Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover (born 1954)

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Ernst August
Head of the House of Hanover
Period 9 December 1987 – present
Predecessor Ernest Augustus, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick
Heir apparent Prince Ernst August
Spouse Chantal Hochuli
(m. 1981 – div. 1997)

Princess Caroline of Monaco (m. 1999)
Issue Prince Ernst August
Prince Christian
Princess Alexandra
Full name
Ernst August Albert Paul Otto Rupprecht Oskar Berthold Friedrich-Ferdinand Christian-Ludwig[1]
House House of Hanover
Father Ernest Augustus, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick
Mother Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Born (1954-02-26) 26 February 1954 (age 61)
Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany

Ernst August, Prince of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg (Ernst August Albert Paul Otto Rupprecht Oskar Berthold Friedrich-Ferdinand Christian-Ludwig Prinz von Hannover Herzog zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg Königlicher Prinz von Großbritannien und Irland[2][3][4][5] born 26 February 1954) is the head of the deposed royal[6] House of Hanover, the surviving younger branch of the House of Welf, and claimant to the thrones of the former Kingdom of Hanover and the sovereign Duchy of Brunswick. As the husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco he is the brother-in-law of Albert II, Prince of Monaco. His wealth is estimated at £500 million.[7]

Name and ancestry[edit]

Ernst August was born in Hanover the eldest son of Ernst August, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick (1914–1987) and his first wife, Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (1925–1980).[8] He was christened, Ernst August Albert Paul Otto Rupprecht Oskar Berthold Friedrich-Ferdinand Christian-Ludwig.[1]

As the senior male-line descendant of George V of Hanover (and hence also of George III of the United Kingdom) Ernst August is head of the House of Hanover (and the House of Welf).[8] As such he is the claimant to the former thrones of the Kingdom of Hanover and of the Duchy of Brunswick. In Prussia (which had annexed Hanover in 1866), "the privileges of former noble status" were dispensed with on 23 June 1920 in execution of the 1919 mandate of the Weimar Constitution,[9] titles being retained only as surnames.[10]

The title of Prince of Great Britain and Ireland was accorded ad personam to his father and his father's siblings by King George V of the United Kingdom on 17 June 1914.[11] His father was deprived of that title under George V's letters patent of 1917, dated 30 November,[12] while the hereditary Dukedom of Cumberland and Teviotdale and the Earldom of Armagh, borne in 1917 by his paternal great-grandfather, were suspended under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917. However, on 29 August 1931, his grandfather Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick, as head of the House of Hanover, declared the formal resumption, for himself and his dynastic descendants, of use of his former British princely title as a secondary title of pretense,[10] which style, "Royal Prince of Great Britain and Ireland", his grandson Ernst August continued to claim.[13]

As heir of the last Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale and Earl of Armagh, Ernst August has the right to petition under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917 for the restoration of his ancestors' suspended British peerages, but he has not done so. His father, also called Ernst August, did, however, successfully claim British nationality after World War II by virtue of a hitherto overlooked (and since repealed) provision of the Sophia Naturalization Act 1705 (Attorney-General v HRH Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover [1957] 1 All ER 49).

Ernst August is also a great-grandson of the last German emperor, Wilhelm II. Until his marriage to Princess Caroline, he was 385th in the line of succession to the British throne. Upon his marriage to Princess Caroline, a Roman Catholic, he was excluded from the line of succession under provisions of the Act of Settlement 1701. To protect his children's rights of succession, he got the permission of Queen Elizabeth II to marry, his children have not adopted Catholicism.

He is also a nephew of Frederica of Hanover (1917–1981), queen consort of the Hellenes, and thus a first cousin of Constantine II of Greece and his sister Sophia, Queen of Spain. His uncle, Prince George William of Hanover (1915–2006), married Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark (1914–2001), a sister of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.


By a 24 August 1981 declaration issued by his father as the Head of House, pursuant to Chapter 3, §§ 3 and 5 of the House laws of 1836, Ernst August was authorised to marry dynastically, and did firstly marry, civilly on 28 August 1981 and religiously on 30 August 1981, Chantal Hochuli (b. 2 June 1955 in Zurich), the daughter and heiress of a Swiss real estate developer. They had two sons:

Ernst August and Chantal Hochuli divorced on 23 October 1997.

He married secondly, civilly in Monaco on 23 January 1999, Princess Caroline of Monaco, who was pregnant at the time with their daughter:

As he was born in the male line of George II of Great Britain he is bound by the Royal Marriages Act 1772. Thus, before his marriage to Princess Caroline, he officially requested permission to marry from Queen Elizabeth II, and on 11 January 1999, the aforementioned sovereign issued an Order in Council, "My Lords, I do hereby declare My Consent to a Contract of Matrimony between His Royal Highness Prince Ernst August Albert of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg and Her Serene Highness Princess Caroline Louise Marguerite of Monaco..."[14] Without the Royal Assent, the marriage would have been void in Britain where his family owns property and his lawful descendants remain in succession to both the British crown and the two suspended peerages. Similarly the Monégasque court officially notified the government of France of Caroline's marriage to Ernst August, receiving assurance that there was no objection in compliance with the (since defunct) Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1918. Moreover, in order for Caroline to retain her claim to the throne of Monaco and to transmit succession rights to future offspring, the couple were also obliged to obtain the approval of yet a third nation, in the form of official consent to the marriage of Caroline's father, Prince Rainier III as the sovereign of Monaco.[4]

In September 2009 it was reported in the French and English press that Ernst August has been living separately from his wife Caroline, who had returned to Monaco.[15]


He was photographed urinating on the Turkish Pavilion at the Expo 2000 event in Hanover, causing a diplomatic incident and a complaint from the Turkish embassy accusing him of insulting the Turkish people. He successfully sued those who published (Bild-Zeitung) the photograph for invasion of privacy, obtaining an award of 9,900 euros,[16] although the paper had previously published a photo of Ernst August urinating outside a hospital in Austria.[16]

In 2004, he was convicted of aggravated assault and causing grievous bodily harm after beating a man with a knuckleduster.[17][18]


On Monday, 3 April 2005, Ernst August was admitted to hospital with acute pancreatitis. The next day, he fell into a deep coma, two days before the death of his father-in-law, Rainier III, Prince of Monaco. On Friday, 8 April 2005, hospital officials reported that he was no longer in a coma but remained in intensive care. A report the same day on BBC World described his condition as "serious but not irreversible." On 9 April 2005, according to a report on BBC, a hospital spokesman reported that Ernst August was receiving "permanent medical care."[citation needed] He has since been released and was subsequently seen in public with his wife.

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 24 February 1954 – 9 December 1987: His Royal Highness Prince Ernst August of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
  • 9 December 1987 – present: His Royal Highness The Prince of Hanover[4][18][19][20]

In Germany, the legal privileges of royalty and nobility were abolished in 1919; thereafter for legal purposes, hereditary titles form part of the name only.[21]

While descendants of non-dynastic marriages may bear "Prinz/Prinzessin von Hannover Herzog/Herzogin zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg Königlicher Prinz/Prinzessin von Großbritannien und Irland" as surnames, they are not recognised as bearing titles or membership in the House of Hanover according to its house rules.[4][8]




  1. ^ a b Debrett's peerage & baronetage 2008, p. 117.
  2. ^ Royalty Who Wait by Olga S. Opfell, McFarland, 2001, p.42
  3. ^ Prince's Palace of Monaco. Biography: HRH the Princess of Hanover. retrieved 10 August 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e de Badts de Cugnac, Chantal. Coutant de Saisseval, Guy. Le Petit Gotha. Nouvelle Imprimerie Laballery, Paris 2002, p. 702 (French) ISBN 2-9507974-3-1
  5. ^ In 1919 royalty and nobility were mandated to lose their privileges in Germany, hereditary titles were to be legally borne thereafter only as part of the surname, according to Article 109 of the Weimar Constitution.
  6. ^ "Hanover, House of." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2010.
  7. ^ "Punchy Prince Ernst August snogs young woman on Thai beach", Austrian Times, 1 July 2010.
  8. ^ a b c Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser XVIII. "Haus Hannover". C.A. Starke Verlag, 2007, pp. 22–26. ISBN 3-7980-0841-0.
  9. ^ Preußische Gesetzsammlung 1920, §1, nr. 32, p. 367 Unequal and Morganatic Marriages in German Law: After 1919. (German). Retrieved 10 August 2011
  10. ^ a b Almanach de Gotha, Braunschweig-Lüneburg (Gotha: Justus Perthes, 1944), pages 38-39, 169 (French)
  11. ^ Velde, François Styles of the members of the British royal family:Documents, Children of the duke and duchess of Brunswick (June 17, 1914)
  12. ^ Velde, Second 1917 Letters Patent
  13. ^ Ernst August (geb.1954) Prinz von Hannover at (German)
  14. ^ Queen-in-Council. 11 January 1999. Order-in-Council.
  15. ^ Allen, Peter Princess Caroline 'to divorce' third husband reigniting fears of Monaco royal curse Daily Mail 12 September 2009
  16. ^ a b Willsher, Kim Royalty reaps riches in strict privacy laws The Standard, 26 July 2006
  17. ^ Jüttner, Julia, "Ernst August's Case Heads to Court -- Again" Spiegel Online, 19 May 2008
  18. ^ a b " Boyes, Roger, "Prince Ernst August demands retrial after knuckleduster claim", The Times, 20 May 2008.
  19. ^ Prince's Palace of Monaco. Biography: HRH the Princess of Hanover. retrieved 10 August 2011.
  20. ^ Queen-in-Council. 11 January 1999. Order in Council.
  21. ^ The Reich Constitution of August 11th 1919 (Weimar Constitution) with Modifications, Article 109.
  22. ^ La Verdad

External links[edit]

Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover (born 1954)
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 26 February 1954
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Ernest Augustus IV
Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale
9 December 1987 – present
Reason for succession failure:
Titles Deprivation Act 1917
Prince Ernst August of Hanover
King of Hanover
9 December 1987 – present
Reason for succession failure:
Hanover annexed by Prussia in 1866
Duke of Brunswick
9 December 1987 – present
Reason for succession failure:
Duchy abolished in 1918