German Emperor Friedrich III, German Emperor Wilhelm II, German Empire, German Navy, German Revolution, Hemophilia, House of Hohenzollern, Prince Henry of Prussia, Princess Irene of Hesse and By Rhine, Princess Royal, Princess Victoria of the United Kingdom., Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, World War I
Prince Albert Wilhelm Heinrich of Prussia (August 1862 – April 20, 1929) known by his last name, Heinrich, he was a younger brother of German Emperor Wilhelm II and a Prince of Prussia. He was also a grandson of Queen Victoria. A career naval officer, he held various commands in the Imperial German Navy and eventually rose to the rank of Grand Admiral and Generalinspekteur der Marine.
Born in Berlin, Prince Heinrich was the third child and second son of eight children born to Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm (later Emperor Friedrich III), and Victoria, Princess Royal of the United Kingdom (later Empress Victoria and in widowhood Empress Frederick), eldest daughter of the British Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
Heinrich was three years younger than his brother, the future Emperor Wilhelm II (born January 27, 1859). He was born on the same day as King Friedrich Wilhelm I “Soldier-King” of Prussia.
After attending the gymnasium in Cassell, which he left in the middle grades in 1877, the 15-year-old Heinrich entered the Imperial Navy cadet program. His naval education included a two-year voyage around the world (1878 to 1880), the naval officer examination in October 1880, and attending the German naval academy (1884 to 1886).
At the beginning of World War I, Prince Heinrich was named Commander-in-Chief of the Baltic Fleet. Although the means provided to him were far inferior to Russia’s Baltic Fleet, he succeeded, until the 1917 Revolution, in putting Russian naval forces far on the defensive and hindered them from making attacks on the German coast. After the end of hostilities with Russia, his mission was ended, and Prince Heinrich simply left active duty. With the war’s end and the dissolution of the monarchy in Germany, Prince Heinrich left the navy.
On May 24, 1888, Heinrich married Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine, his first cousin. She was the third child and third daughter of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom and Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine. Her maternal grandparents were Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Her paternal grandparents were Prince Charles of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Elizabeth of Prussia.
Heinrich’s dying father, German Emperor Friedrich III and his mother Empress Victoria were in attendance. The marriage produced three children:
Their sons Waldemar and Heinrich were both hemophiliacs, a disease which they inherited through Irene from the maternal grandmother of both of their parents, Queen Victoria, who was a carrier.
Personality and private life
Heinrich received one of the first pilot’s licenses in Germany, and was judged a spirited and excellent seaman. He was dedicated to modern technology and was able to understand quickly the practical value of technical innovations. A yachting enthusiast, Prince Heinrich became one of the first members of the Yacht Club of Kiel, established by a group of naval officers in 1887, and quickly became the club’s patron.
Heinrich was interested in motor cars as well and supposedly invented a windshield wiper and, according to other sources, the car horn.
After the German Revolution, Heinrich lived with his family in Hemmelmark near Eckernförde, in Schleswig-Holstein. He continued with motor sports and sailing and even in old age was a very successful participant in regattas. He popularized the Prinz-Heinrich-Mütze (“Prince Henry cap”), which is still worn, especially by older sailors.
In 1899, Heinrich received an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Engineering honoris causa) from the Technical University of Berlin. Also in foreign countries he received numerous similar honors, including an honorary doctorate (LL.D.) from Harvard University in March 1902, during his visit to the United States.
Prince Heinrich died of throat cancer, as his father had, in Hemmelmark on April 20, 1929.