Thursday, October 1, 2015

+ Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia (1939-2015)

The Secretariat of HIH Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia announced the death of his uncle Prince Friedrich Wilhelm on September 29, 2015.

Born in 1939, Prince Friedrich Wilhelm was the firstborn child of Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia and of his wife Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia. The baby was born in Berlin on February 10. War having started later tat year, Louis Ferdinand became concerned over his family's safety. He later relocated to Eastern Prussia, where at Schloß Cadinen the family found peace and quiet. In fact, Kira Kirillovna gave birth to two of her children while there.

When the Red Army broke through German defenses, Louis Ferdinand and Kira migrated westward and reached Bad Kissingen, where they lived for a short while. Eventually, they moved to the vicinity of Bremen, where they lived permanently.

Friedrich Wilhelm's parents hoped that their son would make a remarkable dynastic marriage, thus fulfilling his duty as the future Head of the Royal House of Prussia. Unfortunately, he was to disappoint his parents.

In August 1967, much to the distress of his parents, Friedrich Wilhelm married Waltraud Freydag (1940-2010). The marriage, for obvious reasons, was considered morganatic. The following Spring, Friedrich Wilhelm and Waltraud welcomed their only son, Philipp (who is now a Protestant minister). Sadly, a little over two weeks after her eldest child's unconventional marriage, Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna suffered a massive heart attack while visiting her brother Grand Duke Wladimir Kirillovich at his home in St. Briac. There were those who blame Kira's untimely death on her wayward son. Whichever the reason, her death was a terrible loss to Prince Louis Ferdinand, who was devoted to Kira. He never remarried and survived his wife until his death in 1994.

Much like most of his brothers, Prince Friedrich Wilhelm worked in several industries without truly achieving much. It was as if the legacy he rejected pursued him the rest of his life.

Marriage to Waltraud eventually collapsed and the couple divorced in 1971. Five years later, Friedrich Wilhelm remarried, his second wife being Ehrengard von Reden. This was also considered a morganatic union. They had three children (Friedrich Wilhelm, Viktoria Luise and Joachim). Unfortunately, this marriage also ended in divorce early in 2004. By then, Friedrich Wilhelm was already involved with Sibylle Kretschmer, whom he married promptly and as soon as his divorce was official. Sibylle survives he husband.

Prince Friedrich Wilhelm is notable for the various books he authored about his family. He is also, perhaps less notable, for the long, and failed, legal action he started against his nephew Georg Friedrich. Friedrich Wilhelm and his late brother Michael wanted to regain control of the family's fortune, which they had forsaken upon marrying morganatically during their father's tenure of headship of house. Of course, neither prince dared start such an action during their father's lifetime. They would not have dared do so. But the moment their nephew succeeded, they lost little time in heading to the courts. Luckily for the current Head of House Prussia, the German courts sided with him and in detriment of his uncles.

Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia is survived by his third wife, four children and seven grandchildren.

May he rest in Peace ...

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