The vacant title of the title of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was the subject of consultations between Queen Victoria, Prince Arthur and Kaiser Wilhelm II. They eventually decided to convey the principality to Carl-Edward, prince of Great Britain, Duke of Albany, who was the posthumous son of Victoria's youngest son, Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany. Leopold had died a victim of hemophilia in 1884. Charles became Duke when his uncle Prince Alfred died. He was only 15 years old at the time. Court sources record that he was bullied by the Kaiser in reputedly "playful" sessions. One witness reported an incident where the Kaiser pinched and slapped so violently that it was more like a beating. Charles-Edward married a niece of the Emperess Augusta of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, wife of Kaiser Wilhelm II. His wife was von Princess Schleswig-Holste (Schleswig-Holstein) Victoria Adelheid. They married in 1905 at Glücksburg Castle in Holstein. They had five children: The oldest was Prince Johann Leopold Wilhelm Albert (1906- ). Princess Sibylla Calma Marie Alice (1908- ) married into the Swedish royal family. Prince Hubertus Frederick William (1909-43) became a Luftwaffe pilot during World War II and in 1943 was killed in Romania, presumably defending the Ploieste oil fields from Allied bombing. The two youngest children were: Princess Caroline Mathilde Ludwige Helena (1912- ) and Prince Friedrich Josias Carl Eduard (1918- ). During World War I (1914-18), the Duke remained loyal to the Kaiser Wilhelm II. This allegiance cost Carl-Edward his English titles. In fact his situation was even more complicated because his only sister, Princess Alice of Albany, was married to the Duke of Teck, Queen Mary's brother. The malestorm of World War I eventually cost him in crown. Carl-Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha abdicated on November 14, 1818.
Carl or Charles Edward was the posthumous son of Victoria's youngest son, Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany. Leopold managed to make an exceptionally happy, although brief, marriage to a German Princess Helen of Waldeck. Charles Edward succeeded to his father's peerages upon birth as his father had passed away.
Leopold had died a victim of hemophilia in 1884. Carl-Edward and Wilhelm II were first cousins, both being grandsons of Queen Victoria. King Edward VII made him a Knight of the Garter (1902).
Prince Leopold Charles Edward, second Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence and Baron Arklow, was born at Claremont House in Surrey (1884). He was by all accounts a beautiful little boy and became Queen Victoria's favourite grandson. He seemed a boy destined for a easy life. His first cousins were King George V, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and and Tsar Nicholas II. He seems to have been a very happy little boy. Within the family, he was known as Charlie.
I'm not sure about his early education. He was probably tutored. He entered Eton.
Charles Edward was only 14-years old when the issue of Saxe-Coburg Gotha came u. His uncle, Alfred Duke of Edinburgh (Queen Victoria's second son) died. He was also the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in Germany. The Suchy would have gone to the Duke of Edinburgh's only son, Prince Alfred ("Young Affie"). He had, however, committed suicide (1899). Arthur, Duke of Connaught, the Queen's third son, was next in line. He renounced his claims to the duchy. Arthur's son, Prince Arthur of Connaught, was attending school at Eton with Prince Charles, and threatened to beat his cousin Charles Edward up if Charles did not accept the dukedom.
The vacant title of the title of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was the subject of consultations between Queen Victoria, Prince Arthur and Kaiser Wilhelm II. Queen Victoria saw it as a family matter, thinking it was up to her to decide. Kaiser Wilhelm saw it as a German matter. Queen Victoria appears to have decided on her own, probably because she like him so much, to see that he would inherit the family title and estates of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. (Prince Albert her husband had come from Saxe-Coburg.) It caused an international incident, because Kaiser Wilhelm didn't like the English monrch, even his grandmother, making decisions anout German principalities. They eventually decided to convey the principality to Charles Edward/Carl-Edward, prince of Great Britain, Duke of Albany. But Charles-Edward had to give up his British life and become a German subject.
Charles became Duke when his uncle Prince Alfred died. He was only 15 years old at the time. It had not been his idea. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha came as a surprise to Charles-Edward--actually more of a shock. His granddaughter reports, "He didn't know anything about Germany. He couldn't even speak the language. He didn't want to go". [Victoria] He wasn't given a choice. After all the trouble she experiehnced from the Kaisr, Queen Victoria insisted that Charles-Edward accept the new German title. Charles Edward was thus age age 16, still a school boy, forced to Britain and all that he knew and become Carl Eduard, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He was suddenly rich. He personally owned 13 castles in Germany and Austria, hunting lodges, hotels, a power station, vast agricultural estates in Bavaria and a duchy thatv provided a huge income. The Kaiser to be sure that he became German, enrolled him at Germany's most prestigious military academy.
Carl Eduard for the first 5-years, reigned under the regency of the Hereditary Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. Only upon coming of age (1905) did the Duke assume full constitutional powers as Duke Carl Eduard of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
Court sources record that his relationship with the Kaiser was not an easy one. His future father-inlaw persisted in publically bulliing him in reputedly "playful" sessions. One witness reported an incident where the Kaiser pinched and slapped so violently that it was more like a beating. It was apprently aay the Kaiser could vent his anti-British frustrations.
Charles-Edward married a niece of the Emperess Augusta of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, wife of Kaiser Wilhelm II. His wife was von Princess Schleswig-Holste (Schleswig-Holstein) Victoria Adelheid. They married in 1905 at Glücksburg Castle in Holstein. So Carl Eduard not only found himself a German duke with connections to the German royal family.
Duke Charles-Edward and Princess Schleswig-Holste Victoria Adelheid had five children: The oldest was Prince Johann Leopold Wilhelm Albert (1906- ). Princess Sibylla Calma Marie Alice (1908- ) married into the Swedish royal family. One report suggests that the Duke turned the wedding into a NAZI festival.
Prince Hubertus Frederick William (1909-43) became a Luftwaffe pilot during World War II and in 1943 was killed in Romania, presumably defending the Ploieste oil fields from Allied bombing. The two youngest children were: Princess Caroline Mathilde Ludwige Helena (1912- ) and Prince Friedrich Josias Carl Eduard (1918- ).
Hereditary Prince Johan Leopold was born (1906). He married unequally and renounced his rights to the headship of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1932) His wife was Feodora, Baroness von der Horst (1905–91). They had children. They divorsed after World War II (1962). Johan Leopold married Maria Theresia Reindl (1908–1996) (1963). There were no children.
Princess Sibylla was born (1907). She married Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden (1906-47) (1932). Her father turned the wedding into a NAZI festival which caused a scandal in Sweden. We do not know just what his motives were. It was his children's only important dynastic marriage, but European royalshad been significantly depleted by World war I. They had five children: Margaretha Dérirée (1934- ), Birgitta Ingeborg (1937- ), Désirée Elizabeth (1938- ), Christina Louise Helen (1943- ), and Carl Gustav (1946- ). Gustav Adolf died in 1947 in a tragic airplane crash at the Copenhagen airport before his father assumed the throne. His son Carl Gustaf became Crown Prince when his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf, acceded to the throne in 1950.
Prince Hubertus Frederick Williamwas born in 1909. Prince Hunertus became a Luftwaffe pilot during World War II and in 1943 was killed in Romania, presumably defending the Ploieste oil fields from Allied bombing.
Princess Caroline Mathilde was born in 1912. She married Friedrich-Wolfgang, Count of Castell Rüdenhausen (1906-40) (1931). They had children.
Prince Friedrich Josias Carl Eduard was born just after World War I in 1918. He married Victoria Louisa, Countess of Solms-Baruth (192–2000) during World War II (1942). They had children, but divorced after the War (1947). Friedrich Josias next married Denyse Henrietta de Muralt (1923- ) (1948). They had children, but divorced (1962). He married a third time to Katrin Bremme (1940- ) (1964).
Duke Charles when Britain declared war on Germany found himself in a position where he would have to wage war on his native country. We are not sure to what extentthe Duke considered his course of action. During World War I (1914-18), the Duke remained loyal to the Kaiser Wilhelm II.
The Duke held a commission as a general in the German Army. He wa never given a major command. King George V of Britain ordered his name struck from the register of the Knights of the Garter ( 1915).
This allegiance cost Carl-Edward his English titles. He was declared a "traitor peer". In fact his situation was even more complicated because his only sister, Princess Alice of Albany, was married to the Duke of Teck, Queen Mary's brother. The malestorm of World War I eventually cost him his German crown. Carl-Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha abdicated (November 14, 1818).
As a result of the War, Charles-Edward both lost his German crown and was consudered a traitor and effectively exiled from England. He like many former German aristocrats, turned to right-wing politics. He was attracted to Hitler from a early point. He participated in the Harzburg Front (1932). The Deutschnationale Partei (German-national Party) moved to assoiciate itself with the NAZI Party.
Duke Charles Edward formally joined the NAZI Party (1935). He also joined the SA. He achieved the rank of Obergruppenführer. He also served as a member of the Reichstag (1937 to 1945). Hitler had him appointed as president of the German Red Cross (1933 to 1945). He formally joined the Nazi Party in 1935. Hitler was particularly interested in Charles Edward because he wanted to draw Britain into an anti-Bolshevick alliance.
Adolf Hitler him to Britain as president of the Anglo-German Friendship Society (1936). His time in Britain demonstrated how thoroughly he had been Germanized. The Duke attended the funeral of King George V as the German representative. His British ceremonial robes had been taken away from him, but instead of aesprectful suit, he wore his SA uniform. While in England, he approached Edward VIII, about a possible Anglo-German understanding. Nothing resulted. I'm not even sure Edward reported the conversatiins to the Government. The Duke for his part, presumably to impress Hitler, forwarded reports on pro-German sentiment among the British aristocracy. After Edward abdicated, he had little access to the King George VI. Not only was the King unreceptive, byt his wife Queen Ekisabeth disliked Germans. And Charles Edward was not only a German, but a NAZI. Charles-Edward returned to Germny. When the Duke and Duchess of Windsor visited Germany, Charles-Edward served as the officil German host (1937).
The Duke's three sons served in the German military during the World War II. Hitler exempted members of the German (Hohenzollern) royal family. This exemption did not apply to other German aristocrats. The Duke's second son was a Luftwaffe pilot and was killed in Romania (1943). The Duke himself was president of the German Red Cross was heavily involved in the War. I have not yet found a definitive account of his war-time activities. A British Channel 4 television documentary charged that the Duke knew about the NAZI euthanasia program that killed 100,000 disabled people in Germany and must have been aware, at least after Kristallnacht, of the existence of the Holocaust Final Solution (2007). Being aware of NAZI crimes and participating in them, of course, are two very different matters. The NAZI euthenasia oprogram in Germany was conducted in sanatoria and carrid out by medical doctors. Thus the Duke almost certainly knew about it. It is unclear to what extent the Red Cross, if any, was involved. Charges that the Duke knew of the Holocaust at the time of Kristallnach are specious because the plans had not yet been laid. It seems likely that he would have known about it once it was in progress, but I have not yeT seen evidence if direct involvement. Gas vans used by the SS to kill Jews and others commonly had Red Cross markings, but I do not have evidence that the German Red Cross was actually involved. Thiswas probanly one of many SS practices designed to mislead their victims. We do not know if the Duke knew of this or complined to Himmler about the misuse of Red Cross emblems. There are reports of riots in liberated concentration camps when Red Cross vehicles arrived because of the use of vehicles with Red Cross mmatkings by German camp authorities. It seems to be true that he made no effort to relieve the plight of slave laborers brought to Germany to support the war effort, but that was true of almost all German officials. Strangely, Hitler from his bunker in Berlin, with the Reich imploding all around him, sent Charles-Edward a telegram in Coburg, warning him not to taken captive by the Americans. His motivation is unclear. As the option in Coburg was the Americans, Charles Edwrd had the good sence for the first time to ignore Hitler's advise.
The American Military Government in Bavaria arrested the Duke after the War. He was at first held under house arrest. He was subsequently jailed with other NAZI officials. Princess Alice, his sister, learned of the arrest. She and her husband, the Earl of Athlone, traveled to Bavaria to intervene on his behslf. One report indicates that they found him scavenging in a junk yard. They met with American officials, but failed to gain his release. He was put on trial. He pleaded not guilty. He insisted that he had acted honorably and did not know of the NAZI war crimes. This alnost certainly was untrue. The procecutors, however, could not find ecvidence that he had participated personally in war crimes. He was judged to have been "an important NAZI". The denazification court heavily fined him and left him destitute (1946). His failing health probably was the reason he did not receive a jail term. saved him from remaining in prison. While his estates were condiscated, he was allowed to keep a chauffeur's cottage in the stables of one of his estates. His former Duchy, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was divided by the Allies. The Sovietsconfiscated most of the family's property. The Duke lived quietly after release. He had to watch Queen Elizabeth's coronation in a movie theater. He died a virtual pauper (1954).
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