Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover (born 1914)

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Ernest Augustus
Prince of Hanover
Hereditary Prince of Brunswick
Ernest Augustus, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick.jpg
Head of the House of Hanover
Tenure30 January 1953 – 9 December 1987
PredecessorErnest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick
SuccessorPrince Ernst August
Born(1914-03-18)18 March 1914
Braunschweig, Duchy of Brunswick, German Empire
Died9 December 1987(1987-12-09) (aged 73)
Schulenburg, Pattensen, Lower Saxony, West Germany
Burial11 December 1987
Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
(m. 1951; died 1980)
Ernest Augustus George William Christian Louis Francis Joseph Nicholas Oscar
German: Ernst August Georg Wilhelm Christian Ludwig Franz Joseph Nikolaus Oskar
FatherErnest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick
MotherPrincess Victoria Louise of Prussia
Military career
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service German Army
Years of service1941–1945
RankWehrmacht Heer Oberleutnant insignia horizontal.png Oberleutnant
Battles/warsWorld War II

Ernst August, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, Prince of Hanover[1] (German: Ernst August Prinz von Hannover; 18 March 1914 – 9 December 1987) was head of the House of Hanover from 1953 until his death in 1987. From his birth until the German Revolution of 1918–1919 he was the heir apparent to the Duchy of Brunswick, a state of the German Empire.

He was born at Braunschweig, Germany, the eldest son of Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick and Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia, the only daughter of Emperor Wilhelm II, Ernest Augustus's third cousin in descent from George III of the United Kingdom. Ernst August's parents were, therefore, third cousins, once removed. From his birth, he was the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick. He was also, shortly after birth in 1914, made a British prince by King George V of the United Kingdom,[2] and was heir to the titles Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale and Earl of Armagh which were suspended under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917.


Ernest Augustus with his mother in 1914.

The christening of Ernst August in the summer of 1914 was the last great gathering of European monarchs before the start of World War I. He had an illustrious list of godparents: George V of the United Kingdom, Franz Joseph I of Austria, Nicholas II of Russia, Ludwig III of Bavaria, Frederick Francis IV, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Prince Adalbert of Prussia, Prince Oskar of Prussia, Prince Maximilian of Baden, the 1st Royal Bavarian Heavy Cavalry Regiment, and all four of his grandparents: the German Emperor and Empress and the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland.

He ceased being heir to the duchy of Brunswick at the age of four, when his father abdicated in 1918. After his father's death in 1953, he became head of the House of Hanover.

During World War II, he fought at the Russian Front as Oberleutnant in the staff of Generaloberst Erich Hoepner. He was seriously injured near Charkov in spring 1943. After the 20 July plot in 1944, he was imprisoned for a few weeks by the Gestapo in Berlin.[3]

He had joined the SS in 1933 and remained a member for one year.[4] His official "denazification" certificate from 1949 vetting his Third Reich associations classified him as "a nominal Nazi supporter",[4] without being a Nazi party member,[4] and according to a Foreign Office record.[4]

In 1938 his sister, Princess Frederica had married the later King Paul I of the Hellenes and in 1946 his younger brother Prince George William married Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark, thus becoming the brother-in-law of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

Ernest Augustus was himself an heir to the British titles of Prince of Great Britain and Ireland, recognised ad personam for Ernst August's father as well as for him and his siblings by King George V of the United Kingdom on 17 June 1914,[5] Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, Earl of Armagh, which however were all suspended under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917. In addition to being a German, he also held British nationality, after successfully claiming it under the Sophia Naturalization Act 1705 in the case of Attorney-General v. Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover.[6] Nonetheless, a problem arose as foreign royal titles can't be entered into a British passport. Therefore, the titles Prince of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg could not be mentioned there, nor could the British titles due to the Titles Deprivation Act of 1917. The name which was finally entered into his British documents, was thus Ernest Augustus Guelph, with the addition of His Royal Highness. Guelph is thus also the British last name of his siblings and children, all styled Royal Highnesses in the United Kingdom.[7]

In 1961 he sold his remaining properties at Herrenhausen Gardens, including the site of Herrenhausen Palace which had been destroyed by a British bombing raid in 1943. He kept however the Princely House, a small palace built in 1720 by George I of Great Britain for his daughter Anna Louise. Ernest Augustus converted Marienburg Castle into a museum in 1954, after having moved to nearby Calenberg Demesne, which caused a row with his mother, who was forced to move out. He also sold the family's exile seat, Cumberland Castle at Gmunden, Austria, to the state of Upper Austria in 1979, but his family foundation based in Liechtenstein kept vast forests, a game park, a hunting lodge, The Queen's Villa and other property at Gmunden. The family property is now managed by his grandson Ernst August.

Marriage and children[edit]

During the Second World War, specifically in 1941, his cousin Prince Hubertus of Prussia married the noted society beauty and aristocrat Baroness Maria Anna von Humboldt-Dachroeden (1916–2003). The couple, however, divorced in 1943, after her affair with her husband's cousin, Prince Ernst August of Hanover, resulted in the birth of a son, whose biological father was Prince Ernst August. Ernest Augustus however did not marry Maria Anna because his parents would not have approved, since she was considered of inadequate birth and was also a divorcée, and the marriage would have made his younger brother Prince George William heir to the headship of the House of Hanover. Thus the child, christened Christian Ernst August Hubertus, Freiherr von Humboldt-Dachroeden, was born in 1943 and currently is a bank consultant.[8]

On 5 September 1951, Ernest Augustus married Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (1925–1980).[9] The wedding was attended by many important royal figures, including his sister Queen Frederica and her husband King Paul of Greece, and the heads of the houses of Saxony, Hesse, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, and Baden.[9] The wedding was followed with a reception in the Gallery Building at Herrenhausen Gardens, the only part of the House of Hanover's former summer palace still intact, as the palace itself had been burned down during World War II.[9]

His children by his first wife[1] are:

Princess Ortrud died in 1980.

Ernest Augustus married again in 1981, Countess Monika zu Solms-Laubach (1929–2015),[1] daughter of Georg, 9th Count of Solms-Laubach, and Johanna, Princess of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich.

He died at Schulenburg, Pattensen, Lower Saxony, Germany, aged 73, and was buried next to his first wife on a round bastion of Marienburg Castle (Hanover).

In popular culture[edit]

He was portrayed by Daniel Betts in the first season of the Netflix series The Crown.[10]


Patrilineal descent

Patrilineal descent, descent from father to son, is the principle behind membership in royal houses, as it can be traced back through the generations – which means that the historically accurate royal house of monarchs of the House of Hanover was the House of Lucca (or Este, or Welf).

This is the descent of the primary male heir. For the complete expanded family tree, see List of members of the House of Hanover.

  1. Oberto I, 912–975
  2. Oberto II, 940–1017
  3. Albert Azzo I, Margrave of Milan, 970–1029
  4. Albert Azzo II, Margrave of Milan, d. 1097
  5. Welf I, Duke of Bavaria, 1037–1101
  6. Henry IX, Duke of Bavaria, 1074–1126
  7. Henry X, Duke of Bavaria, 1108–1139
  8. Henry the Lion, 1129–1195
  9. William of Winchester, Lord of Lunenburg, 1184–1213
  10. Otto I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, 1204–1252
  11. Albert I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, 1236–1279
  12. Albert II, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, 1268–1318
  13. Magnus the Pious, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, 1304–1369
  14. Magnus II, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, 1328–1373
  15. Bernard I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, 1362–1434
  16. Frederick II, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, 1408–1478
  17. Otto V, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, 1439–1471
  18. Henry I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, 1468–1532
  19. Ernest I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, 1497–1546
  20. William, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, 1535–1592
  21. George, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, 1582–1641
  22. Ernest Augustus, Elector of Hanover, 1629–1698
  23. George I of Great Britain, 1660–1727
  24. George II of Great Britain, 1683–1760
  25. Frederick, Prince of Wales, 1707–1751
  26. George III of the United Kingdom, 1738–1820
  27. Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover, 1771–1851
  28. George V of Hanover, 1819–1878
  29. Ernest Augustus, Crown Prince of Hanover, 1845–1923
  30. Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick, 1887–1953
  31. Ernest Augustus, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, 1914–1987


  1. ^ a b c Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser XVIII. "Haus Hannover". C.A. Starke Verlag, 2007, pp. 22–26. ISBN 978-3-7980-0841-0.
  2. ^ "Royal Styles and Titles of Great Britain: Documents".
  3. ^ Hohenzollern, Viktoria Luise (1977), The Kaiser's Daughter: Memoirs of H.R.H. Viktoria Luise, Princess of Prussia, Prentice-Hall, p. 218-19, ISBN 0-13-514653-4
  4. ^ a b c d "The prince and the Nazis", The Irish Times, Feb 13, 1999.
  5. ^ Velde, François Styles of the members of the British royal family:Documents, Children of the duke and duchess of Brunswick (June 17, 1914)
  6. ^ British naturalisation; legal cases online, accessed Jan 2009
  7. ^ Interview of 15 March 2014 by Prince Ernst August of Hanover (born 1983) with Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung
  8. ^, 17 August 2017
  9. ^ a b c "Prince Ernst of Hanover Married", The Irish Times, 5 September 1951
  10. ^ IMDB - The Crown, accessed May 2017

External links[edit]

Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover (born 1914)
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 18 March 1914 Died: 9 December 1987
Titles in pretence
Preceded by — TITULAR —
King of Hanover
30 January 1953 – 9 December 1987
Reason for succession failure:
Hanover annexed by Prussia in 1866
Succeeded by
Duke of Brunswick
30 January 1953 – 9 December 1987
Reason for succession failure:
Duchy abolished in 1918