Prince Ernst August of Hanover (born 1954)

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Ernst August
Prince of Hanover
Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg
Head of the House of Hanover
Tenure9 December 1987 – present
PredecessorErnest Augustus, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick
Heir apparentPrince Ernst August
Born (1954-02-26) 26 February 1954 (age 66)
Hanover, Lower Saxony, West Germany
Chantal Hochuli
(m. 1981; div. 1997)

Prince Ernst August
Prince Christian
Princess Alexandra
Full name
German: Ernst August Albert Paul Otto Rupprecht Oskar Berthold Friedrich-Ferdinand Christian-Ludwig[1]
FatherErnest Augustus, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick
MotherPrincess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg

Ernst August, Prince of Hanover (German: 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] born 26 February 1954), is head of the royal House of Hanover which held the thrones of the United Kingdom until 1901, of the former Kingdom of Hanover until 1866, and of the sovereign Duchy of Brunswick from 1913 to 1918.[5] As the husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco, he is the brother-in-law of Albert II, Prince of Monaco.

Ancestry and name[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).[6] He was christened, Ernst August Albert Paul Otto Rupprecht Oskar Berthold Friedrich-Ferdinand Christian-Ludwig.[1]

As the senior male-line descendant of George III of the United Kingdom, Ernst August is head of the House of Hanover, the surviving junior branch of the medieval House of Welf, which itself is the older branch of the House of Este, a dynasty whose earliest known members lived in Lombardy in the late 9th/early 10th century and which, in its younger branch, ruled Ferrara (1240–1597) and the Duchy of Modena-Reggio (1288–1796) in Italy.[6]

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.[7] 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, the title Royal Prince of Great Britain and Ireland had been entered into the family's German passports, together with the German titles, in 1914. After the German Revolution of 1918–19, with the abolition of the privileges of nobility,[8] titles officially became parts of the last name. So, curiously, the British prince's title is still part of the family's last name in their German passports, while it is no longer mentioned in their British documents.[9] On 29 August 1931, Ernst August's 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,[5] which style, "Royal Prince of Great Britain and Ireland", his grandson Ernst August continues to claim.[10]

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, Wilhelm II whose daughter Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia was his grandmother.[5] His father's sister Frederica of Hanover (1917–1981) was Queen consort of Greece between 1947 and 1964 as the wife of King Paul. He is thus a first cousin of both ex-king Constantine II of Greece and his sister, Queen Sophia of Spain, whose husband Juan Carlos I was king of Spain 1975–2014. 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).[11] 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.[12]


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.[13] 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..."[14] Without the Queen's consent, 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.[15] 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 male heir 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 Crown Act 2013 repealed that marital restriction (also embodied in the Bill of Rights 1689), with retroactive effect, as of 26 March 2015.[13]

Ernst August's younger brother Prince Ludwig Rudolph of Hanover and his wife, Princess Isabella of Hanover (1962–1988), died tragically. On 28 November 1988, while authorities removed Princess Isabella's body from The Queen's Villa in Gmunden, Austria, a house owned by Ernst August which he had left to his brother and sister-in-law, and investigated the drug-strewn scene, Ludwig Rudolph, distraught over his wife's apparently accidental cocaine overdose, placed a call to his brother in London, imploring him to take care of the couple's 10-month-old son.[16][17] 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.[16][16][18] 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.[17]

After their marriage, Ernst August and Caroline moved to Le Mée-sur-Seine, France, where they had purchased an 18th-century manor house from their friend Karl Lagerfeld.[19] Their daughter went to kindergarten and prep-school there, while the family used Caroline's house in Monte Carlo and Ernst August's hunting lodge near Gmunden, Austria, as secondary homes. The manor house in France was subsequently sold, just as had been Hurlingham Lodge in London, after the divorce from his first wife.


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, although the paper had previously published a photo of Ernst August urinating outside a hospital in Austria.[20]

In 2004, he was convicted of aggravated assault and causing grievous bodily harm after supposedly beating a German man, Joe Brunnlehner, with a knuckleduster on the Kenyan island of Lamu.[21][22] 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 knuckleduster in his life nor held one in his hand.[22]

In 2004, Ernst August had signed over his German property to his elder son, including Marienburg Castle, the agricultural estate of Calenberg Castle, the "Princely House" at Herrenhausen Gardens in Hanover and some forests near Blankenburg Castle (Harz) which he had repurchased in former East Germany after the German reunification of 1990. At the time, Ernst-August’s wealth was estimated as high as $250 million.[23] Since then, the younger Ernst August has taken over many representative tasks on behalf of his father. The latter remained in charge of the Austrian family assets. In 2013 however, Ernst August was removed from the chairmanship of a family foundation based in Liechtenstein, the Duke of Cumberland Foundation, which holds the properties near Gmunden in Austria, the Hanovers' main residence in exile after 1866 when their Kingdom of Hanover was annexed by Prussia. Instead, the younger Ernst August was put in charge, reportedly for negligence on part of his father,[24] at the initiative of the foundation's trustee Prince Michael of Liechtenstein.[25] The foundation manages vast forests, a game park, a hunting lodge, the Queen's Villa and other property. In 2017 Ernst August filed legal action to recover his chairmanship, and he intends to revoke the bestowal of his German property. Due to this dispute over family assets, he also declared his intention to withhold consent for his son's marriage to Ekaterina Malysheva[26] which he did not attend.


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."[27] After his release he was subsequently seen in public with his wife. In an interview he admitted at the time that his health crisis was caused by his hyperactive lifestyle and problems with alcohol.[28]

His health deteriorated in subsequent years. He was hospitalized again in 2011, 2017 and 2018 for problems related to alcohol.[29] In February 2019 he had another emergency surgery for pancreatitis. One week later, it was reported that he is suffering from throat cancer.[30]

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 24 February 1954 – 9 December 1987: His Royal Highness The Hereditary Prince of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
  • 9 December 1987 – present: His Royal Highness The Prince of Hanover[3][31][32][33]

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.[34] In his British passport however, the prince is styled His Royal Highness.

While descendants of nondynastic marriages may bear "Prinz/Prinzessin von Hannover, Herzog/Herzogin zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg, Königliche(r) 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.[31][6]


Arms and monograms[edit]

Armoiries de Caroline de Monaco princesse de Hanovre.svg
Alliance Coat of Arms of Prince Ernst and
Princess Caroline of Hanover
Dual Cypher of Ernst August and Caroline of Monaco.svg
Dual Cypher of Prince Ernst
and Princess Caroline



  1. ^ a b Debrett's peerage & baronetage 2008, p. 117.
  2. ^ Opfell, Olga S. (1 June 2001). Royalty Who Wait: The 21 Heads of Formerly Regnant Houses of Europe. McFarland. ISBN 9780786450572 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ a b Prince's Palace of Monaco. Biography: HRH the Princess of Hanover Archived 22 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. retrieved 10 August 2011.
  4. ^ a b 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. ^ a b c Almanach de Gotha, Braunschweig-Lüneburg (Gotha: Justus Perthes, 1944), pages 38–39, 169 (French)
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Velde, François Styles of the members of the British royal family:Documents, Children of the duke and duchess of Brunswick (June 17, 1914).
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Germany, Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, Hannover, Niedersachsen. "Exklusiv: Ernst August im HAZ-Interview – In der Prinzenrolle". Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung.
  10. ^ Ernst August (geb.1954) Prinz von Hannover at (German)
  11. ^ 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 Hesse. The marriage is understood to be 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.
  12. ^ Eagleston, Arthur J. The Home Office and the Crown. pp. 9–14. The National Archives (United Kingdom)|TNA, HO 45/25238, Royal Marriages.
  13. ^ a b Statement by Nick Clegg MP, UK parliament website, 26 March 2015 (retrieved on same date).
  14. ^ Queen-in-Council. 11 January 1999. Order-in-Council.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ a b Eilers, Marlene. Queen Victoria's Daughters. Rosvall Royal Books, Falkoping, Sweden, 1997. P.173, note 41. ISBN 91-630-5964-9
  18. ^ Reuters (31 December 1988). "German Prince Kills Himself After Wife Dies of Overdose". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 July 2008.
  19. ^ "Le Mée-sur-Seine. Manoir princier, lieu de tournage et bientôt hôtel". 18 September 2017.
  20. ^ Willsher, Kim Royalty reaps riches in strict privacy laws The Standard, 26 July 2006[dead link]
  21. ^ Jüttner, Julia, "Ernst August's Case Heads to Court – Again[permanent dead link]" Spiegel Online, 19 May 2008
  22. ^ a b " Boyes, Roger, "Prince Ernst August demands retrial after knuckleduster claim", The Times, 20 May 2008.
  23. ^ "Royal Wedding Crisis! Why a German Prince Is Opposing His Son's Marriage Days Before the Ceremony".
  24. ^ "Ernst August von Hannover: Er will seinen Sohn vernichten".
  25. ^ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22 Dec 2017
  26. ^ Ernst-August Publicly Opposes His Son's Marriage, July 2017
  27. ^ Carlo, By Colin Randall in Monte (9 April 2005). ill.html "Princess Caroline's husband seriously ill" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  28. ^ B.Z. (newspaper), 25 April 2005.
  29. ^ El País, 6 February 2019
  30. ^, 13 February 2019
  31. ^ a b de Badts de Cugnac, Chantal. Coutant de Saisseval, Guy. Le Petit Gotha. Nouvelle Imprimerie Laballery, Paris 2002, p. 58, 60–62, 69–70, 693–694, 701–702 (French) ISBN 2-9507974-3-1
  32. ^ "The Times & The Sunday Times".
  33. ^ Queen-in-Council. 11 January 1999. Order in Council.
  34. ^ "(HIS,P) Weimar Constitution".
  35. ^ "Princess Caroline and husband Prince Ernst August of Hanover attend..."
  36. ^ "Princess Caroline and husband Prince Ernst August of Hanover attend..."
  37. ^ "Wedding of Crown Prince Frederik and Miss Mary Elisabeth Donaldson:..."
  38. ^ Verdad, La (28 July 2011). "Las orejas al lobo. La Verdad".

External links[edit]

Prince Ernst August of Hanover (born 1954)
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 26 February 1954
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Prince Franz Friedrich of Prussia
Line of succession to the British throne
descended from Victoria, Princess Royal, daughter of Queen Victoria
Succeeded by
Prince Ernst August of Hanover
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Ernest Augustus
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