Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany and Prussia, German Emperor Wilhelm II, Head of the House of Prussia, House of Hohenzollern, King of Prussia, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, World War I
Wilhelm, German Crown Prince, Crown Prince of Prussia (Friedrich Wilhelm Victor August Ernst; May 6, 1882 – July 20, 1951) was the eldest child of the last German Emperor, Wilhelm II, and his consort Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein. As Emperor Wilhelm’s heir, he was the last Crown Prince of the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia.
Wilhelm was born on May 6, 1882 as the eldest son of the then Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, and his first wife, Princess Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein. He was born in the Marmorpalais of Potsdam in the Province of Brandenburg, where his parents resided until his father acceded to the throne.
When he was born, his great-grandfather Wilhelm I was the German Emperor and King of Prussia while his grandfather Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm 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, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, 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 Princess Helena to help instead. His mother was hurt and his grandmother, Queen Victoria, who was the younger Wilhelm’s great-grandmother, was furious.
Wilhelm became crown prince at the age of six in 1888, when his grandfather Friedrich III died and his father became emperor.
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 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.
However, Crown Prince Wilhelm was a womanizer and the marriage was unhappy. After the fall of the German monarchy, at the end of World War I, Wilhelm and Cecilie lived mostly apart.
Wilhelm was crown prince for 30 years until the fall of the German Empire on November 9, 1918. 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.
After his return to Germany in 1923, he fought the Weimar Republic and campaigned for the reintroduction of the monarchy and a dictatorship in Germany.
After his plans to become president had been blocked by his father, Wilhelm supported Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, but when Wilhelm realised that Hitler had no intention of restoring the monarchy, their relationship cooled.
Wilhelm became head of the House of Hohenzollern on June 4, 1941 following the death of his father. Although the Monarchy had been abolished, to his supporters and monarchists he had become Wilhelm III, German Emperor and King of Prussia. He held the position until his own death on July 20, 1951. He was succeeded in the headship of the House of Hohenzollern by his second son, Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia.