Georg Friedrich Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia (German: Georg Friedrich Ferdinand Prinz von Preußen; born 10 June 1976), is the current head of the House of Hohenzollern, the former ruling dynasty of the German Empire and of the Kingdom of Prussia. He is the great-great-grandson and historic heir of Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, who was deposed and went into exile upon Germany's defeat in World War I in 1918.
Education and career
Georg Friedrich is the only son of Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia (1944–1977) and Countess Donata of Castell-Rüdenhausen (1950–2015), (born a member of a mediatized princely family, she later was Duchess Donata of Oldenburg by her second marriage to her former sister-in-law's ex-husband, Duke Friedrich August of Oldenburg).
After the death of his father, Georg Friedrich spent much of his youth in the care and under the guidance of Louis Ferdinand, his paternal grandfather. He attended grammar schools in Bremen and Oldenburg and completed his education at Glenalmond College near Perth, Scotland, where he passed his A-levels. He volunteered for a two-year stint in the Alpine troops of the German army, where he was known simply as "Preuße" ("Prussian"). Georg Friedrich took his degree in business economics at the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology.
Georg Friedrich works for a company specialising in helping universities bring their innovations to market. He also administers the Princess Kira of Prussia-Foundation, founded by his grandmother in 1952. He lives near Bremen and at Hohenzollern Castle.
Georg Friedrich claims compensation for expropriated land and palaces in Berlin. The procedure for compensation was started by his grandfather Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia under the Compensation Act (EALG) in March 1991.
House of Hohenzollern
Georg Friedrich succeeded his grandfather, Louis Ferdinand as Head of the Royal House of Prussia, a branch of the House of Hohenzollern, on 26 September 1994. He learned to appreciate the history and responsibility of his heritage during time spent with his paternal grandfather, who often recounted to him anecdotes from the life in exile of his own grandfather, the last German Kaiser.
His position as sole heir to the estate of his grandfather was challenged by his uncles, Friedrich Wilhelm and Michael who filed a lawsuit claiming that, despite their renunciations as dynasts at the time of their marriages, the loss of their inheritance rights based on their selection of spouse was discriminatory and unconstitutional. His uncles were initially successful, the Regional Court of Hechingen and the higher Regional Court of Stuttgart ruling in their favour in 1997 on the grounds that the requirement to marry equally was "immoral". However, the Federal Court of Justice of Germany overturned the original rulings in favour of Georg Friedrich's uncles, the case being remanded to the courts at Hechingen and Stuttgart. This time both courts ruled in favour of Georg Friedrich. His uncles then took their case to the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany which overruled the previous court rulings in Georg Friedrich's favour. On 19 October 2005, a German regional court ruled that Georg Friedrich was indeed the principal heir of his grandfather, Louis Ferdinand (who was the primary beneficiary of the trust set up for the estate of Wilhelm II), but also concluded that each of the children of Louis Ferdinand was entitled to a portion of the Prussian inheritance.
Prince Georg Friedrich and Princess Sophie (2017)
On 21 January 2011, Georg Friedrich announced his engagement to Princess Sophie Johanna Maria of Isenburg (born 7 March 1978), who studied business administration in Freiburg and Berlin and works at a firm that offers consulting services for nonprofit business. The civil wedding took place in Potsdam on 25 August 2011, and the religious wedding took place at the Church of Peace in Potsdam on 27 August 2011, in commemoration of the 950th anniversary of the founding of the House of Hohenzollern. The religious wedding was also broadcast live by local public television. The dinner, which many members of German and European royal families attended, was held in the Orangery Palace at Sanssouci Park.
Princess Sophie's parents are Franz-Alexander, Prince of Isenburg and his wife, née Countess Christine von Saurma-Jeltsch. The couple share descent (being sixth cousins once-removed) from Charles II, the first reigning Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and a brother of Charlotte of Mecklenburg, queen consort of George III of Great Britain. Princess Sophie's father is head of the senior branch of the mediatised princely House of Isenburg, known under the Holy Roman Empire and subsequent German Empire as the Büdingen-Birstein line. In 1913 Franz Alexander's grandfather, Franz Joseph, dropped the und Büdingen zu Birstein suffix from his title as Fürst von Isenburg.
The Princess has two brothers, Hereditary Prince Alexander and Prince Viktor, and two older sisters, respectively, Archduchess Katharina (born 1971), wife since 2004 of Archduke Martin of Austria-Este, and Princess Isabelle (born 1973), widow of Carl, Prince of Wied.
As a Protestant descendant of Queen Victoria through her daughter the Empress Victoria of Germany, Georg Friedrich was in the line of succession to the British throne from his birth until his marriage in 2011; as he married a Roman Catholic, according to the Act of Settlement of 1701, he was thus debarred from the British line of succession until the implementation in 2015 of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which restored any succession rights to British dynasts forfeited because of marriage to Roman Catholics.
Hohenzollern Castle, Swabia
On 20 January 2013, Georg Friedrich's wife Sophie gave birth to twin sons in Bremen:
HRH Prince Carl Friedrich Franz Alexander of Prussia
HRH Prince Louis Ferdinand Christian Albrecht of Prussia
Carl Friedrich, the elder of the two, is the heir apparent. The boys were baptized in the Chapel of St. Michael at Hohenzollern Castle on 24 June 2013.
Their third child, a daughter, was born on 2 April 2015.
HRH Princess Emma Marie Charlotte Sophie of Prussia
Princess Emma was baptized in the Chapel of St. Michael at Hohenzollern Castle on 13 June 2015. Her godparents are Archduchess Katharina of Austria (mother's sister) and Prince Otto of Castell-Rüdenhausen (father's first cousin).
On 17 November 2016, Sophie gave birth to the couple's fourth child, a third son.
HRH Prince Heinrich Albert Johann Georg of Prussia
Prince Heinrich was baptized in the Chapel of St. Michael at Hohenzollern Castle on 13 May 2017.
Titles, styles and honours
Titles and styles
10 June 1976 - 26 September 1994:His Royal Highness Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia
26 September 1994 – present:His Imperial and Royal Highness The Prince of Prussia (Only the head of the House of Hohenzollern is styled Imperial and Royal Highness, the other members just Royal Highness)
official in Germany:10 June 1976 – present: Georg Friedrich Prinz von Preußen
House of Prussia: Sovereign Knight Grand Cordon with Collar of the Order of the Black Eagle
House of Prussia: Sovereign Knight Grand Cordon with Collar of the Order of the Red Eagle
House of Prussia: Sovereign of the Order of Merit of the Prussian Crown
House of Prussia: Sovereign of the Order of the Crown
House of Prussia: Sovereign Knight Grand Cordon with Collar of the Imperial House Order of Hohenzollern-Prussia
House of Prussia: Sovereign of the Imperial Order for Merit
House of Prussia: Sovereign of the Order of Louise
House of Prussia: Sovereign of the Order of Wilhelm
"I do not see any reason for the political system in Germany to be changed. And I am very happy — probably happier than many of my forebearers."
"I have as head of the House of Hohenzollern no political role — and neither do I aim at such."
Ancestors of Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia
16. Wilhelm II, German Emperor
8. William, German Crown Prince
17. Princess Augusta Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
4. Louis Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia
18. Frederick Francis III, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
9. Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
19. Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia
2. Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia
20. Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia
10. Cyril Vladimirovich, Grand Duke of Russia
21. Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
5. Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia
22. Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
11. Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
23. Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia
1. Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia
24. Wolfgang, Prince of Castell-Rüdenhausen
12. Casimir, Prince of Castell-Rüdenhausen
25. Princess Emma of Ysenburg and Büdingen in Büdingen