Kronberg in Taunus served as witness today for Europe's royalty to gather and bid farewell to one of its most prominent members, Landgraf Moritz of Hesse. Among those present to bid adieu to a wonderful man were: Queen Sofía of Spain, King Constantine II of the Hellenes, King Simeon of Bulgaria, the Prince of Naples, Prince Georg Friedrich and Princess Sophie of Prussia, Duke Franz of Bavaria, the Margrave of Meißen, Duke Carl of Württemberg, the Margrave and Margravine of Baden, Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, the Fürst of Schaumburg-Lippe, the Fürst of Waldeck-Pyrmont, the Fürst and Fürstin of Hohenzollern, Duke Christoph and Duchess Elisabeth of Schleswig-Holstein, Dowager Duchess Marie Alix of Schleswig-Holstein, the Fürst and Fürstin of Lippe, Fürst Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Princess Alexandra of Leiningen, Duchess Donata of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Duchess Edina of Mecklenburg-Schwerin with husband Konrad von Posern, the Fürst and Fürstin of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, the Fürst and Fürstin of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, the Fürst of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein, the Fürst of Oettingen-Spielberg, the Fürstin and Fürstin of Bismarck, Hereditary Prince Ernst August of Hannover, Duke Friedrich of Württemberg, Hereditary Prince Hubertus and Hereditary Princess Kelli of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, Princess Sarvath of Jordan, Hereditary Prince Bernhard and Hereditary Princess Stephanie of Baden, Duke Philipp of Württemberg, Count Hans-Veit of Toerring-Jettenbach, Prince Ludwig and Princess Marianne of Baden, Prince Karl of Hesse, Count Alexander and Countess Irina of Schönburg-Glauchau, Hereditary Prince Kraft and Hereditary Princess Carolyn of Hohenlohe-Oehringen, Hereditary Prince Gustav of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Hereditary Prince Heinrich and Hereditary Princess Priscilla of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, Prince Berthold of Baden, Princess Sophie of Baden, the Count of Solms-Laubach, and many others.
Landgraf Moritz passed away in Frankfurt on May 23, after a debilitating illness. He was born at Racconigi Palace, some 25 miles south of Turin. At the time of Moritz's birth, his grandfather, King Vittorio Emanuele III, ruled over Italy.
He was the firstborn child of Prince Philipp of Hesse and of his wife, the former Princess Mafalda of Savoy. The couple had married at Racconigi in September 1925, their son making his arrival at the same palace nearly eleven months later. Between 1926 and 1940, Princess Mafalda gave birth to four children: Moritz (1926-2013), Heinrich (1927-1999), Otto (1937-1998) and Elisabeth (b. 1940). Sadly, Mafalda died at Buchenwald concentration camp in 1944. Her end was sad and harrowing and news of her death was only confirmed after the end of the Second World War. Philipp succeeded his father, Landgraf Friedrich Karl, in 1940. His mother was Princess Margarethe of Prussia, herself the youngest daughter of Kaiser Friedrich III and his English wife, Victoria, The Princess Royal.
The Hesse suffered grave losses during the Second World War and thus it fell on Moritz and his father to rebuild the family's tattered fortune. In this endeavor, Moritz, who succeeded as Landgarf of Hesse in 1980, proved to be extremely successful. Behind he leaves a solid historical legacy in the Hesse Family Foundation, designed to protect the family's unique art collections and architectural possessions.
Moritz married at Kronberg Princess Tatiana zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (b. 1940). The couple, who divorced in 1974, had four children: Mafalda (b. 1965), Heinrich Donatus [Don] (b. 1966), Elena (b. 1967) and Philipp (b. 1970). All the children have offspring of their own. Although divorced for nearly four decades, Moritz and Tatiana remained very close until the end.
Landgraf Moritz was very approachable, particularly to us historians and genealogists. I first met him in Coburg more than a dozen years ago. Our last meeting took place in April 2012, when he asked me to join him for lunch at Schloß Friedrichshof. During our few hours together, he expressed to me how satisfied he was with Ilana Miller's The Four Graces, which he considered one of the best royal biographies published in decades. I agreed with him.
Although already considerably ill, Moritz was alert and inquisitive during our last meeting. He possessed a sharp mind and never shied away from expressing what he truly felt about the various topics under discussion. With him, one knew where one stood...and I have always found that quite refreshing!
I am saddened by the loss experienced by his children and grandchildren, as well as by his former wife. Moritz was untiring when attending royal events across Europe. His absence will be felt by all who were honored with his friendship and acquaintance.
We wish to express our sincerest condolences to his family...May He Rest in Peace!
The coffin containing the earthly remains of Landgraf Moritz of Hesse.
Princess Sarvath of Jordan and Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands.
Queen doña Sofía of Spain and Prince Karl of Hesse.
The Fürst and Fürstin of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg.
Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and her
husband Count Jefferson von Pfeil und Klein Elgut.
The Fürst and Fürstin of Hohenzollern.
Prince Georg Friedrich and Princess Sophie of Prussia.
Hereditary Prince Ernst August of Hannover.
Hereditary Prince Bernhard and Hereditary Princess Stephanie of Baden.
Hereditary Prince Kraft and Hereditary Princess Carolyn of Hohenlohe-Oehringen.
The Fürst and Fürstin of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn.
The Fürst of Schaumburg-Lippe.
Hereditary Prince Hubertus and Hereditary Princess Kelli of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha.
The Prince of Naples.
Duke Franz of Bavaria.
King Simeon of Bulgaria, Queen doña Sofía of Spain
and King Constantine II of the Hellenes.
The Margrave and Margravine of Baden surrounding
Princess Sarvath of Jordan. Behind her is Duke Philipp
Queen doña Sofía of Spain. Behind her is
Count Hans-Veit of Toerring-Jettenbach.
King Constantine II of the Hellenes.