Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein

Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein (Frederick Christian Charles Augustus) (22 January 1831 - 28 October 1917) was a minor German prince who became a member of the British Royal Family through his marriage to The Princess Helena (25 May 1846 - 9 June 1923), the fifth child and third daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Early life

Prince Christian was born in Augustenborg, Denmark. His parents were Charles August, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg and his wife, Countess Luise of Danneskjold-Sams√łe. He was always known as Prince Christian.

In 1848, his father, Duke Charles August, placed himself at the head of a movement to resist by force the claims of Denmark upon the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, two personal possessions of the Kings of Denmark which were also part of the German Confederation. A year earlier, King Frederick VII acceded to the Danish throne without any hope of producing a male heir. Unlike Denmark proper, where the Lex Regia of 1665 allowed the throne to pass through the female royal line, in Holstein Salic Law prevailed. The duchy would most likely revert to the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg family, a cadet branch of the house of Holstein-Sonderburg. During the 1852 Schleswig-Holstein War, Prince Christian briefly served with the newly constituted Schleswig-Holstein army before he and his family were forced to flee the advancing Danish forces. After the war, he attended the University of Bonn, where he befriended Crown Prince Friedrich of Prussia (later the German Emperor Friedrich III).

Marriage

Styles of
Prince Christian
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir

In September 1865, while visiting Coburg, The Princess Helena met Prince Christian. The couple became engaged in December of that year. Queen Victoria gave her permission for the marriage with the proviso that the couple live in England. They married at the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle on 5 July 1866. Seven days before the wedding, the Queen granted her future son-in-law the qualification of Royal Highness. This style was in effect in the United Kingdom, not Germany were Prince Christian, as a son of the Duke of Augustenburg, was only entited to the style Serene Highness.1

Prince and Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, as they were known, made their home at Frogmore House in the grounds of Windsor Castle and later at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park. They had six children:

Royal Life

Queen Victoria appointed Prince Christian a Knight of the Garter and a member of the Privy Council. The Prince became a personal aide-de-camp to the Queen in 1897. Prince Christian became a major general in the British Army in July 1866 and received promotions to the ranks of lieutenant general in August 1874 and general in October 1877. From 1869 until his death, he was honorary colonel of the 1st Volunteer Battalion, The Royal Berkshire Regiment. However, Prince Christian never held a major field command or staff position.

World War I

During World War I, rising anti-German sentiment forced the British Royal Family to sever its links to Germany and to discontinue the use of various German titles and styles. In July 1917, King George V changed the name of the British Royal House to the House of Windsor and discontinued for himself and all other descendants of Queen Victoria who were British subjects all "other German Degrees, Styles, Dignities, Titles, Honours and Appellations." Prince and Princess Christian and their two daughters dropped the territorial designation "of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderberg-Augustenburg" and instead became known as Their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Christian, Her Highness Princess Marie Louise, and Her Highness Princess Helena Victoria, respectively.

Later life

Prince Christian died at Schomberg House, Pall Mall, in October 1917, in his eighty-seventh year. He was buried at Frogmore Royal Burial Ground in Windsor Great Park.

Titles and Honours

Titles from birth

  • His Serene Highness Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein
  • His Royal Highness Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein
  • His Royal Highness Prince Christian

Honours

Footnote

1 The children of Prince and Princess Christian would have borne the titles of Prince or Princess of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderberg-Augustenburg with the style Serene Highness. This was in accordance with both the house laws of the Ducal House of Augustenburg and English common law, whereby children take the surname and rank of their father, not their mother. Queen Victoria granted the children of Prince and Princess Christian the style of Highness in May 1867. Nonetheless, they remained Princes and Princesses of Schleswig-Holstein and the style of Highness was only in effect in Great Britain.

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