Wilhelm (Brunswick)

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Duke Wilhelm of Braunschweig
Duke Wilhelm of Braunschweig (around 1870)

Wilhelm August Ludwig Maximilian Friedrich (born April 25, 1806 in Braunschweig ; † October 18, 1884 in Sibyllenort ), Duke of Braunschweig and Lüneburg and Oels was Duke of Braunschweig from 1830 until his death.

Live and act

Wilhelm was the second son of Friedrich Wilhelm , Duke of Braunschweig and Lüneburg and Maria von Baden (1782–1808), daughter of Karl Ludwig von Baden (1755–1801).

1 thaler from 1853

He grew up in London after his mother's death. When his father fell in Quatre-Bras shortly after his return to Braunschweig in 1815 , he and his brother Karl came under the tutelage of their uncle Georg , King of Hanover and Prince Regent of Great Britain. In fact, Braunschweig statesmen exercised their guardianship or they were in the care of educators.

The brothers stayed in Lausanne from 1820 to 1822, after which Wilhelm went to Göttingen to study until autumn 1823 . After all, he did the Prussian military service, which he himself described as the happiest time of his life .

He and his brother Karl inherited the Silesian Duchy of Oels from his father , which they owned together until 1824. When Karl was able to take office in Braunschweig after reaching the age of majority, he left the Duchy of Oels to Wilhelm. Wilhelm spent a lot of time in Oels until the end of his life and died there too.

Military career

On October 30, 1821, Wilhelm was initially appointed Rittmeister in the Hanoverian Guard Hussar Regiment and on February 17, 1826 also in the Prussian 2nd Guard Cavalry Regiment. His promotion to major followed on October 22, 1828. On March 6, 1843 he was appointed major general chief of the Magdeburg Hussar Regiment No. 10 and a little later became lieutenant general. From March 30, 1844 he was general of the cavalry and finally became Royal Hanover Field Marshal on June 27, 1848 . He was the owner of the Hanoverian Guard Cuirassier Regiment as well as the Bohemian Dragoon Regiment No. 7 .

On the Brunswick throne 1830–1884

In September 1830 there was a popular uprising in Braunschweig against Duke Karl II , Wilhelm's older brother. Karl had turned the population against him with his style of government reminiscent of absolutist times. The conflict resulted in the residential palace going up in flames and Karl fleeing town and country. At the request of the Braunschweig magistrate, Wilhelm took over the regency for his brother just two days later. With the beginning of the reign, the Duchy of Braunschweig also received a new constitution, the Landscape Order, which guaranteed the citizens important basic rights. The aim was to get the country back into calm waters as quickly as possible. However, the question of the throne remained unresolved for some time.

In May 1831, the German Confederation finally declared the escaped Duke Charles II incapable of governing, and Wilhelm was thus the legitimate successor, which Austria later recognized. However, the inability to govern only related to Karl as a person, not to his possible heirs. The succession to the throne remained explicitly open. Wilhelm therefore had to expect that he would not be able to enforce a claim to the throne for his own heirs. How important this uncertainty was for him is unclear. The fact is, however, that he renounced marriage and remained without a legitimate heir - as did his brother Karl. With Wilhelm's death in 1884, the "New House of Braunschweig", which had ruled in the Guelph ancestral lands since 1533 and which, along with the "New House of Lüneburg" (later House of Hanover), represented the older Guelph line.


Göttingen , memorial plaque for the former prince's house and its well-known guests

After Wilhelm's death, a Regency Council took over government affairs in Braunschweig. Since Prussia and the House of Hanover had been enemies since the annexation of the Hanoverian Kingdom in 1866, the actual heir to the throne, Ernst August von Hanover , Duke of Cumberland, was unable to rule the Braunschweig region. From 1885 to 1913, members of other royal houses took over the reign. A reconciliation between the Guelphs and Hohenzollern did not come about until 1913 , when Ernst August , the son of the Duke of Cumberland, married Viktoria Luise von Prussia , the only daughter of Emperor Wilhelm II. As a result, Ernst August the last Guelph returned to Braunschweig as the ruling Duke back.


Duke Wilhelm of Braunschweig

Ferdinand Albrecht II (Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel) (1680–1735)
⚭ 1712
Antoinette Amalie von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel

Friedrich Wilhelm I (Prussia) (1688–1740)
⚭ 1706
Sophie Dorothea of ​​Hanover (1687–1757)

George II (Great Britain)
⚭ 1705
Caroline von Brandenburg-Ansbach (1683–1737)

Friedrich II (Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg)
⚭ 1695
Magdalena Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst (1679–1740)

Hereditary Prince
Friedrich of Baden-Durlach (1703–1732)
⚭ 1727
Anna Charlotte Amalie of Nassau-Dietz-Oranien

Ludwig VIII (Hessen-Darmstadt) (1691–1768)
⚭ 1717
Charlotte von Hanau-Lichtenberg

Christian III. (Pfalz-Zweibrücken)
⚭ 1719
Karoline von Nassau-Saarbrücken (1704–1774)

Great grandparents

Karl I (Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel)
⚭ 1733
Philippine Charlotte of Prussia (1716–1801)

Friedrich Ludwig of Hanover
⚭ 1736
Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1719–1772)

Karl Friedrich (Baden)
⚭ 1751
Karoline Luise von Hessen-Darmstadt (1723–1783)

Ludwig IX. (Hessen-Darmstadt)
⚭ 1741
Karoline von Pfalz-Zweibrücken (1721–1774)


Duke Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand (Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel) (1735–1806)
⚭ 1764
Augusta of Hanover (1737–1813)

Hereditary Prince Karl Ludwig von Baden (1755–1801)
⚭ 1774
Amalie von Hessen-Darmstadt (1754–1832)


Duke Friedrich Wilhelm (Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel) (1771–1815)
⚭ 1802
Marie von Baden (1782–1808)

Duke Wilhelm of Braunschweig (1806-1884)
Monument in Rühle


  • In 1875 100,000 gold coins of the German Empire with a face value of 20 marks were minted. The gold pieces showed a relief portrait of Wilhelm on the top. These imperial gold coins were produced in the Berlin mint (A).
  • In 1902 the Braunschweiggasse in the 13th district of Vienna Hietzing was named after him, since he was an honorary citizen of Hietzing from 1861 and owner of the Cumberland Palace from 1878 . In 1909 a memorial was erected in Rühle .


Volume I. Appelhans Verlag, Braunschweig 2000, ISBN 3-930292-39-4 .
Volume II: Literature Review, Sources and Notes. Appelhans Verlag, Braunschweig 2000, ISBN 3-930292-40-8 .
Volume III: Braunschweig after 1848, Duke Wilhelm and the regents. Appelhans Verlag, Braunschweig 2004, ISBN 3-937664-07-6 .

Web links

Commons : Wilhelm (Braunschweig)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Horst-Rüdiger Jarck, Günter Scheel (ed.): Braunschweigisches Biographisches Lexikon. 19th and 20th centuries. P. 95 f.
  2. Duke Wilhelm, the last "Bevern". In: Quadriga - the glamorous highlight of the Braunschweig Castle. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  3. ^ Duke of Braunschweig and Lüneburg, Wilhelm August Ludwig Maximilian Friedrich. (PDF; 192 kB) at husaren10-stendal.de, accessed on February 13, 2013.
  4. ^ Gerhard Schildt: From the restoration to the time of the founding of the empire. In: The Braunschweigische Landesgeschichte. Braunschweig 2000, p. 769 f.
  5. ^ Braunschweig Lüneburg gold coins . Retrieved April 27, 2013.
predecessor Office successor
Charles II Duke of Braunschweig
Regency council, chairman:
Hermann Graf von Görtz-Wrisberg