From the Emperor’s Desk: In researching the background on the Crown of the Kingdom of Hanover for my countdown of my favorite crowns, I came up with…nothing! So instead I’ll give a short synopsis of the Kingdom of Hanover itself.
The Crown of the Kingdom of Hanover.
The Kingdom of Hanover was established in October 1814 by the Congress of Vienna, with the restoration of George III to his Hanoverian territories after the Napoleonic era. It succeeded the former Electorate of Hanover (known formally as the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg), and joined 38 other sovereign states in the German Confederation in June of 1815.
The kingdom was ruled by the House of Hanover, a cadet branch of the House of Guelph (Welf), And held in personal union with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland since 1714. Since its monarch resided in London, a viceroy (usually a younger member of the British Royal Family) handled the administration of the Kingdom of Hanover.
The Crown of the Kingdom of Hanover and Hereditary Prince Ernst-August of Hanover.
The territory of Hanover had earlier been a principality within the Holy Roman Empire before being elevated into an Imperial Electorate in 1708, when Hanover was formed by union of the dynastic divisions of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg, excepting the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.
The founder of the dynasty was Prince Ernst-August, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, (November 20, 1629 – January 23, 1698). youngest son of Georg, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Prince of Calenberg, and Anne-Eleonore of Hesse-Darmstadt.
On September 30, 1658, Ernst-August married Sophia of the Palatinate of the Rhine in Heidelberg. She was the daughter of Friedrich V, Elector Palatine of the Rhine and Princess Elizabeth of England, and granddaughter of King James VI-I of England, Scotland and Ireland. Sophia had been betrothed to Ernst-August’s older brother, Georg-Wilhelm who did not want her. When she married Ernst-August instead, releasing Georg-Wilhelm from this obligation, Georg-Wilhelm then ceded to Ernst-August his claim to the Duchy of Lüneburg.
Ernst-August, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Elector of Hanover.
As the fourth son, Ernst-August had little chance of succeeding his father as ruler. Therefore, the couple had to live in the Leineschloss at the Hanover court of Ernest-August’s eldest brother Christian-Ludwig.
Christian-Ludwig died childless in 1665, leaving the Duchy of Lüneburg to the second brother, Georg-Wilhelm, who had ceded his right to Ernst-August, who thus succeeded. Georg-Wilhelm kept the district of Celle for himself.
In 1679, Ernst-August inherited the Principality of Calenberg from the third brother Johann-Friedrich. In 1680 the family moved back to Hanover. In 1683, against the protestations of his five younger sons, Ernst-August instituted primogeniture, so that his territory would not be further subdivided after his death, and also as a pre-condition for obtaining the coveted electorship.
Ernst-August participated on the side of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, in the Great Turkish War; also known as the War of the Holy League which was a series of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Holy League which consisted of the Habsburg Monarchy, Poland-Lithuania, Venice and Russia. In 1692, Ernst-August was appointed Prince-Elector by the Emperor, thus raising the House of Hanover to electoral dignity; however, the electorship did not come into effect until 1708. He was nonetheless recognized as Elector of Hanover, the very first. Ernst-August died in 1698 at Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover. He was succeeded as ruler by his eldest son, Georg-Ludwig.
Georg-Ludwig, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Elector of Hanover,
In 1701 The Act of Settlement was passed in the Parliament of England that settle the succession to the English and Irish crowns on Protestants only. The next Protestant in line to the throne after William III and his heir, Anne, was the Electress Sophia of Hanover, a granddaughter of James VI-I of England, Scotland and Ireland. After her the crowns would descend only to her non-Roman Catholic heirs, bypassing the Catholic descendants of James II-VII of England, Scotland and Ireland.
The Act of Settlement was, in many ways, the major cause of the union of Scotland with England and Wales to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. The Parliament of Scotland was not happy with the Act of Settlement and, in response, passed the Act of Security in 1704, through which Scotland reserved the right to choose its own successor to Queen Anne. Stemming from this, the Parliament of England decided that, to ensure the stability and future prosperity of Great Britain, full union of the two parliaments and nations was essential before Anne’s death.
It used a combination of exclusionary legislation (the Alien Act 1705), politics, and bribery to achieve this within three years under the Act of Union 1707 which united England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain. By virtue of Article II of the Treaty of Union, which defined the succession to the throne of Great Britain, the Act of Settlement became part of Scots Law as well.
Georg-Ludwig’s mother, the Electress Sophia, died on May 28, 1714 at the age of 83. She had collapsed in the gardens at Herrenhausen after rushing to shelter from a shower of rain. Georg-Ludwig, Elector of Hanover and was now Queen Anne’s heir presumptive.
George I, King of Great Britain.
On the death of Queen Anne in August of 1714, Georg-Ludwig ascended the throne of Great Britain as George I, and the Electorate of Hanover was joined in a personal union with Great Britain. In 1803, Hanover was conquered by the French and Prussian armies in the Napoleonic Wars. The Treaties of Tilsit in 1807 joined it to territories from Prussia and created the Kingdom of Westphalia, ruled by Napoleon’s youngest brother Jérôme Bonaparte. French control lasted until October 1813 when the territory was overrun by Russian Cossacks. The Battle of Leipzig shortly thereafter spelled the definitive end of the Napoleonic client states, and the electorate was restored to the House of Hanover.
The terms of the Congress of Vienna in 1814 not only restored Hanover, but elevated it to an independent kingdom with its Prince-Elector, George III of Great Britain, as King of Hanover. The new kingdom was also greatly expanded, becoming the fourth-largest state in the German Confederation (behind Prussia, Austria and Bavaria) and the second-largest in north Germany.
Under George III’s six-year reign, he never visited the Kingdom. Actually, he never left Great Britain at all during his lifetime. Having succumbed to dementia prior to the elevation of Hanover, it is unlikely he ever understood that he had gained an additional kingship nor did he take any role in its governance.
George III, King of the United Kingdom, Elector of Hanover (1760-1813) and 1st King of Hanover (1814-1820)
Functional administration of Hanover was usually handled by a viceroy, which during the later years of George III’s reign and the reigns of kings George IV and William IV from 1816 to 1837, was Adolphus-Frederick, Duke of Cambridge, George III’s youngest surviving son.
King Ernst-August (I) of Hanover
When Queen Victoria succeeded to the British throne in 1837, the 123-year personal union of Great Britain and Hanover ended. Salic law operated in Hanover, excluding accession to the throne by a female while any male of the dynasty survived; thus instead of Victoria, her uncle in the male-line of the House of Hanover, Ernest Augustus, now the eldest surviving son of George III, succeeded to the throne of the new kingdom as King Ernst-August of Hanover (1771-1851) Adolphus-Frederick the younger brother, and long-time Viceroy, returned to Britain as King Ernst-August was the first King of Hanover to actually reside in the kingdom.
King Georg V of Hanover
During the Austro-Prussian War (1866), Hanover attempted to maintain a neutral position, along with some other member states of the German Confederation. Hanover’s vote in favor of the mobilisation of Confederation troops against Prussia on June 14, 1866 prompted Prussia to declare war. The outcome of the war led to the dissolution of Hanover as an independent kingdom and it was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia, becoming the Prussian Province of Hanover. Along with the rest of Prussia, it became part of the German Empire in 1871.
After King Georg V of Hanover (1819-1878) fled his country in 1866, he raised forces loyal to him in the Netherlands, called the Guelphic Legion. They were eventually disbanded in 1870. Nevertheless, Georg refused to accept the Prussian takeover of his realm and claimed he was still the legitimate King of Hanover. His only son, Ernst-August, Crown Prince of Hanover (1845-1923), inherited this claim upon George’s death in 1878.
Ernst-August, Crown Prince of Hanover and Duke of Cumberland
Ernst-August, who was also the Duke of Cumberland in the peerage of the United Kingdom, was also first in line to the throne of the Duchy of Brunswick, whose rulers had been a junior branch of the House of Hanover. In 1884, that branch became extinct with the death of Duke Wilhelm of Brunswick, a distant cousin of Ernst-August.
Prince Albert of Prussia, Regent of Brunswick
However, since Ernst-August refused to renounce his claim to the annexed Kingdom of Hanover, the Bundesrat of the German Empire ruled that he would disturb the peace of the empire if he ascended the throne of Brunswick. As a result, Brunswick was ruled by a regency until 1913. The first regent was Prince Albert of Prussia (1837–1906) his wife Princess Marianne of the Netherlands. His father was a brother of King Friedrich-Wilhelm IV of Prussia and of Wilhelm I, King of Prussia and German Emperor. Prince Albert of Prussia was regent of the Duchy of Brunswick from 1885 until his death in 1906.
The regency of Brunswick fell to Duke Johann-Albrecht of Mecklenburg-Schwerin the fifth child of Friedrich-Franz II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1823-1883) and his first wife Princess Augusta Reuss of Köstritz (1822–1862).
Duke Johann-Albrecht of Mecklenburg-Schwerin actually served as the regent of two states of the German Empire. Firstly from 1897 to 1901 he was regent of Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin for his nephew Friedrich-Franz IV, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and from 1907 to 1913 he was Regent of the Duchy of Brunswick.
Duke Johann-Albrecht of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Regent of Brunswick
When Crown Prince Ernst-August’s son, also named Ernst-Agust-August married the German Emperor Wilhelm II’s daughter, Princess Viktoria-Luise of Prussia in 1913 and swore allegiance to the German Empire, Crown Prince Ernst-August, Duke of Cumberland, then renounced his claim to Brunswick in favor of his son, and the Bundesrat allowed the younger Ernest-August to take possession of Brunswick as it’s new reigning Duke as a kind of dowry compensation for Hanover. This also reconciled the House of Guelph and the House of Hohenzollern after the Prussian annexation of Hanover in 1866. Duke Ernst-August abdicated the Duchy of Brunswick in 1918 at the end of World War I when the German monarchy was abolished.
Duke Ernst-August and Duchess Viktoria-Luise of Brunswick.
Today the claimant to the defunct throne of Hanover is Ernst-August,(V) Prince of Hanover (born February 26, 1954) and is the grandson of Ernest-August, the last reigning Duke of Brunswick and his wife Princess Viktoria-Luise of Prussia.
Prince and Princess Ernst-August Hanover (formerly Princess Caroline Of Monaco).
Ernst-August, is the senior male-line descendant of George III of the United Kingdom, and is head of the House of Hanover. He is also the claimant to the defunct Duchy of Brunswick and the British Peerage of the Dukedom of Cumberland which was lost due to the passing of the Titles Deprivation Act of 1917 which authorised enemies of the United Kingdom during the First World War to be deprived of their British peerages and royal titles. His second marriage was to HSH Princess Caroline of Monaco.