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Prince Wilhelm was born on May 6, 1882 in the Marmorpalais of Potsdam in the Province of Brandenburg. He was the eldest son of Wilhelm II, the last German Kaiser (Emperor) (1859–1941), and his first wife, Princess Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein (1858–1921).

When he was born, his great-grandfather Wilhelm I was the emperor and his grandfather Crown Prince Friedrich was the heir apparent, making Wilhelm third in line to the throne.

His birth sparked an argument between his parents and his grandmother Crown Princess Victoria. Before Wilhelm was born, his grandmother had expected to be asked to help find a nurse, but since her son did everything he could to snub her, the future Wilhelm II asked his aunt Helena to help.

His mother was hurt and his grandmother, Queen Victoria, who was the younger Wilhelm’s great-grandmother, furious. When his great-grandfather and grandfather both died in 1888, six-year-old Wilhelm became the heir apparent to the German and Prussian thrones.

Wilhelm married Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (September 20, 1886 – May 6, 1954) in Berlin on June 6, 1905. After their marriage, the couple lived at the Crown Prince’s Palace in Berlin in the winter and at the Marmorpalais in Potsdam.

Cecilie was the daughter of Grand Duke Friedrich Franz III, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1851–1897) and his wife, Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia (1860–1922). Their eldest son, Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, was killed fighting for the German Army in France in 1940.

During World War I, he commanded the 5th Army from 1914 to 1916 and was commander of the Army Group German Crown Prince for the remainder of the war.

At the end of the war, Wilhelm was captured by French Moroccan troops in Baad, Austria and was interned as a (World War I) war criminal. Transferred to Hechingen, Germany, he lived for a short time in Hohenzollern Castle under house arrest.

Upon his father’s death on June 4, 1941, Wilhelm succeeded him as head of the House of Hohenzollern, the former German imperial dynasty. To his monarchist supporters he was German Emperor Wilhelm III and King of Prussia. He was approached by those in the military and the diplomatic service who wanted to replace Hitler, but Wilhelm turned them down.

After the ill-fated assassination attempt on July 20, 1944, Hitler nevertheless had Wilhelm placed under supervision by the Gestapo and had his home at Cecilienhof watched.

Eventually he moved to a small five-room house at Fürstenstraße 16 in Hechingen where he died on July 20, 1951, of a heart attack.