HBC is colllecting details on the family life and how Wilhelm and Dona
intereacted with their children. There was a complete staff of nursemaids, governesses, and tutors. The children traveled widely with their parents. Trips to England and the Netherlands were especially common.
The Kaiser provided the Marble Palace in Potsdam as a residence for the newly wed couple. It was a large imposing building
on the Heilgensee. At the time of Wilhem's and Donna's mairrage, the Marbale Palace had been unused for many years and required extensive renovation. It was thus unavailable for them immediately after the ceremony. After Wilhelm became Kaiser he purchased a summer residence on Corfu.
Wilhelm's major residence was the Marble Palace in Potsdam. It was a large imposing building
on the Heilgensee. At the time of Wilhem's and Donna's mairrage, the Marbale Palace had been unused for many years and required extensive renovation. It was thus unavailable for them immediately after the ceremony.
After Wilhelm became Kaiser he purchased a summer residence on Corfu. Wilhelm in 907 bought the Achilleion, a Gothic folly built for Austrian Emperess Elizabeth. Wilhelm and his family visited Corfu every April until the World War I began in 1914. Wilhelm considered this the simple life. The Greek royals hardly felt that this was a simple life because of the huge retinue the Kaiser brought with him. Greece's King George in fact heartly disliked the Kaiser. The Kaiser's retinue weren't very happy about having to go to Corfu. Wilhelm inisted that the participate in excavations in which they were not interested. Each year after the Kaiser had left, pottery fragments would be seeded in the excavations for the Kaiser to find the next year.
A HBRC reader writes, "I have found you site very informative. Thank you for making it available. I have been told that Kaiser Wilhelm I had a summer palace located in a small German town, named Ploome. I cannot find any data to
that affect. I may have been given an incorrect spelling of the town's name and I cannot locate it on my map of Germany. Does this name sound familiar? If this helps any, the summer palace gardens were designed by someone with the last name of Brei or Brey. If you can help, that would great. I will be in Germany later this month and was just trying to put my itinerary together." If any readers have any information here, we would appreciate hearing from you.
After the boys were old enough, Wilhelm had them accompany his on early morning horseback rides. Wilhelm despite his weak arm was a skilled horseman thanks to Hinzpeter. He would take the boys on quite strenous rides and was determined they would be skilled horsemen. These rides were a challenge for the younger boys. Donna was corncerneed about these rides, especially for Joachim who was not as strong as the other boys. Dona would sometimes interevene and ask to accompany him instead of the boys to spare them the ordeal. Afterwards she would take the boys riding herself to make sure they became skilled riders. [Van der Kiste, 1999, p. 85.]
Wilhelm and Dona took the children on a state visit to England in June 1891. The visit went smoothy enough despite a sanctimonious letter Wilhelm had sent Queen Victoria about the Prince of Wales' gambling incident at Tranby Croft. Wilhelm left Dona with their six sons, tutors, governesses, and nursemaids for a seaside holidasy at Felixstowe. Wilhelm took off on the Hohenzollern, a naval vessel that had been converted to the royal yacht.
Kaiser Wilhelm II's immediate family consisted of seven children, including
six sons, but only one daughter. Many photographs exist of the family. HBC
has so far been able to find very little information about the individual
children. Even infornmation on Crown Prince Frederick Wilhelm.
Van der Kriste, John. Kaiser Wihelm II: Germany's Last Kaiser (Bodmin: Sutton Publishing, 1999), 244p.
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site royal pages:
[Main Wilhelm II pages]
[Main German royal page]
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