Sunday, 31 July 2011

Württemberg's 'secret King' 75

This 1st August Duke Carl, Württemberg’s „secret king“, celebrates his 75th birthday. He is a most respected person and keeps in close contact with the government and the elected representatives of the country and with the premiers/governors/heads of government (Ministerpräsidenten) of Baden-Württemberg, as the former Kingdom and state of Württemberg was amalgamated with Baden and Hohenzollern (the origin of Germany’s Imperial Family) in 1952.

Duke Carl is the fifth of six children of Duke Philipp (II.) Albrecht of Württemberg (né Stuttgart 14th November 1893 - + Ravensburg 15th April 1975) and his second wife, Duchess Rosa of Württemberg, née Arch Duchess of Austria-Toskana (née Parsch/Salzburg 22nd September 1906 - + Friedrichshafen 17th September 1983). After studying law in Tübingen, Duke Carl took up a leading position in the administration (Hofkammer) of the assets of the Royal House of Württemberg. After his father’s death he assumed the position as head of the family and moved to Altshausen, where the royal family has resided since 1919.

The Castle of Altshausen near Lake Constance.

Sometimes he refers to himself as the country’s “most feared donation collector”. He is patron of 27 charity organisations, among others of Herzenssache, a charity organisation to support children in need. His old alma mater of the Tübingen University (founded in 1477 by his ancestor Duke Eberhard I.) made him an honorary senator, the Catholic diocese of Rottenburg honoured him with the Max-Müller-Medal for his work as 1st Chairman of the Catholic School Association. He also received the Große Verdienstkreuz (Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany). In 1991 Duke Carl founded the Ludwig-Uhland-Preis, a literature prize. The prize is awarded to those who have contributed to the understanding of the literature of Württemberg.

On 21st July 1960, he married Princess Diane of France (born in Petrópolis, Brazil, 24th March 1940), the daughter of Henri Comte de Paris (1908–1999, claimant to the French throne and Chef de la Famille de France), his wife, Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza (1911–2003). They have four sons and two daughters, plus numerous grandchildren.

When in 1918 revolutionaries forced the German Monarchs to leave their thrones, King Wilhelm II of Württemberg was the last to abdicate. On 30th November 1918 he sent his Scheidegruß (Farewell Greetings) to the people of Württemberg. With his death in 1921 the protestant branch of the Royal House of Württemberg died out in the male line.

People in the state's capital Stuttgart resisting the destruction of their main railway station used images of King Wilhelm II of Württemberg to show their anger.

Duke Carl's grandfather, Duke Albrecht of Württemberg (né Wien 23rd Dec. 1865 - + Altshausen 29th Oct. 1939), was heir presumptive during the time of the Monarchy and became head of the Württemberg Royal Family and de jure King of Württemberg. He belonged to a junior branch that had converted to Catholicism.

Duke Carl of Württemberg has never made a secret of the fact that he is in favour of a Constitutional Monarchy and has said so in several interviews, like this one with the Südwestdeutscher Rundfunk (SWR) in 2006:

From the Southern hemisphere go the heartiest birthday greetings to the "secret King" of Württemberg. Long May he live!

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