German Royalty: Wilhelm Hohenzollern (1906-40)

Figure 1.--The Crown Price was pictyred her with his oldest son Wilhelm. He is seem here in 1907 as a toddler, but already dressed in a uniform like his father.

Wilhelm was the oldest child of Crown Prince Frederich Wilhelm, the oldest son of Kaisser Wilhelm II. He was brought up in the pomp and cerremony of the royal family. No one could have conceived when he was a younger child that he would not father his grandfather and eventually father to be Kaiser of Germany. He was 12 years old when Germany had to sue for peace and his Grandfather was forced to abdicate. After the War, Kaiser Wilhelm II, insisted that Prince Wilhelm renounce his rights of succession when he mairred a commoner, married Dorothea von Salviati in 1933. Like many Hohenzollerns, he supported the NAZIs, thinking that they would reinstate the monarchy. Wilhelm was killed in the early years of World War II. Hpefully our German readers will provide us more information about him.


Crown Prince Frederich Wilhelm

Frederich Wilhelm (1882- ) was the Crown Prince of Prussian and the German Empire. He was the son of Wilhelm II and Empress Auguste-Victoria. Childhood Wilhelm II's oldest son was born in Potsdam in 1882. The 6 year old Prince Frederich Wilhelm officially became the Crown Prince when his father assumed the throne. The Crown Prince became controversial in pre-World War I Germany. He was criticized by Radicals and Socialists in the Reichstag and in the press for siding with Colonel von Reuther, who was being tried for firing on an Alsatian crowd. (Alsace was a French province ceeded to the Germans as part of the peace terms ending the Franco Prussian War. German rule was unpopular with this largely French speaking region.) The Crown Prince in November 1918 followed his father into exile to the Netherlands. He took refuge on the island of Wieringen un the Zunder Zee. He renounced his rights of sucession to the crown of Prussia and the German Empire on December 1, 1918.

Princess Cecilie

Princess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin came to the attention of the Kaiser and his wife as a possible bride for their son. The Crown Prince attended the wedding of Friedrich Franz IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin with Princess Alexandra of Hanover on July 4, 1904. There he met the 17-year-old sister of the bridegroom, Princess Cecilie. The beauty of the girl left an overwhelming impression on the Crown Prince. After his return to Potsdam he could not hide his affection. Pretty soon, arrangements were under way for the upcoming nuptials. Princess Cecilie was the perfect dynastic match for thde Crown Prince. She was the daughter of Grand Duke Friedrich Franz III and his wife the Grand Duchess Anastasia Michailowna Romanov, a niece of Tsar Alexander II.


Prince Wilhelm was born in 1906.


The Crown Prince had quite a large family. Prince Wilhelm's brothers and sisters included:

Louis Ferdinand Hohenzollern (1907-94)

When his older brother renounced his rights of succession, Louis Ferdinand became the Hohenzolleren heir apparent, taking responsibility of family affairs for several decades.

Hubertus Hohenzollern (1909-50)

I know very little about Prince Hubertus. Like his father and uncles, Hubertus and his brithers were largely dressed in sailor suits as boys. This was true even after his Grandfather, KaiserbWilhelm II abdicated.

Frederick Hohenzollern (1911-66)

Alexandrine Hohenzollern (1915-1980)

Cecilie Hohenzollern: (1917-75)

Figure 2--This photograph of the Crown Prince's eldest son Wilhelm was taken in 1910.


Prince Wilhelm Friderich, the eldest son of Crown Prince Wilhelm Freiderich, Kaiser Wilhelm II's edlest son, was born in 1906. I have no information, however, on the childhood of the German royal princes.


I have little written information on how the children of Crown Prince Frederich Wilhelm were dressed, but a variety of available images provide quite a bit of information. Their mother clearly like to dress them in identical outfits, despite the differences in their age. They were outfitted in dresses as babies, but it looks like the boys were breeched at a fairly early age. I'm not sure about the Crown Prince, but photographs of his younger brothers show them wearing short pants by about 3 years of age. One image taken in 1907 shows Wilhelm at about 1 year of age wearing a military uniform just like his father. Througout his life he wold wore formal military uniforms for state and other special occasions. Several of the available photographs show the boys wearing identical satin short pants outfits, with matching blouse and short pants. The blouse has an open square cut neck without a collar. Princess Cecilie also seems to have liked sailor outfits. Several of the outfits the childrem wore has sailor styling. One outfit with a Russian styled tunic was worn with short pants. The boys also wore sailor suits with traditional styling. Again these boys were often dressed alike in these sailor suits.

Figure 3.--The young German prince Wilhelm is shown here with his father, the Crown Prince. He wears the Russian blouse play suit that the German princes often wore.

Identical Styles

Princess Cecilie appears to have liked dressing her sons identically. Many photographs show the boys wearing identical outfits even when their was considerable differences in the ages of the boys. This contrasts with the practices in England where gradual small distinctions were made in the outfits worn by the princes to mark differences in ages. The outfits of the German royals, however, appear much more fashonable, in contrast to their English cousins who after breeching, almost always were dressed in sailor suits or kilts.

Hair Styles

Prince Wilhelm and his brothers even at very young ages appears to ahve worn short hair styles. Curiously at a very young age, Prince Wilhelm's hair seems to have been styles with a kind of vertical spike. I'm not sure whose idea that was.

Post-war Life

Wilhelm Frederich was in many ways a typical Hohenzolleren. We have, however, few details about his politics and outlook on life. His father like many younger mem at the time, was a hard line and quarled with his father, compakining that he was not pursuing the war vigorously enough. (The Kaiser for example held back on unrestricted sunmarine wargare for 2 years.) We do not know to what extent he reflected his father's views. Like many Germans he no doubt resented the punative Treary of Versailles. As the heir presumptive he must have resented the Weimar Republic. Unfortunalely we have very few actual details about him. Like many of his ancestors, Wilhelm pursued a military career and was every inch a Prussian soldier. He joined the NAZI Party, mistakingly believing like his father and uncles that the NAZIs would reinstante the Hohenzollerens. Even gere he must have had his doubts as he renounced his claim to the throne in 1933.


Wilhelm renounced his rights to the throne in 1933 to marry a commoner.


Wilhelm married Dorothea von Salviati, acommoner, in 1933. Her father was Alexander Hermann Heinrich von Salviati. Her mother was Helene Crasemann. We knlow very little about her or her family. Dorothea died in 1972.


Wilhelm and Dorothea had two children, both girls.

Felicitas Cecilie (1934- )

Christa Frederica (1936- )

World War II

Wilhelm was a lieutenit in the Wheremacht. This was not a very high rank for a 34-year old man. We wonder about his capabilities or if the NAZIs wanted to limit his rank. He was wounded during the fighting in France during 1940 and died 3-day later. A crowd of 50,000 mourners appeared at the funeral in Potsdam. Hitler was angered at this show of monarchial sentiment and ordered that the renmaining Hohenzolerns be taken off active duty and given civilian jobs.


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Created: April 21, 2000
Last updated: 1:56 AM 7/30/2008