Princess Herzeleide of Prussia

Princess Herzeleide-Ina-Marie Sophie Charlotte Else of Prussia (25 December 1918 – 22 March 1989) was a member of the deposed House of Hohenzollern.[1] She was the only daughter of Prince Oskar of Prussia (the second youngest son of Emperor Wilhelm II) and his initially morganatic wife, Countess Ina Marie von Bassewitz. She is the mother of Ernst-Johann Biron, Prince of Courland, the current head of the House of Biron.

Princess Herzeleide
Princess Biron von Courland
Born(1918-12-25)25 December 1918
Bristow, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Weimar Republic
Died22 March 1989(1989-03-22) (aged 70)
Munich, West Germany
Burial27 March 1989
Nordfriedhof, Munich, Germany
SpouseKarl, Prince Biron von Courland
IssuePrincess Benigna
Ernst-Johann Biron, Prince of Courland
Prince Michael
Full name
German: Herzeleide-Ina-Marie Sophie Charlotte Else
FatherPrince Oskar of Prussia
MotherCountess Ina Marie von Bassewitz
Prussian Royalty
House of Hohenzollern
Wilhelm II
Prince Wilhelm
Prince Louis Ferdinand
Prince Hubertus
Prince Frederick
Prince Alexander Ferdinand
Princess Alexandrine
Prince Oskar
Princess Victoria Marina
Prince Karl Franz
Prince Burchard
Princess Cecilie
Princess Victoria Marina
Herzeleide, Princess of Courland
Prince Wilhem Victor
Prince Wilhelm-Karl


Family and early life

Countess Herzeleide-Ina-Marie von Ruppin was born on Christmas Day 1918, shortly after the defeat of the German Empire and the collapse of the monarchy. She was consequently given the name Herzeleide, meaning "heart's sorrow".[2] She had three brothers: Oscar, Burchard, and Wilhelm-Karl. Herzeleide and her brothers became Princess/Prince of Prussia on 21 June 1920 when their parents' morganatic marriage was recognised as dynastic by the deposed Emperor Wilhelm II.

In early 1938, Herzeleide was one of three bridesmaids at the wedding of the future King Paul of Greece to Frederica of Hanover, her first cousin.[3]

Marriage and issue

On 15 August 1938 in Potsdam Garrison Church, Herzeleide married Karl Biron, Prince von Courland (born 15 June 1907).[1][2][4] Karl was the eldest son and heir of Prince Gustav Biron of Courland, descendants of the Biron family that obtained sovereignty of the Baltic Duchy of Courland and Semigallia by marriage in the 18th century. Along with the bride and groom's parents, in attendance were former German Crown Prince Wilhelm and Emperor Wilhelm's consort, Empress Hermine.[2] All male guests wore uniforms of the former German army.[4] The couple's honeymoon plans included a visit to Doorn to pay respects to Emperor Wilhelm in exile,[2][4] the bride's paternal grandfather. Subsequently they took up residence in Munich.[5]

They had three children:[5]

  • Princess Viktoria-Benigna Ina-Marie Cecilie Friederike-Luise Helene Biron von Courland (b. 2 July 1939) married Johannes, Baron von Twickel on 3 May 1968, and had issue:
    • Nikolaus Maximilian Ludwig Karl Ernst-Johann Maria von Twickel (Nikolaus, Baron von Twickel)
    • Tassilo Heinrich Alexander von Twickel (Tassilo, Baron von Twickel)
  • Ernst-Johann, Prince Biron von Courland (b. 6 August 1940) married to Countess Elisabeth Victoria Raimon zu Ysenburg-Büdingen, and has issue.
  • Prince Michael Karl August Wilhelm Biron von Courland (b. 20 January 1944) married to Kristin von Oertzen on 1 July 1969, and has issue:
    • Princess Veronika Biron von Courland (b. 23 Jan 1970)
    • Prince Alexander Biron von Courland (b. 18 Sep 1972)
    • Princess Stephanie Biron von Courland (b. 24 Sep 1975)

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 25 December 1918 – 21 June 1920: Countess Herzeleide von Ruppin
  • 21 June 1920 – 15 August 1938: Her Royal Highness Princess Herzeleide of Prussia
  • 15 August 1938 – 1982: Her Royal Highness Herzeleide, Princess Biron von Courland
  • 1982 - 22 March 1989: Her Royal Highness Herzeleide, Dowager Princess Biron von Courland



  1. Lundy, Darryl. "The Peerage: Herzeleide-Ina-Marie Sophie Charlotte Else Prinzessin von Preußen". Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  2. "Princess Herzeleide Married in Potsdam; Granddaughter of Ex-Kaiser Wed to Prince de Courland", The New York Times, Potsdam, Germany, 17 August 1938
  3. "Greek Royal Family", The Irish Times, 10 January 1938
  4. "Court & Personal; Wedding of Ex-Kaiser's Granddaughter", The Manchester Guardian, 17 August 1938
  5. Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh (editor). Burke's Guide to the Royal Family, Burke's Peerage, London, 1973, pp. 300, 302. ISBN 0-220-66222-3
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