Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse

Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine
Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine

Louis IV (Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Karl) (12 September 1837 - 13 March 1892), was the fourth Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, reigning from 13 June 1877 until his death. Through his own and his children's marriages he was connected to the British Royal Family, to the Imperial house of Russia and other royal houses of Europe.

Early life

Louis was born at Darmstadt, Germany as the son of Prince Charles of Hesse-Darmstadt (23 April 1809-20 March 1877) and Princess Elizabeth of Prussia (18 June 1815-21 March 1855).


On 1 July 1862, Louis married Princess Alice, the third child of Queen Victoria of Great Britain at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. On the day of the wedding, the Queen issued Letters Patent granting her new son-in-law the style of Royal Highness. This style was only in effect in Great Britain, not the German confederation where Prince Ludwig was only a Grand Ducal Highness. The Queen subsequently created him a Knight of the Garter. The marriage produced seven children:

Styles of
Ludwig IV
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir

Military commands

During the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Louis commanded the Hessian cavalry in support of the Austrian side. In the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War, Louis led the Hessian contingent of the armies of the North German Confederation.

Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine

On 13 June 1877, he succeeded his uncle as Grand Duke of Hesse taking the name Louis IV.

Following the death of Princess Alice in 1878, Ludwig IV contracted a morganatic marriage on 30 April 1884 with Alexandrina Hutten-Czapska (3 September 1854-8 May 1941), the former wife of Alexander Kolémine, the Russian chargé d'affaires in Darmstadt. His second wife received the title Countess von Romrod. The marriage, which caused great concern within his family, was annulled within a year. Grand Duke Ludwig IV died on 13 March 1892 and was succeeded by his son, Ernest Louis. His remains are buried at Rosenhöhe, the mausoleum for the Grand Ducal House of Hesse outside of Darmstadt.

Preceded by:
Louis III
Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine
Succeeded by:
Ernest Louis

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