Evangelical Church of the Holy Cross, German Emperor Friedrich III, German Emperor Wilhelm II, Homosexuality, House of Hohenzollern, King Frederick William III of Prussia, Prince Albert of Prussia, Prince Frederick Henry of Prussia, Prince Friedrich Heinrich of Prussia
Prince Friedrich Heinrich of Prussia (April 15, 1874 – November 30, 1940) was a Prussian officer, member of the house of Hohenzollern, and a great-grandson of King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia. He was persecuted for being homosexual.
Prince Friedrich Heinrich was the oldest son of Prince Albrecht of Prussia (1837–1906) and his wife Princess Marie of Saxe-Altenburg (1854–1898), the only surviving child of Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg and his wife Princess Agnes of Anhalt-Dessau. Prince Friedrich Heinrich he stood over six feet tall.
He studied law at Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn. In 1895, he became a member of the fraternity “Corps Borussia Bonn,” and later became an honorary member of the Burschenschaft Vandalia Berlin. He traveled to Italy, Norway, and Sweden.
After university, he took up a career as a commissioned officer. He began as a major in the 1st Guard Dragoon Regiment “Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,” and then was called to the command of the German General Staff in 1902.
In 1904, he became the commander of the 1st Brandenburg Dragoon Regiment Number 2; he would rise to colonel on May 21, 1906.
He was relieved of his post as Commander of the Regiment at the beginning of 1907 and expelled from the Prussian Army because of his homosexuality. He was allowed to reenlist at the beginning of World War I as a private, but was denied promotion.
At the end of 1906, at the wishes of German Emperor Wilhelm II and as the heir of his deceased father, Friedrich Heinrich was voted the Herrenmeister of the Order of Saint John. However, due to increasing knowledge of his homosexuality, Prince Eitel Friedrich became the Herrenmeister instead. Journalist Maximilian Harden published an article on April 27, 1907 that this change in leadership was because the prince “suffers from an inherited version of inverted sex drive.” This is likely a reference to his homosexual ancestor Prince Heinrich of Prussia (1726–1802).
His ancestor, Prince Heinrich of Prussia (1726–1802), was a son of King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia and Princess Sophia Dorothea of Hanover, and the younger brother of King Friedrich II the Great. Prince Heinrich led Prussian armies in the Silesian Wars and the Seven Years’ War, having never lost a battle in the latter. In 1786, he was suggested as a candidate for a monarch for the United States.
In response to this publicity, Prince Friedrich Heinrich left Berlin on the advice of Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg. He spent time in the south of France and Egypt before returning to Germany, where he lived in seclusion on his estates in Silesia.
At the beginning of 1910, he gave up his presidency of the Academy of Charitable Sciences at Erfurt to his brother Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia (July 12, 1880 – March 9, 1925) .
His inheritance included the towns of Kamenz and Zawidów in the southeastern area of Province of Lower Silesia; his contributions to the economic development of the area and care for the townsfolk made him locally popular. With his own money, he established the Evangelical Church of the Holy Cross in Wölfelsgrund in 1911 and the Church of the Resurrection in Zawidów in 1913, and brought in deaconesses for local nursing homes. He also promoted local forestry and dispensed honors to locals.
He was never married and died without descendants, ending the paternal line of his grandfather, Prince Albrecht of Prussia (1809–1872) youngest child of King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia and Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Two of Albrecht’s elder brothers were Friedrich Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia from 1840 till 1861, and Wilhelm I, King of Prussia from 1861 to 1888 and German Emperor from 1871 until 1888.
Prince Friedrich Heinrich of Prussia died on November 13, 1940 in Zawidów and was buried in the mausoleum there.
After his death, Waldemar, son of Prince Heinrich and the grandson of German Emperor Friedrich III inherited the castle in Kamenz.