Open main menu

Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover (1914–1987)

Ernst August, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, Prince of Hanover[1] (German: Ernst August Prinz von Hannover; 18 March 1914 – 9 December 1987) was head of the House of Hanover from 1953 until his death.

Ernest Augustus
Prince of Hanover
Hereditary Prince of Brunswick
Ernest Augustus, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick.jpg
Head of the House of Hanover
Tenure30 January 1953 – 9 December 1987
PredecessorErnest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick
SuccessorErnst August, Prince of Hanover
Born(1914-03-18)18 March 1914
Braunschweig, Duchy of Brunswick, German Empire
Died9 December 1987(1987-12-09) (aged 73)
Schulenburg, Pattensen, Lower Saxony, West Germany
Burial11 December 1987
SpousePrincess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Countess Monika zu Solms-Laubach
IssuePrincess Marie, Countess von Hochberg
Ernst August, Prince of Hanover
Prince Ludwig Rudolph
Princess Olga
Alexandra, Princess of Leiningen
Prince Heinrich
Full name
Ernest Augustus George William Christian Louis Francis Joseph Nicholas Oscar
German: Ernst August Georg Wilhelm Christian Ludwig Franz Joseph Nikolaus Oskar
FatherErnest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick
MotherPrincess Victoria Louise of Prussia

He was born at Braunschweig, Germany, the eldest son of Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick and Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia, the only daughter of Emperor Wilhelm II, Ernest Augustus's third cousin in descent from George III of the United Kingdom. Ernst August's parents were, therefore, third cousins, once removed. From his birth, he was the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick. He was also, shortly after birth in 1914, made a British prince by King George V of the United Kingdom,[2] and was heir to the titles Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale and Earl of Armagh which were suspended under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917.



Ernest Augustus with his mother in 1914.

The christening of Ernst August in the summer of 1914 was the last great gathering of European monarchs before the start of World War I. He had an illustrious list of godparents: George V of the United Kingdom, Franz Joseph of Austria, Nicholas II of Russia, Ludwig III of Bavaria, Frederick Francis IV, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Prince Adalbert of Prussia, Prince Oskar of Prussia, Prince Maximilian of Baden, the 1st Royal Bavarian Heavy Cavalry Regiment, and all four of his grandparents: the German Emperor and Empress and the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland.

He ceased being heir to the duchy of Brunswick at the age of four, when his father abdicated in 1918. After his father's death in 1953, he became head of the House of Hanover.

During World War II, he fought at the Russian Front as Oberleutnant in the staff of Generaloberst Erich Hoepner. He was seriously injured near Charkov in spring 1943. After the 20 July plot in 1944, he was imprisoned for a few weeks by the Gestapo in Berlin.[citation needed]

He had joined the SS in 1933 and remained a member for one year.[3] His official "denazification" certificate from 1949 vetting his Third Reich associations classified him as "a nominal Nazi supporter",[3] without being a Nazi party member,[3] and according to a Foreign Office record.[3]

In 1938 his sister, Princess Frederica had married king Paul I of the Hellenes and in 1946 his younger brother Prince George William married Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark, thus becoming the brother-in-law of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

Ernest Augustus was himself an heir to the British titles of Prince of Great Britain and Ireland, recognised ad personam for Ernst August's father as well as for him and his siblings by King George V of the United Kingdom on 17 June 1914,[4] Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, Earl of Armagh, which however were all suspended under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917. In addition to being a German, he also held British nationality, after successfully claiming it under the Sophia Naturalization Act 1705 in the case of Attorney-General v. Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover.[5] Nonetheless, a problem arose as foreign royal titles can't be entered into a British passport. Therefore, the titles Prince of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg could not be mentioned there, nor could the British titles due to the Titles Deprivation Act of 1917. The name which was finally entered into his British documents, was thus Ernest Augustus Guelph, with the addition of His Royal Highness. Guelph is thus also the British last name of his siblings and children, all styled Royal Highnesses in the United Kingdom.[6]

In 1961 he sold his remaining properties at Herrenhausen Gardens, including the site of Herrenhausen Palace which had been destroyed by a British bombing raid in 1943. He kept however the Princely House, a small palace built in 1720 by George I of Great Britain for his daughter Anna Louise. Ernest Augustus converted Marienburg Castle into a museum in 1954, after having moved to nearby Calenberg Demesne, which caused a row with his mother who was forced to move out. He also sold the family's exile seat, Cumberland Castle at Gmunden, Austria, to the state of Upper Austria in 1979, but his family foundation based in Liechtenstein kept vast forests, a game park, a hunting lodge, The Queen's Villa and other property at Gmunden. The family property is now managed by his grandson Ernst August.

Marriage and childrenEdit

On 5 September 1951, Ernest Augustus married Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (1925–1980).[7] The wedding was attended by many important royal figures, including his sister Queen Frederica and her husband King Paul I of Greece, and the heads of the houses of Saxony, Hesse, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, and Baden.[7] The wedding was followed with a reception in the Gallery Building at Herrenhausen Gardens, the only part of the House of Hanover's former summer palace still intact, as the palace itself had been burned down during World War II.[7]

His children[8] by his first wife[1] are:

Princess Ortrud died in 1980.

Ernest Augustus married again in 1981, Countess Monika zu Solms-Laubach (1929–2015),[1] daughter of Georg, 9th Count of Solms-Laubach, and Johanna, princess of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich.

He died at Schulenburg, Pattensen, Lower Saxony, Germany, aged 73, and was buried next to his first wife on a round bastion of Marienburg Castle (Hanover).

In popular cultureEdit

He was portrayed by Daniel Betts in the first season of the Netflix series The Crown.[9]

Titles and stylesEdit


  • 18 March 1914 – 8 November 1918: His Royal Highness The Hereditary Prince of Brunswick
  • in pretense 8 November 1918 – 30 January 1953: His Royal Highness The Hereditary Prince of Brunswick
  • in pretense 30 January 1953 – 9 December 1987: His Royal Highness The Duke of Brunswick


  • 18 March 1914 – 30 January 1953: His Royal Highness Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover
  • 30 January 1953 – 9 December 1987: His Royal Highness The Prince of Hanover
    • in pretense: His Majesty The King of Hanover


  • 18 March 1914 – 28 March 1919: His Highness Prince Ernest Augustus of Cumberland



  1. ^ a b c Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser XVIII. "Haus Hannover". C.A. Starke Verlag, 2007, pp. 22–26. ISBN 978-3-7980-0841-0.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d "The prince and the Nazis", The Irish Times, Feb 13, 1999.
  4. ^ Velde, François Styles of the members of the British royal family:Documents, Children of the duke and duchess of Brunswick (June 17, 1914)
  5. ^ British naturalisation; legal cases online, accessed Jan 2009
  6. ^ Interview of 15 March 2014 by Prince Ernst August of Hanover (born 1983) with Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung
  7. ^ a b c "Prince Ernst of Hanover Married", The Irish Times, 5 September 1951
  8. ^ Ernest Augustus also has an illegitimate son, Christian Freiherr von Humboldt-Dachroeden, who was born in 1943 by Maria Anna, née Baroness von Humboldt-Dachroeden (1916–2003), who shortly prior to giving birth was divorced from Ernest Augustus's first cousin Prince Hubertus of Prussia. Ernest Augustus however did not marry her because his parents would not have approved and the marriage would have made his younger brother Prince George William heir to the headship of the House of Hanover. See: Blogspot: If circumstances had been different.... See also:, 17 August 2017
  9. ^ IMDB - The Crown, accessed May 2017

External linksEdit

Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover (1914–1987)
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 18 March 1914 Died: 9 December 1987
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick
King of Hanover
30 January 1953 – 9 December 1987
Reason for succession failure:
Hanover annexed by Prussia in 1866
Succeeded by
Ernest Augustus, Prince of Hanover
Duke of Brunswick
30 January 1953 – 9 December 1987
Reason for succession failure:
Duchy abolished in 1918