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Wilhelm III
German Kaiser; King of Prussia


Kaiser Wilhelm III of Germany, was the last emperor of the Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire.

Early Years

Wilhelm was born on 6 May 1882 in the Marmorpalais of Potsdam in the Province of Brandenburg. He was the eldest son of Kaiser Wilhelm II and his wife Princess Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein. When he was born, his great-grandfather, Kaiser Wilhelm I, was the reigning emperor and his grandfather, Crown Prince Frederick, was heir to the throne, making Wilhelm third in line to the throne. He was the eldest of the Kaiser's seven children, and his birth sparked an argument between his parents and grandmother. Before Wilhelm was born, his grandmother had expected to be asked to help find a nurse, but since her son did everything he could to snub her, the future Wilhelm II asked his aunt Helena to help. His mother was hurt and his grandmother furious. When his great-grandfather and grandfather both died in 1888, six-year-old Wilhelm became the heir-apparent to the German and Prussian thrones.

Wilhelm was a supporter of association football, then a relatively new sport in the country, donating a cup to the German Football Association in 1908 and thereby initiating the Kronprinzenpokal (now Länderpokal), the oldest cup competition in German football. The German club BFC Preussen was also originally named BFC Friedrich Wilhelm in his honor.

Family Life

Kaiser Wilhelm II regarded his eldest son with contempt, mainly because of his many affairs with women. In 1901, during a visit to Blenheim Palace in England, the Crown Prince took a strong liking to Gladys Deacon and gave her a ring which she had to return - at his father's insistence. Crown Prince Wilhelm, on the other hand, became noted for his public criticism of the politics of his father the Kaiser. In response, his father found Wilhelm a wife, Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and ordered him to stay in Danzig, away from the Imperial court. After initial interest in his wife, the Prince returned to his previous interest in other women. 

During his stay in Danzig he used to regularly play tennis in Sopot. This afforded him a chance to meet many beautiful women, many of them coming from Warsaw to stay at the spa.

In 1914, the Kaiser ordered the construction of Schloss Cecilienhof in Potsdam for Prince Wilhelm and his family. Completed in 1917, it became the main residence for the Crown Prince for a time.

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