Royals and the Reich: the princes von Hessen in Nazi Germany
The link between Hitler's Third Reich and European royalty has gone largely unexplored due to the secrecy surrounding royal families. Now, in Royals and the Reich, Jonathan Petropoulos uses unprecedented access to royal archives to tell the fascinating story of the Princes of Hesse and the important role they played in the Nazi regime.
Princes Philipp and Christoph von Hessen-Kassel, great-grandsons of Queen Victoria of England, had been humiliated by defeat in WWI and, like much of the German aristocracy, feared the social unrest wrought by the ineffectual Weimar Republic. Petropoulos shows how the princes, lured by prominent positions in the Nazi regime and highly susceptible to nationalist appeals, became enthusiastic supporters of Hitler. Prince Philipp, son-in-law to the King of Italy, became the highest-ranking prince in the Nazi state and developed a close personal relationship with Hitler and Hermann Goring. Prince Christoph was a prominent SS officer and head of one of the most important intelligence agencies in the Third Reich. In return, the princes made the Nazis socially acceptable to wealthy, high-society patrons. Prince Philipp even introduced Goring to Mussolini at a critical stage in the Nazi Party's development and later served as a liaison between Hitler and the Italian dictator.
Permitted access to Hessen family private papers and the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, Petropoulos follows the story of the House of Hesse through to its tragic denouement--the princes' betrayal and persecution by an increasingly paranoid Hitler and prosecution and denazification by the Allies. Royals and the Reich is a startling and unique portrait of the vanished world of prewar aristocrats and a royal family caught in one of the most tumultuous periods in history.
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Prince Christoph von Hessen in Luftwaffe uniform ca 1941
Royals meet at Schloss Friedrichshof Kronberg 1906
Schloss Friedrichshof at Kronberg AHH
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Archives aristocrats Aufzeichnungen August behalf of Prince Berlin British brother camp Christoph to Princess Ciano Crown Prince Darmstadt December denazification trial documents Duchess of Windsor Duke of Kent Duke of Windsor elite Ernst example February Forschungsamt Frankfurt Friedrich Karl Gauleiter German Goebbels Goring Goring's Hadamar Heinrich Prinz Hesse Hessen-Darmstadt HHStAW Himmler historian Hitler Hohenzollern Ibid IfZG Italian Italy joined July June Kaiser Kassel King George Kristallene Luster Kronberg Landgrave Landgravine Margarethe later letter Lippe Luftwaffe Mafalda March Minister Munich Mussolini Nazi leaders Nazi Party nobility noted November Oberprasident October Palace Philipp and Mafalda Philipp von Hessen political Preussen Prince Auwi Prince Christoph Prince Friedrich Prince Philipp Prince Wilhelm Princess Sophia Prinz von Hessen Protocol of Prince Prussian Queen Rainer von Hessen regime Ribbentrop Rome royal family Sassoon Schaumburg-Lippe Schlabrendorff on behalf September Spruchkammer Protocol statement Third Reich Waldeck Weimar Republic Wolfgang Prinz wrote