House of Hohenzollern

Last updated
House of Hohenzollern
Wappen Hohenzollern.svg
Country Germany, Romania
Foundedbefore 1061
Founder Burkhard I, Count of Zollern
Current headGermany and Prussia:
HI&RH Prince Georg Friedrich (1994–present)
HRH Prince Karl Friedrich (2010–present)
Final rulerGermany and Prussia:
Emperor Wilhelm II (1888–1918)
King Michael I (1927–1930, 1940–1947)
Titles German Emperor
Count of Zollern
Margrave of Brandenburg
Duke of Prussia
Burgrave of Nuremberg
Margrave of Bayreuth
Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach
King of Prussia
Prince of Neuchâtel
King of Romania
Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen
Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Estate(s)Germany, Prussia, Romania
DepositionGermany and Prussia:
1918: German Revolution
1947: Stalinist take-over
Cadet branches Prussian branch
Swabian branch
Romanian branch

The House of Hohenzollern [ˈhoːəntsɔlɐn] is a German dynasty of former princes, electors, kings and emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire, and Romania. The family arose in the area around the town of Hechingen in Swabia during the 11th century and took their name from Hohenzollern Castle. [1] The first ancestors of the Hohenzollerns were mentioned in 1061.

Dynasty sequence of rulers considered members of the same family

A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family, usually in the context of a feudal or monarchical system, but sometimes also appearing in elective republics. Alternative terms for "dynasty" may include "house", "family" and "clan", among others. The longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BC.

A prince is a male ruler ranked below a king and above a duke or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. Prince is also a title of nobility, often hereditary, in some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess. The English word derives, via the French word prince, from the Latin noun princeps, from primus (first) and capio, meaning "the chief, most distinguished, ruler, prince".

Prince-elector members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire

The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire, or Electors for short, were the members of the electoral college that elected the Holy Roman Emperor.


The Hohenzollern family split into two branches, the Catholic Swabian branch and the Protestant Franconian branch, [2] which later became the Brandenburg-Prussian branch. The Swabian branch ruled the principalities of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen until 1849, and also ruled Romania from 1866 to 1947. Members of the Franconian branch became Margrave of Brandenburg in 1415 and Duke of Prussia in 1525.

Catholic Church Christian church led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's "oldest continuously functioning international institution", it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Swabia historical and cultural region of Germany

Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany. The name is ultimately derived from the medieval Duchy of Swabia, one of the German stem duchies, representing the territory of Alemannia, whose inhabitants interchangeably were called Alemanni or Suebi.

Protestantism division within Christianity, originating from the Reformation in the 16th century against the Roman Catholic Church, that rejects the Roman Catholic doctrines of papal supremacy and sacraments

Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than by good works, and the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.

The Margraviate of Brandenburg and the Duchy of Prussia were ruled in personal union after 1618 and were called Brandenburg-Prussia. The Kingdom of Prussia was created in 1701, eventually leading to the unification of Germany and the creation of the German Empire in 1871, with the Hohenzollerns as hereditary German Emperors and Kings of Prussia.

A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. A real union, by contrast, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, such as by sharing some limited governmental institutions. In a federation and a unitary state, a central (federal) government spanning all member states exists, with the degree of self-governance distinguishing the two. The ruler in a personal union does not need to be a hereditary monarch.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

Unification of Germany Creation of a politically and administratively integrated nation state of German-speaking populations in 1871, in the form of the German Empire

The unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January 1871, in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in France. Princes of the German states, excluding Austria, gathered there to proclaim William I of Prussia as German Emperor after the French capitulation in the Franco-Prussian War. Unofficially, the de facto transition of most of the German-speaking populations into a federated organization of states had been developing for some time through alliances formal and informal between princely rulers, but in fits and starts. The self-interests of the various parties hampered the process over nearly a century of autocratic experimentation, beginning in the era of the Napoleonic Wars, which prompted the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, and the subsequent rise of German nationalism.

Germany's defeat in World War I in 1918 led to the German Revolution. The Hohenzollerns were overthrown and the Weimar Republic was established, thus bringing an end to the German monarchy. Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia is the current head of the royal Prussian line, while Karl Friedrich, Prince of Hohenzollern is the head of the princely Swabian line. [2]

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

German Revolution of 1918–19 Revolution in 1918–1919 in Germany

The German Revolution or November Revolution was a civil conflict in the German Empire at the end of the First World War that resulted in the replacement of the German federal constitutional monarchy with a democratic parliamentary republic that later became known as the Weimar Republic. The revolutionary period lasted from November 1918 until the adoption in August 1919 of the Weimar Constitution.

Weimar Republic Germany state in the years 1918/1919–1933

The Weimar Republic is an unofficial historical designation for the German state from 1918 to 1933. The name derives from the city of Weimar, where its constitutional assembly first took place. The official name of the republic remained Deutsches Reich unchanged from 1871, because of the German tradition of substates. Although commonly translated as "German Empire", the word Reich here better translates as "realm", in that the term does not have monarchical connotations in itself. The Reich was changed from a constitutional monarchy into a republic. In English, the country was usually known simply as Germany.

County of Zollern

Hohenzollern Castle near Hechingen Burg Hohenzollern ak.jpg
Hohenzollern Castle near Hechingen
Alpirsbach Abbey, founded by the Hohenzollerns. Alpirsbach Kloster Kirche innen.jpg
Alpirsbach Abbey, founded by the Hohenzollerns.

Zollern, from 1218 Hohenzollern, was a county of the Holy Roman Empire. Later its capital was Hechingen.

County Geographical and administrative region in some countries

A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes, in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French conté or cunté denoting a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count (earl) or a viscount. The modern French is comté, and its equivalents in other languages are contea, contado, comtat, condado, Grafschaft, graafschap, Gau, etc..

Holy Roman Empire varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.

Hechingen Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Hechingen is a town in central Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated about 60 kilometres (37 mi) south of the state capital of Stuttgart and 90 kilometres (56 mi) north of Lake Constance and the Swiss border.

The Hohenzollerns named their estates after Hohenzollern Castle in the Swabian Alps. The Hohenzollern Castle lies on an 855 meters high mountain called Hohenzollern. It still belongs to the family today.

Hohenzollern Castle ancestral seat of the imperial House of Hohenzollern in the Swabian Alps of central Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Hohenzollern Castle is the ancestral seat of the imperial House of Hohenzollern. The third of three hilltop castles built on the site, it is located atop Mount Hohenzollern, above and south of Hechingen, on the edge of the Swabian Jura of central Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

Swabian Jura low mountain range in Germany

The Swabian Jura, sometimes also named Swabian Alps in English, is a mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, extending 220 km (140 mi) from southwest to northeast and 40 to 70 km in width. It is named after the region of Swabia.

Hohenzollern (mountain) mountain in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Hohenzollern is a mountain, 855 m, of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is located in Zollernalbkreis. On its top the famous Hohenzollern Castle is located. The mountain is an outlier, about 1 km north of the Swabian Jura.

The dynasty was first mentioned in 1061. According to the medieval chronicler Berthold of Reichenau, Burkhard I, Count of Zollern (de Zolorin) was born before 1025 and died in 1061. [3]

In 1095 Count Adalbert of Zollern founded the Benedictine monastery of Alpirsbach, situated in the Black Forest.

The Zollerns received the comital title from Emperor Henry V in 1111. [4]

As loyal vassals of the Swabian Hohenstaufen dynasty, they were able to significantly enlarge their territory. Count Frederick III (c. 1139 – c. 1200) accompanied Emperor Frederick Barbarossa against Henry the Lion in 1180, and through his marriage was granted the Burgraviate of Nuremberg by Emperor Henry VI in 1192. In about 1185 he married Sophia of Raabs, the daughter of Conrad II, Burgrave of Nuremberg. [2] After the death of Conrad II who left no male heirs, Frederick III was granted Nuremberg as Burgrave Frederick I.

In 1218 the burgraviate passed to Frederick's elder son Conrad I, he thereby became the ancestor of the Franconian Hohenzollern branch, which acquired the Electorate of Brandenburg in 1415. [2]

Counts of Zollern (1061–1204)

After Frederick's death, his sons partitioned the family lands between themselves:

  • Conrad I received the county of Zollern and exchanged it for the burgraviate of Nuremberg with his younger brother Frederick IV in 1218, thereby founding the Franconian branch of the House of Hohenzollern. Members of the Franconian line eventually became the Brandenburg-Prussia branch. The Franconian line later converted to Protestantism.
  • Frederick IV received the burgraviate of Nuremberg in 1200 from his father and exchanged it for the county of Zollern in 1218 with his brother, thereby founding the Swabian branch of the House of Hohenzollern. The Swabian line remains Catholic. [2]

Franconian branch

The senior Franconian branch of the House of Hohenzollern was founded by Conrad I, Burgrave of Nuremberg (1186–1261).

The family supported the Hohenstaufen and Habsburg rulers of the Holy Roman Empire during the 12th to 15th centuries, being rewarded with several territorial grants. Beginning in the 16th century, this branch of the family became Protestant and decided on expansion through marriage and the purchase of surrounding lands.

In the first phase, the family gradually added to their lands, at first with many small acquisitions in the Franconian region of Germany:

In the second phase, the family expanded their lands further with large acquisitions in the Brandenburg and Prussian regions of Germany and current Poland:

These acquisitions eventually transformed the Franconian Hohenzollerns from a minor German princely family into one of the most important dynasties in Europe.

Burgraves of Nuremberg (1192–1427)

COA family de Burggrafen von Nurnberg (Haus Hohenzollern).svg
Region of Nuremberg, Ansbach, Kulmbach and Bayreuth (Franconia) Ansbach-Bayreuth.png
Region of Nuremberg, Ansbach, Kulmbach and Bayreuth (Franconia)

At Frederick V's death on 21 January 1398, his lands were partitioned between his two sons:

After John III/I's death on 11 June 1420, the margraviates of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Kulmbach were briefly reunited under Frederick VI/I/I. He ruled the Margraviate of Brandenburg-Ansbach after 1398. From 1420, he became Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach. From 1411 Frederick VI became governor of Brandenburg and later Elector and Margrave of Brandenburg as Frederick I. Upon his death on 21 September 1440, his territories were divided among his sons:

In 1427 Frederick, Elector of Brandenburg sold Nuremberg Castle and his rights as burgrave to the Imperial City of Nuremberg. The territories of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Kulmbach remained possessions of the family, once parts of the Burgraviate of Nuremberg.

Margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1398–1791)

Wappen Brandenburg-Ansbach.svg

On 2 December 1791, Christian II Frederick sold the sovereignty of his principalities to King Frederick William II of Prussia.

Margraves of Brandenburg-Kulmbach (1398–1604), later Brandenburg-Bayreuth (1604–1791)


On 2 December 1791, Charles Alexander sold the sovereignty of his principalities to King Frederick William II of Prussia.

From 8 January 1701 the title of Elector of Brandenburg was attached to the title of King in Prussia and, from 13 September 1772, to that of King of Prussia.

Dukes of Jägerndorf (1523–1622)

Krnov znak.png

The Duchy of Jägerndorf (Krnov) was purchased in 1523.

The duchy of Jägerndorf was confiscated by Emperor Ferdinand III in 1622.

Brandenburg-Prussian branch

Margraves of Brandenburg (1415–1619)

Frederick VI became Margrave of Brandenburg in 1415. FrederikIboek.jpg
Frederick VI became Margrave of Brandenburg in 1415.

In 1411 Frederick VI, Burgrave of Nuremberg was appointed governor of Brandenburg in order to restore order and stability. At the Council of Constance in 1415, King Sigismund elevated Frederick to the rank of Elector and Margrave of Brandenburg as Frederick I.

Dynastic StatusReignBirthDeathMarriages
Friedrich I. von Brandenburg.jpg Frederick I also as Frederick VI Burgrave of Nuremberg1415–144013711440 Elisabeth of Bavaria
Friedrich II 300f.jpg Frederick II Son of1440–147114131471 Catherine of Saxony
AlbrechtAchilles.jpg Albrecht III Achilles Brother of1471–148614141486 Margaret of Baden

Anna of Saxony

JohannCicero1500.JPG John Cicero Son of1486–149914551499Margaret of Thuringia
Lucas Cranach (I) - Joachim I Nestor - Jagdschloss Grunewald.jpg Joachim I Nestor Son of1499–153514841535 Elizabeth of Denmark
JoachimII.vonBrandenburg.JPG Joachim II Hector Son of1535–157115051571 Magdalena of Saxony

Hedwig of Poland

JohannGeorg1564.JPG John George Son of1571–159815251598 Sophie of Legnica

Sabina of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Elisabeth of Anhalt-Zerbst

JoachimFriedrichBrandenburg1600.JPG Joachim Frederick Son of1598–160815461608 Catherine of Brandenburg-Küstrin

Eleanor of Prussia

Johann Sigismund 02 IV 13 2 0026 01 0318 a Seite 1 Bild 0001.jpg John Sigismund Son of

personal union with Prussia after 1618 called Brandenburg-Prussia.

1608–161915721619 Anna, Duchess of Prussia

Margraves of Brandenburg-Küstrin (1535–1571)

DEU Kuestrin-Kietz COA.svg

The short-lived Margraviate of Brandenburg-Küstrin was set up as a secundogeniture of the House of Hohenzollern.

Margraves of Brandenburg-Schwedt (1688–1788)

Wappen Schwedt.png

Although recognised as a branch of the dynasty since 1688, the Margraviate of Brandenburg-Schwedt remained subordinate to the electors, and was never an independent principality.

Dukes of Prussia (1525–1701)

POL Prusy ksiazece COA.svg
Growth of Brandenburg-Prussia, 1600-1795. Acprussiamap2.gif
Growth of Brandenburg-Prussia, 1600–1795.

In 1525 the Duchy of Prussia was established as a fief of the King of Poland. Albert of Prussia was the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights and the first Duke of Prussia. He belonged to the Ansbach branch of the dynasty. The Duchy of Prussia adopted Protestantism as the official state religion.

From 1701 the title of Duke of Prussia was attached to the title of King in and of Prussia.

Kings in Prussia (1701–1772)

Wappen Preussen.png
Coronation of Frederick I in Konigsberg. Preussen 1701 Konigsberg.jpg
Coronation of Frederick I in Königsberg.

In 1701 the title of King in Prussia was granted, without the Duchy of Prussia being elevated to a Kingdom within the Holy Roman Empire. From 1701 onwards the titles of Duke of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg were always attached to the title of King in Prussia. The Duke of Prussia adopted the title of king as Frederick I, establishing his status as a monarch whose royal territory lay outside the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire, with the assent of Emperor Leopold I: Frederick could not be "King of Prussia" because part of Prussia's lands were under the suzerainty of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland. In the age of absolutism, most monarchs were obsessed with the desire to emulate Louis XIV of France with his luxurious palace at Versailles.

In 1772 the Duchy of Prussia was elevated to a kingdom.

Dynastic StatusReignBirthDeathMarriages
Weidemann, Friedrich I Preussen.jpg Frederick I
Son of

also Duke of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg

1701–171316571713 Elisabeth Henriette of Hesse-Kassel

Sophia Charlotte of Hanover
Sophia Louise of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

Antoine pesne friedrich wil.jpg Frederick William I Son of1713–174016881740 Sophia Dorothea of Hanover
Frederick II of Prussia Coloured drawing.png Frederick the Great
Son of

later King of Prussia

1740–178617121786 Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern

Kings of Prussia (1772–1918)

Expansion of Prussia 1807-1871 Ac.prussiamap3.png
Expansion of Prussia 1807–1871

Frederick William's successor, Frederick the Great gained Silesia in the Silesian Wars so that Prussia emerged as a great power. The king was strongly influenced by French culture and civilization and preferred the French language.

In 1772 the title King of Prussia was assumed. From 1772 onwards the titles of Duke of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg were always attached to the title King of Prussia.

In 1871 the Kingdom of Prussia became a constituent member of the German Empire, and the King of Prussia gained the additional title of German Emperor.

Dynastic StatusReignBirthDeathMarriages
Frederick II of Prussia Coloured drawing.png Frederick the Great Son of

before King in Prussia

1740–178617121786 Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern
Frederic Guillaume II de Prusse.jpg Frederick William II Nephew of1786–179717441797Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Lüneburg

Frederika Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt

FWIII.jpg Frederick William III Son of1797–184017701840 Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Auguste von Harrach

FWIV.jpg Frederick William IV Son of1840–186117951861 Elisabeth Ludovika of Bavaria
Wilhelm1.jpg William I Brother of

also German Emperor (from 1871)

1861–188817971888 Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
FriedIII.jpg Frederick III Son of

also German Emperor

188818311888 Victoria, Princess Royal
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2004-0096, Kaiser Wilhelm II..jpg Wilhelm II Son of

also German Emperor

1888–191818591941 Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein

Hermine Reuss of Greiz

German Emperors (1871–1918)

Hohenzollern Reichswappen Kleines.png
Prussia in the German Empire 1871-1918 Prussiamap.gif
Prussia in the German Empire 1871–1918

In 1871 the German Empire was proclaimed. With the accession of William I to the newly established imperial German throne, the titles of King of Prussia, Duke of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg were always attached to the title of German Emperor.

Prussia's Minister President Otto von Bismarck convinced William that German Emperor instead of Emperor of Germany would be appropriate. He became primus inter pares among other German sovereigns.

William II intended to develop a German navy capable of challenging Britain's Royal Navy. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on 28 June 1914 set off the chain of events that led to World War I. As a result of the war, the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires ceased to exist.

In 1918 the German empire was abolished and replaced by the Weimar Republic. After the outbreak of the German revolution in 1918, both Emperor Wilhelm II and Crown Prince Wilhelm signed the document of abdication.

Brandenburg-Prussian branch since 1918 abdication

Georg Friedrich, the head of the Prussian Hohenzollerns and his wife 2017-07-08 Wedding Ekaterina Malysheva und Ernst August von Hannover (1201)b.jpg
Georg Friedrich, the head of the Prussian Hohenzollerns and his wife

In June 1926, a referendum on expropriating the formerly ruling princes of Germany without compensation failed and as a consequence, the financial situation of the Hohenzollern family improved considerably. A settlement between the state and the family made Cecilienhof property of the state but granted a right of residence to Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Cecilie. The family also kept the ownership of Monbijou Palace in Berlin, Oleśnica Castle in Silesia, Rheinsberg Palace, Schwedt Palace and other property until 1945.

Since the abolition of the German monarchy, no Hohenzollern claims to imperial or royal prerogatives are recognised by Germany's Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany of 1949, which guarantees a republic.

The communist government of the Soviet occupation zone depropriated all landowners and industrialists; the House of Hohenzollern lost almost all of its fortune, retaining a few company shares and Hohenzollern Castle in West Germany. The Polish government appropriated the Silesian property and the Dutch government seized Huis Doorn, the Emperor's seat in exile.

After German reunification however, the family was legally able to re-claim their portable property, namely art collections and parts of the interior of their former palaces. Negotiations on the return of or compensation for these assets are not yet completed.

Berlin's Old City Palace is being rebuilt and is scheduled to open in 2019. The Berlin Palace and the Humboldt Forum are located in the middle of Berlin.

Order of succession

Relation to predecessor
Wilhelm II 1918–1941Succeeded himself as
pretender to the throne.
Crown Prince Wilhelm 1941–1951Son of
Louis Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia 1951–1994Son of
Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia since 1994Grandson of
Carl Friedrich, Prince of PrussiaSon of (heir apparent)

The head of the house is the titular King of Prussia and German Emperor. He also bears a historical claim to the title of Prince of Orange. Members of this line style themselves princes of Prussia.

Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, the current head of the royal Prussian House of Hohenzollern, was married to Princess Sophie of Isenburg on 27 August 2011. On 20 January 2013, she gave birth to twin sons, Carl Friedrich Franz Alexander and Louis Ferdinand Christian Albrecht, in Bremen. Carl Friedrich, the elder of the two, is the heir apparent. [6]

Royal House of Hohenzollern table

Table of the Royal Brandenburg-Prussian House of Hohenzollern Genealogy of House of Hohenzollern.svg
Table of the Royal Brandenburg-Prussian House of Hohenzollern

Swabian branch

Combined coat of arms of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1849). Schloss Sigmaringen Wappen.jpg
Combined coat of arms of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1849).

The cadet Swabian [7] branch of the House of Hohenzollern was founded by Frederick IV, Count of Zollern. The family ruled three territories with seats at, respectively, Hechingen, Sigmaringen and Haigerloch. The counts were elevated to princes in 1623. The Swabian branch of the Hohenzollerns is Roman Catholic.

Affected by economic problems and internal feuds, the Hohenzollern counts from the 14th century onwards came under pressure by their neighbors, the Counts of Württemberg and the cities of the Swabian League, whose troops besieged and finally destroyed Hohenzollern Castle in 1423. Nevertheless, the Hohenzollerns retained their estates, backed by their Brandenburg cousins and the Imperial House of Habsburg. In 1535, Count Charles I of Hohenzollern (1512–1576) received the counties of Sigmaringen and Veringen as Imperial fiefs. [2]

In 1576, when Charles I, Count of Hohenzollern died, his county was divided to form the three Swabian branches. Eitel Frederick IV took Hohenzollern with the title of Hohenzollern-Hechingen, Karl II took Sigmaringen and Veringen, and Christopher got Haigerloch. Christopher's family died out in 1634.

In 1695, the remaining two Swabian branches entered into an agreement with the Margrave of Brandenburg which provided that if both branches became extinct, the principalities should fall to Brandenburg. Because of the Revolutions of 1848, Constantine, Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Karl Anton, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen abdicated their thrones in December 1849. The principalities were ruled by the Kings of Prussia from December 1849 onward, with the Hechingen and Sigmaringen branches obtaining official treatment as cadets of the Prussian royal family.

The Hohenzollern-Hechingen branch became extinct in 1869. A descendent of this branch was Countess Sophie Chotek, morganatic wife of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este.

Counts of Hohenzollern (1204–1575)

Hohenzollern region, in present-day Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany (red color) and their Prussian cousins' kingdom (light beige) German Empire - Prussia - Hohenzollern (1871).svg
Hohenzollern region, in present-day Baden-Württemberg, Germany (red color) and their Prussian cousins' kingdom (light beige)

In 1204, the County of Hohenzollern was established out of the fusion of the County of Zollern and the Burgraviate of Nuremberg. The Swabian branch inherited the county of Zollern and, being descended from Frederick I of Nuremberg, were all named "Friedrich" down through the 11th generation. [8] Each one's numeral is counted from the first Friedrich to rule his branch's appanage. [8]

The most senior of these in the 12th century, Count Frederick VIII (d. 1333), had two sons, the elder of whom became Frederick IX (d. 1379), first Count of Hohenzollern, and fathered Friedrich X who left no sons when he died in 1412. [8]

But the younger son of Friedrich VIII, called Friedrich of Strassburg, uniquely, took no numeral of his own, retaining the old title "Count of Zollern" and pre-deceased his brother in 1364/65. [8] Prince Wilhelm Karl zu Isenburg's 1957 genealogical series, Europäische Stammtafeln , says Friedrich of Strassburg shared, rather, in the rule of Zollern with his elder brother until his premature death. [8]

It appears, but is not stated, that Strassburg's son became the recognized co-ruler of his cousin Friedrich X (as compensation for having received no appanage and/or because of incapacity on the part of Friedrich X) and, as such, assumed (or is, historically, attributed) the designation Frederick XI although he actually pre-deceased Friedrich X, dying in 1401.

Friedrich XI, however, left two sons who jointly succeeded their cousin-once-removed, being Count Frederick XII (d. childless 1443) and Count Eitel Friedrich I (d. 1439), the latter becoming the ancestor of all subsequent branches of the Princes of Hohenzollern. [8]

In the 12th century, a son of Frederick I secured the county of Hohenberg. The county remained in the possession of the family until 1486.

The influence of the Swabian line was weakened by several partitions of its lands. In the 16th century, the situation changed completely when Eitel Frederick II, a friend and adviser of the emperor Maximilian I, received the district of Haigerloch. His grandson Charles I was granted the counties of Sigmaringen and Vehringen by Charles V.

Counts, later Princes of Hohenzollern-Hechingen (1576–1849)

Stetten Abbey church in Hechingen, the burial place of the Swabian line Klosterkirche Stetten (Hechingen).JPG
Stetten Abbey church in Hechingen, the burial place of the Swabian line

The County of Hohenzollern-Hechingen was established in 1576 with allodial rights. It included the original County of Zollern, with the Hohenzollern Castle and the monastery at Stetten.

In December 1849, the ruling princes of both Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen abdicated their thrones, and their principalities were incorporated as the Prussian province of Hohenzollern. [2] The Hechingen branch became extinct in dynastic line with Konstantin's death in 1869.

Dynastic StatusReignBirthDeathMarriages
Eitelivs Fridericvs Comes Zollerensis.jpg Eitel Friedrich IV Son of Charles I 1576–160515451605Veronica of Ortenburg

Sibylle of Zimmern
Johanna of Eberstein

Coat of Arms of House of Hohenzollern (small).png Johann Georg Son of

raised to Prince in 1623

1605–162315771623Franziska of Salm-Neufville
Coat of Arms of House of Hohenzollern (small).png Eitel Frederick VSon of

also count of Hohenzollern-Hechingen

1623–166116011661Maria Elisabeth van Bergh ’s-Heerenberg
Coat of Arms of House of Hohenzollern (small).png Philipp Brother of1661–167116161671Marie Sidonie of Baden-Rodemachern
Friedrich Wilhelm, Furst von Hohenzollern-Hechingen (1663-1735).jpg Friedrich Wilhelm Son of1671–173516631735Maria Leopoldina of Sinzendorf

Maximiliane Magdalena of Lützau

Coat of Arms of House of Hohenzollern (small).png Friedrich Ludwig Son of1735–175016881750unmarried
JosefHohenzollernHechingen.jpg Josef Friedrich Wilhelm Son of Herman Frederick of Hohenzollern-Hechingen1750–179817171798Maria Theresia Folch de Cardona y Silva

Maria Theresia of Waldburg-Zeil

Hermannhohenzollern.jpg Hermann Son of Franz Xaver of Hohenzollern-Hechingen1798–181017511810Louise of Merode-Westerloo

Maximiliane of Gavre
Maria Antonia of Waldburg-Zeil-Wurzach

Coat of Arms of House of Hohenzollern (small).png Friedrich Hermann Otto Son of1810–183817761838 Pauline, Duchess of Sagan
KonstantinHohenzHech.jpg Constantine Son of1838–184918011869 Eugénie de Beauharnais

Amalie Schenk von Geyern

Counts of Hohenzollern-Haigerloch (1576–1634 and 1681–1767)

Wappen Haigerloch.svg

The County of Hohenzollern-Haigerloch was established in 1576 without allodial rights.

Between 1634 and 1681, the county was temporarily integrated into the principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.

Upon the death of Francis Christopher Anton in 1767, the Haigerloch territory was incorporated into the principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.

Counts, later Princes of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1576–1849)

Sigmaringen Castle Sigmaringen Schloss BW 2015-04-28 17-37-14.jpg
Sigmaringen Castle

The County of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was established in 1576 with allodial rights and a seat at Sigmaringen Castle.

In December 1849, sovereignty over the principality was yielded to the Franconian branch of the family and incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia, which accorded status as cadets of the Prussian Royal Family to the Swabian Hohenzollerns. The last ruling Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Karl Anton, would later serve as Minister President of Prussia between 1858 and 1862.

Dynastic StatusReignBirthDeathMarriages
Karl II hohenzollern.jpg Charles II Son of Charles I 1576–160615471606Euphrosyne of Oettingen-Wallerstein

Elisabeth of Palant

Jean de Hohenzollern 1578-1638.jpg Johann Son of

elevated to Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in 1623

1606–163815781638Johanna of Hohenzollern-Hechingen
Meinrad von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.jpg Meinrad I Son of1638–168116051681Anna Marie of Törring at Seefeld
Maximilien I de Hohenzollern.jpg Maximilian I Son of1681–168916361689Maria Clara of Berg-'s-Heerenberg
Coat of Arms of House of Hohenzollern (small).png Meinrad II Son of1689–171516731715Johanna Catharina of Montfort
JosefFriedrErnstHohenzSig.jpg Joseph Friedrich Ernst Son of1715–176917021769Marie Franziska of Oettingen-Spielberg

Judith of Closen-Arnstorf
Maria Theresa of Waldburg-Trauchburg

Coat of Arms of House of Hohenzollern (small).png Karl Friedrich Son of1769–178517241785Johanna of Hohenzollern-Bergh
Adel im Wandel401.jpg Anton Aloys Son of1785–183117621831 Amalie Zephyrine of Salm-Kyrburg
Adel im Wandel403.jpg Karl Son of1831–184817851853 Marie Antoinette Murat

Katharina of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst

Karl Anton von Hohenzollern.jpg Karl Anton Son of1848–184918111885 Josephine of Baden

House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen after 1849

Map of the Province of Hohenzollern, a de facto province of Prussia after 1850. Karte-Hohenzollern.png
Map of the Province of Hohenzollern, a de facto province of Prussia after 1850.
Karl Friedrich, Prince of Hohenzollern, head of the Swabian branch Graf von dem Bergh, Fotografie Furst Karl Friedrich von Hohenzollern.jpg
Karl Friedrich, Prince of Hohenzollern, head of the Swabian branch

The family continued to use the title of Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. After the Hechingen branch became extinct in 1869, the Sigmaringen branch adopted title of Prince of Hohenzollern.

In 1866, Prince Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was chosen prince of Romania, becoming King Carol I of Romania in 1881.

Charles's elder brother, Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern, was offered the Spanish throne after a revolt exiled Isabella II in 1870. Although encouraged by Bismarck to accept, Leopold declined in the face of French opposition. Nonetheless, Bismarck altered and then published the Ems telegram to create a casus belli : France declared war, but Bismarck's Germany won the Franco-Prussian War.

The head of the Sigmaringen branch (the only extant line of the Swabian branch of the dynasty) is Karl Friedrich, styled His Serene Highness The Prince of Hohenzollern. His official seat is Sigmaringen Castle. [2]

Kings of the Romanians

Kingdom of Romania - Small CoA.svg

Reigning (1866–1947)

Coronation of Carol I in Bucharest Crowning of Carol I, 10 May 1881.jpg
Coronation of Carol I in Bucharest
Romanian territory. Romania territory during 20th century.gif
Romanian territory.

The Principality of Romania was established in 1862, after the Ottoman vassal states of Wallachia and Moldavia had been united in 1859 under Alexandru Ioan Cuza as Prince of Romania in a personal union. He was deposed in 1866 by the Romanian parliament.

Prince Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was invited to become reigning Prince of Romania in 1866. In 1881 he became Carol I, King of the Romanians. Carol I had an only daughter who died young, so the younger son of his brother Leopold, Prince Ferdinand of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, would succeed his uncle as King of the Romanians in 1914, and his descendants, having converted to the Orthodox Church, continued to reign there until the end of the monarchy in 1947.

Dynastic StatusReignBirthDeathMarriages
Carol I King of Romania.jpg Carol I Son of Karl Anton, Prince of Hohenzollern

titled as Prince until 1881

1866–191418391914 Elisabeth of Wied
King Ferdinand of Romania.jpg Ferdinand I Nephew of Carol I 1914–192718651927 Marie of Edinburgh
Mihai.jpg Michael I Grandson of Ferdinand I
1st reign
1927–193019212017 Anne of Bourbon-Parma
Carol al II-lea.jpg Carol II Son of Ferdinand I 1930–194018931953 Zizi Lambrino

Helen of Greece and Denmark
Magda Lupescu

Mihai.jpg Michael I Son of Carol II
2nd reign
1940–194719212017 Anne of Bourbon-Parma

Succession since 1947

In 1947 the Kingdom of Romania was abolished and replaced with the People's Republic of Romania. Michael did not press his claim to the defunct Romanian throne and although he was welcomed back to the country after half a century in exile as a private citizen, with substantial former royal properties being placed at his disposal. However, his dynastic claim was not recognised by post-Communist Romanians.

On 10 May 2011, Michael severed the dynastic ties between the House of Romania and the House of Hohenzollern. [9] After that the branch of the Hohenzollerns was dynastically represented only by the last king Michael, and his daughters. Having no sons, he declared that his dynastic heir, instead of being a male member of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen princely family to which he belongs patrilineally and in accordance with the last Romanian monarchical constitution, should be his eldest daughter Margareta. [10]

The royal house is still very popular [11] and in 2014 Prime Minister Victor Ponta promised a referendum on whether or not to reinstate the monarchy if he were re-elected. [12]


Palaces of the Prussian Hohenzollerns

Palaces of the Franconian branches

Palaces of the Swabian Hohenzollerns

Coats of arms

Members of the family after abdication

Royal Prussian branch

Princely Swabian branch

See also

Related Research Articles

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  1. Encyclopædia Britannica. Hohenzollern Dynasty
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser XIX. "Haus Hohenzollern". C.A. Starke Verlag, 2011, pp. 30–33. ISBN   978-3-7980-0849-6.
  3. Jeep, John. Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia
  4. Cawley, Charles. Swabia, Nobility
  5. 1 2 3 Schmid, Ludwig (1862). "Geschichte der Grafen von Zollern-Hohenberg". Geschichte der Grafen von Zollern-Hohenberg. Anhang. Historisch-topographische Zusammenstellung der Grafschaft und Besitzungen des Hauses Zollern-Hohenberg. Google Book: Gebrüder Scheitlin. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  6. "Official Website of the House of Hohenzollern: Prinz Georg Friedrich von Preußen".
  7. Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe, Jiří Louda & Michael Maclagan, 1981, pp. 178–179.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Huberty, Michel; Giraud, Alain; Magdelaine, F.; B. (1989). L'Allemagne Dynastique, Tome V – Hohenzollern-Waldeck. France: Laballery. pp. 30, 33. ISBN   2-901138-05-5.
  9. "Romania's former King Michael ends ties with German Hohenzollern dynasty". The Canadian Press. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  10. "King Michael I broke ties with historical and dynastic House of Hohenzollern" in Adevarul – News Bucharest, 10 May 2011
  11. Long live the ex-king
  12. Romania may hold a referendum on the return of Monarchy

Further reading

Royal house
House of Hohenzollern
Founding year: 12th century
German unification Ruling House of Germany
18 January 1871 – 9 November 1918
Prussia established Ruling House of Prussia
1525 – 9 November 1918
Romanian unification Ruling House of Romania
26 March 1881 – 30 December 1947