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Succession laws in the House of Welf

(Braunschweig, Lneburg, Hannover)

o The early Welfs (to 1055)
o The Welfs from 1055 to the partition of 1267
o The first house of Lneburg (1267-1369)
o The first house of Brunswick (to 1428)

The second house of Brunswick (1428-1634)

The second house of Lneburg (1428-1569)
The third house of Brunswick (from 1569)
The third house of Lneburg, later Hanover (from 1569)
The 9th electorate
The Napoleonic period (1803-1813)
The kingdom of Hanover (1814-66)
The Regency in Brunswick (1884-1913)

o table of contents

I recommend following Miroslav Marek's genealogical tables.

The early Welfs (to 1055)

The house of Welf, which became the ducal house of Brunswick-Luneburg and later the
royal house of Hanover, has its origin in Italy. Its name, however, comes from an earlier
house of Welf, which is known from Welf, a count in Swabia whose daughter Judith
married Emperor Louis I the Pious,and whose other daughter Hemma married Emperor
Louis II. This first house of Welf built up large holdings in Upper Swabia, Upper
Bavaria, the Grisons and Tirol. They took the name of Altdorf or Ravensburg, after
their main castles; the last male of the family, Welf III of Ravensburg, was made duke of

The Welfs' numerous allodial possessions passed to Welf III's only sister, Kunigunde,
who had married Azzo II, margrave of Este (d. 1097). From this marriage the house of
Brunswick-Lneburg is descended. From Azzo's second marriage to Gersende du
Maine came the house of Este, which ruled in Ferrare and Modena and became extinct
in male line in 1803.

The Welfs from 1055 to the partition of 1267

Welf IV, the son of Kunigunde and Azzo II, became duke of Bavaria in 1070. He
increased his holdings with those of gount Otto of Buchhorn and count Luitolt of
Achalm. His two sons Welf V and Heinrich split the inheritance, with the duchy of
Bavaria going first to Welf, who died without issue in 1120. Heinrich the Black (1074-
1126) became duke of Bavaria, and inherited through his wife Wulfhild of Saxony,
heiress of the Billung dynasty, Lneburg and its region. He left two sons, Heinrich the
Proud (c1108-39) and Welf VI (d. 1191). They split the inheritance, with the lands in
Saxony and Bavaria going to Heinrich, and the lands west of the Lech in Swabia to Welf
VI. Heinrich the Proud followed his father as duke of Bavaria, and married Gertrud,
daughter of Emperor Lothar III and heiress of the Supplinburg, who brought him
Brunswick, Wolfenbttel and Nordheim. This made the Welfs the most important
family in Saxony, and in 1137 Heinrich became duke of Saxony, and also margrave of
Tuscany. In 1138 Lothar III died and Heinrich unsuccesfully contested the imperial
crown with the Hohenstaufens; Conrad III became emperor and Heinrich was banned in
1138, lost his two duchies, and died the following year. Welf VI, meanwhile, married
the heiress of the count palatine Gotfried von Calw and greatly increased his
possessions in Swabia. He made his piece with his nephew Emperor Friedrich I who
invested him with the duchy of Spoleto, the margraviate of Tuscany, the principality of
Sardinia and many holdings in the Po valley. Welf VI lost his only son young and,
because of a dispute with his agnates, preferred to sell his lands to his nephew, thus
greatly increasing the lands of the Hohenstaufens. With Welf VI's death in 1191 the
story of the Welfs as a power in southern Germany ends.

Heinrich the Proud had a son Heinrich the Lion (1129-95). While he was a minor,
Saxony was returned to him (in 1142) but Conrad III extracted from his mother a
renunciation to the duchy of Bavaria which was given to the Babenbergs, but when he
reached the age of majority Heinrich refused to recognize this renunciation. Ultimately,
Heinrich was reconciled with Conrad's successor Frederic I and regained the duchy of
Bavaria in 1156 (the Babenbergs were compensated by the separation of the Eastern
March, or Ostmark, as a duchy). Heinrich thus held the two duchies of Bavaria and
Saxony, and continued to increase his holdings through inheritances (Baden through his
wife, which he exchanged with the Emperor for holdings in Saxony), purchases,
exchanges, and conquests (in the Slav lands). In 1176 he fell out with the emperor and
met his downfall in 1180; he was deprived of his duchies and lost all his lands except
Brunswick and Lneburg, and was twice exiled.

Heinrich left three sons. In 1203 the three brothers divided their father's inheritance:

Heinrich (d. 1227) received Ditmarsen, Hadeln, Wursten, Stade, Hannover with
the lands on the left bank of the Leine, Nordheim, Gttingen, the western half of
Lneburg with Celle, Homburg, Eimbeck, part of the Eichsfeld and the
possessions in Westphalia.
Otto (d. 1218) received Brunswick and the regions west to Hanover and north to
Hankensbttel, half of the Harz, the lands between the Leine and the Aller,
Sommereschenburg, the castles of Lichtenberg, Asselburg, Schiltberg,
Staufenburg, Herzberg, Scharzfeld, Hohenstein, Osterode and the possessions in
Wilhelm (d. 1213) received the lands beyond the Elbe, the eastern half of the
Lneburg region with Lneburg, the other half of the Harz and most of the
possessions in the Altmark; he also received the overlordship over Lauenburg,
Blankenburg, Hitzacker, Lchow, Dannenberg.

Heinrich, the eldest, also inherited the palatinate from his wife Agnes, daughter of
Conrad (brother of the emperor Frederic I) but left no male issue. Otto emperor Otto IV
(d. 1218) but left no issue; the dynasty continued with Wilhelm's son Otto the Child

Heinrich had named his nephew Otto as heir, but his daughters married to the margrave
of Baden and the duke of Bavaria made claims to the allodial lands, and asked for the
help of the Emperor, Frederic II, who had an interest in reducing the powers of the Welf
family. The matter was resolved in 1235 when Otto renounced any claims to Bavaria
and the Palatinate, and gave Lneburg to the Empire. Conversely Frederic renounced
any claims to Brunswick and united Brunswick and Lneburg into an imperial fief with
the rank of duchy, which he conferred on Otto. This put an end to the feud between the
Welfs and the Hohenstaufens (known also as Waiblingen from the name of their castle)
and permanently settled the legal situation of the Welfs in the Empire. (See the

Otto left two sons Albrecht and Johann (two other sons were clerics). Albrecht initially
ruled for his minor brother, and then in 1267 the brothers split the duchy. They drew
lots to decide who would cut and who would choose: the elder was chosen to cut.
Albrecht created two parts:

the lands around Brunswick and Wolfenbttel with Gifhorn and Helmstdt, the
Eichsfeld, Grubenhagen, the lands between Deister and Leine (Kalenberg), the
Oberwald (Gttingen)
Lneburg and Celle, Lichtenberg, Twiflingen, Hanover

The city of Brunswick remained a joint possession. Johann chose the Lneburg portion,
and Albrecht took the Brunswick portion. Johann's line became extinct first (in 1369)
and Albrecht's line continued to the present.

The following summarizes the different branches (German writers use the terms "alte",
"mittlere", "neue"; I use the terms 1st, 2d, 3d).
Otto the Child (d. 1252)
o Johann (d. 1277): first house of Lneburg (ext. 1369)
o Albrecht (d. 1279): first house of Brunswick
Heinrich (d. 1322): line of Grubenhagen (ext. 1598)
Albrecht (d. 1318)
Ernst (d. 1379): line of Gttingen (Ext. 1463)
Magnus (d. 1368)
Magnus II (d. 1373), inherits Lneburg
Bernhard I (d. 1433): second house of
Otto: line of Harburg (ext. 1642)
Ernst (d. 1546)
Heinrich zu Dannenberg:
his line inherits
Wolfenbttel in 1635,
becomes third house of
Brunswick (ducal line)
Wilhelm zu Cella:
third house of Lneburg
(electoral/royal line of
Heinrich (d. 1416): second house of
Brunswick (ext. 1634)

The first house of Lneburg (1267-1369)

Johann died in 1277 and left only one son, Otto the Strong (d. 1330), who in turn left
four sons; two were made clerics and the other two ruled jointly at first, then after the
death without issue of one, the other, Wilhelm, ruled alone. At his death in 1369, the
inheritance (increased meanwhile with the counties of Lchow, Dannenberg, Wlpe,
and the castles of Hallermund, Bleckede, Hitzacker and Neubrck) became the subject
of a long-running dispute.

Elizabeth, the daughter of Wilhelm, and her son Albrecht of Saxony claimed the
inheritance in spite of the rights of the Welf agnates. The emperor considered that the
fief should return to the Emperor. In 1355 he had invested Albrecht with the eventual
fief. The same year, Wilhem had signed an agrement with his cousin Magnus of
Brunswick to name a son of Magnus, Ludwig, as his heir and promise him his other
daughter Mechthild. Magnus himself promised to leave Brunswick to his son Ludwig,
so that the two halves of the Welf inheritance should be united again, and should
Ludwig predecease Wilhelm of Lneburg, the claims would be transferred to another
son of Magnus. When Ludwig died in 1367, his brother Magnus Torquatus was
appointed heir. The disputed dragged on until 1389 when the Saxon family agreed to
abandon its claims in exchange for an Erbverbrderung giving reciprocal claims in case
of male-line extinction of either family:

Also dass Sie Unss sullen hulden lassen ihre Lande Braunschweig und Lneburg, und
wir sullen und wollen ihen Vnser Land zu Sachsen und alle unsere Lande, Lte,
Mannschafft und Stdte, wider hulden lassen, in dieser Weise, ob Wir von todes wegen
abegingen, ahne Lehens-Erben, Mannes Geschlechte, da GOtt vor sy, So sullen unse
vorgeschreben Land zu Sachsen, und alle unse Land und Lte, mit der Pfaltz zu
Sachsen, und mit dem Marschalk-Ambt des Heil. Rm. Reichs geruhlichen gefallen an
Vnser vorgeschrieben Buhlen, Ehre Frederichen, Berende und Heinriche, Herzogen zu
Braunschweig und Lneburg, und an ihre Erben. Desselben gleich sullen Sie Vnss
wider Hulden lassen, ihre beyder Lande Braunschweig und Lneburg, Manschafft und
Stdte, also ob Sie abgingen ahne Lehns-Erben, Mannes Geschlechte, von todeswegen,
da GOtt vor sy, dass denne di beyde Lande Braunschweig und Lneburg mit allen ihren
Mannschafften, Schlossen, Stdte, und mit allen ihren Zubehrungen, wider an Vnss
und vnsere Erben geruhelich gefallen sollen, und welcher Vnser Parthy allsus von todes
wegen abeginge, ahne Lehns-Erben, and doch Jungfrauen ader Frauen naliese, die zu
dem Lande hrten, die sulde die andere Parthey, an die Lande gefielen, Ehrlichen
beraden; Vort mehr sullen die vorgenanten Friedrich, Berend und Henrich, Vnss und
Vnsern Erben hulden lassen, das Land zu Braunschweig und Lneborg, in aller Weise
als vorgeschreben ist, und die andern Huldungen, Brieffe, und Bunde, die Vnss
vorgegeben und geschehen seyn, und sulche Brieffe, die Vnserm Vater und Vettern,
seeliger Gedchtnis, oder Wir Ihnen, oder Sie Vnss herwieder von des Landes wegen.,
darauf gegeben haben, oder gegeben seyn, die das Land zu Lneborg anrhren, in
welcherley Weise, die sullen alle abe seyn gethan und machtlos bleiben.

The first house of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel

Albrecht left six sons, of which three were clerics; the other three, Heinrich, Albrecht,
Wilhelm, ruled jointly for a while and then split their inheritance at an unknown date
(usually assumed to be 1286):
Heinrich received Grubenhagen, Salzderhelden, Eimbeck, half of Hameln,
Catlenburg, the castles and cities of Herzberg, Scharzfeld, Bodenstein, Osterode,
Duderstadt, the mines and forests of Clausthal.
Albrecht received Oberwald with Gttingen and Mnden, the palatinate of
Grona and the castles of Niedeck, Friedland, Brackenberg, Sichelstein, and also
Uslar, Nordheim, and the territory between the Deister and the Leine.
Wilhelm received the fortress and city of Brunswick and Wolfenbttel,
Asseburg, Scheningen, Harzburg, Gandersheim, Staufenburg and Seesen.

Wilhelm died in 1292 without issue and his brothers argued over the inheritance, with
the larger share going in the end to the Gttingen line. Thus two lines issued:
Grubenhagen on one hand, and Brunswick-Wolfenbttel-Gttingen on the other.

The Grubenhaben line (to 1598)

Heinrich (d. 1323), founder of the line, left four sons, the last of which was a cleric.
The three other sons divided the inheritance after a period of joint rule: Heinrich II
receiving possessions around the Eichsfeld, Ernst the region around Eimbeck, and
Wilhelm the castle and region of Herzberg. Wilhelm died unmarried, Heinrich II's line
ended with his son Otto in 1398, so that Ernst's line was the only one to continue.
Ernst's three lay sons Albrecht II, Johann and Friedrich ruled jointly, with the eldest
effectively in charge. Johann died without children, Friedrich's only son Otto died in
1452 without issue, and the line continued with Albrecht II, whose residence was
Salzderhelden, and his only son Erich (d. 1427). In 1402, Erich reached an agreement
with his uncle Friedrich that each line would keep its lands undivided. Erich left three
sons Heinrich, Ernst and Albrecht, who were first under the guardianship of their cousin
Otto, then ruled jointly. In 1463 Heinrich died leaving a young son Heinrich, and Ernst
ceded the government and guardianship of young Heinrich to his brother Albrecht. In
1481 Albrecht and his nephew Heinrich divided the lands, with Albrecht taking
Herzberg and Heinrich Salderhelden, and Grubenhagen divided equally. Heinrich died
without issue in 1526 and the Grubenhagen inheritance was once again reunited in
Albrecht's line.

Albrecht left in 1486 three sons, two of which, Philipp and Erich, survived to rule
jointly until Erich became bishop of Paderborn and Philipp ruled alone. He became a
Protestant in 1534 and died in 1551 leaving four sons. Although no known law of
primogeniture was introduced, only his eldest son Ernst succeeded; he died without
issue in 1567 and his two brothers Wolfgang and Philipp divided the inheritance, and
each died without issue (in 1595 and 1598 respectively), ending the Grubenhagen line.
Julius of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel claimed the whole inheritance and seized it, but the
Celle line sued in the Reichshofrat, being closer in degrees (15 against Julius's 16
degrees) and being the senior line. A ruling in 1617 forced Julius to cede the

The Gttingen (later Brunswick-Wolfenbttel) line to the partition of 1428

Albrecht (d. 1318), founder of the line, initially had his residence at Gttingen, then
moved to Dankwarderoda. He made a pact in 1292 with his cousin Otto of Lneburg,
providing for reciprocal rights of guardianship for the children of the other until the age
of 12, and resolution of disputes between them by a council of their vassals. His sons
Magnus and Ernst divided the inheritance in 1345:
Ernst received Gttingen, founding a line of Gttingen that ended with Otto (d. 1463)
who ceded in 1442 his lands with the exception of Uslar to his cousin Wilhelm of

Magnus received Brunswick and Wolfenbttel: his sons were Magnus II Torquatus and
Ludwig, and Ludwig (as explained above) was intended to inherit Lneburg but died
too soon, and the long-running dispute over Lneburg ended only to the advantage of
Magnus II's sons Friedrich, Bernhard, Heinrich and Otto. These brothers had made an
agreement in 1374 providing for the rule of an undivided Brunswick by the eldest
brother Friedrich, to be followed by his brothers one after the other, and only at the
death of the last would the eldest son of Friedrich succeed. This was not lineal
primogeniture, but a form of seniorat (similar to the one in the house of Wrttemberg in
1482). When the brothers received Lneburg in 1389, it was given to the two younger
brothers Bernhard and Heinrich to rule jointly. In 1394 the brothers agreed never to
divide Brunswick-Lneburg. But these agreements were not enforced: at the death of
Friedrich in 1400 without issue the two brothers Bernhard and Heinrich divided the
lands in 1409: Bernhard as the eldest divided, and Heinrich chose. Heinrich took
Lneburg, leaving Brunswick, Hanover, Everstein, and the territory between Deister and
Leine to Bernhard, with the cities of Brunswick and Lneburg remaining in common.
In 1415 they returned to joint rule, but in 1428 a final partition was carried out, this time
with Bernhard receiving Lneburg and the sons of Heinrich taking Brunswick,
Calenberg and Hanover.

From this partition two lines went forth: from Heinrich came the second house of
Brunswick (extinct 1634), from Bernhard the second house of Lneburg.

The second house of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel (1428-1634)

Heinrich, founder of the line, left two sons who shared the inheritance in 1432: Wilhelm
took Calenberg and Heinrich took Wolfenbttel (he died in 1473 without issue).
Wilhelm increased his holdings, inheriting from the Gttingen line in 1442. Wilhelm
left two sons who prepared to divide the inheritance but one died soon and the survivor,
Wilhelm the younger, kept all the lands. He in turn had two sons, between whom he
arranged a partition before abdicating in their favor in 1495: the older, Heinrich, drew
the partition, the younger son Erich chose. Erich took Calenberg and Gttingen,
Heinrich received Wolfenbttel. The Calenberg line ended with Erich's son Erich II in
Heinrich zu Wolfenbttel had six sons. They made a pact to avoid partition and let the
eldest brother rule for the other, and the four younger brothers received ecclesiastical
benefices, but later Wilhelm, the second oldest brother, asked for a partition; in response
the older brother locked him up for 12 years. This seemed sufficient to persuade
Wilhelm to come to an agreement, the "Pactum Henrico-Wilhelminum" of 1535, which
instituted indivisibility and lineal primogeniture, with monetary pension for younger
brothers and dowries for daughters. From this point on, primogeniture was observed in
the house of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel.

Heinrich, a stalwart of the Catholic party, was succeeded by his protestant son Julius,
who confirmed primogeniture in his testament of 1582, approved by the emperor on
Sept 13, 1582. Julius was followed by his son Heinrich Julius and the latter's son
Friedrich Ulrich, the last of the second house of Brunswick (1634).

The inheritance naturally passed to the Lneburg branch; but it had split in three
branches: Harburg (Wilhelm and Otto, childless grandchildren of Otto of Harburg and
Metta von Campen), Dannenberg (the brothers Julius Ernst and August the younger)
and Cella (the brothers August the elder, Friedrich and Georg). The Harburg line was
not a major player because of its lack of issue. The Dannenberg and Cella lines fought
over the way in which to divide the inheritance: August zu Dannenberg demanded the
whole inheritance, or at least division by lines (in stirpes, making two equal shares);
Georg zu Cella demanded division in capita (making 5 lots, 2 for Dannenberg and 3 for
Cella). Ultimately, in 1635 and 1636, the division went as follows: Harburg received
the county of Hoya and Reinstein-Blankenburg, Dannenberg received Wolfenbttel,
Cella received Calenberg. The university of Helmstdt and the mines of the Harz
remained joint property.

The second house of Lneburg (1428-1569)

Bernhard, founder of the line, left the government to his sons Otto and Friedrich, who
ruled jointly even after his death until Otto died without issue. Friedrich the Pious
abdicated in 1457 to retire in a convent in favor of his sons, but both sons Bernhard II
(d. 1464 without issue) and Otto the Magnanimous (d. 1471 leaving a minor, Heinrich)
died before their father and he returned from his retirement to rule again until his death
in 1478, leaving the whole duchy to his minor grandson Heinrich under the
guardianship of the council and magistrates of Lneburg.

During his reign Heinrich der Mittlere (1468-1532) increased his possessions
somewhat, and obtained eventual rights to Hoya (Sept 1501) and Diepholz (1517). But
his territories were devastated by the Hildesheim feud (Hildesheimer Stiftsfehde), which
raged from 1519 to 1523 between the bishop of Hildesheim aided by the duke of
Lneburg on one hand, the nobility of Hildesheim aided by the bishop of Minden and
the dukes Heinrich of Wolfenbttel and Erich of Calenberg on the other hand. Heinrich
also took sides with king Franois I of France in the imperial election of 1519, and after
Charles V was elected he was put under the ban of the Empire and had to go in exile in
France, leaving his sons Otto and Ernst to rule (22 July 1522).

In 1527 Ernst secured from his brothers Otto and Franz renunciations to the rule of the
duchy in exchange for Harburg (for Otto) and Gieffhorn (for Franz, who died childless
in 1549). Otto's line of Harburg is descended from his marriage to Metta von
Campen, for which see details here.

Ernst, who was a nephew of the elector of Saxony at whose court in Wittenberg he had
learned Luther's doctrine, introduced the reformation in Lneburg (in spite of his
father's unexpected return from France and attempt to regain the government of the

When Ernst died in 1546, he left a number of sons, for whom the Emperor appointed
the Elector of Cologne and the count of Schaumburg as guardians, who in 1555 turned
over the duchy to the eldest son Franz Otto; he died in 1559 without issue, at which
time only two brothers remained, Heinrich (1533-98) and Wilhelm (1535-92). They
initially agreed to rule jointly for 5 years, but the younger brother Wilhelm was doing all
the work, and Heinrich was only getting married while Wilhelm had three sons; on Sept.
13, 1569 Heinrich agreed to renounce his rights except upon extinction of his brother's
line or of the Brunswick line, in exchange for Dannenberg as indemnity (augmented in
1592 with Hitzacker, Lchow and Werpke), a lump sum of 4000 Thaler and an annual
payment of 500 Thaler. The agreement was approved by the estates and by the
emperor. The (genealogically senior) line of Heinrich zu Dannenberg became the third
(ducal) line of Brunswick (extinct 1884), while the (genealogically junior but actually
regnant) line of Wilhelm zu Cella became the electoral and royal line of Hanover.

The third house of Brunswick (from 1635 to 1884)

The line of Dannenberg was effectively apanaged, as their territory was not independent
of the other line, but was in some respects feudally dependent. In 1634, when the line
of Wolfenbttel became extinct, Julius Ernst (1571-1636) who was without sons ceded
his rights to his younger brother August (1579-1666) in exchange for Dannenberg and a
sum of 100,000 Thaler. Thus August became sole ruler of the principality of
Wolfenbttel in 1635; his territroy was increased at the extinction of the Harburg line,
according to a treaty of 1651, with the county of Blankenburg and half of the Harburg
line's rights in the Harz. The territorial composition of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel
remained constant thereafter.

Furthermore, August considered that the pact of 1535 whereby his predecessors had
introduced primogeniture in Wolfenbttel applied equally to him, and he granted to the
estates of the principality reversals for the maintenance of its stipulations (19 Jan
1636). In 1661 August nevertheless gave the counties of Dannnenberg and Blankenburg
for his younger sons. At his death in 1666, however, these dispositions were ignored
and the eldest son Rudolf August (1627-1704) left only a few bailiwicks for his
brothers: Schningen, Jerxheim, Voigtsdahlen to Anton Ulrich (1633-1714), Bevern to
Ferdinand Albrecht (1636-87).

The city of Braunschweig had remained undivided between the two lines; in 1671
Rudolf August reduced the municipal autonomy of the city and obtained from the Cella
line the right to keep the whole city (with the abbey of Walkenried) in exchange for
Dannenberg, Hitzacker, Lchow, Wustrow and Scharnebeck.

Rudolf Anton died without issue in 1704, his brother Anton Ulrich (who had converted
to Catholicism) followed him, then the latter's son August Wilhelm (1662-1731).
Contrary to the rule of primogeniture, Anton Ulrich had granted his younger son
Ludwig Rudolf (1671-1735) the county of Blankenburg (raised to a principality in
1707) as hereditary apanage, but in any event Ludwig Rudolf succeeded his brother in
1731, and died without male issue in 1735.

The duchy then passed to the apanaged line of Bevern, namely Ferdinand Albrecht II
(1680-1735) who left Bevern to his younger brother Ernst Ferdinand (the line became
extinct in 1809). Bevern was in any case merely a residence, accompanied with an
annual pension, and not a true apanage. Carl (1713-1780) succeeded, followed by his
son Carl Wilhelm Ferdinand (1735-1806). An agreement of 1788 rearranged the
division of the Harz between the two lines of Brunswick and Hanover, giving 3/7 to the
former and 4/7 to the latter. The Reichsdeputationshauptschlu of 1803 gave him
Gandersheim and Helmstdt. The duke's eldest son died on Sept. 20, 1806; the next two
sons renounced their rights in Rostock on October 27, and the next duke was Friedrich
Wilhelm (1771-1815). He barely reigned, as his duchy was taken over by France in
1807, and he only regained it in 1813, but was killed at Quatrebras on June 16, 1815
(two days before Waterloo). He was succeeded by his eldest son Carl III (1804-73),
under the Regency of the Prince of Wales (later King George IV) under the terms of the
duke's testament. In 1819 the regent called the estates which had not met since before
the kingdom of Westphalia, and promulgated with them a Landschaftsordnung in 1820.
A newly constituted started meeting from 1820 and published in September 1823 a
series of laws and arrangements made with the government.

Carl came of age on Oct 30, 1823, but on May 10, 1827 he declared that, according to
the pactum henrico-wilhelminum, he should have been declared of age at 18, a year
earlier, and was not bound by the laws and institutions promulgated in the interval. The
estates of the duchy appealed to the Federal Assembly (Bundesversammlung) which
ordered on Nov 4, 1829 that the duke withdraw his declaration. An insurrection in
Brunswick on September 6 forced him to flee. His brother Wilhelm arrived in
Brunswick on Sept. 10, and was asked by the estates on Sept. 27 to take over the
government. He did so the next day, without making reference to duke Carl's decree
naming him General-Gouverneur (decree which Carl rescinded on Nov. 18). Rather, on
Nov. 26, he declared that duke Carl was unable to rule and that he was stepping in for
the good of the duchy. On Dec. 2 the Federal Assembly decided that duke Wilhelm
should rule for the moment, and that the agnates of duke Carl should make a definitive
arrangement. On March 10, 1831 duke Wilhelm and the king of Great Britain presented
an ordinance declaring the throne to be vacant and calling duke Wilhelm to succeed,
while allowing for a pension for duke Carl, who eventually settled in France; it was
published in Brunswick on April 10 and duke Wilhelm ruled permanently from that
date. The Federal Assembly took note on May 11, but reserved the rights of an eventual
issue of duke Carl. On April 5, 1833 a new agnatic ordinance of duke Wilhelm and the
king of Great Britain created a family trust to control the property of duke Carl, but it
had effect only in Brunswick and in Hanover, and was not recognized by French courts.
Carl later sued the king of Hanover in British courts for having dipreived him of his
throne and misadministered the family trust: this led to a landmark ruling in the House
of Lords (Duke of Brunswick v. King of Hanover (1848) 2 HL Cas. p. 1) that
established the doctrine of sovereign immunity: "A foreign sovereign, coming into this
country cannot be made responsible here for an act done in his sovereign character in
his own country".
A house law for the whole house of Brunswick-Lneburg was agreed between duke
Wilhelm and the king of Hanover on Oct 19, 1831, signed by all agnates (except duke
Carl) and published on Dec 31, 1832. It required the consent of the head of house for
all marriages. On Oct 12, 1832 a constitution was promulgated.

By a patent of August 22, 1844, the duke of Brunswick assumed the style of Hoheit
instead of Durchlaucht for himself and his successors.

Duke Wilhelm, after the death of Carl in 1873, was the last male of the third house of
Brunswick. He died in 1884. See below for what happened to the duchy of Brunswick.

The third house of Lneburg, later Hanover (from 1569 to present)

Under Wilhelm, who succeeded in the duchy by the treaty of 1569, the possessions of
the Welfs grew with the addition of the lower county and city of Hoya in 1582 and the
county of Diepholz in 1585. At his death Wilhelm left 15 children, of which 7 sons:
Ernst (1564-1611), Christian (1566-1633), August (1568-1636), Friedrich (1574-1648),
Magnus (1577-1632), Georg (1582-1641) and Johann (1583-1628). By an agreement of
Sep. 27, 1592 between the brothers, the government was entrusted (with restrictions) to
the eldest brother for 8 years. He continued with their assent for another 10 years, until
another agreement of Dec. 3, 1610 gave him the principality of Lneburg and all its
dependencies for him and his descendants as an indivisible whole. His brother
Christian succeeded him and concluded with the remaining brothers a similar agreement
in 1612, confirmed by the Emperor. To maintain the unity of the territory, the brothers
decided that only one of them should marry, and drew lots: they fell on the Georg, who
married in 1617 Anna Eleonora of Hesse-Darmstadt. Christian was succeeded by the
next eldest brother August. During his reign the Brunswick line became extinct and the
brothers received Calenberg; but, in spite of the rule to which they had agreed, it was
not added to the principality but given to the married brother, Georg, who chose
Hannover as his residence. Friedrich then succeeded as reigning duke. During his reign
an agreement was signed between him and his cousin August of Brunswick-
Wolfenbttel on one hand, the Elector of Cologne and bishop of Hildesheim on the
other. The agreement, imposed by force during the Thiry Years War, provided for the
return of the so-called great Chapter of Hildesheim (grosse Stift Hildesheim) consisting
in 18 bailiwicks which Brunswick had possessed since 1523, with the exception of
Lutter am Barenberg, Koldingen, Westerhof and Dachtmissen. The loss was not made
up at the peace of Westphalia. The bishopric of Osnabrck was given to alternate
between a Protestant and a Catholic bishop, the Protestant bishop to be chosen among
the junior princes in the descent of Georg, or, in the absence of any junior prince, by the
single descendent, with reversion to the Brunswick-Wolffenbttel line. The current
Catholic bishop, count Franz Wilhelm von Waternberg, was to be succeeded by Ernst
August, younger son of Georg. This alternating arrangement continued until the
secularization of 1803: the successive Protestant bishops were Ernst August (1661 to
1698), his son Ernst August, duke of York and Albany (1715 to 1728), and Frederick
Augustus, duke of York and Albany (1761 to 1803). At Westphalia the house of
Lneburg also gained the prelature of Walkenried and the convent of Grningen.. At
Friedrich's death in 1648 the principality of Lneburg passed to the issue of Georg zu
Georg had died in 1641 before his turn to rule Celle came up. He left four sons:
Christian Ludwig (1622-65 without issue), Georg II Wilhelm (1624-1705), Johann
Friedrich (1625-1679 without male issue), and Ernst August (1629-98). He also left
them an unusual will. He instituted the rule that Celle (which his sons were due to
inherit from their unmarried uncle Friedrich) and his own principality of Calenberg
should never be united, as long as there were two males left in his issue. Moreover, he
laid down the rule that the elder male should have the right to choose (jus optionis)
which of the two principalities he wished to rule. The testament was unclear and
ambiguous: it seemed, for example, that in case only one son survived and perforce
united Calenberg and Celle, there was no obligation for the next generation to separate
the principalities again. Schulze blames the testament on Georg's chancelor, Johann
Stucke (1587-1653).

At Friedrich's death in 1648, then, Georg's eldest son Christian Ludwig, who had
succeeded in Calenberg, exercised his right to choose and took Celle for himself along
with Lneburg and Grubenhagen, leaving Calenberg and Gttingen to his younger
brother Georg Wilhelm. The other two youngest brothers, Johann Friedrich and Ernst
August, took up residence in Celle and Hanover respectively. Georg Wilhelm, who
liked to travel, became engaged in 1656 to Sophia, youngest daughter of the Palatine
Elector; but the engagement was broken off in 1658, and Sophia instead married Ernst
August, the youngest of the brothers, who was due to receive Osnabrck under the
alternating arrangement created for that bishopric by the peace of Westphalia (he did so
in 1662). At the time, the other brothers were unmarried, and Georg Wilhelm promised
Ernst August that he would never marry, so that all family lands could be reunited at the
next generation. This promise, made on April 11, 1658 (the text is reproduced in the
Memoirs of Electress Sophia) was merely replicating the pact between the brothers at
the previous generation.

When the eldest Christian Ludwig died in 1665, a dispute arose when Georg Wilhelm
decided to exercise his right to choose Celle, and the 3d brother Johann Friedrich (who
had become Catholic in 1653). An agreement was reached in 1665 at Hildesheim,
whereby Georg Wilhelm received Celle, Diepholz, Hoya, Schauen and Walkenried [the
last two received at the peace of Westphalia], and Johann Friedrich took Calenberg,
Gttingen and Grubenhagen; the three surviving brothers also decided to abolish the
right to choose created by their father's will. Schauen was ceded to the prince of
Waldeck in 1680. In 1689, upon the extinction of the house of Saxe-Lauenburg, Georg
Wilhelm took possession of Lauenburg as president of the circle of Lower Saxony under
the pretext of forestalling threats to the public peace from the various contestants, and
later in his own name on the basis of a family pact of 1369 (the claims of electoral
Saxony were bought off in 1697).

When the 3d brother Johann Friedrich died in 1679 without male issue, his estates
passed to the youngest brother Ernst August. Ernst August, in 1683, obtained the
consent of his older brother Georg II Wilhelm to the introduction of indivisibility and
primogeniture by testament of 1683, approved by the Emperor on July 1, 1683 (thus
putting an end to the provisions of Georg's will of 1641).

The 9th electorate

On Dec 9, 1692 Ernst August was raised to the rank of Elector by the Emperor. The
diploma conferring the electoral dignity confirmed the primogeniture rule for the
principalities of Zelle, Calenberg, Grubenhagen and the counties of Hoya and DIepholz
and all other dependencies. The elector was accepted in the electoral college only on
Sept. 7, 1708, and given the office of Arch-Treasurer in 1711 (From 1698 to 1711 the
elector bore an inescutcheon gules to mark his dignity; after 1711 it bore the crown of
Charlemagne as mark of the office of Arch-Treasurer. [Gerhard Welter: Die Mnzen der

Ernst August died in 1698; with the death of Georg Wilhelm in 1705 all estates of the
house of Brunswick-Lneburg were again united in the hands of Ernst August's son
Georg Ludwig, never to be separated again. An agreement was signed on Jan 17, 1706
with the branch of Brunswick settling its claims on Lauenburg with territorial
concessions and setting precedence and other questions.

The marriage of Georg Wilhelm and Elonore d'Olbreuse

Georg II Wilhelm had promised Ernst August that he would not marry. However, on
one of his travels he met Elonore Desmier d'Olbreuse (1639-1722), daughter of
Alexandre Desmier d'Olbreuse (a nobleman from Poitou), and Jacqueline Poussard de
Vaudr. Elonore attended the princess of Tarento, wife of Henri-Charles de La
Trmoille, a Protestant who had emigrated to the Netherlands during the Fronde. After
Georg Wilhelm won Celle, he decided to bring Elonore to his court, which he did with
the help of his sister-in-law the wife of Ernst-August. There appears to have been a
secret marriage (Gewissensehe) at that time, and Georg Wilhelm established for his wife
an annual income of 2,000 Thalers and a dowage of 6,000 Thalers, all with the approval
of Ernst August who probably saw this arrangement as precluding an equal marriage.
They had only one surviving child, a daughter born in 1666. In 1674 Elonore was
created Grfin von Harburg and her daughter Grfin von Wilhelmsburg by the emperor.
Finally, in 1675, Georg Wilhelm formally married Elonore, with the consent of Ernst
August as well as that of Anton Ulrich, duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbttel, of the elder
line. The two kinsmen also signed the marriage contract. The contract stipulated that
the wife should not use the title of duchess of Brunswick; that the issue of the marriage
would be considered legitimate and entitled to the title and rank of imperial count, until
it should receive greater dignities from the Emperor; and that it would have no claims to
succeed in the principality as long as a living male heir of the line of Brunswick-
Lneburg still exists. There was also a clause that the daughter, Sophia Dorothea,
would use the title of duchess of Brunswick if she should marry into an altfrstlich

Their only child, Sophia Dorothea (1666-1727), was soon after engaged to her cousin
August Friedrich of the elder line of Wolfenbttel, but was killed in battle in 1676. She
ultimately married in 1682 her first cousin Georg Ludwig of Hanover, son of Ernst
August, and accordingly took the title of duchess of Brunswick in her own right. Georg
Ludwig became in 1714 king George I of Great Britain. Their male-line descent
includes the kings of Great Britain to 1837 and the royal house of Hanover (male and
female-line descendants include almost every royal family in Europe). The marriage
ended tragically Sophia Dorothea's lover, Philipp Christoph Graf von Knigsmarck, was
murdered on July 1, 1694 and she was locked up in the castle of Ahlden for the rest of
her life; the marriage was dissolved on Dec 28, 1694.
See Adolf Kcher: 'Denkwrdigkeiten der zellischen Herzogin Eleonore, geb.
d'Olbreuse.' Zeitschrift des historischen Vereins fr Niedersachsen 1878, 25-41 (an
account of an anonymous contemporary biography of Elonore d'Olbreuse published in
French and German, titled Avanture historique Paris l'an 679 mense Aug.
Sonderbahre Geschicht dieser Zeit.)

Personal union with Great Britain

The Glorious Revolution of 1688 had resulted in the replacement of James II as

sovereign of England, Scotland and Ireland by his eldest daughter Mary and her
husband prince William of Orange (as king William III). The succession to the British
thrones was settled on Mary and William's issue, followed by Mary's sister Anne and
her issue, followed by William's issue by any other marriage (with a restriction to
Protestants). Mary died in 1694, Anne's only child to have survived past infance died in
1700, and William III was still unmarried, making the line of succession uncomfortably
short. In 1701, Parliament passed the Act of Settlement, which extended the line of
succession to the Electress Sophia, wife of Ernst August, granddaughter of king James I
through her mother and the closest Protestant relative of her second cousins Mary and
Anne Stuart, and to her descendants "being Protestant". Sophia died on June 8, 1714
and Anne on August 1. Sophia's eldest son, the Elector Georg Ludwig, became king of
Great Britain and Ireland as George I and began a personal union that would last 123

George I increased his German possessions substantially with the purchase in 1715 of
the former bishoprics of Bremen and Verden from Denmark, which had taken them
from Sweden in the Northern War: he paid 500,000 Thaler to Denmark and 1,000,000
Thaler to Sweden. In 1803, the Reichsdeputationshauptschlu gave Hanover the
bishopric of Osnabrck.

The Napoleonic period (1803-13)

When war broke out again between France and Great Britain in May 1803, the
electorate (already occupied by Prussia in 1801, allegedly to protect it from French
invasion) was the first victim. French troops invaded on May 26, and the Hanoverian
authorities capitulated (twice: by the convention of Suhlingen on June 3, which Britain
refused to ratify; and by the convention of Artlenburg on July 5, which needed no
ratification). The electorate remained under French occupation until late August 1805,
when the war against Austria required the French troops under Bernadotte to move
south, crossing the Prussian territory of Ansbach. Prussia took the pretext of this
violation of its neutrality to invade Hanover in October 1805, allowed Hanoverian
officials to return, and a British army of 18,000 men to land in December. The crushing
defeat of Austria and Russia at Austerlitz (Dec 2, 1805) led Prussian envoys to negotiate
with Napoleon an exchange of territory: Prussia would give up Cleve, Neufchtel and
Ansbach for Hanover. The secret treaty signed on Dec 15 was not ratified by the
Prussian king. On Jan 27, Prussia announced that it had reached an agreement with
France whereby Hanover would be freed of French occupation and administered by
Prussia until a general peace was concluded, and the British army returned to Britain.
The final treaty with France was signed on Feb 15, and on April 1 Prussia announced
that it was annexing Hanover. The Elector (king of Great Britain) protested officially on
April 20, and the protest was presented in Regensburg where the Reichstag was sitting
by the Hanoverian envoy (who had never ceased to attend the Reichstag since 1803) on
May 12, and on May 15, Britain declared war on Prussia.

War also broke out between France and Prussia on October 8, and within a week
Napoleon crushed the Prussian army at Iena and Auerstdt. An armistice was signed in
November and a final peace treaty at Tilsitt on July 9. Prussia ceded to France the part
of Hanover west of the Elbe and retained the rest. The territory occupied by France was
used in part to form the new kingdom of Westphalia in 1807. The northern part
remained under French occupation, although the portion north of the Wesel-Lauenburg
line was annexed to France on Dec 13, 1810.

After the battle of Leipzig in October 1813 the French system established in Germany
collapsed, and in November 1813 the Hanoverian officials returned to Hanover and
resumed the exercise of their authority (proclamation of Nov. 4, 1813 by Privy
Counsellors Decken and Bremer) Along with them was Ernest Augustus, duke of
Cumberland, who arrived in Hanover on November 4, but was later passed over for the
position of governor-general in favor of his brother the duke of Cambridge, who had
resided in Hanover from 1795 to 1801 and from 1802 to 1803. The duke of Cambridge
was appointed military Governor General in 1814, Lieutenant general (General-
Statthalter) on 24 Oct 1816, and viceroy (Viceknig) on 22 Feb 1831 (the ODNB says
Nov 1816) he served until the accession of his older brother the duke of Cumberland in

The kingdom of Hanover (1814-1866)

The king of Great Britain continued to style himself Elector and Arch-Treasurer until
October 12, 1814 when he assumed for himself and his successors the title of "king of
Hanover". The assumption of the new royal title took place by a note handed by count
Munster, the Hanoverian Minister of State, to the Austrian Minister Metternich and the
ministers of the other powers assembled in Vienna on October 12, 1814, and a
proclamation for Hanover was issued on October 26 (see the texts).

The Congress of Vienna gave Hanover the principality of Hildesheim, the city and
region of Goslar, Ostfriesland, the duchy of Arenberg-Meppen, the lower county of
Lingen, the duke of Looz's share in Rheinau-Wolbeck and the county of Bentheim. In
exchange, Hanover ceded to Prussia the part of Lauenburg east of the Elbe. On Dec 7,
1819 a royal patent was promulgated to serve as a constitution, until the constitution of
Sept. 26, 1833. A house law was promulgated in 1836, codifying existing house laws
and repealing earlier house laws to the extent that they were contradictory (therefore it
did not wholly supersede them, as in the case of Bavaria in 1819). Note that the house
law explicitly excludes the issue of the duke of Sussex by his union with Lady Augusta
Murray, void as a marriage in British law by virtue of the Royal Marriages Act. Their
son, Sir Augustus Frederick d'Este (1794-1848) had tried to be recognized as a dynast in
Hanover in 1834. This generated a passionate debate among jurists, with Zachari and
Klber siding in their favor, Eichhorn against.

The jurists were apparently agreed that the Royal Marriages Act had no relevance to the
question of the validity of the marriage in German law. However, those who opposed
the claims argued that the lack of parental consent made the marriage null in Protestant
church law, and that even if the marriage were valid it was a mismarriage. The other
side argued that mismarriages had not been such a problem in the past in the house of
Brunswick (the Campen and Olbreuse cases) and that Lady Augusta Murray was related
in male line to the dukes of Atholl who were sovereigns of the Isle of Man, and in
female line to Scottish royalty. These royal connections were deemed rather weak, and
in any case the Campen and Olbreuse cases benefited from the consent of the agnates
which was surely lacking here.

In 1837 William IV died, and was succeeded in Great Britain by the daughter of his
deceased brother the duke of Kent; the crown of Hanover, following semi-Salic law,
passed to another brother, the duke of Cumberland (1774-1851), who became king Ernst
August I. He repealed on Novermber 1, 1837 the constitution of 1833 and issued in
1840 a new constitution which remained in force until 1866. Ernst August I was
succeeded by his only son Georg V (1819-1878), 2nd duke of Cumberland. During the
War of 1866 between Prussia and Austria, he sided with Austria and was promptly
defeated by Prussian troops. Hanover was annexed to Prussia on September 20, 1866
by the following law:

Wir Wilhelm von Gottes Gnaden Knig von Preuen etc. verordnen mit Zustimmung
beider Huser des Landtages, was folgt:
1. Das Knigreich Hannover, das Kurfrstenthum Hessen, das Herzogthum Nassau
und die freie Stadt Frankfurt werden in Gemheit des Art. 2 der Verfassungsurkunde
dr den preuischen Staat mit der preuischen Monarchie fr immer vereinigt.
2. Die preuische Verfassung tritt in diesen Landestheilen am 1. Oktober 1867 in
Kraft. Die zu diesem Behufe nothwendigen Abnderungs-, Zusats- und
Ausfhrungsbestimmungen werden durch besondere Gesetze festgestellt.
3. Das Staatsministerium wird mit der Ausfhrung des gegenwrtigen Gesetzes

Urkundlich unter Unserer Hchsteigenhndigen Unterschrift und beigedrucktem

kniglichen Insiegel.
Gegeben Berlin, den 20. September 1866.
Graf v. Bismack-Schnhausen. Freih. v. d. Heydt. v. Roon.
Graf v. Ienplitz. v. Mhler. Graf zur Lippe. v. Selchow.
Graf v. Eulenburg.
Georg V found refuge at Hietzing near Vienna, where he officially protested against the
annexation on September 23.

At his death in Paris on June 12, 1878, his only son Ernst August became the 3d duke of
Cumberland. He wrote the following letter, dated from Gmnden in July 1878, which
was published in Berlin on Nov. 16, 1878 by the Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. It
was addressed "To His Majesty the King of Prussia" (N.B. not the German Emperor).
After notifying the death of King George V, it proceeded as follows:

Wiener Zeitung Nov 16, 1878, p. 5-6 London Times, Nov 18, 1878
In Folge dieses Todesfalles sind alle Rechte, In consequence of this demise all the rights,
Prrogative und Titel, welche dem Knige prerogatives, and titles which belonged to
meinem Vater, berhaupt und ins besondere the King, my father, generally and specially
in Beziehung auf das Knigreich Hannover in regard to the kingdom of Hanover, have
zustanden, kraft der in meniem Hause devolved upon me,in virtue of the order of
bestehenden Erbfolgeordnung auf mich succession existing in my family. I entirely
bergegangen. Alle dieseRechte, and fully maintain all these rights,
Prrogative und Titel halte ich voll und prerogatives, and titles.
ganz aufrecht.
As, however, their exercise in regard to the
Da jedoch deren Ausbung in Beziehung kingdom of Hanover is impeded lay
auf das Knigreich Hannover thatschliche, practical obstacles which, of course, are not
fr mich selbstverstndlich nicht legally binding upon me, I have determined
rechtsverbindliche Hindernisse during the continuance of these obstacles to
entgegenstehen, habe ich beschlossen, fr bear the titles of Duke of Cumberland and
die Dauer dieser Hindernisse den Titel Duke of Brunswick-Lneburg, with the
Herzog von Cumberland, Herzog von preface Royal Highness.
Braunschweig und Lneburg mit dem
Prdicate kn. Hoheit zu fhren. In making this communication it needs not
to be specially mentioned that the
Indem ich auch hievon Mittheilung mache, completely and independently subsisting
wird es einer besonderen Erwhnung nicht rights of myself and my House cannot in
bedrfen, da meine und meines Hauses in any way be abolished or limited by the
voller Selbststndigkeit bestehenden temporary disuse of the titles which denote
Gessamtrechte durch den zeitweiligen them.
Nichtgebrauch der dieselben bezeichnenden
Titel und Wrden in keinerlei Weise I remain, your Majesty's friendship-willing
aufgehoben oder eingeschrnkt werden brother and cousin,
Ernest Augustus.
Ich verbleibe Eu. Majestt freundwilliger
Bruder und Vetter

Ernst August.

London Gazette, Jul 30, 1878 (in Times, Aug 1, 1878, p. 4C)

At the Court at Osborne, July 20,1878.

The Queen, as Sovereign of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, has been graciously
pleased, by Letters Patent under Her Royal Sign Manual and the Great Seal of the
Order, bearing date this day, to dispense with all the statutes and regulations usually
observed in regard to Installation, and to give and to grant unto his Royal Highness
Ernest Augustus William Adolphus George Frederick of Hanover, Duke of Cumberland
and Teviotdale, Knight of the said Most Noble Order of the Garter, and duly invested
with the Ensigns thereof, full power and authority to exercise all rights and privileges
belonging to a Knight Companion of the said Most Noble Order, in as full and ample a
manner as if his Royal Highness had been formally installed, any decree, rule, or usage
to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Regency in Brunswick (1884-1913)

Wilhelm (1806-84), unmarried, was the last male of the Brunswick-Lneburg branch of
the family. His heir, according to the succession laws, was the head of the other branch
of the Welf family, namely the royal Hanoverian line. After the annexation of Hanover
by Prussia in 1866, king George V protested and refused to accept the loss of his
throne. At his death in 1878, his son Ernst August likewise declared that he reserved his
rights. It became clear that Ernst August would not be accepted by Prussia as successor
to duke Wilhelm in Brunswick. But the existing constitution of 1832, although it had a
provision for a regency in case of a minor duke, had no provision for incapacity.

This was remedied by a law of Feb. 16, 1879: in case the heir was prevented from
immediately entering into the exercise of his functions, a regency council was formed;
after a year, the council was authorized to propose to the Landesversammlung a regent
chosen among the non-ruling princes of German sovereign families. When duke
Wilhelm died on October 18, 1884, the Bundesrat intervened and, on July 2, 1885,
declared that the duke of Cumberland was in a situation with respect to Prussia that
contradicted the peace between memebers of the confederation as guaranteed by the
constitution, and that the claims he made on parts of Prussia were not compatible with
the fundamental principles of the federative compact and the imperial constitution ("er
sich in einem dem verfassungsmig gewhrleisteten Frieden unter Bundesgliedern
widersprechenden Verhltnisse zum Bundesstaat Preussen befinde, und im Hinblick auf
die von ihm geltend gemachten Ansprche auf Gebietsteile dieses Bundesstaates mit
den Grundprinzipien der Bndnisvertrge und der Reichsverfassung nicht vereinbar

As a consequence, the regency council proposed prince Albrecht of Prussia, nephew of

the German Emperor, who assumed the office of regent on November 2, 1885. Toward
the end of his regency, the regency law of 1879 was amended (Dec 4, 1902) to extend to
incapacity of the successor of the heir, so that the regency would not end with the death
of the impeded heir, but continue until an unimpeded heir became available.

Albrecht died on Sept. 13, 1906. Immediately the regency council met and called a
special session of the parliament, which resolved on Sept. 25 not to proceed
immediately to the choice of a new regent, but rather seek ways to put an end to the
difficulties between the duke of Cumberland and the king of Prussia. The duke of
Cumberland wrote on Oct. 2 to the German Emperor, proposing that he and his eldest
son Georg Wilhelm renounce their rights to Brunswick in favor of his other son Ernst
August (reserving their rights in case of extinction of his line); the Emperor rejected the
proposal immediately. The Brunswick parliament persisted and, having recognized that
only a complete renunciation by all Hanover agnates to any claims against Prussia
would bring about an end to the regencies, gave itself 3 months to persuade the duke of
Cumberland. In his response of December 15, he repeated that he could not renounce
his claims to Hanover, but improved his offer of Oct. 2 by suggesting that his youngest
son could renounce his claims to Hanover at the same time as he and his eldest son
renounced their claims to Brunswick. The Brunswick parliament proposed this
arrangement to the Bundesrat, which ruled on Feb. 27 that it would still not be
acceptable. On May 28, the Brunswick parliament chose as regent duke Johann
Albrecht of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who had acted as regent for his nephew Friedrich
Franz IV; the new regency began on June 5, 1907.

A few years later the situation changed. The duke of Cumberland's eldest son Georg
Wilhelm died in an accident in 1912. The German Emperor sent a telegram of
condoleances, and in return the duke of Cumberland's surviving son, Ernst August, who
was serving as an officer in the Bavarian army, asked and received permission to
personally convey the Cumberlands' gratitude to the Emperor. During his visit, Ernst
August met Wilhelm II's only daughter Viktoria Luise, and it was love at first sight.
Viktoria Luise's brother Adalbert of Prussia and Ernst August's brother-in-law Max of
Baden carried out the delicate negotiations that succeeded in making both the marriage
and Ernst August's accession in Brunswick possible. No renunciation to Hanover by
either the duke of Cumberland or his son were made. The duke would renounce his
rights to Brunswick in favor of his eldest son. Furthermore, Ernst August agreed to
enter service in the Prussian Army, in a regiment of Hussars, which would necessarily
lead him to take an oath of allegiance to the king of Prussia. On the basis of this
renunciation and this oath, Prussia dropped its opposition and Ernst August would be
allowed to succeed (and become the Emperor's son-in-law).

The oath was taken on Feb. 13, 1913, and on this occasion Ernst August received the
Prussian order of the Black Eagle. In early April the Prussian and Hanoverian families
met in Bad Homburg and hammered out the details of the marriage; the king of Prussia
conferred the same decoration on the duke of Cumberland. On April 20, 1913 Ernst
August sent a message to the Imperial Chancelor, whose wording had been drafted in
Bad Homburg:

euer Excellenz beehre ich mich davon in I have the honor of informing your
Kenntnis zu setzen, da mein Herr Vater, Excellency that my father, HRH the duke of
Se. Knigliche Hoheit der Herzog von Cumberland, duke of Brunswick and
Cumberland, Herzog zu Braunschweig und Luneburg, has decided, with a view toward
Lneburg, den Entschlu gefat hat, in der the abrogation of the decisions of the
Voraussicht der Aufhebung der Beschlsse Federal Council of July 2, 1885 and
des Bundesrats vom 2. Juli 1885 und vom February 28, 1907, to cede to me his rights
28. Februar 1907 seine Rechte auf die to rule in the duchy of Brunswick. The rule
Regierung im Herzogtum Braunschweig auf of a member of our house was until now
mich zu bertragen. Der berhahme der contrary to these decisions of the Federal
Regierung durch ein Mitglied unseres Council.
Hauses standen bisher vorbezeichnete
Beschlsse des Bundesrats entgegen. The well-known, recent developments
concerning my person, specifically my
Die bekannten, meine Person betreffenden betrothal to HRH Princess Viktoria Luise of
jngsten Ereignisse, in Sonderheit meine Prussia, has changed the factual and legal
Verlobung mit Ihrer Kniglichen Hoheit der basis for the above decisions of the Federal
Prinzessin Viktoria Luise von Preuen, Council.
haben die obigen Beschlssen des
Bundesrats zugrunde liegende Sach- und With the assent of my father, I have asked
Rechtslage gendert. to be commissioned as an officer in the
royal Prussian army, and I have sworn an
Mit Zustimmung meines Herrn Vaters habe oath of loyalty and obedience to HM the
ich um meine Einstellung als Offizier im Emperor and King. This implies the
Kniglich-Preuischen Heere nachgesucht promise that I will do or support nothing
und S.M. dem Kaiser und Knig Treue und that is directed at altering the current
Gehorsam eidlich gelobt. Darin liegt das situation of Prussia's possessions.
Versprechen, da ich nichts tun und nichts
untersttzen werde, was darauf gerichtet ist, This factual and legal situation, in
den derzeitigen Besitzstand Preuens zu conjunction with the renunciation of my
verndern. father to the throne of Brunswick, will, in
Diese Sach- und Rechtslage wird in my opinion, warrant the abrogation of the
Verbindung mit dem Verzicht meines Herrn earlier decisions of the Federal Council. I
Vaters auf den Braunschweigischen Thron reserve myself the obligation to produce at
nach meiner berzeugung die Aufhebung such time a renunciation of my father to the
der frheren Beschlsse des Bundesrates throne of Brunswick.
rechtfertigen. Ich darf mir vorbehalten,
eine Verzichterklrung meines Herrn Vaters
auf den Braunschweigischen Thron
seinerzeit zu berreichen.

The marriage took place on May 13. On Oct 24, 1913, the duke of Cumberland
formally renounced his claims to the throne of Brunswick, and three days later the
Bundesrat, on a motion by Prussia, unanimously decided that his son Prince Ernst
August could succeed to the throne of Brunswick. The regent left Wolfenbttel on Oct.
31 and Ernst August made his entry on November 3.

The text of the duke of Cumberland's renunciation follows ( Protokolle ber die
Verhandlungen des Bundesrats des Deutschen Reichs. 1913. Protokoll der
neunundzwanzigsten Sitzung, Anlage, p. 829)

Wie Ernst August, von Gottes Gnaden We, Ernst August, by the grace of god duke
Herzog zu Braunschweig und Lneburg, of Brunswick and Luneburg, royal prince of
Kniglicher Prinz von Grobritannien und Great Britain and Ireland, duke of
Irland, Herzog von Cumberland, usw. Cumberland, etc.

tun hiermit kund und zu wissen: let it be known by these presents:

Nach dem am 18. Oktober 1884 erfolgten after the decease of our highly honored
Ableben Unseres hochgeehrten Herrn uncle and cousin, his most serene highness
Oheims und Vetters, des durchlauchtigsten Wilhelm duke of Brunswick and Luneburg,
Herzogs und Herrn, Wilhelm Herzogs zu on October 18, 1884, the right to the throne
Braunschweig und Lneburg, Hoheit und of the duchy of Brunswick passed to us as
Liebden, ist Uns als nchsten next in line to the throne by virtue of the
Thronfolgeberechtigen das Recht auf den existing laws in our princely house of
Thron des Herzogtums Braunschweig kraft Brunswick-Luneburg. We could not assume
der in Unserem frstlichen Gesamthause the government in the duchy of Brunswick,
Braunschweig-Lneburg bestehenden since our incapacity to exercise the
Rechte berkommen. Die Regierung im government was declared by the Bundesrat.
Herzogtume Braunschweig konnte von Uns On the assumption that the Bundesrat will
nicht ausgebt werden, da vom Bundesrate not raise any objections on behalf of the
Unsere Behinderung zur Ausbung der Empire to the accession of our dearly
Regierung ausgesprochen wurde. In der beloved son his royal highness Ernst
Voraussicht, da der Bundesrat gegen den August duke of Brunswick and Luneburg,
Regierungsantritt Unseres vielgeliebten royal prince of Great Britain and Ireland,
Sohnes Ernst August Herzogs zu we hereby solemnly renounce to our rights
Braunschweig und Lneburg, Kniglichen to the throne of Brunswick and cede these
Prinzen von Grobritannien und Irland, in their full extent to our dearly beloved son
Knigliche Hoheit und Liebden, von son his royal highness Ernst August duke of
Reichswegen keine Bedenken mehr erheben Brunswick and Luneburg, royal prince of
wird, verzichten Wir hiemit feierlich auf die
Uns berkommenen Rechte auf den Great Britain and Ireland.
Braunschweigischen Thron und bertragen
diese in ihrem vollen Umfange auf Unseren Witness our own signature and seal.
vielgeliebten Sohn Ernst August Herzog zu
Braunschweig und Lneburg, Kniglichen Given at Gmunden, October 24, 1913.
Prinzen von Grobritannien und Irland,
Knigliche Hoheit und Liebden.

Urkundlich Unserer eigenhndigen

Unterschrift und beigedruckten Siegels.

Gegeben Gmunden am vierundzwanzigsten

Oktober Eintausendneunhundertdreizehn.

(L.S.) Ernst August

See also Jahrbuch des ffentlichen Rechts der Gegenwart 1907(1):340-361.

Viktoria Luise, Herzogin zu Braunschweig und Lneburg: Ein Leben als Tochter
des Kaisers. Gttingen: Gttinger Verlagsanstalt 1966.