Prince Welf Ernst of Hanover

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Prince Welf Ernst
Prince Welf Ernst of Hanover
Spouse Wibke 'Turiya' van Gunsteren
Issue Princess Saskia of Hanover
Full name
Welf Ernest Augustus Andrew Philip George William Louis Berthold
German: Welf Ernst August Andreas Philipp Georg Wilhelm Ludwig Berthold[1]
House House of Hanover
Father Prince George William of Hanover
Mother Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark
Born (1947-01-25)25 January 1947
Schloss Marienburg, Nordstemmen, Lower Saxony, Germany
Died 10 January 1981(1981-01-10) (aged 33)
Poona, Maharashtra, India

Prince Welf Ernst of Hanover (Welf Ernst August Andreas Philipp Georg Wilhelm Ludwig Berthold Prinz von Hannover[1]), Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (25 January 1947 at Schloss Marienburg, Nordstemmen, Lower Saxony, Germany; – 10 January 1981 in Poona, Maharashtra, India[1]) was the eldest son of Prince George William of Hanover and his wife Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark, sister of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Welf was a first cousin of Charles, Prince of Wales. The prince used the name Welf Prinz von Hannover.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Born in Lower Saxony at the Hanover family seat of Schloss Marienburg, Welf was raised in Munich.[2] In 1969, the prince married Wibke van Gunsteren. Welf and his wife became followers of a syncretic movement led by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.[2] In 1975, Welf and Wibke, along with their five-year-old daughter Tania Saskia, made a pilgrimage to Poona, India to live in an ashram with other followers of Bhagwan. Once there, Bhagwan gave Welf the name Vimalkirti ("Spotless splendour") and Wibke Prem Turiya ("Spiritual love").[2]

Welf died at the age of 33 at a clinic in Poona from a cerebral haemorrhage after collapsing during a morning karate practice session and becoming paralyzed[3][4][2]

Marriage and issue[edit]

Welf married Wibke Christians[1] (born 26 November 1948 at Lübbecke, Westphalia, Germany[1]), daughter of Dr Hans Daniel Christians and Ursula Schmidt-Prange,[1] on 23 May 1969 in a civil ceremony.[1] They were married two days later in a religious ceremony at Essen-Bredeney in Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.[1] Although many genealogical sources record the opposite, Welf Ernst and Wibke were not divorced in 1979,[3] but lived together (un-divorced) up to his death. They had one daughter:

  • HRH Princess Tania Saskia Viktoria-Luise of Hanover[1] (born 24 July 1970 at Duisburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany[1]). Princess Saskia's first husband was Michael Alexander Naylor-Leyland[5] (born 14 July 1956 in London[6]) whom she married on 6 July 1990.[1][6] They have two children:

Princess Saskia married her second husband, Edward Hooper, on 27 January 2001. They have one son:

  • Louis Ivan Welf Otto Hooper (born 6 April 2007)



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Darryl Lundy (10 May 2003). "Welf Ernst Hanover, Prince of Hanover". Retrieved 2008-08-17. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Wilhelm Bittorf (3 February 1981). "Ein Welfe im Nirwana: Der Tod eines deutschen Prinzen, der für Bhagwan lebte". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  3. ^ a b Eilers, Marlene. Queen Victoria's Daughters. Rosvall Royal Books, Falkoping, Sweden, 1997. P.173, note 41. ISBN 91-630-5964-9
  4. ^ Eilers, Marlene (1997). Queen Victoria's Descendants. Sweden: Rosvall. pp. 25–26, 129. ISBN 91-630-5964-9. 
  5. ^ a b c Henri van Oene (22 October 2001). "HRH Prince Georg Wilhelm and his descendants". Henri van Oene's Royal Genealogies Page. Archived from the original on 2009-08-08. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  6. ^ a b c d Lynsey Ayers (8 May 2007). "Descendants of Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland: Seventh Generation". Descendants of Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 2008-08-18.