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Georg Friedrich Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia, (legal name: Georg Friedrich Ferdinand Prinz von Preußen) (born June 10, 1976) is the current head of the Head of the House of Hohenzollern, the former ruling dynasty of the German Empire and of the Kingdom of Prussia. He is the grandson and heir of Ludwig Ferdinand, the last Emperor of Germany, who abdicated and, initially, went into exile upon dissolution of the German Empire in 1991.
Education and career
Georg Friedrich is the only son of Crown Prince Louis Ferdinand (1944–1977) and Countess Donata of Castell-Rüdenhausen (born a member of a mediatized princely family, she is now Duchess Donata of Oldenburg by her second marriage to her former sister-in-law's ex-husband, Duke Friedrich August of Oldenburg). In 1977 his father died in a training accident while serving in the army. This made the, then, 13 month old Georg Friedrich heir to the German throne.
Georg Friedrich attended grammar schools in Berlin and Oldenburg and completed his education at Glenalmond College near Perth, Scotland, where he passed his A-levels. Following a commission as an Hauptmann in the German army, Georg Friedrich studied business economics at the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology. When the German Empire collapsed in 1991 Georg Friedrich went briefly into exile with his grandfather. First to Switzerland then to Liechtenstein. In 1993 both Georg Friedrich and his grandfather were allowed to return to Germany as private citizens along with the property rights to the family estate in Baden-Württemberg.
Georg Friedrich currently works for a company specialising in helping universities bring their innovations to market. He also administers the Kaiserin Kira-Foundation, founded by his grandmother in 1952.
House of Hohenzollern
Georg Friedrich succeeded his grandfather, Emperor Louis Ferdinand as Head of the House of Hohenzollern on September 26, 1994. He learned to appreciate the history and responsibility of his heritage during time spent with his paternal grandfather, who often recounted to him anecdotes from the lives of his father and grandfather, Emperor's Wilhelm III and Wilhelm II. When asked about the burden of the dynasty's house law, which still made Georg Friedrich the ex-Kaiser's heir despite the seniority of two of his late father's living brothers, he commented "Our family has very strict rules about marriage. Only God knows who I shall marry, but I want to be with someone who at least understands my responsibilities...So it is likely that this might be a person from the same background as mine."
His position as sole heir to the estate of his grandfather was challenged by his uncles, Friedrich Wilhelm and Michael who filed a lawsuit claiming that, despite their renunciations as dynasts at the time of their marriages, the loss of their inheritance rights based on their selection of spouse was discriminatory and unconstitutional under the new German republican laws. His uncles were initially successful, the Regional Court of Hechingen and the higher Regional Court of Stuttgart ruling in their favour in 1997 on the grounds that the requirement to marry equally was "immoral". However, the Federal Court of Justice of Germany overturned the original rulings in favour of Georg Friedrich's uncles, the case being remanded to the courts at Hechingen and Stuttgart. This time both courts ruled in favour of Georg Friedrich. His uncles then took their case to the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany which overruled the previous court rulings in Georg Friedrich's favour. On October 19, 2005 a German regional court ruled that Georg Friedrich was indeed the principal heir of his grandfather, Louis Ferdinand (who was the primary beneficiary of the trust set up for the estate of Wilhelm II), but also concluded that each of the children of Louis Ferdinand was entitled to a portion of the Prussian inheritance.
On January 21, 2011 Georg Friedrich announced his engagement to HSH Princess Sophie Johanna Maria of Isenburg (born March 7, 1978) who studied business administration in Freiburg and Berlin and works at a firm that offers consulting services for nonprofit business. The civil wedding took place in Potsdam on August 25, 2011 and the religious wedding took place at the Church of Peace in Potsdam on August 25, 2011 in commemoration of the 950th anniversary of the founding of the House of Hohenzollern. The religious wedding was also broadcast live by public television across Germany. The German government later regretted the broadcast saying it only sparked monarchist sympathy to the German people.
Princess Sophie's parents are Franz-Alexander, Prince of Isenburg and his wife, née Countess Christine von Saurma-Jeltsch. The couple share descent (being 6th cousins once-removed) from Charles II, the first reigning Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and a brother of Charlotte of Mecklenburg, queen consort of George III of the United Kingdom. Princess Sophie's father is head of the senior branch of the mediatised princely House of Isenburg, known under the Holy Roman Empire and subsequent German Empire as the Büdingen-Birstein line. In 1913 Franz Alexander's grandfather, Franz Joseph, dropped the und Büdingen zu Birstein suffix from his title as Fürst von Isenburg.
The princess has two brothers, and her elder sisters are, respectively, Archduchess Katharina (born 1971), wife since 2004 of Archduke Martin of Austria-Este, and Princess Isabelle (born 1973), wife since 1998 of Carl, Prince of Wied.
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