Meet Charles’ German cousins: King’s ‘cherished’ German relatives who could join him for a state banquet in Berlin tonight include a shooting companion of Prince Philip’s and royal historian
- King Charles is set to travel to Germany today where he will see his cousins
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King Charles is set for a family reunion today as he will dine with a number of his cousins during a state visit to Germany.
The monarch, who is arriving in the country today, will be hosted by the president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife for a white-tie state banquet at Bellevue Palace.
According to The Telegraph, a number of his royal cousins have been invited to attend.
Charles, who has previously spoken about how he ‘cherishes’ his ties with his German ancestry, has a number of German first cousins, who are the children of Prince Philip’s sisters.
Among his direct first cousins are Prince Rainer of Hesse, Princess Clarissa of Hesse, Prince Georg of Hanover and Prince Ludwig of Baden.
King Charles is set for a family reunion today as he will dine with a number of his cousins during a state visit to Germany (Pictured in 2016, with his distant cousin Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg outside Castle Langeburg)
Among those who are tipped to attend include Prince Baden Bernhard (left), who attended Prince Philip’s funeral in 2021, and his father Prince Ludwig Of Baden (right)
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He is also closely related to Bernhard, hereditary prince of Baden and Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.
Prince Philip and his four sisters had grown up in the strange, unsettled world of peripatetic refugee royalty between the wars. They were all born into the Greek royal family, itself descended from the ruling house of Denmark, but had been driven into exile in 1922 after a military coup.
He was just a schoolboy when all four of his sisters married within a year of each other, all to German aristocrats.
All these families enjoy so many precious recollections of the ‘Uncle Philip’, who thought nothing of popping over to Germany for a christening or a landmark birthday party for the offspring and relatives of his older sisters.
They were the kind-hearted, glamorous quartet of princesses who had doted on their boisterous little brother through an often troubled childhood.
Later, Prince Philip would establish a firm bond with their children, too. It remains largely unknown that the Duke, quietly and privately, paid for some of their schooling.
On the whole, they have lived relatively normal and non-descript lives out of the public eye.
The Telegraph’s Berlin correspondent Justin Huggler previously explained: ‘There is no continuing aristocracy in post-war Germany. They are the descendants of an aristocracy with real power, but there’s an awful lot of them, and they don’t have much cachet.’
However at big family gatherings, whether in the UK or in Germany, there would always be a big crossover.
At the celebrations for the golden or diamond wedding anniversaries of the Queen and the Duke, for example, the German relations were fully included. Similarly, many a German christening has featured a House of Windsor godparent at the font.
Meanwhile a number of the German cousins attended the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in 2021, as well as the Queen’s funeral last year.
Here FEMAIL reveals the relatives whom the King could be set to dine with this evening…
THE CHILDREN OF PRINCESS SOPHIE OF GREECE AND DENMARK
July 1922: Princess Sophie of Greece, sister of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the wedding of Lord Louis Mountbatten to the Countess of Ashley
Prince Philip and his sister, Princess Sophie of Hanover when they attended the funeral of the Dowager Lady Brabourne and Nicholas Knatchbull at the Church of St John the Baptist at Mersham, near Ashford, Kent
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King Charles has a number of first cousins through his aunt, Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark.
Although the youngest of four sisters, Sophie was the first to wed, marrying her second cousin-once-removed Prince Christoph of Hesse in 1930, at the age of 16.
Son of Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse and Princess Margaret of Prussia, Christoph was a great-grandson of Queen Victoria through her eldest daughter Victoria, Princess Royal, wife of Frederick III, German Emperor.
Prince Christoph was a director in the Third Reich Air Ministry, an SS colonel and the chief of Luftwaffe commander Hermann Goering’s secret intelligence service – responsible for spying on anti-Nazis.
A photo taken in 1935 shows Sophie sitting opposite Hitler at the wedding of Goering and his bride Emmy. In a diary she wrote of a private lunch with Hitler and how she thought he was a ‘charming and seemingly modest man’.
Indeed the couple were such devoted Nazis that they named one of their five children Karl Adolf in honour of Hitler.
Prince Christoph was killed in October 1943 in a plane accident over Italy. Sophie went on to marry Prince George William of Hanover in 1946, and the couple had three children together.
Princess Sophie remained in contact with her brother and sister-in-law the Queen until her death in 2001 in Munich.
Philip’s closest and most enduring sibling relationship was with Sophie. She was the first of the family to marry, aged 16, lived until 2001 and was a frequent guest at Windsor and Buckingham Palace. She was godmother to Prince Edward.
Her children, whom King Charles could dine with tonight, are:
Prince Rainer of Hesse
Prince Rainer of Hesse, 83, who lives near Kronberg, West Germany, works as a historian and has often researched his own family history
Prince Rainer of Hesse, 83, who lives near Kronberg, West Germany, is the son of Philip’s sister Princess Sophie.
He works as a historian and has often researched his own family history. He has never married and has no children.
Before his death in April 2021, the Duke of Edinburgh was writing the foreword for a book about his family’s ancestral home which had been written by Prince Rainer.
According to a German documentary, at the beginning of the year, Rainer of Hesse asked Philip for some personal words for the 300 year celebration of the castle.
Sadly Prince Philip became ill and went to hospital, so Rainer didn’t ask again and forgot about it.
His words arrived an hour before news of his death reached the extended family.
After an envelope arrived at the castle, Prince Philip’s Private Secretary told Rainer the royal had written every word himself.
The Duke’s foreword paid a fond tribute to Wolfsgarten, the Hesse family’s 18th Century hunting lodge near Frankfurt and a place which he had been visiting since childhood.
Princess Clarissa of Hesse
According to The Telegraph, Princess Clarissa of Hesse could also be among the guests attending the event tonight (pictured left and right in the 1960s)
She was a bridesmaid at the 1960 wedding of her cousin Lady Pamela Mountbatten to David Hicks alongside Princess Anne (pictured, in 1960)
According to The Telegraph, Princess Clarissa of Hesse could also be among the guests attending the event tonight.
She is the daughter of Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark and niece of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
She was a bridesmaid at the 1960 wedding of her cousin Lady Pamela Mountbatten to David Hicks alongside Princess Anne.
Meanwhile she also attended Princess Michael of Kent’s wedding in 1963 and Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark’s 1964 wedding to King Constantine II of Greece.
She tied the knot herself in 1971, Princess Clarissa married Claude Jean Derrien.
She has one daughter, Johanna, who was born in 1980.
Prince Georg of Hanover
Prince Georg Paul Christian of Hanover was born on 9 December 1949 at Schloss Salem in Salem, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
He married Victoria Anne Bee on 15 September 1973 at Rottach-am-Tegernsee, Bavaria, Germany.
The couple went on to have two daughters, Princess Vera Alice and Princess Nora Sophie.
In recent years, Georg’s family has grown further. In 2006, Princess Vera married Manuel Dmoch, with whom she has two children.
Princess Nora is married to Christian Falk, and they also have two children.
THE SON OF PRINCESS THEODORA OF GREECE AND DENMARK
December 1922: Prince Andrew of Greece (1882 – 1944) with his wife Princess Alice (1885 – 1969) and their daughters, Princess Theodora (1906 – 1960) and Princess Margarita (1905 – 1981)
Born in 1906 at Tatoi Palace, the summer residence of the Greek royal family, Theodora was the only one of Philip’s four sisters whose husband wasn’t involved in the Nazi party.
In August 1931 she married her second cousin Berthold, Margrave of Baden.
They had three children together: Princess Margarita, who later married Prince Tomislav of Yugoslavia; Prince Maximillian, who married Archduchess Valerie of Austria; and Prince Ludwig, who married Princess Anna Maria Henrietta Eleonora Gobertina of Auersperg-Breunner.
Theodora married Prince Berthold of Baden and it was the Badens who encouraged the pioneering Jewish educationalist, Kurt Hahn, to establish his original school at their family seat, Salem Castle.
Theodora died on 16 October 1969 at Büdingen, Germany, having survived her husband by six years. Her mother, Princess Alice, died five weeks later.
Prince Ludwig of Baden
Prince Ludwig of Baden, 86, is the son of Prince Philip’s sister Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark (pictured with his wife Princess Maria Anne)
Prince Ludwig appears to have remained close to the British royal family. He attended the final night of The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations being held at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park in May 2016 (pictured)
Prince Ludwig of Baden, 86, is the son of Prince Philip’s sister Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark.
He is married to Princess Maria Anne, and the couple have two daughters and one son.
Very little is known about his two daughters, Princess Sophie and Princess Aglaë, who tend to keep a low profile.
According to the royal blog, Euro History Journal, Princess Aglaë works as a furniture designer.
Her brand described itself online as seeing furniture as ’emotional, functional and environmentally friendly’.
She married Wolf von Trotha in October 2019, and it is not known if they have any children.
Prince Ludwig appears to have remained close to the British royal family.
He attended the final night of The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations being held at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park in May 2016.
Then, he was given a seat alongside senior members of the royal family, including the Duke of Kent and Princess Beatrice.
Prince Bernhard, 50, is the son of Prince Ludwig, and therefore is a first cousin once removed of King Charles (pictured with his wife Stephanie, Princess of Baden)
Bernhard, a royal insider previously told The Telegraph , is close to the British royal family and would often host shooting trips for Charles’ father Prince Philip (pictured, Charles)
Prince Bernhard, 50, is the son of Prince Ludwig, and therefore is a first cousin once removed of King Charles.
He is married to Princess Stephanie, and they have three children together – Prince Leopold, Prince Friedrich and Prince Karl-Wilhelm of Baden.
Bernhard, a royal insider previously told The Telegraph, is close to the British royal family.
A source said he ‘was a great favourite of [Charles’ father] Philip. He often went over there to shoot with Max, and his younger brother Ludvig.’
He studied business administration and law in Hamburg and Switzerland and is a commercial lawyer by trade.
In the years 2000-2009 he oversaw the transfer of many family assets, including Eberstein Castle and parts of Schloss Salem to the German state in order to stabilise the family’s finances.
He now manages the family estates including Staufenberg Castle and the wineries, which are dedicated to preserving the grape variety Müller-Thurgau.
The couple have attended a number of royal events in recent years, including Prince Philip and the Queen’s funerals.
In 2021, he joined members of the Windsor family to appear in the BBC One film Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers.
Prince Bernhard revealed his grandfather Berthold, who was married to the Duke’s second sister Theodora, had received letters from a teenage Philip encouraging him to help him make money from selling matches.
Prince Bernhard discussed how the Scottish school offered stability to the consort-to-be, saying: ‘Prince Philip was in exile, he had no home and was penniless.’
Revealing an insight into the Duke of Edinburgh’s interests during his time there, Germany’s Prince Bernhard shared two letters in the Prince’s hand that were trying to persuade his grandfather, the Prince’s brother-in-law, to sell matches to the school’s barber.
He concludes that the letters offer a strong sense of who Prince Philip was during his adolescence: ‘[The letter] shows his sense of family, his curiosity, and his entrepreneurship. In a nutshell, it gives you the character of the Duke as a teenager.’
Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Prince Philipp’s grandmother, Princess Margarita, was Prince Philip’s elder sister and the Duke of Edinburgh paid many visits to the family home, Langenburg Castle in southern Germany
A godson of Princess Anne, in 2013 he invited the-then Prince of Wales to speak at the Langenburg Forum for Sustainability (pictured)
Prince Philipp (pictured leaving the chapel) was among the few guests to attend the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in 2021
Prince Philipp’s grandmother, Princess Margarita, was Prince Philip’s elder sister and the Duke of Edinburgh paid many visits to the family home, Langenburg Castle in southern Germany.
Like Prince Bernhard, Prince Philipp is therefore believed to have grown close to Charles’ father.
The royal is married to Saskia Binder, a former banker, and the duo have attended a number of different royal events over the years.
A godson of Princess Anne, in 2013 he invited the-then Prince of Wales to speak at the Langenburg Forum for Sustainability.
Meanwhile Prince Philipp has spoken about his memories of Charles’ father Philip, saying: ‘It was such a joy having a conversation with him. His memory was extraordinary.
‘He could remember playing hide-and-seek in the castle when he was a boy, and he always enjoyed talking to the local people.
‘He could switch from German to English and back, whether he was talking about Winston Churchill or the local wildlife.’
He was among the few guests to attend the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in 2021.
At the time, he said in a statement: ‘It really is an incredible honour and we are all extremely touched and privileged to be included on behalf of the wider family.’
He also attended Prince Philip’s Service of Thanksgiving, and the Queen’s funeral, last year.
Duke of Edinburgh’s family tree reveals his German side
The Duke of Edinburgh’s parents were Princess Alice of Battenberg and Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark.
They had five children – Prince Philip; Princess Margarita; Princess Theodora; Princess Cecile; and Princess Sophia. Here is the full family tree involving Philip’s siblings:
– married Queen Elizabeth II – had four children – Prince Charles; Princess Anne; Prince Andrew; Prince Edward
– Prince Charles – married Princess Diana – two children – Prince William; Prince Harry
– Prince William married Kate Middleton – three children – Prince, Charlotte, Louis
– Prince Harry married Meghan Markle – two children – Archie, Lilibet
– married Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
– Princess Anne – married Mark Philips – had two children – Peter Phillips; Zara Tindall
– Peter Phillips – married Autumn Phillips – two children – Savannah; Isla
– Zara Phillips – married Mike Tindall – two children – Mia; Lena; Lucas
– married Timothy Lawrence
– Prince Andrew – married Sarah Ferguson – two children – Princess Beatrice; Princess Eugenie
– Princess Beatrice – married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi (no children)
– Princess Eugenie – married Jack Brooksbank – one child – August
– Prince Edward – married Sophie Rhys-Jones – two children – Lady Louise; James Viscount Severn
– married Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg of Germany – had five children – Prince Kraft; Princess Beatrix; Prince Georg Andreas; Prince Rupprecht; Prince Albrecht
– Prince Kraft – married Princess Charlotte von Croÿ – three children – Princess Cécile; Prince Philipp; Princess Xenia
– Princess Cecile married Cyril de Commarque (no children)
– Prince Philipp married Saskia Binder – had three children – Marita; Max; Gustav
– Princess Xenia married Max Soltmann – had one child – Louisa
– married Irma Pospesch (no children)
– Princess Beatrix (no marriage or children)
– Prince Georg Andreas – married Princess Luise – had two children – Princess Katharina; Princess Tatjana
– Princess Katharina married Prince Nikolaus – had two children – Princess Laetitia; Princess Alexia
– Princess Tatjana married Hubertus Stephan – had two children – Carl; Wolf
– Prince Rupprecht (no marriage or children)
– Prince Albrecht – married Maria-Hildegard Fischer – one child – Prince Ludwig
– married Berthold, Margrave of Baden – had three children – Princess Margarita, Prince Maximillian; Prince Ludwig
– Princess Margarita – married Prince Tomislav of Yugoslavia – had two children – Prince Nikolas; Princess Katarina
– Prince Nikolas – married Ljiljana Licanin – had one child – Princess Marie
– Princess Katerina – married Sir George Desmond de Silva – had one child – Victoria de Silva
– Prince Maximillian – married Archduchess Valerie of Austria – had four children – Marie, Bernhard; Leopold; Michael
– Princess Marie – married Richard Dudley Baker – had one child – Sophia Baker
– Prince Bernhard – married Stephanie Kaul – had three children – Leopold; Friedrich; Karl-Wilhelm
– Prince Leopold – (no marriage or children)
– Prince Michael – married Christina Höhne (no children)
– Prince Ludwig – married Princess Anna Maria – had three children – Princess Sophie, Prince Bernhard; Princess Aglaë
– married Hereditary Grand Duke George Donatus of Hesse – had three children – Prince Ludwig; Prince Alexander; Princess Johanna
(none of their children married or had children)
– married Prince Christoph of Hesse – had five children – Princess Christine; Princess Dorothea; Prince Karl; Prince Rainer; Princess Clarissa
– Princess Christine – married Prince Andrej – had two children – Princess Tatiana, Princess Christopher
– Princess Tatiana – married Gregory Thune-Larsen – had two children – Olga; Sonia
– Prince Christopher (no marriage or children)
– married Robert Floris van Eyck – had two children – Helene; Mark
– Helene – married Robert Alan Harman – had one child – Sascha
– Mark van Eyck – married Joanne Green (no children)
– Princess Dorothea – married Prince Friedrich – had two children – Princess Marina; Princess Clarissa
– Princess Marina (no marriage or children)
– Princess Clarissa – married Eric Michel Jacques de Waele – had one child – Michel
– Prince Karl – married Yvonne Szapáry von Muraszombath – had two children – Prince Christoph; Princess Irina
– Princess Irina – married Alexander von Schönburg-Glauchau – had one child – Valentin
– Prince Christoph (no marriage or children)
– Prince Rainer (no marriage or children)
– Princess Clarissa – married Jean-Claude Derrien – had one child – Princess Johanna
– Princess Johanna (no marriage or children)
– married Prince George William of Hanover – had three children – Prince Welf Ernst; Prince Georg; Princess Friederike
– Prince Welf Ernst – married Wibke van Gunsteren – had one child – Princess Tania
– Princess Tania – married Naylor-Leyland – had two children – Jake; Gabriel
– married Edward Hooper – had one child – Louis
– Prince Georg – married Victoria Anne Bee – had two children – Princess Vera; Princess Nora
– Princess Vera – married Manuel Dmoch – had two children – Celina; Elena
– Princess Nora – married Christian Falk – had two children – Konstantin; Lepold
– Princess Friederike – married Jerry William Cyr – had two children – Julia; Jean-Paul
On Thursday the King will oversee a joint German-British engineer battalion laying a pontoon bridge over the Oder-Havel canal, north of Berlin.
It is the first joint battalion between the counties for more than two centuries and was reinstituted 18 months ago.
The battalion was intended to rebuild defence ties between Britain and Germany following the initial withdrawal of British troops from the country in 2020 and impacts of Brexit.
Following the Windsor framework, German officials including ambassador Miguel Berger, have suggested there may be more renewed military engagement as proof of ‘renewed trust’ with the UK.