Prince Alexander Ferdinand of Prussia
Prince Alexander Ferdinand of Prussia (Alexander Ferdinand Albrecht Achilles Wilhelm Joseph Viktor Karl Feodor; 26 December 1912 - 12 June 1985) was the only son of Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia and his wife Princess Alexandra Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.
Family and early life
Prince Alexander Ferdinand of Prussia was born on 26 December 1912 to Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia and his wife Princess Alexandra Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. August Wilhelm was a younger son of Kaiser Wilhelm II.
His parents' marriage was unhappy, and they separated in 1920; custody of the young prince was awarded to Alexander Ferdinand's father.
Alexander Ferdinand attended the 1932 wedding of the Swedish crown prince Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten to his second cousin once removed Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in the duchy of Coburg; it was the first time that a member of the German imperial family had entered the duchy since it became a republic, or specifically a part of Bavaria in November 1919 after the ruling duke, Carl Eduard, had ended his reign as of 14 November 1918.
Nazi party and military career
Like his father, who became a prominent supporter of the Nazi party, Alexander Ferdinand also became an early supporter. Prince August had secret hopes that Chancellor Adolf Hitler "would one day hoist him or his son Alexander up to the vacant throne of the Kaiser". The support father and son gave to the emerging party caused strong disagreements among the Hohenzollerns, with Wilhelm II urging them both to leave the Nazi party.
In 1933 Alexander Ferdinand quit the SA and became a private in the German regular army. In 1934, Berlin reports leaked out that the prince quit the SA because Hitler had chosen 21-year old Alexander Ferdinand to succeed him as "head man in Germany when he [Hitler] no longer can carry the torch". The report went on to say however that Joseph Goebbels was expected to oppose the prince's nomination.
As many German princes, becoming the targets of Hitler's mistrust, were removed from their commands in the military, Prince Alexander Ferdinand was the only Hohenzollern allowed to remain at his post.
On 19 December 1938 in the Dresden garrison church, Alexander Ferdinand morganatically married Armgard (or Irmgard) Weygand (1912-2001), daughter of Major Friedrich Weygand and Karla Franziska Oheim. She was the widow of a major in the German Air Force, and was originally from Wiesbaden, where Alexander Ferdinand was stationed. As the marriage was unequal, Alexander Ferdinand forfeited his rights of succession. None of his relatives attended the ceremony, but fellow officers served as witnesses.
They had one son:
- Stephan Alexander Dieter Friedrich Prinz von Preußen (30 September 1939-12 February 1993); married firstly Heide Schmidt and secondly Hannelore-Maria Kerscher. The first marriage produced one daughter, Stephanie Viktoria Luise Irmgard Gertrud Prinzessin von Preußen.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
- 26 December 1912 – 12 June 1985: His Royal Highness Prince Alexander Ferdinand of Prussia
- Lundy, Darryl. "The Peerage: Alexander Ferdinand Prinz von Preußen". Retrieved 13 December 2010.
- Prince Chosen by Hitler as Reich Regent, 2 January 1934, pp. Tonawanda Evening News
- Coburg Royal Wedding, 21 October 1932, pp. The Irish Times
- "Family of Ex-Kaiser Sends Many to Front", The New York Times, 26 November 1939
- Associated Press (26 November 1939), "Kaiser's Kin Serve Hitler In Nazi Army", The Washington Post (Berlin)
- "Prince Alexander Weds", The New York Times (Dresden, Germany), 21 December 1938
- MacDonogh, Giles (2000). The Last Kaiser: The Life of Wilhelm II. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 449.
- Petropoulos, Jonathan (2006). Royals and the Reich: The Princes von Hessen in Nazi Germany. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 243.
- "Grandson of Kaiser Weds Airman's Widow", The Washington Post (Dresden, Germany), 21 December 1938
- "HOHENZOLLERN, KINGS OF PRUSSIA, GERMAN EMPERORS". Royalty (travel) Guide. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
Media related to Prince Alexander Ferdinand of Prussia at Wikimedia Commons