How a German castle has sparked civil war in Monaco’s royal family

Prince Ernst August of Hanover, the husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco, is suing his son to win back control of a German castle and prevent it from falling into public hands, a court has said.

How a German castle has sparked civil war in Monaco's royal family
Marienburg Castle in Lower Saxony pictured during the recent snow. Photo: DPA

Ernst August, 66, gave his son the fairytale-like Marienburg castle and several other properties between 2004 and 2007, but now wants them back citing  “gross ingratitude”, the district court of Hanover said in a statement on Tuesday.

It is the latest public spat to hit the aristocratic family, whosepatriarch has over the years been nicknamed “the party prince” and even “the brawling prince” over his jetset lifestyle and drunken escapades.

According to the court statement, Ernst August filed a lawsuit at the end of last year seeking to revoke the gifts of Marienburg Castle, the Calenburg manor house and a royal property in Herrenhausen.

He accuses his son, Ernst August junior, of acting against his wishes and going behind his back by offering Marienburg Castle to the state of Lower Saxony as public property – partly because of the huge costs of maintaining the mid-19th century Gothic-style building.

READ ALSO: Just one sixth of Germans want own monarchy back

The plaintiff, who lives in Austria, also accuses his son of improperly appropriating artworks and antiques owned by the family.

Ernst August senior estimates the total value of the disputed properties and items at some five million euros, the court said.

Ernst August junior, 37, told German news agency DPA that the case had no merit, saying all the arguments raised “have already been invalidated out-of-court in the past”.

He said the deal struck to transfer ownership of Marienburg Castle to the regional authorities of Lower Saxony was “legally secure”.

“There's nothing that stands in the way of the long-term preservation of Marienburg as a central cultural monument of Lower Saxony, open to all,” he said.

The court has not yet set a date for a hearing.

Ernst August senior has been feuding for years with his son over the family's royal properties.

So severe was the spat that he declined his official consent to his son's 2017 marriage to Russian-born fashion designer Ekaterina Malysheva and stayed away from the wedding.

Princess Caroline, who has been separated from her husband since 2009, did attend the nuptials.

Member comments

  1. I suppose it is not surprising that someone who I suspect has not really ever known hardship would want to claim a castle for which he can claim no credit? Having visited Schloss Furstenstein (now in Poland) where Jews were worked to death, it might be interesting to know if this shares a similar history.

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Prince Charles champions post-Brexit ties on German visit

Britain's Prince Charles on Sunday said bonds between his country and Germany would "remain strong" as he visited Berlin against a backdrop of increasingly tense Brexit talks.

Prince Charles champions post-Brexit ties on German visit
Prince Charles holds a speech at the Bundestag as he attends an official Remembrance Day commemoration in Berlin, on November 15, 2020. AXEL SCHMIDT / POOL / AFP

“We will always be friends, partners and associates,” the heir to the British throne said as he visited the German capital with his wife Camilla to mark National Memorial Day, an annual tribute to the victims of war.

“The fundamental bond between us will remain strong,” he said in a speech at the Bundestag lower house of parliament, describing Brexit as “a new chapter in our long history”.

Britain, which left the EU in January, is negotiating a trade deal to govern relations after December 31, when it stops abiding by EU rules.

Talks over the next few days are seen as crucial for any deal before time runs out at the end of the year, when the post-Brexit transition period ends.

In their first joint overseas visit since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Charles and Camilla had earlier been welcomed by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Berlin's Bellevue Palace.

Charles then laid a wreath in memory of victims of war and oppression at the Neue Wache memorial building alongside Steinmeier, Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and other dignitaries.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife Elke Buedenbender pay their respect during a wreath laying ceremony on national Memorial Day at the Neue Wache in Berlin, on November 15, 2020. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP / POOL

British royals have visited European countries several times since the country voted to leave the EU in 2016.

During a visit to Germany in 2017, Prince William said Germany and Britain “proudly share the same values” and their relationship would “continue despite Britain's recent decision to leave the European Union”.

Charles and Camilla last visited Germany, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, in May 2019.

Germany's National Day of Mourning was introduced in 1919 to commemorate the victims of the First World War.


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