Royal Holiday at Schloss Wolfsgarten, 1946

Prince Ludwig and Princess Margaret of Hesse host members of their extended Family at Schloss Wolfsgarten in July 1946, when they were photographed by LIFE magazine. Among the Royals pictured were the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin alongside her nephew, newlywed Prince George William of Hanover and Princess Sophie of Greece, Princess Sophie’s five children; Prince Karl of Hesse, Princess Christina of Hesse and Yugoslavia, Princess Dorothea of Windisch-Grätz, Prince Rainer, and Princess Clarissa of Hesse, and Princess Cecilie of Prussia (who met her American husband during the visit).

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The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin had died a few months earlier under arrest by the RAF, Princess Sophie (a sister of the Duke of Edinburgh) has been widowed in 1943, when her husband, Prince Christoph of Hesse had died in a plane crash, remarrying to Prince George William of Hannover in 1946. By 1946, the Mecklenburg-Schwerin Royal Family had been dispossessed of their properties in East Germany and the Hesse Royal Family’s main seat, Schloss Friedrichshof, was occupied by the American Army and the Hesse Royal Jewels had been stolen by American Soldiers. Blankenburg Castle, the main seat of the Prince George William’s parents, the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick, had also been taken over by the Red Army a few months previously. Prince Ludwig (the brother-in-law of Princess Sophie’s late sister, Princess Cecilie) and Princess Margaret, who headed another branch of the Hesse Royal Family, hosted their relatives at Schloss Wolfsgarten following the tribulations of the Second World War, and remained close to the children of Princess Sophie for the rest of their lives.

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