Prince Ernst August of Hanover (born 1954)

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Prince Ernst August
Head of the House of Hanover
Tenure9 December 1987 – present
PredecessorPrince Ernest Augustus
Heir apparentPrince Ernst August
Born (1954-02-26) 26 February 1954 (age 67)
Hanover, Lower Saxony, West Germany
Chantal Hochuli
(m. 1981; div. 1997)

(m. 1999)
Prince Ernst August
Prince Christian
Princess Alexandra
Ernst August Albert Paul Otto Rupprecht Oskar Berthold Friedrich-Ferdinand Christian-Ludwig Prinz von Hannover Herzog zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg Königlicher Prinz von Großbritannien und Irland
FatherErnest Augustus of Hanover
MotherPrincess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg

Prince Ernst August of Hanover (German: Ernst August Albert Paul Otto Rupprecht Oskar Berthold Friedrich-Ferdinand Christian-Ludwig Prinz von Hannover Herzog zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg Königlicher Prinz von Großbritannien und Irland;[1][2][3] born 26 February 1954) is the head of the royal House of Hanover, which held the thrones of the United Kingdom until 1901, of the former Kingdom of Hanover until 1866, and of the sovereign Duchy of Brunswick from 1913 to 1918.[4] As the husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco, he is the brother-in-law of Albert II, Prince of Monaco.


He left secondary school at the age of 15 to work on a farm, but returned to education a bit later in life in order to study at the Royal Agricultural College in England and the University of Guelph in Canada.[5][6]

Ancestry and name[edit]

Ernst August was born in Hanover, the eldest son of Ernst August, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick (1914–1987) and his first wife, Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (1925–1980).[7] He was christened Ernst August Albert Paul Otto Rupprecht Oskar Berthold Friedrich-Ferdinand Christian-Ludwig.[8] As the senior male-line descendant of George III of the United Kingdom, Ernst August is head of the House of Hanover.[7]

The title of Prince of Great Britain and Ireland was recognised ad personam for Ernst August's father and his father's siblings by George V of the United Kingdom on 17 June 1914.[citation needed] The hereditary Dukedom of Cumberland and Teviotdale and the Earldom of Armagh, borne in 1917 by his paternal great-grandfather, were suspended under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917. However, the title Royal Prince of Great Britain and Ireland had been entered into the family's German passports, together with the German titles, in 1914. After the German Revolution of 1918–19, with the abolition of the privileges of nobility,[9] titles officially became parts of the last name. So, curiously, the British prince's title is still part of the family's last name in their German passports, while it is no longer mentioned in their British documents.[10] Ernst August continues to claim the style, "Royal Prince of Great Britain and Ireland".[11]


By a 24 August 1981 declaration issued by his father as the Head of House, pursuant to Chapter 3, §§ 3 and 5 of the House laws of 1836, Ernst August was authorised to marry dynastically, and did firstly marry, civilly in Pattensen on 28 August 1981 and religiously on 30 August 1981, Chantal Hochuli (b. 2 June 1955 in Zurich), the daughter and heiress of a Swiss German architect and real estate developer, Johann Gustav (Hans) Hochuli (Switzerland, 14 March 1912 - ?), and his German wife Rosmarie Lembeck (Essen, Rhine, Prussia, Germany, 8 April 1921 - 12 December 2011).[12] They have two sons, Prince Ernst August (born 19 July 1983) and Prince Christian (born 1 June 1985). Ernst August and Chantal Hochuli divorced in London on 23 October 1997.

In 1988, Ernst August unsuccessfully claimed custody of his infant nephew Otto Heinrich, son of his younger brother, Prince Ludwig Rudolph of Hanover. The infant's mother, Isabella von Thurn und Valsássina-Como-Vercelli, died of cocaine overdose on 28 November 1988. Ludwig Rudolph placed a call to his brother in London, imploring him to take care of the couple's 10-month-old son,[13][14] and shortly afterwards died by suicide.[13][15] Custody of Otto Heinrich was eventually awarded, contrary to the expressed wishes of Ludwig Rudolph as the surviving parent and Ernst August's legal efforts, to the child's maternal grandparents, Count Ariprand (1925–1996) and Countess Maria von Thurn und Valsassina-Como-Vercelli (born 1929), to be raised at their family seat, Bleiburg Castle in southern Austria.[14]

Ernst August married secondly, civilly in Monaco on 23 January 1999, Princess Caroline of Monaco, who was at the time expecting the birth of their child, Princess Alexandra (born 20 July 1999). As he was descended from George II of Great Britain in the male line, Ernst August sought and received permission to marry pursuant to the British Royal Marriages Act 1772, which would not be repealed until the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 took effect on 26 March 2015.[16] Similarly the Monégasque court officially notified the government of France of Caroline's marriage to Ernst August, receiving assurance that there was no objection in compliance with the (since defunct) Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1918. Moreover, in order for Caroline to retain her claim to the throne of Monaco and to transmit succession rights to future offspring, the couple were also obliged to obtain the approval of yet a third nation, in the form of official consent to the marriage of Caroline's father, Prince Rainier III as the sovereign of Monaco.[3]

After their marriage, Ernst August and Caroline moved to Le Mée-sur-Seine, France, where they had purchased an 18th-century manor house from their friend Karl Lagerfeld.[17] Their daughter went to kindergarten and prep-school there, while the family used Caroline's house in Monte Carlo and Ernst August's hunting lodge near Gmunden, Austria, as secondary homes. The manor house in France was subsequently sold, just as had been Hurlingham Lodge in London, after the divorce from his first wife. In 2009, it was reported that Caroline had separated from Ernst August and returned to live in Monaco.[18]


Ernst August was photographed urinating on the Turkish Pavilion at the Expo 2000 event in Hanover, causing a diplomatic incident and a complaint from the Turkish embassy accusing him of insulting the Turkish people. He successfully sued those who published (Bild-Zeitung) the photograph for invasion of privacy, obtaining an award of 9,900 euros, although the paper had previously published a photo of Ernst August urinating outside a hospital in Austria.[19]

In 2004, he was convicted of aggravated assault and causing grievous bodily harm after supposedly beating a German man, Joe Brunnlehner, with a knuckleduster on the Kenyan island of Lamu.[20][21] He has demanded a retrial for the case on the basis of false evidence. His lawyers have publicly stated that he has never owned a knuckleduster nor held one in his hand.[21]

In 2004, Ernst August had signed over his German property to his elder son, including Marienburg Castle, the agricultural estate of Calenberg Castle, the "Princely House" at Herrenhausen Gardens in Hanover and some forests near Blankenburg Castle (Harz) which he had repurchased in former East Germany after the German reunification of 1990. At the time, Ernst-August's wealth was estimated as high as $250 million.[22] Since then, the younger Ernst August has taken over many representative tasks on behalf of his father. The latter remained in charge of the Austrian family assets. In 2013 however, Ernst August was removed from the chairmanship of a family foundation based in Liechtenstein, the Duke of Cumberland Foundation, which holds the properties near Gmunden in Austria, the Hanovers' main residence in exile after 1866 when their Kingdom of Hanover was annexed by Prussia. Instead, the younger Ernst August was put in charge, reportedly for negligence on part of his father,[23] at the initiative of the foundation's trustee Prince Michael of Liechtenstein.[24] The foundation manages vast forests, a game park, a hunting lodge, the Queen's Villa and other property. In 2017 Ernst August filed legal action to recover his chairmanship, and he intends to revoke the bestowal of his German property. Due to this dispute over family assets, he also declared his intention to withhold consent for his son's marriage to Ekaterina Malysheva[25] which he did not attend.


On Monday, 3 April 2005, Ernst August was admitted to hospital with acute pancreatitis. The next day, he fell into a deep coma, two days before the death of his father-in-law, Rainier III, Prince of Monaco. On Friday, 8 April 2005, hospital officials reported that he was no longer in a coma but remained in intensive care. A report the same day on BBC World described his condition as "serious but not irreversible."[26] After his release he was subsequently seen in public with his wife. In an interview he admitted at the time that his health crisis was caused by his hyperactive lifestyle and problems with alcohol.[27]

His health deteriorated in subsequent years. He was hospitalized again in 2011, 2017 and 2018 for problems related to alcohol.[28] In February 2019 he had another emergency surgery for pancreatitis. One week later, it was reported that he is suffering from throat cancer.[29] In July 2020, he was taken to the psychiatric unit of a hospital after calling the police for immediate help, which was followed by a physical fight between him and the police upon their arrival.[30]

Titles and arms[edit]

In Germany, the legal privileges of royalty and nobility were abolished in 1919; thereafter, for legal purposes, hereditary titles form part of the name only.[31]

Arms and monograms[edit]

Armoiries de Caroline de Monaco princesse de Hanovre.svg
Arms of Prince Ernst and
Princess Caroline of Hanover
Dual Cypher of Ernst August and Caroline of Monaco.svg
Cypher of Prince Ernst
and Princess Caroline



  1. ^ Opfell, Olga S. (1 June 2001). Royalty Who Wait: The 21 Heads of Formerly Regnant Houses of Europe. McFarland. ISBN 9780786450572 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Prince's Palace of Monaco. Biography: HRH the Princess of Hanover Archived 22 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. retrieved 10 August 2011.
  3. ^ a b de Badts de Cugnac, Chantal. Coutant de Saisseval, Guy. Le Petit Gotha. Nouvelle Imprimerie Laballery, Paris 2002, p. 702 (French) ISBN 2-9507974-3-1
  4. ^ Almanach de Gotha, Braunschweig-Lüneburg (Gotha: Justus Perthes, 1944), pages 38–39, 169 (French)
  5. ^ Robinson, Jeffrey (2015). Grace of Monaco: The True Story (Kindle ed.). Da Capo Press. Leaving school at the age of 15--because his hair was too long and he'd been caught smoking--he went to work on a farm, but returned to his education to study at the University of Guelph in Canada and the Royal Agricultural College in England.
  6. ^ Koenig, Marlene Eilers. "The House of Hanover and its relationship with British Royal Family". Royal Musings. Marlene Eilers Koenig. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  7. ^ a b Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser XVIII. "Haus Hannover". C.A. Starke Verlag, 2007, pp. 22–26. ISBN 978-3-7980-0841-0.
  8. ^ Debrett's peerage & baronetage 2008, p. 117.
  9. ^ In 1919 royalty and nobility lost their privileges as such in Germany, hereditary titles thereafter being legally retained only as part of the surname, according to Article 109 the Weimar Constitution.
  10. ^ Germany, Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, Hannover, Niedersachsen. "Exklusiv: Ernst August im HAZ-Interview – In der Prinzenrolle". Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung.
  11. ^ Ernst August (geb.1954) Prinz von Hannover at (German)
  12. ^ Burke's Royal Families of the World, Volume I Europe and Latin America
  13. ^ a b Montgomery Brower and Franz Spelman (9 January 1989). "Death Turns Out the Lights at a Noble Couple's Last Soiree". People Weekly. Retrieved 21 July 2008.
  14. ^ a b Eilers, Marlene. Queen Victoria's Daughters. Rosvall Royal Books, Falkoping, Sweden, 1997. P.173, note 41. ISBN 91-630-5964-9
  15. ^ "German Prince Kills Himself After Wife Dies of Overdose". The New York Times. Reuters. 31 December 1988. Retrieved 21 July 2008.
  16. ^ Statement by Nick Clegg MP, UK parliament website, 26 March 2015 (retrieved on same date).
  17. ^ "Le Mée-sur-Seine. Manoir princier, lieu de tournage et bientôt hôtel". 18 September 2017.
  18. ^ "Questions over Princess Caroline's marriage as Ernst of Hanover increasingly absent". Hello. 10 September 2009. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  19. ^ Willsher, Kim Royalty reaps riches in strict privacy laws The Standard, 26 July 2006[dead link]
  20. ^ Jüttner, Julia. "Prince Ernst August's Case Heads to Court -- Again". Spiegel. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  21. ^ a b Boyes, Roger. "Prince Ernst August demands retrial after knuckleduster claim". The Times. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  22. ^ "Royal Wedding Crisis! Why a German Prince Is Opposing His Son's Marriage Days Before the Ceremony".
  23. ^ "Ernst August von Hannover: Er will seinen Sohn vernichten".
  24. ^ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22 Dec 2017
  25. ^ Ernst-August Publicly Opposes His Son's Marriage, July 2017
  26. ^ Carlo, By Colin Randall in Monte (9 April 2005). "Princess Caroline's husband seriously ill". Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  27. ^ B.Z. (newspaper), 25 April 2005.
  28. ^ El País, 6 February 2019
  29. ^, 13 February 2019
  30. ^ Hurtado, Alexandra (16 July 2020). "Princess Caroline's estranged husband taken to psychiatric unit after incident with police". Hola!. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  31. ^ "(HIS,P) Weimar Constitution".

External links[edit]

Prince Ernst August of Hanover (born 1954)
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 26 February 1954
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Prince Franz Friedrich of Prussia
Line of succession to the British throne
descended from Victoria, Princess Royal, daughter of Queen Victoria
Succeeded by