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European Royalty during World War II. Last Chance for Restoration?.

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european royalty during world war ii

European RoyaltyduringWorld War II

Last Chance for Restoration?


The war was presented as a crusade for the defeat of tyranny and aggression, and not a new wave of conquest and empire-building. The declaration of the so-called United Nations in January 1942… was a public expression of world opinion against the Axis New Orders, a reassertion of public morality in dealings at home and abroad…. What mattered at the time was not so much the moral credentials of the signatories, but the sense conveyed in the document that those who signed it walked on the side of the angels against “savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world….” –Richard Overy

Any healthy elements that can deliver some goods should be rallied in this crisis.

– Winston Churchill


A Hohenzollern prince who had the enormous courage to put himself at the head of the German Resistance movement that had become unendurable at home and had failed in the field of foreign policy, and so risked his life, would have assuredly at one stroke changed the historical position of the monarchy. The painful memories of 1918 would have been wiped out. – Gerhard Ritter

royal injustice
Royal Injustice?
  • Royalty’s Anti-Nazi Record during the War
    • “Allied” Royalty
    • “Axis” Royalty
    • Neutral Royalty
    • Royal Resistance
  • Royalty’s Fate after the War
  • Reasons for Royalty’s Post-War Decline
allied royalty
Allied Royalty

King George VIof Great Britainand Ireland

allied royalty in exile
Allied Royalty-in-Exile
  • King Zog I of Albania (April 8, 1939)
  • Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxemburg (May 10, 1940)
  • Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (May 13, 1940)
  • King Haakon VII of Norway (June 7, 1940)
  • King Peter II of Yugoslavia (April 14-15, 1941)
  • King George II of the Hellenes (April 23, 1941)
queen wilhelmina of the netherlands
Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
  • British destroyer at the Hook of Holland
  • Exile, May 13, 1940-March 13, 1945
  • Radio broadcasts
  • “Busy though we were, my life in London was not dominated by action but by endless waiting.…”
other allied royalty
Other “Allied” Royalty
  • Allied Royalty under Nazi Arrest
    • King Christian X of Denmark (April 9, 1940)
    • King Leopold III of the Belgians (May 28, 1940)
  • Would-Be Allied Royalty
    • Prince Henri, the Count of Paris
king christian x of denmark
King Christian X of Denmark
  • Surrender on April 9, 1940
  • Daily ride through Copenhagen
  • Urban legends
  • Liberation in May 1945
the count of paris
The Count of Paris
  • Joined the French Foreign Legion at the outbreak of war
  • Settled in North Africa after France’s defeat
  • Was complicit in the assassination of Admiral Darlan in 1943?
  • Was admired and honored by De Gaulle
axis royalty
“Axis” Royalty
  • Duke Carl Eduard of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
  • Hereditary Prince Josias of Waldeck und Pyrmont
  • Prince Philipp of Hesse
  • Tsar Boris III of Bulgaria
  • Edward, the Duke of Windsor
  • Prince Friedrich Christian of Schaumburg-Lippe
  • Luise, Dowager Duchess of Anhalt-Dessau
  • Victoria Melita, Grand Duchess Cyril of Russia
duke carl eduard of saxe coburg and gotha
Duke Carl Eduardof Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
  • Birth as British Prince (grandson of Queen Victoria)
  • Nazi wedding of his daughter (Princess Sibylle) in 1932
  • The NSKK and SA
  • Presidency of the German Red Cross
hereditary prince josias of waldeck und pyrmont
Hereditary Prince Josiasof Waldeck und Pyrmont
  • Röhm Purge of 1934
  • High SS office in Thuringia (with oversight of Buchenwald)
  • Allied conviction for crimes against humanity
  • Relationship to Duke Carl Eduard

One may draw from the study of history the lesson that the age of princes is over. . . . For two hundred years we have been watching the decomposition of this system.  The princely houses have retained nothing but their pretensions.  With these they traffic, and by these they live. . . . If one day we had time to waste, it would be a curious study, that of these princely families, to see how they maintained themselves in power, despite their internal struggles.  Their wars always had the most exalted motives.  In reality, it was always a question of odd patches of land, whose possession was bitterly disputed.  How much Europe has had to suffer, for eight hundred years, from these practices – and, especially and above all, Germany! – Adolf Hitler

prince philipp of hesse

Son-in-Law of King Vittorio Emanuele III

Nazi Oberpräsident of Hesse-Nassau, 1933-1943

Intermediary between Hitler and Mussolini

Nazi prisoner after Italian surrender, 1943-1945 (his wife died in Buchenwald in 1944)

Allied prisoner after war

Prince Philipp of Hesse
tsar boris iii of bulgaria
Tsar Boris III of Bulgaria
  • Married to a daughter of King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy
  • Declared war against the Western Allies but not against the Soviet Union
  • Refused to surrender Bulgaria’s Jews to the Nazis
  • Possibly poisoned by Hitler in 1943
neutral royalty sweden
Neutral Royalty:Sweden
  • Pro-German King Gustav V of Sweden
  • Pro-British Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden
  • Pro-German Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden (son-in-law of Duke Carl Eduard)
royal resistance
Royal Resistance
  • Mussolini’s Nemesis
    • King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy
  • Boy-King Saviors
    • King Peter II of Yugoslavia
    • King Michael I of Romania
  • German Monarchist Resistance
king vittorio emanuele iii of italy
King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy
  • October 31, 1922:Mussolini’s First Cabinet
  • July 24-25, 1943:Mussolini’s Overthrow
  • May 9, 1946:King’s Abdication
king michael i of romania
King Michael I of Romania
  • September 6, 1940:King Carol II is deposed by Fascist Iron Guard and pro-German army.
  • King Michael is helpless puppet of pro-German Marshal Ion Antonescu.
  • August 23, 1944:King Michael leads palace coup and declares armistice.
german monarchist resistance
German Monarchist Resistance
  • Bavarian Separatists
  • Austrian Separatists
  • The German Resistance
    • Colonel-General (retd.) Ludwig Beck
    • Field Marshal Erwin von Witzleben, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, and other senior military leaders
    • Ambassador Ulrich von Hassell, Ernst von Weiszäcker, Dr. Johannes Popitz, and other senior bureaucrats
    • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dr. Klaus Bonhoeffer, Dr. Josef Wirmer, and other progressive Christian leaders
    • Ernst von Harnack, Wilhelm Leuschner, and other socialist leaders
crown prince rupprecht of bavaria
Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria
  • Near-restoration in March 1933
  • Bavaria Watch (1937-1939)
  • Gestapo surveillance and disappearance on June 17, 1944
  • Arrest of Crown Princess Antonia on July 27, 1944
archduke otto of austria
Archduke Otto of Austria
  • Near-restoration in 1938
  • Exile in America
  • Friendship with President Roosevelt
  • Work in war propaganda
the house of hohenzollern
The House of Hohenzollern
  • Kaiser Wilhelm II and Kaiserin Hermine
    • Crown Prince William of Prussia
      • Prince William of Prussia (killed in action in 1940)
      • Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia
    • Prince Eitel Friedrich of Prussia
    • Prince Adalbert of Prussia, Count Lingen
    • Prince August Wilhelm (“Auwi”) of Prussia
      • Prince Alexander Ferdinand of Prussia
    • Prince Oskar of Prussia
      • Prince Oskar of Prussia (killed in action in 1939)
    • Viktoria Luise, Duchess of Brunswick
      • Prince Ernst August of Hanover
kaiser wilhelm ii
Kaiser Wilhelm II
  • Courted by Göring before the War
  • Married to Pro-Nazi Empress Hermine
  • Refused British offer of asylum in 1940
  • Congratulated Hitler on the defeat of France
  • Added a codicil to his will refusing to be buried in Germany or to have swastikas displayed at funeral
crown prince william of prussia
Crown Prince William of Prussia
  • Publicly supported Hitler’s bid for Reich President in 1932
  • Participated in the opening of the first Nazi Reichstag in Potsdam’s Garrison Church in 1933
  • Publicly congratulated Hitler on his military victories
  • Linked to German Resistance
  • All but arrested after July 20, 1944
prince louis ferdinand of prussia
Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia

Could a rebel prince have successfully opposed Hitler?  Of all the might-have-beens in Europe, Louis Ferdinand’s is the most tragic case – not for him personally, for he neverburned with the desire to reclaim the throne – but for the world, which would have taken an imponderably different shape had he been called upon to rule.

– Charles Fenyvesi

fate of allied royalty
Fate of Allied Royalty
  • Victims of Soviet Expansion
    • King Peter II of Yugoslavia
    • King Michael II of Romania
    • Tsar Simeon II of Bulgaria
  • Victims of Western Embarrassment andInternal Communist Agitation
    • King George II of the Hellenes
    • King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy
    • King Zog I of Albania
  • Victim of a Western Slur Campaign
    • King Leopold III of the Belgians
king leopold iii of the belgians
King Leopold III of the Belgians
  • May 24, 1940: King refuses to flee Belgium.
  • May 28, 1940: King surrenders, and Allies begin to attack him in radio broadcasts.
  • Winter 1940: King visits Hitler at Berchtesgaden.
  • Autumn 1941: King marries Lilian Baels.
  • May 1945: King is released from Nazi captivity in Austria.
  • July 22, 1950: King returns to Belgium.
  • August 1, 1950: Abdication
fate of german monarchism
Fate of German Monarchism
  • Victims of Nazi Vengeance
    • The Conspirators of July 20, 1944
  • Victims of Western Suspicion/Neglect
    • Dr. Fritz Schäffer in Bavaria (September 1945)
    • The Guelph Party (NLP) in Hanover (August 1946)
    • Archduke Otto of Austria and Karl Renner
    • Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia
      • The Bavarian of Christmas 1945
      • 1951 Poll
      • 1968 Quick/Bild Zeitung Poll
post war monarchism in spain why
Post-War Monarchism in Spain: Why?
  • A way to legitimize the post-war Franco regime in the eyes of the Allies?
  • A logical extension of the authoritarian conservatism of Fascism?
  • A Trojan horse in democracy’s fight against Fascism?