The civil wedding of Prince Karl Franz Josef of Prussia and Princess Henriette von Schönaich-Carolath.
Karl Franz Josef and Henriette.

On 6 August 1940 at his residence at Doorn, German Emperor Wilhelm II officially announced the engagement of his grandson Prince Karl Franz Joseph to his stepdaughter, Princess Henriette of Schönaich-Carolath. Ever since his remarriage, the Kaiser had generally stayed out of his stepchildren’s affairs, with the exception of Henriette, Kaiserin Hermine’s youngest child, who was born on 25 November 1918 at Berlin. Wilhelm possessed a genuine affection for Henriette. She came to be known as “the general.” Of all Hermine’s children, only Henriette had come to live at Haus Doorn, where she “performed the role of resident grandchild, passing the sugar when coffee was served” at the Kaiser’s table.

The marriage certificate of Prince Karl Franz Josef of Prussia and Princess Henriette of Schönaich-Carolath.
Document courtesy of Jan Dirk van der Niet.

On 1 October 1940, Prince Karl Franz Josef of Prussia and Princess Henriette of Schönaich-Carolath were civilly married at Huis Doorn, The Netherlands. The ceremony was performed by the Mayor of Doorn. The family photograph taken on this occasion shows that the couple were joined by the groom’s grandfather, German Emperor Wilhelm II, and the bride’s mother, German Empress Hermine. The groom’s grandfather Wilhelm had married the bride’s mother Hermine in 1922.

The religious wedding of Prince Karl Franz Josef and Princess Henriette on 5 October 1940.
Photograph courtesy of Jan Dirk van der Niet. 

The religious ceremony followed on 5 October 1940 in Berlin. Empress Hermine and Princess Marie-Auguste, the mothers of the bride and groom, respectively, both appeared in the official wedding photographs with the young couple. The groom’s grandfather and the bride’s stepfather died shortly after their wedding: Wilhelm II passed away at Haus Doorn on 4 June 1941. 

Princess Henriette, Prince Karl Franz Josef, and their son Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia.
German Empress Hermine with her grandson Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia.
Prince Karl Franz Joseph and Princess Henriette had three children: Franz Wilhelm, Friedrich Christian, and Franz Friedrich (b.17 October 1944). Princes Franz Wilhelm and Friedrich Christian were twins, both being born at Schloß Saabor on 3 September 1943. Sadly, only Franz Wilhelm survived, as Friedrich Christian died several weeks after birth on 26 September 1943. The union of their parents did not last; Karl Franz Joseph and Henriette’s marriage was dissolved by divorce on 5 September 1946.
Prince Karl Franz Josef of Prussia.
Prince Karl Franz Josef, Princess Eva Maria, and Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia.
Prince Karl Franz Joseph went on to marry twice more. The prince contracted a morganatic marriage with his second wife, Luise Dora Hartmann (1909—1961), on 9 November 1946 in Hamburg. This marriage ended in divorce in 1959. Karl Franz Joseph remarried in Lima, Peru, on 20 July 1959 to Doña Eva Maria Herrera y Valdeavellano (1922—1987), with whom he had two daughters, Princesses Alexandra (b.1960) and Désirée (b.1961). Prince Karl Franz Joseph, a grandson of the last German Kaiser and a descendant of Queen Victoria, died in Arica, Chile, on 23 January 1975. He was fifty-eight. The prince was eventually buried at Furstenfriedhof Maria-Zell, Hechingen, on 1 June 1981. 

Empress Hermine, Emperor Wilhelm II, and Princess Henriette.
Princess Henriette.

Sometime after her divorce, Princess Henriette of Schönaich-Carolath had another son, Udo (b.1956), although she never remarried. The princess died in Neuendettelsau, West Germany, on 16 March 1972. Henriette was fifty-three years-old; she was buried at Haseldorf bei Pinneberg, Holstein. 

Henriette and Karl Franz Josef with his mother and his grandfather.

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