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William II (German: Wilhelm II; 25 February 1848 – 2 October 1921) was the last King of Württemberg. He ruled from 6 October 1891 until the abolition of the kingdom on 30 November 1918.

William II
Wilhelm II. von Württemberg (1892 RB25-21).jpg
King of Württemberg
Reign6 October 1891 – 30 November 1918
PredecessorCharles I
SuccessorMonarchy abolished
Born(1848-02-25)25 February 1848
Stuttgart, Kingdom of Württemberg
Died2 October 1921(1921-10-02) (aged 73)
Bebenhausen, Württemberg, Weimar Republic
SpouseMarie of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Charlotte of Schaumburg-Lippe
IssuePauline, Princess of Wied
Prince Ulrich
Full name
Wilhelm Karl Paul Heinrich Friedrich
HouseWürttemberg
FatherPrince Frederick of Württemberg
MotherPrincess Catherine of Württemberg
ReligionLutheran

Contents

Early yearsEdit

William was born the son of Prince Frederick of Württemberg (1808–1870) by his wife Princess Catherine Frederica of Württemberg (1821–1898), herself the daughter of King William I of Württemberg (1781–1864). His parents were first cousins, being the children of two brothers, and William was their only child.

William's growing years coincided with a progressive dimininution of Württemberg's sovereignty and international presence, concomitant with the process of German unification. In 1870, Württemberg took the side of Prussia in the Franco-German War. In 1871, Württemberg became a state of the German Reich, a significant limitation on its sovereignty.

King of WürttembergEdit

William's father died in 1870, but his mother lived to see him seated on the throne of Württemberg. In 1891, William succeeded his childless maternal uncle, King Charles I (1823–1891) and became King of Württemberg. This was not, as it may seem, a departure from the Salic law which governed succession in the German states; his claim to the throne came because he was the nearest agnatic heir of his maternal uncle, as the senior male-line descendant of Frederick I of Württemberg through his younger son Prince Paul.

King William became a Generalfeldmarschall during World War I. In 1918, he was deposed from the throne along with the other German rulers. King William finally abdicated on 30 November 1918.[1] He died in 1921 at Bebenhausen.

Personality and interestsEdit

Considered to be a popular monarch, William had the habit of walking his two dogs in public parks in Stuttgart without being attended by bodyguards or the like. During these excursions, he would often be greeted by his subjects with a simple Herr König ("Mister King").

Despite living in a landlocked kingdom, William II was a yachting enthusiast. The king was instrumental in the establishment of the Württembergischer Yacht Club (formerly "Königlich Württembergischer Yacht-Club" or Royal Yacht Club of Württemberg) in 1911 on Lake Constance.

Marriages and childrenEdit

On 15 February 1877 at Arolsen he married Princess Marie of Waldeck and Pyrmont (1857–1882). They had three children:

Marie died on 30 April 1882 in Stuttgart, from complications resulting from the birth of their third child. William, already depressed by the death of his only son, is said never to have recovered from this blow.

Nevertheless, he was King and it was his duty to secure the succession. On 8 April 1886, at Bückeburg, he married Princess Charlotte of Schaumburg-Lippe (1864–1946). They had no children.

SuccessionEdit

With William II's death in 1921 without male issue, the royal branch of the House of Württemberg became extinct and the headship of the house devolved to Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg head of the Roman Catholic cadet branch of the dynasty which ruled the Kingdom of Württemberg.

ArmsEdit

 
Royal Monogram of King Wilhelm II of Württemberg
 
Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Württemberg, 1817
 
Royal Monogram of King Wilhelm II of Württemberg, Variant

StylesEdit

  • 25 February 1848 – 25 June 1864: His Royal Highness Prince William of Württemberg
  • 25 June 1864 – 6 October 1891: His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Württemberg
  • 6 October 1891 – 30 November 1918: His Majesty The King of Württemberg
  • 30 November 1918 – 2 October 1921: His Majesty King William II of Württemberg

AncestryEdit

Three of William's four grandparents were of the House of Württemberg, an example of Royal intermarriage.

Decorations and awardsEdit

German awards
Foreign awards

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Abdication text (in German)
  2. ^ "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Toison Espagnole (Spanish Fleece) - 19th century" (in French), Chevaliers de la Toison D'or. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  4. ^ Wm. A. Shaw, The Knights of England, Volume I (London, 1906) page 72
William II of Württemberg
Born: 25 February 1848 Died: 2 October 1921
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charles I
King of Württemberg
1891–1918
Monarchy abolished
Titles in pretence
Loss of title
— TITULAR —
King of Württemberg
1918–1921
Reason for succession failure:
Kingdom abolished in 1918
Succeeded by
Duke Albrecht