*** boys clothing: German royalty -- Mecklenburg

German Royalty: Mecklenburg

Figure 1.--One report indicates that the boys here are Friedrich-Franz (1910- ), son of Friedrich-Franz IV, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1882-1945) and his cousin Prince Hubertus (1909- ), son of the German Crown Prince. I'm a little skeptical as there looks to be more than 1-2 years age difference between the two.

The modern history of Mecklenburg is the history of two granduchies, Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Both continued within the German Empire until the royal families were deposed in 1918 after World War I.


Early history

Germanic tribes had settled the area of Mecklenburg by 500 AD. round 600 AD the Germanic tribes migrated out of the region and Slavic tribes like the Obotrite and the Lutician settled in the region.

Medieval era

Henry the Lion defeated the Slavic Obotrites and started the Christianisation of Mecklenburg. The Duchy of Mecklenburg took its name from a Slavic castle named "Mechelenburg" which is located between the cities of Schwerin and Wismar. It was first mentioned by Emperor Otto III in 995. Emperor Karl IV in 1348 conferred the title Duke on the Counts of Mecklenburg.


Mecklenburg in 1621 was divided into two separate duchies, Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Guestrow. The Westfalian peace of 1648 awarded Wismar to Sweden. The Guestrow lineage became extinct in 1695. Two new Mecklenburg duchies were founded as a result of the treaty of Hamburg in 1701, Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Napleonic Wars

Changes occurred during the Napoleonic Wars. Wismar in 1803 returned to Mecklenburg. Both of the duchies joined the Rhine Federation in 1808.

Congress of Vienna

At the Congress of Vienna after the Napoleonic wars, both Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz were confirmed as grand duchies. Thus during the 19th century, the division of Mecklenburg into two grand duchies was confimed. Mecklenburg-Schwerin was made up of the Duchy of Schwerin, the Principality of Schwerin, the Wenden District of the Duchy of Guestrow, the Lordship of Wismar (Wismar and the surrounding area were under the rule of Sweden from 1648 to 1803), Rostock District, and The Domain of Scattered Convents. Mecklenburg-Strelitz consisted of: Stargard District of the Duchy of Guestrow on the eastern side of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and the Principality of Ratzeburg on the western side of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Mecklenburg-Strelitz was further divided into two parts, one on either side of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The government of each grand duchy was a limited monarchy, ruled by grand dukes. Each duchy was a separate, independent state. Germany was still not unified. Both duchies had governning bodies which met annually to make common laws and impose common taxes for the whole of Mecklenburg. The lands of Mecklenburg were divided three legal domains: Ritterschaft, Domanium, and Landschaft. This division was complicated. The properties of the knights belonged to the Ritterschaft. All princely properties belonged to the Domanium. All the cities belonged to the Landschaft except Rostock and Wismar. These were sea ports and had their own special category. The status of individual localities relative to these three domains was not fixed. They changed frequently. This situaion was further complicated because these divisions overlapped each other extensively.

Revolutions of 1848

As a result of the revolutions which swept Europe in 1848, the first state constitution was introduced in 1849, but revoked in 1850 as conservative forces gained the uperhand. The old medieval ordinance was re-established.

German Empire

Prussia in its drive to unify Germany during the 860, deposed several German dynasties and absorbed those states. The two grand duchies of Mecklenberg managed to survive. Mecklenburg like the other German states joined in the new German Empire in 1871.

World War I

The royal familes throughout the German Empire were ouusted after Germany's defeat in Word War I. Along with the November 198 Revolution the old medieval ordinance was repealed.

NAZI Germany

Under the Third Rich, independent Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz were joined into the united province of Mecklenburg. Schwerin was made capital of the province.

World War II

After the NAZI defeat in World War II, Mecklenburg in 1945 was part of the Soviet occupied zone. It was originally named Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, but in 1947 was called simply Mecklenburg. The German Democratic Republic reorganized the administrative units in 1952 and Mecklenburg was divided into the districts of Rostock, Schwerin, and Neubrandenburg.


Since unification in 1990, the province was officially named Mecklenburg-Vorpommern once more with Schwerin as the capital.

Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

Most of the information we have acquired is of the Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. We have some limited information on some of the recent Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. While we have some historical information from the 19th century, our images at this time or only from the 20th century.

Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

At the time of the collapse of the German Empire in 1918, Mecklenburg-Strelitz found itself monarch-less after the mysterious death of Grand Duke Adolph-Friedrich VI just a few months before the fall of the empire. It seems that Adolph-Friedrich committed suicide during a walk in the woods after his affair with an English-born German aristocrat, married to a friend of the Kaiser's, was discovered. His dynastic heir, Duke Karl-Michael was profoundly anti-German and lived in Russia, where he had served in the Czar's army. Mecklenburg-Strelitz thus became a free-state in January 1919. Duke Carl Michael, abdicated in 1919. Carl Michael remained the Head of the House of Strelitz until 1934. He was followed by Georg from 1934-1963, and Georg Alexander from 1963-1996. The next Head of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was Duke Georg Borwin. He became the head of the house when his father, Duke Georg Alexander died in 1996.


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Created: June 21, 2002
Last updated: April 29, 2004