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Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein

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Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein
Photograph of Prince Christian, c. 1866
Born(1831-01-22)22 January 1831
Augustenborg, Denmark
Died28 October 1917(1917-10-28) (aged 86)
Pall Mall, London
Burial1 November 1917
(m. 1866)
Frederick Christian Charles Augustus
FatherChristian August II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
MotherCountess Louise Sophie Danneskiold-Samsøe
SignaturePrince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein's signature

Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein (Frederick Christian Charles Augustus; 22 January 1831 – 28 October 1917) was a German prince who became a member of the British royal family through his marriage to Princess Helena of the United Kingdom, the fifth child and third daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Early life[edit]

Prince Christian was born in Augustenburg Palace, as the second son of Christian August II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg and his wife, Countess Louise Sophie of Danneskiold-Samsøe.

In 1848, young Christian's father, Duke Christian August, placed himself at the head of a movement to resist by force the claims of Denmark upon the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, two personal possessions of the kings of Denmark, of which Holstein also was a part of the German Confederation. A year earlier, King Frederick VII acceded to the Danish throne without any hope of producing a male heir. Unlike Denmark proper, where the Lex Regia of 1665 allowed the throne to pass through the female royal line, in Holstein Salic Law prevailed. The duchy would most likely revert to the line of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, the cadet branch of the House of Holstein-Sonderburg. During the 1852 First War of Schleswig, Prince Christian briefly served with the newly constituted Schleswig-Holstein army, before he and his family were forced to flee the advancing Danish forces (see history of Schleswig-Holstein). After the war, he attended the University of Bonn, where he befriended Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia (later the German Emperor Frederick III).


Prince Christian, c. 1909

In September 1865, while visiting Coburg, The Princess Helena met Prince Christian. The couple became engaged in December of that year. Queen Victoria gave her permission for the marriage with the provision that the couple live in Great Britain. They married at the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle on 5 July 1866. Seven days before the wedding, on 29 June 1866, the Queen granted her future son-in-law the style of Royal Highness by Royal Warrant.[1]

In 1891, Prince Christian lost an eye when he was accidentally shot in the face by his brother-in-law, the Duke of Connaught, during a shooting party at Sandringham.[2]

Prince and Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, as they were known, made their home at Frogmore House in the grounds of Windsor Castle and later at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park. They had six children, known commonly as:[3]

Honours and offices[edit]

Orders and decorations[edit]

Military and civil appointments[edit]

Prince Christian was given the rank of major general in the British Army in July 1866[21] and received promotions to the ranks of lieutenant general in August 1874[22] and general in October 1877.[23] From 1869 until his death, he was honorary colonel of the 1st Volunteer Battalion, The Royal Berkshire Regiment. However, he never held a major field command or staff position. He was High Steward of Windsor and Ranger of Windsor Great Park, and was awarded a Doctor of Civil Law degree by the University of Oxford.

He received the freedom of the city of Carlisle on 7 July 1902, during a visit to the city for the Royal Agricultural Society's Show.[24] As a "Minor Royal", he officiated at many public functions. These included participation, with the Princess Helena, in the speech day of Malvern College in 1870.[25]

Ball in the Exchange Building, Liverpool[edit]

The illustration here and shows a civic ball held in the Exchange Buildings (1864–67; demolished 1939) in Liverpool to honour the visiting Prince Arthur, and Prince and Princess Christian.[26]

The unpopularity of Prince Christian[edit]

Prince Christian has the following written description: [27]

“A London correspondent of a New York daily paper comments rather frankly on the unpopularity of Prince Christian in England. " Prince Christian he says, " married the English Princess Helena, and the people, by a sort of instinct, came to the conclusion that the young lady had been forced into the marriage, and that the whole business was a 'shame.' Since that time Prince Christian has been growing more and more unpopular, not on account of anything he has done so much as because he is disliked. The other day the prince went with his wife and some of the royal family to Liverpool, and the people who waited outside hissed him, but cheered all the rest. The affair was hushed up but there is reason to believe that it caused some little sensation at Windsor. The photographs of the prince have been partly the cause of his unpopularity. He is a churlish looking man, with a very bald head, and the bald head has, I fear, done this business. The Princess Helena was only 19 when she married, and the English people (who like the royal ladies especially) were not satisfied, and thought her husband not good enough for her. Then, again, the prince of the bald head was unquestionably one of the very smallest of the very small Germans who have been strapped on to the shoulders of the patient and cloudily-witted John Bull. He had, before he came over here, a revenue from his immense income of £200 a year. This enormous income was not enough to get married upon, and very glad he must have been to catch one of the Queen's daughters, and to be taken into comfortable lodgings in the house of the aforesaid John Bull. The next thing, of course, was to make an income for this rather farcical prince. Some very ugly stories are in circulation, most of them probably untrue, but they helped to make people dislike him. Nevertheless Parliament voted him a grant of £30,000 (as a dower to his wife and £6000 a year. imagine what a change for a poor devil to be taken from the midst of debt and poverty to live in one of the Queen's palaces and have a large income given to him, upon no harder condition than that he should marry a well educated and rather pretty girl ! But things do not always go smoothly with Prince Christian. As I have said he was loudly hissed in the public streets the other day, and now this week a stinging caricature has been leveled at him in the Tomdliawk, a paper which is making wonderful progress in-consequence of the boldness and freedom of its cartoons. We are shown an unpleasant little man perched on the back of the British lion and tugging away at his mane. Underneath is written ' Set a beggar on Horseback, or Translated from the German. This will not please the family circle at Osborne for Windsor. I fancy Prince Christian has rather a bad time before him. The Queen is understood to insist upon his residing in this country, and under her own eye apparently with a due regard for the protection of her daughter. A man ought to behave properly on £6000 a year, seeing that he has done nothing to merit a farthing. There are Englishmen (would you believe it?) of better and nobler descent than this very little German, and of handsome private means and station, who would be too happy to make good husbands of any of the royal princesses (except those who are already married, pray understand). But no that would not do. A seedy gentleman, all out at elbows, from Faderlaud, is the only eligible person. The inevitable consequence of such a system is Prince Christian." [28]


Prince Christian died at Schomberg House (half of which is now part of the Oxford and Cambridge Club[29]), Pall Mall, London, in October 1917, in his eighty-sixth year.[30] After being initially interred in the Royal Vault at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, he was buried in the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore in Windsor Great Park.[31]



  1. ^ "No. 23133". The London Gazette. 3 July 1866. p. 3816.; National Archives, HO 38/61, p.396-397
  2. ^ "A PRINCE LOSES AN EYE.; ACCIDENT TO A SON-IN-LAW OF QUEEN VICTORIA". The New York Times. The New York Times. 29 December 1891. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  3. ^ Charles Mosley, editor-in-chief, Burke’s peerage & baronetage, 106th ed. Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1999. ISBN 2-940085-02-1.
  4. ^ "No. 23141". The London Gazette. 20 July 1866. p. 4099.
  5. ^ "No. 26541". The London Gazette. 10 August 1894. p. 4606.
  6. ^ "No. 26947". The London Gazette. 14 March 1898. p. 1688.
  7. ^ "No. 27281". The London Gazette. 5 February 1901. p. 765.
  8. ^ "No. 26725". The London Gazette. 27 March 1896. p. 1960.
  9. ^ Shaw, William Arthur (1906). The Knights of England. Vol. 1. London: Sherratt & Hughes. p. 416.
  10. ^ "Herzoglich Hausorden Albrechts des Bären", Hof- und Staats-Handbuch für das Herzogthum Anhalt (in German), Dessau, 1894, p. 17, retrieved 16 June 2020{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  11. ^ "Großherzogliche Orden", Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Großherzogtums Baden (in German), Karlsruhe, 1884, pp. 60, 72, retrieved 16 June 2020{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  12. ^ "Königliche Orden", Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Königreichs Bayern (in German), Munich, 1908, p. 9, retrieved 16 June 2020{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  13. ^ a b c Rangliste der Königlich Preußischen Armee und des XIII. (Königlich Württembergischen) Armeekorps für 1914 [List of Ranks of the Royal Prussian Army and the XIII. (Royal Württemberg) Army Corps for 1914] (in German). Berlin: Ministry of War, Ernst Siegfried Mittler & Son. 1914. p. 361.
  14. ^ "Herzoglich Sachsen-Ernestinischer Hausorden", Staatshandbuch für die Herzogthümer Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha (in German), Gotha: Thienemann, 1865, p. 20, retrieved 16 June 2020
  15. ^ "Großherzogliche Orden und Ehrenzeichen", Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Großherzogtum Hessen (in German), Darmstadt, 1879, p. 12, retrieved 4 July 2020{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  16. ^ Norway (1908), "Den kongelige norske Sanct Olavs Orden", Norges Statskalender (in Norwegian), p. 869-870, retrieved 17 September 2021
  17. ^ "Schwarzer Adler-orden", Königlich Preussische Ordensliste (in German), vol. 1, Berlin, 1886, pp. 8{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  18. ^ "Königlicher Haus-orden von Hohenzollern", Königlich Preussische Ordensliste (supp.) (in German), vol. 1, Berlin, 1886, p. 108 – via hathitrust.org{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  19. ^ Staatshandbuch für den Freistaat Sachsen: 1873. Heinrich. 1873. p. 4.
  20. ^ "Kungl. Svenska Riddare-Ordnarne". Sveriges statskalender (in Swedish). 1905. p. 441. Retrieved 16 June 2020 – via runeberg.org.
  21. ^ "No. 23133". The London Gazette. 3 July 1866. p. 3817.
  22. ^ "No. 24132". The London Gazette. 18 September 1874. p. 4431.
  23. ^ "No. 24508". The London Gazette. 2 October 1877. p. 5457.
  24. ^ "Court Circular". The Times. No. 36814. London. 8 July 1902. col a, p. 10.
  25. ^ Cookson, R.T.C, ed. (1905), The Malvern Register 1865-1904, (Originally compiled by Laurence Sidney Milward & Edward Clifford Bullock) (2nd ed.), Malvern, UK: Malvern Advertiser, p. xvi, retrieved 29 August 2010 2009 reprint via Google books (Note: Google's authorship citation is inaccurate - see Internet Archive version for actual title page)
  26. ^ This print was published in “The Illustrated London News” in 1868 (18 Jan 1868, page 68).
  27. ^ THE UNPOPULARITY OF PRINCE CHRISTIAN.. In: Home Newspapers & Gazettes Browse The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Fr 15 Mai 1868 Page 3 [1]:
  28. ^ THE UNPOPULARITY OF PRINCE CHRISTIAN.. In: Home Newspapers & Gazettes Browse The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) Fr 15 Mai 1868 Page 3 [2]:
  29. ^ "Pall Mall, South Side, Existing Buildings: Nos 77-78 Pall Mall", in Survey of London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1, ed. F. H. W. Sheppard (London, 1960), pp. 418–419. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vols29-30/pt1/pp418-419 [accessed 19 October 2020].
  30. ^ https://www.genealogics.org/getperson.php?personID=I00010273&tree=LEO
  31. ^ "Royal Burials in the Chapel since 1805". College of St George - Windsor Castle. Retrieved 5 March 2023.

External links[edit]