by Helene Walterskirchen:
Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia
Promoter of Prussian culture
Hohenzollern Castle near Bisingen in the dull and rainy weather of November, shortly before the beginning of the Advent season. Massive, imposing, almost proud, the mighty 19th century castle complex rises on the keep. Mystical is the sight with the fog at the foot of the mountain, so that the castle seems to float above the fog. A mysticism that also accompanies the ascent with the shuttle service from the parking lots at the foot of the castle up to the castle complex, a road that could not be steeper, more serpentine and narrower, passing a group of Japanese tourists who apparently prefer the 20-minute climb. At the top, the visitor experiences an almost fairytale-like backdrop and atmosphere that gives him the feeling not only having climbed a mountain, but also of entering another dimension at the same time. Castles or palaces are not only historical buildings, but also contemporary witnesses of a bygone epoch, in which the roots of us humans are also to be found. …
… Our meeting takes place in the Three-Emperors-Room on the first floor, a very pleasant, warm and light-filled room, whose main feature are the paintings of the three German emperors from the House of Hohenzollern: The painting of Emperor Wilhelm I, (1797-1888), King of Prussia since 1861 and also German Emperor since 1871. To the right, on the same wall, the painting of his grandson, Emperor Wilhelm II (1859-1941), who had to abdicate in 1918 and went into exile in Holland. On the opposite wall, the father of Wilhelm II, Kaiser Friedrich III. (1831-1888), who was in office for only 99 days, before a serious illness carried him off. ….
…. The likeable image of Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia that I have carried with me for many years is fully confirmed when he enters the Three-Emperors-Room and we greet each other. His tall figure demands that one looks up to him. A soft face, warm, radiant eyes, an openness that invites. Not a bit of conceit, not a bit of reserve, not a facade, not a shield to penetrate, but an invitation to an open exchange of thoughts and hearts, borne by the natural flair of the aristocracy, which is appreciated by those who understand and are trained in it. Without a concept, we begin a conversation; let us engage with each other in the awareness of appreciating the other and enriching each other.
Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia was born on June 10, 1976 in Bremen. He is the son of Louis Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia junior (1944-1977) and his wife Donata, born Countess of Castell-Rüdenhausen (1950-2015) from the princely house of Castell-Rüdenhausen. Prince Louis Ferdinand junior was the fourth of seven children of his parents, Louis Ferdinand of Prussia (1907-1994), and his wife Kira, a born Grand Duchess of Russia (1909-1967). As the third son of his parents, Prince Louis Ferdinand junior was not intended as the future head of the House of Prussia. This changed, however, when his two older brothers did not marry in accordance with their social standing, but in a civil manner, thus contradicting the Prussian house law of „befitting marriage”. For this reason, the role of the future head of the house fell to Prince Louis Ferdinand jun. and his descendants. When his son Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, known as Prince Georg Friedrich for short, was born in 1976, it was clear from the outset that he would be the future head of the House of Prussia after his father. …
…. Early in his school days, Prince Georg Friedrich was able to experience what it means to be a Prussian Prince. Fellow pupils pestered him with questions like, „Do you have a castle?” or, „Does your father have a crown?“ or, „Are you really a real prince?“ From all of this I realized for myself that the people around me have a natural interest in me because I am different in their eyes. However, not only they wanted to know something about me; I also wanted to know something about them. I found this openness on both sides very beneficial. One can learn from each other and thus understand the other better. However, a certain tension to bear an old name existed from time to time. I have always stood by my origin and my name. Even if I lead a civic life today, I still live the tradition of an old house. This attitude has helped me until today to deal well with people. The prerequisite is, of course, that people know each other or can get to know each other.
I notice this just now, when a media storm is against my house and maybe even a bit against the nobility itself. Such attitudes always happen from a position of not knowing each other. The media that report about us particular negatively, have not asked for an appointment with us. Everything happens according to a script, which is determined from the outset, whether the assertions listed therein are right or wrong does not matter. This is also the topic of the restitution claims, which preoccupies us, and which has been going on for 30 years. We did not conjure this up out of the hat again! Tens of thousands of families have already made such claims, only ours is simply taking longer because of its extent. These are purely legal and public claims that my great-grandfather made as head of the house and which I will continue to pursue as his successor. …
… In addition to his task and the numerous challenges as head of the House of Prussia, the family, his wife, and children, play a very important role. He wants to be a good father to his children, wants to give them everything that he himself did not get as a fatherless child. He wants them to grow up in a stable and strong family unit that offers them an anchor to hold on to – just as he experienced it.
Prince Georg Friedrich: „Raising my children, it is important to me not to allow them everything. From a child’s point of view, of course, it would be the dream to be able to do everything they want and would also correspond to today’s lifestyle, where we can do everything we want. Where has this attitude led? On the one hand, we are doing better today than we have ever done before, nobody has to go hungry anymore, and we have a huge consumption, where you can buy whatever you want at any time, like in a land of milk and honey. On the other side of the coin: people have never been as dissatisfied as they are today. Everybody claims to be terribly tolerant and yet everybody wants to position themselves better than the others and live their own boot. The Fridays „Black Friday“ and „Fridays for Future“ are a typical example. This somewhat schizophrenic in which we live shows clearly today that the principle „Everyone may do everything“ and „Everyone can live as they please“ is not practicable in the long run. We have to find back to a different lifestyle, to a gratitude for how well we are doing.“ ….
Are you interested in this article? Then you can read on in our print edition „Kultur-Magazin Schloss Rudolfshausen“ I/2020.
© Copyright of the article and the photos is by Helene Walterskirchen www.helene-walterskirchen.de