Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover (born 1954)

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Ernst August
Head of the House of Hanover
Tenure 9 December 1987 – present
Predecessor Ernest Augustus, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick
Heir apparent Prince Ernst August
Spouse Chantal Hochuli
(m. 1981; div. 1997)
Princess Caroline of Monaco (m. 1999)
Issue Prince Ernst August
Prince Christian
Princess Alexandra
Full name
Ernst August Albert Paul Otto Rupprecht Oskar Berthold Friedrich-Ferdinand Christian-Ludwig[1]
House House of Hanover
Father Ernest Augustus, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick
Mother Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Born (1954-02-26) 26 February 1954 (age 61)
Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany

Ernst August, Prince of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg (Ernst August Albert Paul Otto Rupprecht Oskar Berthold Friedrich-Ferdinand Christian-Ludwig Prinz von Hannover Herzog zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg Königlicher Prinz von Großbritannien und Irland[2][3][4][5] (born 26 February 1954) is head of the deposed royal House of Hanover which held the thrones of the former Kingdom of Hanover (until 1866) and of the sovereign Duchy of Brunswick (1913 to 1918).[6] As the husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco he is the brother-in-law of Albert II, Prince of Monaco. His wealth is estimated at £500 million.[7]

Name and ancestry[edit]

Ernst August was born in Hanover the eldest son of Ernst August, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick (1914–1987) and his first wife, Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (1925–1980).[8] He was christened, Ernst August Albert Paul Otto Rupprecht Oskar Berthold Friedrich-Ferdinand Christian-Ludwig.[1]

As the senior male-line descendant of George V of Hanover (and hence also of George III of the United Kingdom) Ernst August is head of the House of Hanover, the surviving senior branch of the medieval House of Welf which once also ruled Ferrara and Modena in Italy.[8] The title of Prince of Great Britain and Ireland was recognised ad personam for Ernst August's father and his father's siblings by King George V of the United Kingdom on 17 June 1914.[9] His father was deprived of that title under George V's letters patent of 1917, dated 30 November,[10] while the hereditary Dukedom of Cumberland and Teviotdale and the Earldom of Armagh, borne in 1917 by his paternal great-grandfather, were suspended under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917. However, on 29 August 1931, his grandfather Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick, as head of the House of Hanover, declared the formal resumption, for himself and his dynastic descendants, of use of his former British princely title as a secondary title of pretense,[6] which style, "Royal Prince of Great Britain and Ireland", his grandson Ernst August continued to claim.[11]

As heir of the last Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale and Earl of Armagh, Ernst August has the right to petition under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917 for the restoration of his ancestors' suspended British peerages, but he has not done so. His father, also called Ernst August, did, however, successfully claim British nationality after World War II by virtue of a hitherto overlooked (and since repealed) provision of the Sophia Naturalization Act 1705 (Attorney-General v HRH Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover [1957] 1 All ER 49).

Ernst August is also a great-grandson of the last German emperor, Emperor Wilhelm II.[6] His father's sister was Frederica of Hanover (1917–1981), sometime queen consort of the Hellenes, and he is thus a first cousin of both ex-King Constantine II and his sister, Queen Sophia, whose husband Juan Carlos I abdicated his throne in favour of their son, Felipe VI of Spain in 2014. Ernst August's uncle, Prince George William of Hanover (1915–2006), married Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark (1914–2001), a sister of the future royal consort Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, evoking in 1946 the only known case of a British monarch, George VI, withholding requested permission for a kinsman's marriage under the Royal Marriages Act 1772 (on the advice of his Government as a result of World War II's hostilities).[12] It was held by British officials at the time that the marriage and its issue would not be legitimate in the United Kingdom despite being legal in Germany.[13]


By a 24 August 1981 declaration issued by his father as the Head of House, pursuant to Chapter 3, §§ 3 and 5 of the House laws of 1836, Ernst August was authorised to marry dynastically, and did firstly marry, civilly on 28 August 1981 and religiously on 30 August 1981, Chantal Hochuli (b. 2 June 1955 in Zurich), the daughter and heiress of a Swiss real estate developer. They had two sons:

Ernst August and Chantal Hochuli divorced on 23 October 1997.

He married secondly, civilly in Monaco on 23 January 1999, Princess Caroline of Monaco, who was at the time expecting the birth of their child:

As he was born in the male line of George II of Great Britain, he sought permission to marry pursuant to the British Royal Marriages Act 1772, which would not be repealed until the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 took effect on 26 March 2015.[14] On 11 January 1999, Queen Elizabeth II issued a Declaration in Council, "My Lords, I do hereby declare My Consent to a Contract of Matrimony between His Royal Highness Prince Ernst August Albert of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg and Her Serene Highness Princess Caroline Louise Marguerite of Monaco..."[15] Without the Royal Assent, the marriage would have been void in Britain where Ernst August's family owns property and his lawful descendants remain in succession to both the British crown and the two suspended peerages.[16] Similarly the Monégasque court officially notified the government of France of Caroline's marriage to Ernst August, receiving assurance that there was no objection in compliance with the (since defunct) Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1918. Moreover, in order for Caroline to retain her claim to the throne of Monaco and to transmit succession rights to future offspring, the couple were also obliged to obtain the approval of yet a third nation, in the form of official consent to the marriage of Caroline's father, Prince Rainier III as the sovereign of Monaco.[4]

Nonetheless, Caroline was a Roman Catholic and Ernst August the heir male of George III when the couple wed, at which time a provision of the Act of Settlement 1701 stipulated that in the event the British crown is to devolve upon an heir married to "a Papist", that heir is permanently disabled from succeeding to the throne, which would pass instead to the next Protestant in the order of succession who had not been married to a Roman Catholic. The Succession to the Throne Act of 2013 likewise repealed that marital restriction (also embodied in the Bill of Rights 1689), with retroactive effect, as of 26 March 2015.[14]

On 28 November 1988, while authorities removed the body of Princess Isabella of Hanover (1962–1988) from the home in Gmunden, northern Austria she had shared with her husband, Ernst August's younger brother Prince Ludwig Rudolph of Hanover, and investigated the drug strewn scene, Ludwig Rudolph, distraught over his wife's apparently accidental heroin overdose, placed a call to his brother in London, imploring him to take care of the couple's 10-month-old son.[17][18] Then he fled. Hours later Ludwig Rudolph was found dead, apparently a victim of suicide, near his family's hunting lodge several miles away, on Lake Traun.[17][17][19] Custody of their infant son Otto Heinrich was eventually awarded, contrary to the expressed wishes of Ludwig Rudolph as the surviving parent and Ernst August's legal efforts, to the child's maternal grandparents, Count Ariprand (1925–1996) and Countess Maria von Thurn und Valsassina-Como-Vercelli (born 1929), to be raised at their family seat, Bleiburg Castle in southern Austria.[18]

In September 2009 it was reported in the French and English press that Ernst August has been living separately from his wife Caroline, who had returned to Monaco.[20]


He was photographed urinating on the Turkish Pavilion at the Expo 2000 event in Hanover, causing a diplomatic incident and a complaint from the Turkish embassy accusing him of insulting the Turkish people. He successfully sued those who published (Bild-Zeitung) the photograph for invasion of privacy, obtaining an award of 9,900 euros,[21] although the paper had previously published a photo of Ernst August urinating outside a hospital in Austria.[21]

In 2004, he was convicted of aggravated assault and causing grievous bodily harm after supposedly beating a man with a knuckleduster.[22][23]He has demanded a retrial for the case on the basis of false evidence. His lawyers have publicly stated that he has never owned a knuckle duster in his life nor held one in his hand.[23]


On Monday, 3 April 2005, Ernst August was admitted to hospital with acute pancreatitis. The next day, he fell into a deep coma, two days before the death of his father-in-law, Rainier III, Prince of Monaco. On Friday, 8 April 2005, hospital officials reported that he was no longer in a coma but remained in intensive care. A report the same day on BBC World described his condition as "serious but not irreversible." On 9 April 2005, according to a report on BBC, a hospital spokesman reported that Ernst August was receiving "permanent medical care."[citation needed] He has since been released and was subsequently seen in public with his wife.

Titles, styles, and honours[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 24 February 1954 – 9 December 1987: His Royal Highness Prince Ernst August of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
  • 9 December 1987 – present: His Royal Highness The Prince of Hanover[3][4][23][24]

In Germany, the legal privileges of royalty and nobility were abolished in 1919; thereafter for legal purposes, hereditary titles form part of the name only.[25]

While descendants of non-dynastic marriages may bear "Prinz/Prinzessin von Hannover Herzog/Herzogin zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg Königlicher Prinz/Prinzessin von Großbritannien und Irland" as surnames, they are not recognised as bearing titles or membership in the House of Hanover according to its house rules.[4][8]




  1. ^ a b Debrett's peerage & baronetage 2008, p. 117.
  2. ^ Royalty Who Wait by Olga S. Opfell, McFarland, 2001, p.42
  3. ^ a b Prince's Palace of Monaco. Biography: HRH the Princess of Hanover. retrieved 10 August 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d de Badts de Cugnac, Chantal. Coutant de Saisseval, Guy. Le Petit Gotha. Nouvelle Imprimerie Laballery, Paris 2002, p. 702 (French) ISBN 2-9507974-3-1
  5. ^ In 1919 royalty and nobility lost their privileges as such in Germany, hereditary titles thereafter being legally retained only as part of the surname, according to Article 109 the Weimar Constitution.
  6. ^ a b c Almanach de Gotha, Braunschweig-Lüneburg (Gotha: Justus Perthes, 1944), pages 38–39, 169 (French)
  7. ^ "Punchy Prince Ernst August snogs young woman on Thai beach", Austrian Times, 1 July 2010.
  8. ^ a b c Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser XVIII. "Haus Hannover". C.A. Starke Verlag, 2007, pp. 22–26. ISBN 978-3-7980-0841-0.
  9. ^ Velde, François Styles of the members of the British royal family:Documents, Children of the duke and duchess of Brunswick (June 17, 1914)
  10. ^ Velde, Second 1917 Letters Patent
  11. ^ Ernst August (geb.1954) Prinz von Hannover at (German)
  12. ^ After consultations with the Foreign Office, Home Office and King George VI's private secretary, Sir Alan Lascelles, a ciphered telegram dated 18 April 1946 and crafted by Sir Albert Napier, permanent secretary to the Lord Chancellor, was transmitted from the British Foreign Office to the Foreign Adviser to the British Commander in Chief at Berlin, "The Duke of Brunswick has formally applied to The King by letter of March 22nd for the consent of His Majesty under the Act 12 Geo. III, cap. 11 to the marriage of his son Prince George William with Princess Sophia Dowager Princess of Hess. The marriage is understood to he taking place on April 23rd. Please convey to the Duke an informal intimation that in view of the fact that a state of war still exists between Great Britain and Germany, His Majesty is advised that the case is not one in which it is practicable for His consent to be given in the manner contemplated by the Act." The National Archives (UK) LCO 2/3371A: Marriage of Prince George William, son of the Duke of Brunswick, with Princess Sophia, Dowager Princess of Hesse. Request for The King's consent.
  13. ^ Eagleston, Arthur J. The Home Office and the Crown. pp. 9–14. The National Archives (United Kingdom)|TNA, HO 45/25238, Royal Marriages.
  14. ^ a b Statement by Nick Clegg MP, UK parliament website, 26 March 2015 (retrieved on same date).
  15. ^ Queen-in-Council. 11 January 1999. Order-in-Council.
  16. ^ According to a Home Office memorandum on the matter, "All the descendants of a British prince require the consent, even if he has become a foreign Sovereign and his family have lived abroad for generations. Thus the Hanoverian Royal Family, who are descended from George III's son, the Duke of Cumberland, who succeeded to the throne of Hanover on the accession of Queen Victoria, have regularly obtained the King's consent to their marriages: in 1937 Princess Frederica of Hanover, great-great granddaughter of George III and 3rd cousin once removed of the King, asked his consent to her wedding with the Crown Prince of Greece, It seems absurd that the King's consent should be obtained for a purely foreign marriage of this kind; one can only suppose that as the marriage would not be valid in the British Dominions without it, the object is to secure the position of the issue as Princes or Princesses of Great Britain (which rank is much valued on the Continent) and possibly to retain their place in the line of succession to the British Throne. Obviously the absence of the Royal Consent required by British law could not affect the validity of a marriage contracted abroad so far as the law of the country of domicile of the parties is concerned. It should be noted here that the Act applies to all marriages in which one of the parties is a descendant of George II, whether contracted in Great Britain or abroad. See as to this the decision of the House of Lords, given after taking the opinion of the Judges, in the Sussex Peerage case (xi Clark and Finelly, 85 ff.)" Eagleston, Arthur J. "The Home Office and the Crown". pp. 9–14. The National Archives (United Kingdom)|TNA, HO 45/25238, Royal Marriages.
  17. ^ a b c Montgomery Brower and Franz Spelman (9 January 1989). "Death Turns Out the Lights at a Noble Couple's Last Soiree". People Weekly. Retrieved 21 July 2008. 
  18. ^ a b Eilers, Marlene. Queen Victoria's Daughters. Rosvall Royal Books, Falkoping, Sweden, 1997. P.173, note 41. ISBN 91-630-5964-9
  19. ^ Reuters (31 December 1988). "German Prince Kills Himself After Wife Dies of Overdose". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 July 2008. 
  20. ^ Allen, Peter Princess Caroline 'to divorce' third husband reigniting fears of Monaco royal curse Daily Mail 12 September 2009
  21. ^ a b Willsher, Kim Royalty reaps riches in strict privacy laws The Standard, 26 July 2006
  22. ^ Jüttner, Julia, "Ernst August's Case Heads to Court – Again" Spiegel Online, 19 May 2008
  23. ^ a b c " Boyes, Roger, "Prince Ernst August demands retrial after knuckleduster claim", The Times, 20 May 2008.
  24. ^ Queen-in-Council. 11 January 1999. Order in Council.
  25. ^ The Reich Constitution of August 11th 1919 (Weimar Constitution) with Modifications, Article 109.
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^

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External links[edit]

Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover (born 1954)
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 26 February 1954
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Ernest Augustus IV
Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale
9 December 1987 – present
Reason for succession failure:
Titles Deprivation Act 1917
Prince Ernst August of Hanover
King of Hanover
9 December 1987 – present
Reason for succession failure:
Hanover annexed by Prussia in 1866
Duke of Brunswick
9 December 1987 – present
Reason for succession failure:
Duchy abolished in 1918