Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse

Donatus, Prince and Landgrave of Hesse (Heinrich Donatus Philipp Umberto; born 17 October 1966) is the head of the House of Brabant. He is the eldest son and successor of German aristocrat Moritz, Landgrave of Hesse, and his former wife, Princess Tatiana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg[1] and the German House of Hesse. A great-grandson of Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, he is named in part after Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse. He is also a descendant of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, and of Frederick III, German Emperor. He is a distant cousin of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose funeral he attended.[2] The two are related through the Duke's British-born mother and a Hessian princess by birth, Princess Alice of Greece and Denmark.

Prince and Landgrave of Hesse
Born (1966-10-17) 17 October 1966 (age 54)
Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
SpouseCountess Floria Franziska Marie-Luisa Erika von Faber-Castell
IssuePrincess Paulina
Moritz, Hereditary Prince of Hesse
Prince August
Heinrich Donatus Philipp Umberto
FatherMoritz, Landgrave of Hesse
MotherPrincess Tatiana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg


Donatus directs the Hessische Hausstiftung (Foundation of the House of Hesse), a foundation (see below) established to curate and showcase the cultural heritage and history of the House of Hesse,[3] a dynasty which ruled the Electorate of Hesse-Cassel until 1866, the Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine until 1918, and whose male-line antecedents and co-lateral ties include the Protestant leader Philip the Magnanimous, the Swedish king Frederick I, Russia's last tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, the exiled Spanish queen Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, and Britain's last viceroy of India, the assassinated Louis, Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

Donatus also manages Prinz von Hessen, a winery specializing in production of varietal vintages on his 45 hectare vineyard.[3]

Prince Donatus' father became the head of the Hesse-Cassel line on the death of his own father, Landgrave Philipp in 1980.[4] Having also been the adopted son and heir of his distant cousin, Louis, Prince of Hesse and by Rhine, the latter's death in 1968 as the last male of the Hesse-Darmstadt branch left Moritz head of the entire House of Hesse, to which Donatus is the successor.

Marriage and issueEdit

Donatus married Countess Floria Franziska Marie-Luisa Erika von Faber-Castell (born 14 October 1974 Düsseldorf) in a civil ceremony in Wiesbaden on 25 April 2003. The bride is a communications professional and a niece of Count Anton Wolfgang von Faber-Castell, chairman of the board of the famous Faber-Castell pen-and-pencil company headquartered near Nuremberg and scion of the eponymous family, which is a morganatic branch of Castell-Rüdenhausen Princely family.[3] Prince Donatus and Floria Franziska are 6th cousins, as both descended from Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel and his first wife Princess Mary of Great Britain.

The couple's religious wedding ceremony took place on 17 May 2003, attended by royalty and aristocrats.[5][unreliable source?] Held at the Johanneskirche and followed by a grand ball in the Green Salon, state room of the former Friedrichshof palace in Kronberg (now a luxury hotel and golf course) where Donatus's ancestress, the German Empress Frederick, lived in widowhood, more than 300 guests were present.[3] Among them was Caroline, Princess of Hanover, Princess Benedikte of Denmark, aunt of the bridegroom and sister of Queens Margrethe II and Anne-Marie of Greece; and Gloria, Princess of Thurn and Taxis.

Landgrave Donatus and his wife have a daughter and two sons, Princess Paulina and Hereditary Prince Moritz (twins, born 26 March 2007, Frankfurt am Main, Germany) and Prince August (born 24 August 2012, Frankfurt am Main, Germany).[citation needed]


Foundation of the House of HesseEdit

Founded in 1928, the Foundation of the House of Hesse is the successor institution of a family trust that had been established in 1830, confiscated by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1866, and re-established after partial restitution in 1878. The foundation manages the family fortunes including forests, agricultural estates, castles, hotels and an art collection. The latter is mainly shown at Fasanerie Palace in Eichenzell, Hesse, a former summer palace of the Prince Abbots of Fulda that had been taken over by the Landgraves of Hesse after the secularization and mediatisation of the Prince-bishopric of Fulda in 1803. Schlosshotel Kronberg and Grandhotel Hessischer Hof in Frankfurt are hotels, the Weingut Prinz von Hessen a winery in Johannisberg which was purchased in 1957, while Schloß Wolfsgarten south of Frankfurt am Main and Panker estate are used as private seats of the family. Other castles have been sold, such as Schloss Philippsruhe in Hanau (in 1950), Schloss Rumpenheim in Offenbach am Main (in 1965) and Tarasp Castle in Switzerland (in 2016).

References and notesEdit

  1. ^ Burke's Royal Families of the World ISBN 0-85011-023-8, p. 202.
  2. ^ "Prince Philip: The 30 guests at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral". Sky News. 17 April 2021. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d "Hessen-Prinz heiratet Faber-Castell-Gräfin". Stern. 18 May 2003. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  4. ^ Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels; Furstlich Hauser Band XVI. Limburg-an-der-Lahn, Germany: C. A. Starke. 2001. pp. 24–25, 33. ISBN 3-7980-0824-8. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Mariage chez les Faber-Castell". 28 May 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse
Born: 17 October 1966
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Moritz, Landgrave of Hesse
Head of the House of Hesse
23 May 2013 –
Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine
23 May 2013 –
Reason for succession failure:
Grand Duchy abolished in 1918
Elector of Hesse
23 May 2013 –
Reason for succession failure:
Electorate annexed by Prussia in 1866