Before his coronation in May, the British King Charles III. (74) and his wife Camilla (75) Germany. Visits to Berlin, Brandenburg and Hamburg are on the agenda from March 29th to 31st. In Berlin, the monarch also wants to give a speech in the Bundestag.

Charles comes like a good old friend. And that’s what he is, what’s more: Charles is a kind of distant relative. The 74-year-old visits the land of his ancestors again. This raises the question: How German is the King of England actually?

Charles’ surname is Mountbatten-Windsor. Mountbatten is the surname of his father Prince Philip (1921-2021), Windsor that of his mother Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022). Philip’s father was Prince Andreas of Greece and Denmark (1882-1944) and came from the German aristocratic family of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a branch of the House of Oldenburg. When Philip took British citizenship in 1947 because of his marriage to Elizabeth, he chose the surname of his mother, Alice of Battenberg (1885-1969), whose family name had been called Mountbatten in English translation since 1917.

On his mother’s side, King Charles’ German roots go much deeper: from 1714 to 1901, only regents descended from the House of Hanover sat on the British throne. That is why the epoch is also referred to as “Hanoverian England” in English historiography. This younger line of the Welf family provided the electors of Brunswick-Lüneburg, unofficially also called the Electorate of Hanover, from 1692.

The first Elector Ernst August of Brunswick-Calenberg (1629-1698) – incidentally an ancestor of the current prince and husband of Caroline of Monaco (66) Ernst August of Hanover (68) – was married to Sophie von der Pfalz (1630-1714). , who in turn was a daughter of the Palatine Elector Friedrich (1574-1610) and his wife Elisabeth Stuart (1596-1662), Princess of England and Scotland. The Scottish noble dynasty Stuart provided the kings of Scotland between 1371 and 1587 and from 1603 also the monarchs of England and Ireland.

The last Stuart to inherit the British throne was Queen Anne (1665-1714). Before her reign, the English Parliament had created a new basis for the Protestant succession to the throne in the Kingdom of England after major political crises in the Act Settlement 1701, which was united in 1707 with the Act of Union with the Scottish Kingdom to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

In the Act of Settlement, which is still in force today, the Protestant Sophie von der Pfalz (1630-1714), direct cousin of Anne Stuart, was appointed heir-designate to the British monarchy because Anne’s children had died at a young age. Sophie von der Pfalz died in June 1714 and her claim to the British crown passed to her eldest son, Elector George of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1660-1727), who became George I der. after the death of Queen Anne on August 1, 1714 became the new king of Great Britain.

It stayed with this lineage for almost 200 years. The House of Hanover provided the British monarchs, who under the Act of Settlement had to meet one condition: they had to be Protestant and under no circumstances could they convert to the Catholic faith or marry Catholic (or ex-Catholic) partners. The last in this line of the “House of Hanover” was the legendary Queen Victoria (1819-1901), great-great-grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II, mother of King Charles.

With Victoria’s death in 1901, the “supremacy” of the Hanoverians ended, but not the German influence on the next British royal dynasty: Victoria had married the German Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819-1861) in 1840. From then on, the royal family called themselves Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. After Victoria’s death, her son Edward VII (1841-1910) became the first Saxe-Coburg and Gotha king of Great Britain.

His son and successor Georg V (1865-1936) ordered another name change in 1917 due to domestic political pressure and a nationwide aversion to Germany during the First World War. The royal house now called itself Windsor after Windsor Castle in the county of Berkshire. Without this decision by George V., the incumbent king would be Charles III. Mountbatten-Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

In total, Charles has been to Germany more than 30 times since his first visit in 1962, occasionally also privately, such as when he visited relatives at Langenburg Castle in Baden-Württemberg in 2013. He is a second degree uncle of Philipp Fürst zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg (53). There he surprised everyone with his excellent language skills. Like his deceased father Philip, Charles speaks almost perfect, if unpracticed, German.

Most recently, he was in Germany with his wife Camilla in November 2020. In a speech to the German Bundestag in Berlin, he recalled the close ties between the English and Germans. He last visited Hamburg in 1987, when he was still accompanied by his first wife, Princess Diana (1961-1997).