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Today is the 65th birthday of HRH Prince Ernst August of Hanover.

Ernst August was born in Hanover, the eldest son of Ernst August, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick (1914–1987) and his first wife, Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (1925–1980). He was christened, Ernst August Albert Paul Otto Rupprecht Oskar Berthold Friedrich-Ferdinand Christian-Ludwig.

Prince Ernst August and Princess Caroline

As the senior male-line descendant of George III of the United Kingdom, Ernst August is head of the House of Hanover, the surviving junior branch of the medieval House of Welf, which itself is the older branch of the House of Este, a dynasty whose earliest known members lived in Lombardy in the late 9th/early 10th century and which, in its younger branch, ruled Ferrara (1240–1597) and the Duchy of Modena-Reggio (1288–1796) in Italy.

The title of Prince of Great Britain and Ireland was recognised ad personam for Ernst August’s father and his father’s siblings by King George V of the United Kingdom on June 17, 1914. The hereditary Dukedom of Cumberland and Teviotdale and the Earldom of Armagh, borne in 1917 by his paternal great-grandfather, were suspended under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917.

George III, King of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King of Hanover.

On August 29, 1931, Ernst August’s grandfather Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick, as head of the House of Hanover, declared the formal resumption, for himself and his dynastic descendants, the use of his former British princely title “Prince/Princess of Great Britain and Ireland,” as a secondary title of pretense. Every member of the House of Hanover claims this title. The Crown of the United Kingdom does not recognize this claim. It is also noteworthy that the the title in pretense is “Prince/Princess of Great Britain and Ireland,” and not “Prince/Princess of the United Kingdom Great Britain and Ireland.” Ernst August’s grandfather chose the princely title the dynasty held when George I of Hanover became King of Great Britain in 1714, which was prior to the Act of Union in 1801 which created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

As heir of the last Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale and Earl of Armagh, Ernst August has the right to petition under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917 for the restoration of his ancestors’ suspended British peerages, but he has not done so.

Ernst August is also a great-grandson of the last German Emperor, Wilhelm II. His father’s sister was Frederica of Hanover (1917–1981), queen consort of the Hellenes, as wife of Pavlos I of the Hellenes and he is thus a first cousin of both ex-King Constantine II and his sister, Queen Sophia, whose husband is Juan Carlos I of Spain.

Wilhelm II, German Emperor and King of Prussia.

Ernst August’s uncle, Prince George William of Hanover (1915–2006), married Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark (1914–2001), a sister of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

The Prince has two sons with his first wife (Chantal Hochuli), a daughter with his second and current wife (Princess Caroline of Monaco) and a granddaughter.

Ernst August was photographed urinating on the Turkish Pavilion at the Expo 2000 event in Hanover, causing a diplomatic incident and a complaint from the Turkish embassy accusing him of insulting the Turkish people.

In 2004, Ernst August was convicted of aggravated assault and causing grievous bodily harm after supposedly beating a German man, Joe Brunnlehner, with a knuckleduster on the Kenyan island of Luma.

TRH The Prince and Princess of Hanover.

On Monday, April 3, 2005, Ernst August was admitted to hospital with acute pancreatitis. The next day, he fell into a deep coma, two days before the death of his father-in-law, Rainier III, Prince of Monaco. On Friday, April 8, 2005, hospital officials reported that he was no longer in a coma but remained in intensive care. A report the same day on BBC World described his condition as “serious but not irreversible.” After his release he was subsequently seen in public with his wife. In an interview he admitted at the time that his health crisis was caused by his hyperactive lifestyle and problems with alcohol.

His health deteriorated in subsequent years. He was hospitalized again in 2011, 2017 and 2018 for problems related to alcohol. This February 2019 he had another emergency surgery for pancreatitis. One week later, it was reported that he is suffering of throat cancer.

If Hanover and Germany were still a monarchy he would be King Ernst August V of Hanover.

Currently Ernst August is estranged from his wife and many family members.