Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Schloss Cumberland Die Welfen am Traunsee & Herzog und Kaisertochter

May 24, 2019, was the 200th birthday of Queen Victoria.  Three days later, May 27, was the 200th birthday of Victoria's first cousin, Prince George of Cumberland, the only child of the Duke of and Duchess of Cumberland.

Victoria succeeded her uncle, William IV, in June 1837.  William was also King of Hanover, where the succession was based on Salic law (males only.)  The next in line was Victoria's uncle, Ernest Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland, who remained the heir presumptive to the British throne until November 1840 when Victoria gave birth to her first child.

So it was Uncle Cumberland who succeeded to the Hanover throne and George became the Crown Prince.  King Ernst August died in 1851.  Georg V was king until 1866 when Prussia took vengeance of Hanover as the King had thrown his support to Austria in its war with Prussia.

Prussia annexed the tiny kingdom as another Prussian province.  King Georg V and his family went into exile in Gmunden, Austria, where the king owned property.

Gmunden-am-Traunsee became the seat of the Hanover royal family.  King George V died in 1878.  Thew de jure king was his only son, Ernst August, who chose to be styled by his British peerage, the Duke of Cumberland.   He was married to Princess Thyra of Denmark, the younger sister of Queen Alexandra, Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia, King Frederik VIII of Denmark and King George I of the Hellenes.

The family's primary residence K√∂nigvilla was a bit too small for the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland and their growing family which meant that a new home was needed.  Between 1882 and 1886, Schloss Cumberland was designed by an architect and built, thus offering a new primary residence for the head of the House of Hanover.

The Duke of Cumberland's son, Ernst August, married Princess Victoria Luise of Prussia, only daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II.  Their marriage brought about a reconciliation between the two families.

Ernst August and Viktoria Luise became the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick and spent more time in Germany than in Gmunden. In 1930, the Schloss became a family museum.  During the second world war, the castle was appropriated by the Nazis and served as a military hospital until 1945.    Today the Schloss is owned by the state of Upper Austria and is now a residence/long term care for people with mental health issues.

Schloss Cumberland Die Welfen am Traunsee is a history and celebration of the Hanover (Welfen) Royal Family in Gmunden.  This 152-page book was written by Heinz Schiesser.

The focus is on the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland and the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick and their families in Gmunden.  Many of the photographs have never been published and come from the family's archives.

Herzog and Kaisertochter Ernst August von Hannover und Victoria Luise von Preussen, which was written by Peter Steckhan, complements Schloss Cumberland, as it focuses on the Duke of Cumberland's son, Ernst August, who succeeded as Duke of Brunswick in 1918 and his wife, Princess Victoria Luise. 

The title translates to Duke and the Kaiser's daughter.

Steckhan provides historical and biographical details on the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick from their childhood, the circumstances of their meeting through their marriage, the first world war, the end of the monarchy, the rise of National Socialism, the second world war and up through the 1950s following the death of the Duke of Brunswick in 1953.

Most of the photos in this book were new to me and come from the family's personal collection.

Both books were published by Matrix Media, a publishing house owned by Prince Heinrich of Hannover, a grandson of the Duke and Duchess.

The format for both books is the same: paperback, German text, and many previously unseen photographs. You do not need to understand German to enjoy these two books, which were published in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

My family comes from the Hanover area so I have a special fondness for the Welfen.  I have written articles on the Prussian-Hanover wedding,  Princess Frederica of Hannover (sister of the Duke of Cumberland),  the Cumberland Princesses (the daughters of the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland) and Ernst August vs Ernst August (the issues between the present head of the House and his son.)

I heartily recommend both books.


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