Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse

Frederick Charles
King of Finland and Karelia
Reign 9 October 1918 – 14 December 1918
Born 1 May 1868
Gut Panker, Plön, Kingdom of Prussia
Died 28 May 1940(1940-05-28) (aged 72)
Kassel, Nazi Germany
Burial Schloss Friedrichshof, Kronberg im Taunus, Germany
Spouse Princess Margaret of Prussia
(m. 1893–1940; his death)
Issue Prince Friedrich Wilhelm
Prince Maximilian
Philipp, Landgrave of Hesse
Prince Wolfgang
Prince Christoph
Prince Richard
Full name
Frederick Charles Louis Constantine
House Hesse-Kassel
Father Frederick William, Landgrave of Hesse
Mother Princess Anna of Prussia
Religion Lutheran

Frederick Charles Louis Constantine, Prince and Landgrave of Hesse (1 May 1868, Gut Panker 28 May 1940, Kassel), Friedrich Karl Ludwig Konstantin Prinz und Landgraf von Hessen-Kassel in German, was the brother-in-law of the German Emperor Wilhelm II. He was elected King of Finland on 9 October 1918, but renounced the throne on 14 December 1918.

Early life and marriage

Frederick was born at his family's manor, Gut Panker, in Plön, Holstein. He was the third son of Frederick William of Hesse, Landgrave of Hesse, and his wife Princess Anna of Prussia, daughter of Prince Charles of Prussia and Princess Marie Louise of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. Frederick William, a Danish military officer, had been one (and perhaps the foremost) of the candidates of Christian VIII of Denmark in the 1840s to succeed to the Danish throne if the latter's male line died out, but renounced his rights to the throne in 1851 in favor of his sister, Louise. Frederick William was of practically Danish upbringing, having lived all his life in Denmark, but in 1875, when the senior branch of Hesse-Kassel became extinct, he settled in northern Germany, where the House had substantial landholdings.

Prince Frederick Charles and Princess Margaret of Prussia in 1893.

On 25 January 1893, Frederick Charles married Princess Margaret of Prussia, youngest sister of Kaiser Wilhelm II and a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of Great Britain. They had six children, including two sets of twins:

Upon their father's death in 1884, Frederick's eldest brother Frederick William became the head of the House of Hesse, and afterwards his next brother Alexander.

The Finnish throne

The crown planned for the King of Finland

Frederick Charles was elected as the King of Finland by the Parliament of Finland on 9 October 1918. However, with the end of World War I, in light of his German birth and the abdication of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany ending monarchies in Germany, the arrangement was quickly considered untenable by influential Finns of the time and by Frederick himself. Not much is known of the official stance of the victorious allies. Frederick Charles renounced the throne on 14 December 1918, without ever arriving in the country, much less taking up his position. Finland subsequently adopted a republican constitution.

Later life

Landgrave Alexander Frederick of Hesse abdicated as the head of the House of Hesse on 16 March 1925, and was succeeded by Frederick Charles, his younger brother.

At Frederick's death, his eldest surviving son, Philipp, succeeded him as head.

However, according to certain family documents and correspondence, his successor as King of Finland would have been his second surviving son Prince Wolfgang of Hesse (1896–1989), apparently because Wolfgang was with his parents in 1918 and ready to travel to Finland, where a wedding to a Finnish lady was already in preparation for the coming Crown Prince. Philipp was in the military and unable to be contacted at the time. This choice of the younger of the twins, however, was not intended to mean that in future generations, the kingship would have been passed on through secundogeniture, with the eldest son always succeeding to the Hesse title (according to Dr. Vesa Vares). On the contrary, it is practically inconceivable that succession of a kingdom would depend on secondary consideration. The source Viini 2/2007 (in Finnish) indicates a view that until his death Moritz of Hesse was the current successor, and prince Donatus was the heir.

Titles and styles



    See also

    Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse.

    Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse
    Born: 1 May 1868 Died: 28 May 1940
    Regnal titles
    Preceded by
    Alexander Frederick
    Head of the House of Hesse Succeeded by
    Landgraf Philipp
    New creation
    King of Finland and Karelia
    9 October 1918 – 14 December 1918
    Kingdom abolished
    Titles in pretence
    Kingdom abolished  TITULAR 
    King of Finland and Karelia
    14 December 1918 – 28 May 1940
    Reason for succession failure:
    Kingdom abolished in 1918
    Succeeded by
    Preceded by
    Alexander Frederick
    Elector of Hesse
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