustus and Princess Victoria Louise was also the last great gathering of European sovereigns before the outbreak of the Great War. In addition to the German Emperor and Empress and the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland, King George V and Queen Mary of the United Kingdom and Tsar Nicholas II attended. Upon the announcement of his betrothal to Princess Victoria Louise in February 1913, Ernest Augustus swore allegiance to the German Empire and accepted a commission as a cavalry captain and company commander in the Zieten–Hussars, a Prussian Army regiment in which his grandfather (George V) and great-grandfather (Ernst August) had been colonels. Two imprisoned British spies Captain Stewart and Captain Trench, were pardoned and released by the German Emperor as a wedding present to the United Kingdom. [1] George V of the United Kingdom had given consent to the marriage on 17 March 1913, as required by the Royal Marriages Act. [2]

Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover King of Hanover

Ernest Augustus was King of Hanover from 20 June 1837 until his death. As the fifth son of King George III of the United Kingdom and Hanover, initially he seemed unlikely to become a monarch, but none of his elder brothers had a legitimate son. Ernest succeeded in Hanover under Salic law, which debarred women from the succession, ending the personal union between Britain and Hanover that had begun in 1714.

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn Prince of Great Britain

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, was the fourth son and fifth child of King George III. His only child became Queen Victoria.

House of Hanover German royal dynasty

The House of Hanover, whose members are known as Hanoverians, is a German royal house that ruled Hanover, Great Britain, and Ireland at various times during the 17th through 20th centuries. The house originated in 1635 as a cadet branch of the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg, growing in prestige until Hanover became an Electorate in 1692. George I became the first Hanoverian monarch of Great Britain and Ireland in 1714. At Victoria's death in 1901, the throne of the United Kingdom passed to her eldest son Edward VII, a member of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The last reigning members of the House lost the Duchy of Brunswick in 1918 when Germany became a republic.

Brunswick Palace Braunschweig, Niedersachsen - Schloss (Zeno Ansichtskarten).jpg
Brunswick Palace

On 27 October 1913, the Duke of Cumberland formally renounced his claims to the duchy of Brunswick in favor of his surviving son. The following day, the Federal Council voted to allow Ernest Augustus to become the reigning Duke of Brunswick. The new Duke of Brunswick formally took possession of his duchy on 1 November. He received a promotion to colonel in the Prussian Zieten Hussars. The new duke and duchess of Brunswick moved into Brunswick Palace in the capital of Brunswick and began their family with the birth of their eldest son, Prince Ernest Augustus, less than a year after their wedding.

During the First World War, Ernest Augustus rose to the rank of major-general.

Abdication and later life

In 1917, the British dukedom of Ernest Augustus's father, and his own title as a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, were suspended by the Titles Deprivation Act 1917, as a result of the Duke's service in the German army during the war. On 8 November 1918, Ernest Augustus was forced to abdicate his throne, as were all the other German kings, grand dukes, dukes, and princes during the German Revolution of 1918–1919. Thus, when his father died in 1923, Ernest Augustus did not succeed to his father's title of Duke of Cumberland. For the next thirty years, Ernest Augustus would remain as head of the House of Hanover, living in retirement on his various estates, mainly Blankenburg Castle in Germany and Cumberland Castle in Gmunden, Austria. He also owned Marienburg Castle near Hanover, however rarely ever lived there until 1945.

While Ernest Augustus never officially joined the Nazi Party, he donated funds and was close to several leaders. [3] As a former British prince, Ernest Augustus as well as Victoria Louise desired a rapprochement between England and Germany. Ostensibly desiring to pursue an alliance with the UK, in the mid-1930s, Adolf Hitler took advantage of their sentiment by asking the couple to arrange a match between their daughter Princess Frederica and the Prince of Wales. The Duke and Duchess of Brunswick refused, believing that the age difference was too great. [4] After his abdication in 1936, Edward VIII and his wife visited "the Cumberlands" at Cumberland Castle in Gmunden, Austria. [5] In 1938 princess Frederica married prince Paul of Greece, brother and heir-apparent of George II of Greece.

By the time the Second World War ended in Europe in April 1945, he and his family were staying at Blankenburg. [6] A few days before Blankenburg was handed over to the Red Army by British and U.S. forces in late 1945, to become part of East Germany, the family was able to move to Marienburg Castle, at the time located in the British Occupation Zone, with all their furniture, transported by British Army trucks, on the order of King George VI . [7]

Mausoleum at Herrenhausen Gardens in Hanover Mausoleum im Berggarten (Herrenhauser Garten).jpg
Mausoleum at Herrenhausen Gardens in Hanover

He lived to see one of his children become a consort to a monarch – in 1947 his daughter Frederica became Queen of the Hellenes when her husband Prince Paul of Greece and Denmark succeeded his brother as King. The Duke of Brunswick is also the maternal grandfather of Queen Sophia of Spain and the former King Constantine II of Greece.

Ernest Augustus died at Marienburg Castle in 1953. He was interred, later to be joined by the remains of his wife, in front of the Royal Mausoleum in the Berggarten at Herrenhausen Gardens in Hanover, which is the burial chapel of King Ernest Augustus of Hanover and his wife. After the destruction of the former Leine Palace during the Second World War, the remains of the Duke's ancestors King George I of Great Britain and his parents were also moved to the mausoleum.


The Duke and Duchess of Brunswick had five children: [8]

Titles, styles and honours

Titles and styles

Under settled practice dating to 1714, as a male-line descendant of George III, Crown Prince Ernst August of Hanover also held the title of Prince of Great Britain and Ireland with the style of Highness. [9]

As mentioned previously, the Titles Deprivation Act 1917 (passed in 1919) stripped Ernst August III of his British titles for having taken up arms against the UK in the First World War. Within the UK, he was no longer recognized as a "Prince of Great Britain and Ireland." Upon his father's death in 1923 (the 3rd Duke of Cumberland also having been stripped of his titles), Ernst August III could not ascend as the 4th Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale or Earl of Armagh. Today, the titles remain "suspended," though there is an heir.



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Prince Christian may refer to:

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  1. Emmerson 2013 , p. 13
  2. The London Gazette , Issue 28700, p. 2053
  3. Petropoulos 2006, p. 99.
  4. Petropoulos 2006, pp. 159–62.
  5. Victoria Louise, autobiography Life as Daughter of the Emperor
  6. MacDonogh 2007, p. 75.
  7. Viktoria Luise 1977, pp. 155.
  8. By Royal Warrant of 17 June 1914, George V granted the eldest son and any children thereafter born to Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover, then reigning Duke of Brunswick, the title of Prince (or Princess) of Great Britain and Ireland with the style Highness. The provisions of this Royal Warrant ceased with George V's Letters Patent of 30 November 1917, and Hanoverian princes and princesses born after this date were no longer allowed the title Prince of Great Britain and Ireland with the style Highness. However, in 1931, the former Duke of Brunswick, as head of the House of Hanover and the senior male-line descendant of George III, issued a decree stating that the members of the former Hanoverian royal family would continue to bear the title of Prince (or Princess) of Great Britain and Ireland with the style of Royal Highness. This decree had no legal effect in the United Kingdom, although no British sovereigns since have attempted to stop this practice on the part of the former Hanoverian royal family. The members of the House of Hanover continued to seek the British sovereign's approval when they married, in accordance with the Royal Marriages Act 1772. In 1999, prior to the wedding of Ernest Augustus, Prince of Hanover (b. 1954) to Princess Caroline of Monaco, the couple received official consent from the reigning British monarch, Elizabeth II. The 1772 act was repealed on 26 March 2015 in accordance with the Perth Agreement.
  9. In the Court Circular printed in The Times and in the London Gazette, he was frequently styled Prince Ernest Augustus of Cumberland.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 Ruvigny, Melville Henry Massue, 9th Marquis of. Titled Nobility of Europe: An International Peerage, London: Harrison & Sons, 1914. p. 56
  11. 1 2 3 Kongelig Dansk Hof-og Statskalendar (1943) (in Danish), "De Kongelig Danske Ridderordener", p. 81
  12. Matrimonio di Paolo di Grecia e Federica di Hannover


Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 17 November 1887 Died: 30 January 1953
Regnal titles
Ernest Augustus unrecognized
Title last held by
Duke of Brunswick
2 November 1913 – 8 November 1918
Titles in pretence
Loss of title
Duke of Brunswick
8 November 1918 – 30 January 1953
Reason for succession failure:
German Revolution
Succeeded by
Ernest Augustus (IV)
Preceded by
Ernest Augustus (II)
King of Hanover
14 November 1923 – 30 January 1953
Reason for succession failure:
Austro-Prussian War
Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale
14 November 1923 – 30 January 1953
Reason for succession failure:
Titles Deprivation Act 1917