Fürst von Bismarck

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Coat of arms of the House of Bismarck

The great German statesman and diplomat Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) received several noble titles during the course of his career. Already born into a noble Junker family, the House of Bismarck, he began life as Herr Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck.

In 1865, he was created Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen ("Count von Bismarck-Schönhausen") following the Prussian victory over Denmark in the Second War of Schleswig. Schönhausen was Bismarck's family estate, in the Prussian province of Saxony. This comital title is borne by all his male descendants.

After Prussia and its allies had defeated France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, and following the establishment of a new German Empire which followed in 1871, Bismarck was further created Fürst von Bismarck ("Prince von Bismarck"). This princely title descends only to the eldest son.

Finally, as a consolation for his dismissal by Emperor Wilhelm II in 1890, Bismarck was created Herzog von Lauenburg ("Duke of Lauenburg") and accorded the address of Durchlaucht (equivalent to "Serene Highness") for his own lifetime only. The Duchy of Lauenburg was one of the territories which Prussia seized from Denmark in 1864, and the choice of title was therefore, itself, a nod to Bismarck's career. On Bismarck's death in 1898, his dukedom became extinct and his princely title passed to his eldest son, Herbert. The present Prince is the Iron Chancellor's great-grandson.

Princes of Bismarck[edit]

  1. Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck (1815–1898)
  2. Nikolaus Heinrich Ferdinand Herbert, Prince of Bismarck (1849–1904)
  3. Otto Christian Archibald, Prince of Bismarck (1897–1975)
  4. Ferdinand Herbord Ivar, Prince of Bismarck (born 1930)

The heir apparent to the title is the present Prince's eldest son, Carl-Eduard von Bismarck (born 1961).