The funeral procession of the Duke of Württemberg passes through Altshausen escorted by the yellow hussars

The funeral procession of the Duke of Württemberg passes through Altshausen escorted by the yellow hussars

The head of the Württemberg house died on June 7 at the age of 85. Almost a month after his disappearance, more than a thousand German and foreign guests are expected this Saturday to attend his funeral in Baden-Württemberg. The day before the religious service and his burial, a funeral procession carrying his remains passed through the town of Altshausen.

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Altshausen prepares to celebrate the funeral of the Duke of Württemberg

Many members of the European royal courts and of the former German Empire are expected this Saturday, July 2, 2022 in Baden-Württemberg. The death of Duke Carl of Württemberg, 85, pretender to the throne of the kingdom of Württemberg, affects all European royal families directly or indirectly. Duke Carl of Württemberg died on June 6 in a hospital in Ravensburg. His burial in the castle crypt will follow the funeral, one month after his death. The Royal Household announced that more than 1,000 invitations had been sent out.

The remains pass through Altshausen in a horse-drawn carriage the day before his funeral (Photo: Thomas Warnack/DPA/ABACAPRESS.COM)

The mass will be celebrated in the Altshausen Castle Church, led by Bishop Gebhard Fürst, Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, in the same configuration as in 2018 during the funeral of Duke Friedrich, son of Duke Carl, who died at age 56 in a car accident. The funeral will be broadcast on television, as well as on site, in several places in the castle to compensate for the size of the church. A retransmission is also planned on the place of Altshausen.

Members of the royal family (left) attend the funeral procession (Photo: Thomas Warnack/DPA/ABACAPRESS.COM)

Read also: The Belgian royal family in Switzerland for a last farewell to the mother of Prince Lorenz: funeral of Margherita of Savoy-Aosta in the presence of two sovereigns

A funeral procession in the presence of the yellow hussars

This Friday, a funeral procession was organized in Altshausen, a small town of about 4,000 inhabitants, located about 40 km north of Lake Constance. A carriage pulled a wooden vehicle usually used to fire cannons, on which was placed the coffin of the deceased. The coffin was covered with the yellow flag. This flag represents the coat of arms of the family of Württemberg. The coat of arms was adopted as early as the period of the Counts of Württemberg, a county formed in the 12th century. The coat of arms represents three black deer antlers on a yellow background. Its blazon is ” Or, with three half stag antlers Sable “.

Altshausen Castle in Baden-Württemberg (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Yellow hussars escorted the remains. The Yellow Hussars are a historical protection detachment which was founded in 1748 in Altshausen by the Commander of the Teutonic Bailiwick of Swabia, Alsace and Burgundy. The Teutonic Commandery had its headquarters at Altshausen Castle in 1444. The yellow hussars had the mission of maintaining order in this town, until the regiment was banned in 1814 by the King of Württemberg.

In 1960, Duke Carl Alexander of Württemberg, known as Father Odo, was a Benedictine monk who worked to restore the group of Yellow Hussars, which today are a light cavalry ceremonial detachment. Hussars maintain traditions and participate in public events and re-enactments. Altshausen Castle became the property of King Frederick 1st of Württemberg in 1810 but was only used to accommodate members of the royal family during their hunting parties or for their holidays. After the First World War, just after the abolition of the monarchy, the Württemberg family moved from Stuttgart to Altshausen. The castle has been the residence of pretenders to the throne of Württemberg ever since.

Duke Carl of Württemberg and Princess Diane d’Orléans at their granddaughter Sophie’s wedding in 2018 (Photo: Newscom/ABACAPRESS.COM)

Duke Carl of Württemberg was the second son of Duke Philippe Albert of Württemberg and Archduchess Rose-Marie of Austria. Philippe Albert was the pretender to the throne of Württemberg from 1939 to 1975. Rose-Marie was a member of the Austrian imperial family of the Tuscan branch, granddaughter of Grand Duke Ferdinand IV of Tuscany, the last ruler of Tuscany. Louis Albert, Carl’s eldest brother, twice morganatically married, had renounced his dynastic rights for him and his descendants. Carl inherited the head of the family on the death of his father in 1975. In July 1960, Carl had married Princess Diane d’Orléans, daughter of the Comte de Paris. The couple had four sons and two daughters: Frédéric, Mathilde, Eberhard, Philipp, Michael and Eleonore. Louis Albert died in 2019.

It was in 1080 that a Swabian nobleman named Conrad had Wirtemberg Castle built on a hill now located in Stuttgart. The seigniory became a county in 1143. Through purchases, the territory expanded and the county was raised to the rank of duchy in 1495.

During Napoleon’s territorial reforms, the French emperor made Frederick III of Württemberg a prince-elector in 1803, then conferred on him the title of king of Württemberg in 1806. After the fall of Napoleon, the kingdom of Württemberg persisted, until to the abolition of the monarchy throughout the German Empire in 1918. The Kingdom of Württemberg then had about 2 million inhabitants.

The sovereign territories of the German Empire before the final abolition of the monarchical system in 1918 (Image: Histoires Royales)
The Kings of Württemberg and the pretenders to the throne of Württemberg (Image: Royal Histories)

King Wilhelm II, last King of Württemberg from 1891 until the abolition of the monarchy in the German Empire in 1918, died without direct male heirs in 1921. The claim to the throne then passed to Albert, a cousin of the Catholic branch of the Dukes of Württemberg. Albert was Duke Carl’s grandfather.

Nicholas Fontaine

Chief Editor

Nicolas Fontaine has been a freelance web editor since 2014. After having been a copywriter and author for numerous Belgian and French brands and media, he specialized in royalty news. Nicolas is now editor-in-chief of Histoires royales. [email protected]