Albert, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein
|Duke of Schleswig-Holstein|
|Born||26 February 1869|
Frogmore House, Windsor
|Died||27 April 1931 (aged 62)|
|Issue||Valerie zu Schleswig-Holstein (illegitimate)|
|Father||Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein|
|Mother||Princess Helena of the United Kingdom|
Albert, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein (Albert John Charles Frederick Alfred George; 26 February 1869 – 27 April 1931), was a grandson of Queen Victoria. He was the second son of Victoria's daughter, Princess Helena, by her husband Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. He was the head of the House of Oldenburg and also the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg and the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein between 1921 and 1931.
Early life and military career
Prince Albert grew up at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park. He was known as "Abby" to his family. He was baptised in the private chapel at Windsor Castle on 31 March 1869. His godparents were the Dowager Queen of Denmark (represented by Queen Victoria), the Princess of Wales (represented by Princess Louise), Princess Louis of Hesse and by Rhine (represented by the Duchess of Roxburghe), the Duke of Edinburgh (represented by Prince Arthur), the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein (represented by Prince Leopold), the King of Saxony (represented by Baron von Fabrice) and the Duke of Cambridge.
Like his elder brother, Prince Christian Victor, whom he followed to Lambrook Preparatory School in Berkshire, Albert was destined for a military career. However, while Christian Victor's was in the British Army, Albert served with the Prussian Army. He was commissioned Lieutenant into the 1st Hessian Dragoon Guards eventually reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the 3rd Uhlans of the Guard. During World War I he was excused from service against the British by the German Emperor, and spent the war in Berlin on the staff of the Governor of the city.
In 1921, the Prince succeeded as the head of the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg of the House of Schleswig-Holstein, following his childless cousin Duke Ernst Gunther of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg. This was the senior branch of the House of Oldenburg, to which the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, the King of Denmark, the King of Norway, the King of the Hellenes, the former Grand Duke of Oldenburg and the Russian Imperial Family belonged.
As the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein and as the Head of the House of Oldenburg, Duke Albert was succeeded by his distant cousin Friedrich Ferdinand, Duke of Glucksburg (who happened to be also the husband of a daughter of Albert's uncle Frederick August of Augustenborg).
Prince Albert never married. According to one report, he was called "the most exalted woman-hater on earth. His favourite subject of conversation has been his dislike of the fair sex." An engagement was announced to a Countess Ortrud zu Ysenberg und Buedingen, but then abandoned.
He fathered an illegitimate daughter, Valerie Marie. Born 3 April 1900 in Liptovský Mikuláš, Hungary, Austria-Hungary, she was placed almost immediately after her birth with Anna Rosenthal and her husband Rubin Schwalb, of Jewish origin. On 15 April 1931, shortly before his death, Albert wrote to her, admitting to her his paternity. After this, on 12 May she changed her surname from Schwalb, the name of her foster family, to "zu Schleswig-Holstein".
The name of Valerie Marie's mother was never made public. Albert told no one. He did inform his two sisters that the woman was of "high noble birth".
On 28 June 1925, in Vienna, Valerie Marie (before Albert's acknowledgement of paternity) married the lawyer Ernst Johann Wagner, but divorced him on 14 February 1938; the childless marriage was formally annulled in Salzburg on 4 October 1940. When she intended to marry again, it became important to establish her parentage officially, as the Nuremberg Laws prohibited marriages between Jews and Aryans. This was done with the assistance of her aunts, Helena Victoria and Marie Louise; they signed a statement attesting to her paternal lineage on 26 July 1938, officially acknowledging her.
In Berlin-Charlottenburg on 15 June 1939, a civil marriage took place between her and Prince Engelbert-Charles, 10th Duke of Arenberg, and, after the annulment of her first marriage a religious ceremony took place in Münster near Westfalen, on 9 October 1940; like her first marriage, this union was childless too. Valerie Marie died in Mont-Baron, Nice, France, on 14 April 1953 in an apparent suicide.
Titles, styles and honours
Titles and styles
- 1869–1921: His Highness Prince Albert of Schleswig-Holstein
- 1921–1931: His Highness The Duke of Schleswig-Holstein
- 27 November 1900: Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, GCB
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Albert, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein
Cadet branch of the House of OldenburgBorn: 26 February 1869 Died: 27 April 1931
| Duke of Schleswig-Holstein