Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern

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Prince of Hohenzollern
Tenure2 June 1885 – 8 June 1905
PredecessorKarl Anton
as Prince of Hohenzollern
as Prince of Hohenzollern
Born(1835-09-22)22 September 1835
Died8 June 1905(1905-06-08) (aged 69)
(m. 1861)
IssueWilliam, Prince of Hohenzollern
Ferdinand I of Romania
Prince Karl Anton
German: Leopold Stephan Karl Anton Gustav Eduard Tassilo
FatherKarl Anton, Prince of Hohenzollern
MotherPrincess Josephine of Baden
ReligionRoman Catholic

Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern[1] (German: Leopold Stephan Karl Anton Gustav Eduard Tassilo Fürst von Hohenzollern;[1] 22 September 1835 – 8 June 1905)[1] was the head of the Swabian branch of the House of Hohenzollern, and played a fleeting role in European power politics, in connection with the Franco-Prussian War.

He was born into the dynasty's Sigmaringen branch, which inherited all the dynasty's Swabian lands when the Hohenzollern-Hechingen branch became extinct.

Leopold's parents were Josephine of Baden and Karl Anton, Prince of Hohenzollern.[1] Leopold was the older brother[1] of King Carol I of Romania and father of the future King Ferdinand of Romania.[1] Carol ascended the Romanian throne in 1866, and Leopold renounced his rights to the Romanian succession in favor of his sons in 1880.[2]

Entry into European controversy[edit]

Photograph of Prince Leopold, c. 1892

After the Spanish Revolution of 1868, which overthrew Queen Isabella II, Leopold was offered the Spanish Crown by the new government. The offer was supported by Prussian chancellor Otto von Bismarck but opposed by the French Emperor Napoleon III on the grounds that the installation of a relative of the Prussian king would result in the expansion of Prussian influence and the encirclement of France.

In Spain, when the news spread that Leopold was a candidate for the crown, he began to be called "Leopoldo Olé-Olé si me eligen" (Leopoldo Olé-Olé if they choose me) as a play on words because of the difficult pronunciation of his surname for the Spanish.[3][4]

Leopold initially refused the offer, but on 21 June 1870, he accepted the Spanish crown and the name "Leopoldo I". He was forced on 11 July to decline again.[5]

Additional demands that were made by the French government heightened diplomatic tensions between Paris and Berlin. The deliberate shortening of a diplomatic communiqué, the Ems Dispatch, led to declaration of war by France. Prussia's speedy mobilization, together with the support of the other members of the North German Confederation, resulted in French defeat, the consequences of which were the collapse of the Second French Empire, to be replaced by the Third Republic, and the creation of the German Empire. France lost most of Alsace and part of Lorraine and had to pay Prussia war reparations.

Marriage and issue[edit]

Prince Leopold with his family, c. 1866

On 12 September 1861, Leopold married Infanta Antónia of Portugal, daughter of Queen Maria II of Portugal and King Ferdinand II of Portugal.[1] They had the following children:[1]

Had Leopold succeeded to the Spanish throne, he could possibly have founded a second German dynasty in Spain, following the extinction of the House of Austria less than two centuries earlier.


Leopold received the following decorations and awards:[6]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Darryl Lundy (19 March 2005). "Leopold Stephan Prinz von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen". thePeerage.com. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  2. ^ Renunciation letter of Leopold de Hohenzollern, in French, dated 22 November 1880[non-primary source needed]
  3. ^ Villanueva, Fernando Díaz (2006-05-05). "La república relámpago". Libertad Digital (in European Spanish). Retrieved 2022-09-08.
  4. ^ http://hemeroteca-paginas.lavanguardia.com/LVE01/PUB/1996/12/01/LVG19961201-029.pdf
  5. ^ Erich Eyck, Bismarck and the German Empire, pp. 168-171.
  6. ^ Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Königreich Preußen (1905), Genealogy p. 5
  7. ^ a b c Königlich Preussische Ordensliste (in German), vol. 1, Berlin, 1886, pp. 8, 21, 934
  8. ^ Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Herzogtum Anhalt (1867) "Herzoglicher Haus-orden Albrecht des Bären" p. 18
  9. ^ Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Großherzogtum Baden (1868), "Großherzogliche Orden" pp. 50, 61
  10. ^ Hof- und - Staatshandbuch des Königreichs Bayern (1904), "Königliche Orden". p. 9
  11. ^ Staatshandbücher für das Herzogtums Sachsen-Altenburg (1869), "Herzogliche Sachsen-Ernestinischer Hausorden" p. 21
  12. ^ "Ludewigs-orden", Großherzoglich Hessische Ordensliste (in German), Darmstadt: Staatsverlag, 1898, p. 8 – via hathitrust.org
  13. ^ Staatshandbuch für das Großherzogtum Sachsen / Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1869), "Großherzogliche Hausorden" pp. 12-13
  14. ^ Sachsen (1901). "Königlich Orden". Staatshandbuch für den Königreich Sachsen: 1901. Dresden: Heinrich. p. 4 – via hathitrust.org.
  15. ^ Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Königreich Württemberg (1896), "Königliche Orden" p. 28
  16. ^ "Ritter-Orden: Leopold-orden", Hof- und Staatshandbuch der Österreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie, 1904, p. 66, retrieved 8 June 2020
  17. ^ "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern
Born: 22 September 1835 Died: 8 June 1905
German nobility
Preceded by Prince of Hohenzollern
2 June 1885 – 8 June 1905
Succeeded by