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County (Principality) of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Grafschaft (Fürstentum) Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
State of the Holy Roman Empire,
State of the Confederation of the Rhine,
State of the German Confederation
County of Zollern


Latin: Nihil Sine Deo
(English: Nothing without God)
Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in 1848
Capital Sigmaringen
Languages German
Religion Roman Catholic
Government Principality
Historical era Middle Ages
 -  Partition of County of
 -  Raised to Principality 1623
 -  Incorporation into
    Kingdom of Prussia

The House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen is the senior Swabian branch of the House of Hohenzollern. The branch ruled the Swabian County of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, which in 1623 became a principality. The small sovereign state with the capital city of Sigmaringen fell to the king of Prussia in 1850 and then became part of the newly created Province of Hohenzollern.


The senior Swabian branch is not as well known to history, as is the junior Franconian line which became Burgraves of Nuremberg and later ruled Brandenburg-Prussia and the German Empire.

The County of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was created in 1576, upon the partition of the County of Hohenzollern, a fief of the Holy Roman Empire. When the last count of Hohenzollern, Karl I (1512–1579) died, the territory was to be divided up between his three sons:

The Princes of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen ruled over a small principality in southwest Germany, with a seat at Sigmaringen Castle. Unlike the Hohenzollerns of Brandenburg and Prussia, the Hohenzollerns of Sigmaringen remained Roman Catholic, along with their cousins of Hohenzollern-Hechingen, the senior line of the Swabian branch of the House of Hohenzollern, and Hohenzollern of Haigerloch.

The principality became an independent state in 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars. Its ruler was deposed in the revolutions of 1848. His son, Karl Anton, succeeded him, and turned to Prussia for aid. Prussian troops arrived in August 1849, and in a treaty signed in December Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was annexed by Prussia, effective in March 1850. The annexation of their state did not, however, mean the end of the importance of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.

The last prince, Karl Anton, served as Minister President of Prussia from 1858-61. Karl Anton's second son, Karl Eitel Friedrich of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen became prince (1866–1881) and then king (1881–1914) of the Romanians, under the name Carol and the house remained on the throne until the end of the Romanian monarchy in 1947.

Because the Hohenzollern-Hechingen line died out in 1869 with the death of Constantine of Hohenzollern-Hechingen, the head of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Karl Anton of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, took the title of prince (Fürst) of Hohenzollern instead of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.

French opposition to the candidacy of Carol's elder brother Prince Leopold for the throne of Spain triggered the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), which led to the founding of the German Empire in January 1871.

Noble jurisdictions, titles and styles[edit]

Southern Germany[edit]

Hohenzollern region (Württemberg, Germany)
Karl Friedrich, Prince of Hohenzollern, head of the Swabian branch of the House of Hohenzollern

Noble jurisdiction[edit]

The head of the Swabian branch, of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, ruled over the following noble jurisdictions held in a personal union:

From 1061 until 1806 the six fiefs were an Imperial immediacy of the Holy Roman Empire and the count of Zollern, and his successors, was a vassal of the Holy Roman Emperor.

From 1806 until 1813 the fiefs were a province of the Confederation of the Rhine, a short-lived state set up by Napoleon I Bonaparte. From 1815 until 1849 the principality was a sovereign country and a member of the German Confederation. In 1849 it lost its independence, and was incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia as the Province of Hohenzollern.

The German Confederation was succeeded in 1866 by the North German Confederation, which itself was succeeded by the German Empire in 1871. In 1918, the kingdom of Prussia became the Free State of Prussia, and the German Empire was replaced by the Weimar Republic. In 1933 the republic was replaced by the Third Reich. After the defeat of the national-socialists in 1945 the province of Hohenzollern was merged with other territories into the state of Württemberg-Hohenzollern. This state was part of the Allied Occupation Zones in Germany until 1952. In that year, the state of Württemberg-Hohenzollern was merged into Baden-Württemberg, a state of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Noble titles[edit]

The head of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen is a pretender to the titles of:

  • Prince (Fürst) of Hohenzollern
  • Burgrave (Burggraf) of Nuremberg
  • Count (Graf) of Hohenzollern
  • Count (Graf) of Sigmaringen
  • Count (Graf) of Veringen
  • Count (Graf) of Bergh
  • Lord (Herr) of Haigerloch
  • Lord (Herr) of Wehrstein

The first degree descendants of the head of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen born within holy matrimony and in good standing is a pretender to the titles of:

  • Prince or Princess (Prinz or Prinzessin) of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
  • Prince or Princess (Prinz or Prinzessin) of Hohenzollern


The German original is: Seine Durchlaucht (S.D.) [name] von Gottes Gnaden, Fürst von Hohenzollern, Burggraf von Nürnberg, Graf zu Sigmaringen, Veringen und Berg, Herr zu Haigerloch und Wehrstein

The English translation is: His Serene Highness (H.S.H.) [name] by the Grace of God, Prince of Hohenzollern, Burgrave of Nuremberg, Count of Sigmaringen, Veringen and Berg, Lord of Haigerloch and Wehrstein.


House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (Romanian branch)
Kingdom of Romania - Big CoA.svg
Country Romania
Parent house Hohenzollern
Titles Prince (Domnitor, or Principe) (1866 - 1881),
King (Rege) (1881 - 1914)
Founded 10 May 1866
Founder Carol I
Final ruler Michael I
Current head Michael I
Deposition 30 December 1947 (the communist coup; the King was forced to abdicate)

Noble jurisdictions[edit]

Romanian region.

Prince Karl Eitel of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, and descendants of his nephew Ferdinand ruled over the Kingdom of Romania, as Karl Eitel did not have children. As monarch, the king of the Romanians was a sovereign and head of state.

The modern state of Romania was formed by the merging of the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1859 under the Moldavian domnitor Alexandru Ioan Cuza. He was replaced by Karl Eitel of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in 1866, who became known as Prince Carol I of Romania.

During the Russo-Turkish War, Romania fought on the Russian side. In the 1878 Treaty of Berlin, Romania was subsequently recognized as an independent state by the Great Powers.

In return for reverting the three southern districts of Bessarabia that had been regained by Moldavia after the Crimean War in 1852 to the Russian Empire, Northern Dobruja was acquired.

In 1881, the principality was raised to a kingdom and Prince Carol became King Carol I. He reigned until his death in 1914, and was succeeded by his nephew, Ferdinand. Shortly after taking the throne, Ferdinand, a Catholic, agreed to have his children reared in the Romanian Orthodox Church.

In 1918 Transylvania and Bessarabia were incorporated. In 1918-19, confirmed by the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 and the Treaty of Trianon of 1920, most of the Banat became part of Romania. Also Bukovina was incorporated in 1918.

Ferdinand died in 1927. His son, Crown Prince Carol, having renounced his rights, his grandson Michael ascended the throne. In 1930, however, Carol reclaimed his rights and was crowned Carol II. Carol was forced to abdicate in 1940, and Michael regained the throne. His reign, and that of the dynasty, ended when he was forced to abdicate in favour of a Communist regime in 1947.

On 10 May 2011, on a background of lawsuits in Germany brought against his family by his German relatives regarding the former name Hohenzollern-Veringen of his son-in-law, Radu, Michael severed all of the dynastic and historical ties with the princely house of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, changed the name of his family to "of Romania", and gave up all princely titles conferred to him and to his family by the German Hohenzollerns.[1][2]

Noble titles[edit]

The head of the Romanian branch is a pretender to the title of:

The first degree descendants of the head of the Romanian branch born within holy matrimony and in good standing are pretenders to the title of:

  • Prince or Princess of Romania

During the reign of Carol II of Romania his son, Michael, was styled "Măria Sa (M.S.) Marele Voievod de Alba Iulia" or the English translation "His Grace (H.G.) The Grand Voievod of Alba Iulia". This was done because being a former King, Michael could not be styled again Crown Prince, so his father solved the problem with this agreement.


The Romanian original is: Majestatea Sa (M.S.) N.N., Regele Românilor (or Maiestatea Sa (M.S.) N.N., Regele României; both forms are accepted by the Romanian Academy)

The English translation is: His Majesty (H.M.) N.N., King of the Romanians

Coats of arms[edit]

Southern Germany[edit]

Major coat of arms[edit]

Combined coat of arms of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1849).

The combined coat of arms of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen is:

House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen coat of arms

Family coat of arms[edit]

The combined coat of arms with inclusion of the House coat of arms of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen is:


Major coat of arms of the kingdom of the Romanians (1922).

The major coat of arms of the kingdom of the Romanians consisted, from 1922 onwards, of:


Members of the House of Hohenzollern reigned as monarchs in Europe.

Southern Germany[edit]

Counts (Grafen) of Hohenzollern (1576-1623)[edit]

Princes (Fürsten) of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1623-1849)[edit]

Pretenders (1849-present)[edit]


Princes of Romania (1866-1881)[edit]

Arms of the Kingdom of Romania

King of the Romanians (1881-1947)[edit]

Pretenders (1947-present)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (Romanian) King Michael I announces the severance of all historical and dynastic ties to the House of Hohenzollern, Adevarul, May 11, 2011
  2. ^ (Romanian) The history of the conflicts between the Royal House of Romania and the Princely House of Hohenzollern, Adevarul, May 11, 2011
  3. ^ a b Eitel Frederick II, Count of Hohenzollern and Burgrave of Nuremberg became Hereditary Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Empire by appointment of Joachim I, elector and margrave of Brandenburg, Arch-Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Empire, and confirmed by Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor.

External links[edit]