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Wilhelm, Crown Prince of Germany
Official Portrait

Full Name Friedrich Wilhelm Victor August Ernst von Hohenzollern
Titles Crown Prince of Germany

Crown Prince of Prussia

Born 6 May 1882
Allegiance Flag-GER German Empire
Political Party Unaffiliated (Hohenzollern Family)


Friedrich Wilhelm (born 6 May 1882), known popularly as simply Wilhelm, is the current Crown Prince (German: Kronprinz) of Germany and Prussia. As the eldest son of Kaiser Wilhelm II, he is first in the line of succession to the German throne.

Biography

Wilhelm was born in 1882, six years before the accession of his father to the German throne. In 1888, Wilhelm went from being fourth in the Prussian succession line to first, becoming the German Kronprinz. Raised within Prussian military circles, he married in 1905 to Cecilie von Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and had the passenger liner SS Kronprinz Wilhelm named after him: the ship was sunk in 1920 by a British vessel on the Eastern Atlantic. Assuming a few military command during the Weltkrieg, the Kronprinz did not really have much influence on German politics after the Weltkrieg, other than for his friends, General Fedor von Bock and General Kurt von Schleicher, and the role of protector of arts fulfilled by his wife. By now, the Crown Prince is a rather peaceful man, only waiting for his father passing away to accomplish his duty.

Personal life

Parents

Wilhelm with father

The Kronprinz with his father

The Kronprinz is the eldest son of Kaiser Wilhelm II and his first wife, Kaiserin Augusta Viktoria von Schleswig-Holstein. Thus, he and his children are the first in line of succession for both German and Prussian throne. The Kronprinz appears to be ran by his own father: each time Wilhelm tried to intervene in German politics, the Kaiser forced him to be kept apart. An example among others: he failed to convince his father to name his friend Kurt von Schleicher as State Secretary for Interior for the government of Franz von Papen.

Marriage

In June, 6 1905, the Kronprinz married the youngest daughter of Grand Duke Friedrich Franz III von Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the Duchess Cecilie Auguste Marie von Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who was finally known as Princess Cecilie von Mecklenburg-Schwerin (born 20 September 1886). Despite the well-known unfaithfulness of her husband, she is known as a dignifed woman: Cecilienhof Palace, known as the shelter of most artists in Germany looking for a patron, such as famous architect Albert Speer, was built for her.

Children

Wilhelm with family

The Kronprinz with his wife, his two eldest sons and Generalfeldmarschall August von Mackensen

  • 1. Prince Wilhelm (born Wilhelm Friedrich Franz Joseph Christian Olaf on 4 July 1906), second in line.
  • 2. Prince Ludwig Ferdinand (born Louis Ferdinand Viktor Eduard Albert Michael Hubertus on 9 November 1907), still unmarried.
  • 3. Prince Hubertus (born Hubertus Karl Wilhelm on 30 December 1909), still unmarried.
  • 4. Prince Friedrich (born Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Christoph on 19 December 1911), still unmarried.
  • 5. Princess Alexandrine (born Alexandrine Irene on 7 April 1915), mentally disabled.
  • 6. Princess Cecilie (born 5 September 1917), still unmarried.

Military career

Wilhelm in military uniform

The Kronprinz during the Weltkrieg, with the Totenkopf shako of the Prussian hussars

Raised as his relatives and ancestors had been in the Prussian military tradition, he had little command experience before he was given charge of the 5th Army in August 1914, leading this unit until November 1916, having his headquarters near Charleville (Ardennes). Thus, he participated to the Verdun offensive, successfully taking Fort Vaux: he later advocated for ending the bloodbath engineered by this senseless battle, with this only being fulfilled on September, 2 1916. He later nominally led the Germano-Austro-Hungarian offensive in Italy, becoming the first German officer to enter into Rome.

His major post-Weltkrieg achievements were to help his personal friend, Fedor von Bock, hero of the intervention in China, to become Generalfeldmarschall in 1935, and also launching the political career of General Kurt von Schleicher, main rival of the current Reichskanzler, Franz von Papen.

What would be his reign?

Unless he decides to claim another name, the Kronprinz will certainly reign under the name of Wilhelm III, placing him in the line of his great-grandfather Wilhelm I, unifier of Germany, and his own father...if he finally rules. Due to the early beginning and the longevity of his father's reign, the Kronprinz would be one of the oldest monarchs to accede to his throne: even if the Kaiser dies tomorrow, the Kronprinz is already a man in his fifties. Many experts are seeing his future reign more like a transitional reign, much like Friedrich III between Wilhelm I and Wilhelm II. That's why they are more interested about the Kronprinz's son: his eldest son Wilhelm, who could renounce his rights due to his affair with a commoner, or his second son Ludwig Ferdinand, who turned away from the tradition of military education of the members of Hohenzollern family to make travels throughout the world and successful studies of law and economy.

A man of frivolous nature (whose affairs with hairdressers and ballet dancers were barely hushed up by the services of Imperial Family), despite a kind and quick-witted spirit, the gap between him and his father's authoritarianism will be astounding for the foreign diplomats. Unless he has to face a major crisis and resolve it, he will never have the same weight in history that his father, the Father of Mitteleuropa does. His friend, General Kurt von Schleicher, is sometimes advocated as a possible Reichskanzler for him.

In short, Wilhelm III's reign will be peaceful, unless he has to deal with the rising threats against German powers.

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