“Subconsciously, I think young Germans wants something they can orientate towards,” said Prince Philip. The 45-year-old father of six may work as a Protestant vicar, but he has become one of the loudest voices out of those who want to see Germany revive its monarchy.
Since Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated in 1918, the country has been without a monarchy. But Prince Philip believes that a royal family with divine right conferred by God could offer Germany what it is missing.
“When a leader answers to himself, and not God, an atheist-led country ends in disaster. Look at Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin,” he told The Local. Religion, “tames the selfishness naturally present in all of us.”
For the prince, a country guided by politicians and a ceremonial president means not only is there no strong family to look up to, nor is there anyone to rally up enthusiasm for family life. “A presidential head of state is not enough...what Germany needs is moral guidance and a friendlier face,” which, he added, “people do not get, and shouldn't expect, from politicians.”
Indeed, this appears to be what increasing amount of young Germans want, after a survey for news agency DPA revealed last month that as many as one in three 18-24-year-olds would like the Kaiser back on the throne. Jump to the over-50s, and this figure dropped to one in six.
“Looking up to a king or queen would be much better for Germany's young people than to pop stars or football players,” Prince Philip said. He lamented that people were putting too much value on consumerism and material goods instead of having children – something desperately needed as Germany faces a demographic implosion.
“I am astonished that so many young people said they would be in favour,” he admitted, acknowledging that general public opinion towards the monarchy in Germany was not that positive.
He cited the increasingly popular face of European royalty as being partially responsible for boosting interest among younger Germans. Though on the surface, young people may be drawn to the glamorous lifestyle of princes and princesses, the traditional of family is what they are yearning for deep down, he said.
“A crown prince would be the role model from which the country could seek inspiration, as it would be expected from him to get married, have children and stay faithful.”
For the prince, a presidential head of state simply does not cut it.
Being voted in “doesn't deign them the same respect” as a king, who is chosen by God. This is why he thinks his career as a protestant vicar would mix well with being royal. “All people are born equal but some are born to lead, and others to follow. This is not a human made concept, but a God-made one.”
Germany's disgraced previous president, Christian Wulff, was Prince Philip said, a perfect example of why appointing a politician as head of state was detrimental to the country. “Wulff was lauded by the country's tabloids as a modern family man, with his second marriage,” he said. “But in reality think about the effect growing up in a patchwork family has on a child, it isn't a good one.”
Yet being blue-blooded still seems to hold sway with the German public, thinks the prince. Take, for example, former Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who plagiarised his doctorate dissertation. The case was covered exhaustively in the national press and eventually forced the Bavarian baron's resignation.
“This is because he is aristocratic,” said Prince Philip. But he said that the scandal didn't detract from his blue-blooded charisma. “It gives him a certain kind of aura that impresses people and attracts their attention.” We all have a tendency to orientate towards what came before us, he said. And with a monarchy, that lineage is clear.
Eventually, the country will need more than its finances and infrastructure being taken care of. It needs spirituality and religion and without God, Prince Philip added, saying Germany was running the risk of putting too much importance on money.
Of course, for many Germans money and monarchy are closely linked, with 50 percent telling DPA that they feared it would be far too expensive. But Prince Philip dismissed such concerns: “think how much more tourism, and in turn money, it would bring in,” he said. “One can't offset everything in terms of money though,” he added.
So, could Germany soon become a monarchy again?
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“I haven't set my heart on it,” said Prince Philip. “Our country's broken history is too deeply ingrained.”