Monarchy of Germany
Former Monarchy
Wappen Deutsches Reich - Reichswappen (Grosses).svg
Imperial Coat of arms
1907 Louis Ferdinand.jpg
Louis Ferdinand
First monarch William I
Last monarch Louis Ferdinand
Style His Imperial and Royal Majesty
Official residence Stadtschloss, Berlin
Appointer Hereditary
Monarchy started 18 January 1871
Monarchy ended 5 April 1990
Current pretender Prince George Frederick

The Monarchy of Germany (the German Monarchy) was the system of government in which a hereditary monarch was the sovereign the Germany from 1871 to 1990.

History[edit | edit source]

The Monarch of Germany was created with the proclamation of the President of the North German Confederation and the King of Prussia, William I of Prussia, as "German Emperor" during the Franco-Prussian War, on 18 January 1871 at the Palace of Versailles.

The title German Emperor was carefully chosen by Minister President of Prussia and Chancellor of the North German Confederation Otto von Bismarck after discussion until (and after) the day of the proclamation. William I accepted this title grudgingly as he would have preferred "Emperor of Germany" which was however, unacceptable to the federated monarchs, and which would also have signalled a claim to lands outside of his reign (Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg etc.). The title Emperor of the Germans, as had proposed at the Frankfurt Parliament in 1848, was ruled out as he considered himself chosen "By the Grace of God", not by the people as in a democracy.

By this ceremony, the North German Confederation was transformed into the German Empire. This empire was a federal monarchy; the emperor was head of state and president of the federated monarchs (the kings of Bavaria, Württemberg, Saxony, the grand dukes of Baden, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Hesse, as well as other principalities, duchies and of the free cities of Hamburg, Lübeck and Bremen).

The powers of the emperor were reduced by the October constitution, which was drafted in the aftermath of World War I in 1918. Power was divided between the emperor, a cabinet and a parliament. The emperor enjoyed far greater power than the current head of state in Germany and had an active political role, rather than a largely ceremonial one. The influence of the emperor also increased greatly as a result of the instability of the post-war period. The emperor had authority to appoint the Chancellor and could dismiss the entire cabinet at any time. However it was also necessary for the cabinet to enjoy the confidence of the Reichstag (parliament) because it could be removed by a vote of no confidence. All bills had to receive imperial assent to become law and, although he did not have an absolute veto on legislation, he could insist that a law be submitted for the approval of voters in a referendum. The emperor also had authority to dissolve the Reichstag, conduct foreign affairs, and command the armed forces. Article 48 of the constitution also provided the emperor sweeping powers in the event of a crisis. If there was a threat to "public order and security" he could legislate by decree and suspend civil rights.

Under Nazi rule the monarchy however was not abolished and briefly resurged in authority through out Die Wende.

List of German monarchs[edit | edit source]

Monarch Consort Reign Royal House
Portrait Name Portrait Name Reign start Reign end
1 Wilhelm1.jpg Emperor Willam I
Kaiser Wilhelm I
Augusta von Preussen.jpg Empress Augusta
Kaiserin Auguste
18 January 1871 9 March 1888 House of Hohenzollern
2 Kaiser Friedrich III Porträt.jpg Emperor Frederick III
Kaiser Friedrich III
Victoria, Princess Royal.jpg Empress Victoria
Kaiserin Viktoria
9 March 1888 15 June 1888 House of Hohenzollern
3 Wihelm-ii1.jpg Emperor William II
Kaiser Wilhelm II
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-01286, Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria.jpg Empress Augusta Victoria
Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria
15 June 1888 4 June 1941 House of Hohenzollern
Hermine of Reuss.jpg Empress Hermine Reuss
Kaiserin Hermine
4 Crownprincewilhelm2.jpg Emperor William III
Kaiser Wilhelm III
Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Crown Princess of Germany and Prussia.jpg Empress Cecilie
Kaiserin Cecilie
4 June 1941 20 July 1951 House of Hohenzollern
5 1938 Louis Ferdinand.jpg Emperor Louis Ferdinand
Kaiser Louis Ferdinand
Grand-duchess-kira-kirillovna-of-russia-1934.jpg Empress Kira Kirillovna
Kaiserin Kira
20 July 1951 5 April 1990
House of Hohenzollern

Heads of the House of Hohenzollern[edit | edit source]

Despite the abolition of the monarchy in 1990, the House of Hohenzollern never relinquished their claims to the thrones of Prussia and Germany. These claims are linked by the Constitutions of the German Empire: according to which, whoever was King of Prussia was also German Emperor. However, these claims are not recognised by Germany today.

Pretender Consort Reign
# Portrait Name Portrait Name Reign start Reign end
1 1938 Louis Ferdinand.jpg Emperor Louis Ferdinand
Grand-duchess-kira-kirillovna-of-russia-1934.jpg Empress Kira Kirillovna
5 April 1990 26 September 1994
2 Crown Prince Frederick William
Crown Princess Ehrengard
26 September 1994 29 September 2015
Crown Princess Sibylle
3 Prince Frederick William
Princess Anna
29 September 2015
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