Former ruling royal and imperial house of Prussia and German Empire

The House of Hohenzollern (/hənˈzɒlərn/, also US: /-əntsɔː-, ˌhənˈzɒlərn, -ˈzɔː-/,[1][2][3][4] German: [ˌhoːənˈtsɔlɐn], German: Haus Hohenzollern, Romanian: Casa de Hohenzollern) is a German royal and from 1871 to 1918, imperial dynasty whose members were variously princes, electors, kings and emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire (respectively), and Romania. The family came from the area around the town of Hechingen in Swabia during the late 11th century and took their name from Hohenzollern Castle.[5] The first ancestors of the Hohenzollerns were mentioned in 1061.

The Hohenzollern family split into two branches, the Catholic Swabian branch and the Protestant Franconian branch,[6] which ruled the Burgraviate of Nuremberg and later became the Brandenburg-Prussian branch. The Swabian branch ruled the principalities of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen until 1849, and also ruled Romania from 1866 to 1947. Members of the Franconian branch became Margrave of Brandenburg in 1415 and Duke of Prussia in 1525.

The Margraviate of Brandenburg and the Duchy of Prussia were ruled in personal union after 1618 and were called Brandenburg-Prussia. From there, the Kingdom of Prussia was created in 1701, eventually leading to the unification of Germany and the creation of the German Empire in 1871, with the Hohenzollerns as hereditary German Emperors and Kings of Prussia.

Germany's defeat in World War I in 1918 led to the German Revolution. The Hohenzollerns were overthrown and the Weimar Republic was established, thus bringing an end to the German monarchy and Prussian monarchy. Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia is the current head of the formerly royal Prussian line, while Karl Friedrich, Prince of Hohenzollern is the head of the formerly princely Swabian line.[6]

County of Zollern

Hohenzollern Castle near Hechingen was built in the mid-19th century by Frederick William IV of Prussia.
Alpirsbach Abbey, founded by the Hohenzollerns

Zollern, from 1218 Hohenzollern, was a county of the Holy Roman Empire. Later its capital was Hechingen.

The Hohenzollerns named their estates after Hohenzollern Castle in the Swabian Alps. The Hohenzollern Castle lies on an 855 meters high mountain called Hohenzollern. It still belongs to the family today.

The dynasty was first mentioned in 1061. According to the medieval chronicler Berthold of Reichenau, Burkhard I, Count of Zollern (de Zolorin) was born before 1025 and died in 1061.[7]

In 1095, Count Adalbert of Zollern founded the Benedictine monastery of Alpirsbach, situated in the Black Forest.

The Zollerns received the Graf title from Emperor Henry V in 1111.[8]

As loyal vassals of the Swabian Hohenstaufen dynasty, they were able to significantly enlarge their territory. Count Frederick III (c. 1139 – c. 1200) accompanied Emperor Frederick Barbarossa against Henry the Lion in 1180, and through his marriage was granted the Burgraviate of Nuremberg by Emperor Henry VI in 1192. In about 1185, he married Sophia of Raabs, the daughter of Conrad II, Burgrave of Nuremberg.[6] After the death of Conrad II who left no male heirs, Frederick III was granted Nuremberg as Burgrave Frederick I.

In 1218, the burgraviate passed to Frederick's elder son Conrad I, he thereby became the ancestor of the Franconian Hohenzollern branch, which acquired the Electorate of Brandenburg in 1415.[6]

Counts of Zollern (1061–1204)

After Frederick's death, his sons partitioned the family lands between themselves:

  • Conrad I received the county of Zollern and exchanged it for the burgraviate of Nuremberg with his younger brother Frederick IV in 1218, thereby founding the Franconian branch of the House of Hohenzollern. Members of the Franconian line eventually became the Brandenburg-Prussia branch and later converted to Protestantism.
  • Frederick IV received the burgraviate of Nuremberg in 1200 from his father and exchanged it for the county of Zollern in 1218 with his brother, thereby founding the Swabian branch of the House of Hohenzollern, which remains Catholic.[6]

Franconian branch

The senior Franconian branch of the House of Hohenzollern was founded by Conrad I, Burgrave of Nuremberg (1186–1261).

The family supported the Hohenstaufen and Habsburg rulers of the Holy Roman Empire during the 12th to 15th centuries, being rewarded with several territorial grants. Beginning in the 16th century, this branch of the family became Protestant and decided on expansion through marriage and the purchase of surrounding lands.

In the first phase, the family gradually added to their lands, at first with many small acquisitions in the Franconian region of Germany:

In the second phase, the family expanded their lands further with large acquisitions in the Brandenburg and Prussian regions of Germany and present-day Poland:

These acquisitions eventually transformed the Franconian Hohenzollerns from a minor German princely family into one of the most important dynasties in Europe.

From 8 January 1701 the title of Elector of Brandenburg was attached to the title of King in Prussia and, from 13 September 1772, to that of King of Prussia.

Burgraves of Nuremberg (1192–1427)

COA family de Burggrafen von Nürnberg (Haus Hohenzollern).svg
Region of Nuremberg, Ansbach, Kulmbach and Bayreuth (Franconia)
  • 1192–1200/1204: Frederick I (also count of Zollern as Frederick III)
  • 1204–1218: Frederick II (son of, also count of Zollern as Frederick IV)
  • 1218–1261/1262: Conrad I/III (brother of, also count of Zollern)
  • 1262–1297: Frederick III (c. 1220–1297), son of
  • 1297–1300: John I (c. 1279–1300), son of
  • 1300–1332: Frederick IV (1287–1332), brother of
  • 1332–1357: John II (c. 1309–1357), son of
  • 1357–1397: Frederick V (before 1333–1398), son of

At Frederick V's death on 21 January 1398, his lands were partitioned between his two sons:

After John III/I's death on 11 June 1420, the margraviates of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Kulmbach were briefly reunited under Frederick VI/I/I. He ruled the Margraviate of Brandenburg-Ansbach after 1398. From 1420, he became Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach. From 1411 Frederick VI became governor of Brandenburg and later Elector and Margrave of Brandenburg as Frederick I. Upon his death on 21 September 1440, his territories were divided among his sons:

In 1427 Frederick, Elector of Brandenburg sold Nuremberg Castle and his rights as burgrave to the Imperial City of Nuremberg. The territories of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Kulmbach remained possessions of the family, once parts of the Burgraviate of Nuremberg.

Margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1398–1791)

Wappen Brandenburg-Ansbach.svg

On 2 December 1791, Christian II Frederick sold the sovereignty of his principalities to King Frederick William II of Prussia.

Margraves of Brandenburg-Kulmbach (1398–1604), later Brandenburg-Bayreuth (1604–1791)


On 2 December 1791, Charles Alexander sold the sovereignty of his principalities to King Frederick William II of Prussia.

Dukes of Jägerndorf (1523–1622)

Krnov znak.png

The Duchy of Jägerndorf (Krnov) was purchased in 1523.

The duchy of Jägerndorf was confiscated by Emperor Ferdinand III in 1622.

Brandenburg-Prussian branch

Margraves of Brandenburg (1415–1619)

Frederick VI became Margrave of Brandenburg in 1415.

In 1411, Frederick VI, Burgrave of the small but wealthy Nuremberg, was appointed governor of Brandenburg in order to restore order and stability. At the Council of Constance in 1415, King Sigismund elevated Frederick to the rank of Elector and Margrave of Brandenburg as Frederick I. According to the Iron Kingdom, the most comprehensive book about the history of Pressure written by historian Christopher Clarck, in 1417, Elector Frederick purchased Brandenburg from its then-sovereign, Emperor Sigismund, for 400,000 Hungarian guilders.

Portrait Name
Dynastic Status Reign Birth Death Marriages
Friedrich I. von Brandenburg.jpg Frederick I also as Frederick VI Burgrave of Nuremberg 1415–1440 1371 1440 Elisabeth of Bavaria
Friedrich II 300f.jpg Frederick II Son of 1440–1471 1413 1471 Catherine of Saxony
AlbrechtAchilles.jpg Albrecht III Achilles Brother of 1471–1486 1414 1486 Margaret of Baden

Anna of Saxony

JohannCicero1500.JPG John Cicero Son of 1486–1499 1455 1499 Margaret of Thuringia
Lucas Cranach (I) - Joachim I Nestor - Jagdschloss Grunewald.jpg Joachim I Nestor Son of 1499–1535 1484 1535 Elizabeth of Denmark
JoachimII.vonBrandenburg.JPG Joachim II Hector Son of 1535–1571 1505 1571 Magdalena of Saxony

Hedwig of Poland

JohannGeorg1564.JPG John George Son of 1571–1598 1525 1598 Sophie of Legnica

Sabina of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Elisabeth of Anhalt-Zerbst

JoachimFriedrichBrandenburg1600.JPG Joachim Frederick Son of 1598–1608 1546 1608 Catherine of Brandenburg-Küstrin

Eleanor of Prussia

Johann Sigismund 02 IV 13 2 0026 01 0318 a Seite 1 Bild 0001.jpg John Sigismund Son of

personal union with Prussia after 1618 called Brandenburg-Prussia.

1608–1619 1572 1619 Anna, Duchess of Prussia

Margraves of Brandenburg-Küstrin (1535–1571)

DEU Kuestrin-Kietz COA.svg

The short-lived Margraviate of Brandenburg-Küstrin was set up as a secundogeniture of the House of Hohenzollern.

Margraves of Brandenburg-Schwedt (1688–1788)

Wappen der Stadt Schwedt.svg

Although recognized as a branch of the dynasty since 1688, the Margraviate of Brandenburg-Schwedt remained subordinate to the electors, and was never an independent principality.

Dukes of Prussia (1525–1701)

POL Prusy książęce COA.svg
Growth of Brandenburg-Prussia, 1600–1795

In 1525, the Duchy of Prussia was established as a fief of the King of Poland. Albert of Prussia was the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights and the first Duke of Prussia. He belonged to the Ansbach branch of the dynasty. The Duchy of Prussia adopted Protestantism as the official state religion.

From 1701, the title of Duke of Prussia was attached to the title of King in and of Prussia.

Kings in Prussia (1701–1772)

Arms of East Prussia.svg
Coronation of Frederick I in Königsberg

In 1701, the title of King in Prussia was granted, without the Duchy of Prussia being elevated to a Kingdom within the Holy Roman Empire. From 1701 onwards the titles of Duke of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg were always attached to the title of King in Prussia. The Duke of Prussia adopted the title of king as Frederick I, establishing his status as a monarch whose royal territory lay outside the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire, with the assent of Emperor Leopold I: Frederick could not be "King of Prussia" because part of Prussia's lands were under the suzerainty of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland. In the age of absolutism, most monarchs were obsessed with the desire to emulate Louis XIV of France with his luxurious palace at Versailles.

In 1772, the Duchy of Prussia was elevated to a kingdom.

Portrait Name
Dynastic Status Reign Birth Death Marriages
Frederick I of Prussia (cropped).jpg Frederick I
Son of 1701–1713
Duke of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg since 1688
1657 1713 Elisabeth Henriette of Hesse-Kassel

Sophia Charlotte of Hanover
Sophia Louise of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

Friedrich Wilhelm I 1713.jpg Frederick William I Son of 1713–1740 1688 1740 Sophia Dorothea of Hanover
Friedrich der Große (1781 or 1786) - Google Art Project.jpg Frederick II
the Great
Son of 1740–1772
King of Prussia from 1772
1712 1786 Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern

Kings of Prussia (1772–1918)

Expansion of Prussia, 1807–1871

Frederick William's successor, Frederick the Great gained Silesia in the Silesian Wars so that Prussia emerged as a great power. The king was strongly influenced by French culture and civilization and preferred the French language.

In 1772, the title King of Prussia was assumed. From 1772 onwards the titles of Duke of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg were always attached to the title King of Prussia.

In 1871, the Kingdom of Prussia became a constituent member of the German Empire, and the King of Prussia gained the additional title of German Emperor.

Portrait Name
Dynastic Status Reign Birth Death Marriages
Friedrich der Große (1781 or 1786) - Google Art Project.jpg Frederick II
the Great
Son of 1772–1786
King in Prussia since 1740
1712 1786 Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern
Friedrich Wilhelm II., König von Preußen (Graff Kopie).jpg Frederick William II Nephew of 1786–1797 1744 1797 Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Lüneburg

Frederika Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt

Friedrich Wilhelm III., König von Preußen (unbekannter Maler).jpg Frederick William III Son of 1797–1840 1770 1840 Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Auguste von Harrach

Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia (1847).jpg Frederick William IV Son of 1840–1861 1795 1861 Elisabeth Ludovika of Bavaria
Kaiser Wilhelm I. .JPG William I Brother of 1861–1888
German Emperor from 1871
1797 1888 Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Emperor Friedrich III.png Frederick III Son of
German Emperor
1831 1888 Victoria, Princess Royal
Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany - 1902.jpg Wilhelm II Son of 1888–1918
German Emperor
1859 1941 Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein

Hermine Reuss of Greiz

German Emperors (1871–1918)

Wappenschild des Deutschen Kaiserreiches (1889-1918).svg
Prussia in the German Empire, 1871–1918

In 1871, the German Empire was proclaimed. With the accession of William I to the newly established imperial German throne, the titles of King of Prussia, Duke of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg were always attached to the title of German Emperor.

Prussia's Minister President Otto von Bismarck convinced William that German Emperor instead of Emperor of Germany would be appropriate. He became primus inter pares among other German sovereigns.

William II intended to develop a German navy capable of challenging Britain's Royal Navy. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on 28 June 1914 set off the chain of events that led to World War I. As a result of the war, the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires ceased to exist.

In 1918, the German empire was abolished and replaced by the Weimar Republic. After the outbreak of the German revolution in 1918, both Emperor William II and Crown Prince William signed the document of abdication.

Brandenburg-Prussian branch since 1918 abdication

Georg Friedrich, the head of the Prussian Hohenzollerns and his wife

In June 1926, a referendum on expropriating the formerly ruling princes of Germany without compensation failed and as a consequence, the financial situation of the Hohenzollern family improved considerably. A settlement between the state and the family made Cecilienhof property of the state but granted a right of residence to Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Cecilie. The family also kept the ownership of Monbijou Palace in Berlin, Oleśnica Castle in Silesia, Rheinsberg Palace, Schwedt Palace and other property until 1945.

Since the abolition of the German monarchy, no Hohenzollern claims to imperial or royal prerogatives are recognized by Germany's Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany of 1949, which guarantees a republic.

The communist government of the Soviet occupation zone expropriated all landowners and industrialists; the House of Hohenzollern lost almost all of its fortune, retaining a few company shares and Hohenzollern Castle in West Germany. The Polish government appropriated the Silesian property and the Dutch government seized Huis Doorn, the Emperor's seat in exile.

After German reunification, however, the family was legally able to reclaim their portable property, namely art collections and parts of the interior of their former palaces. Negotiations on the return of or compensation for these assets are not yet completed.

The Berlin Palace, home of the German monarchs, was rebuilt in 2020. The Berlin Palace and the Humboldt Forum are located in the middle of Berlin.

Order of succession

Name Titular
Relation to predecessor
Wilhelm II 1918–1941 Succeeded himself as pretender to the throne.
Crown Prince Wilhelm 1941–1951 Son of
Louis Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia 1951–1994 Son of
Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia since 1994 Grandson of
Carl Friedrich, Prince of Prussia Son of (heir apparent)

The head of the house is the titular King of Prussia and German Emperor. He also bears a historical claim to the title of Prince of Orange. Members of this line style themselves princes of Prussia.

Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, the current head of the royal Prussian House of Hohenzollern, was married to Princess Sophie of Isenburg on 27 August 2011. On 20 January 2013, she gave birth to twin sons, Carl Friedrich Franz Alexander and Louis Ferdinand Christian Albrecht, in Bremen. Carl Friedrich, the elder of the two, is the heir apparent.[10]

Royal House of Hohenzollern table

Table of the Royal Brandenburg-Prussian House of Hohenzollern

Swabian branch

Combined coat of arms of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1849)

The cadet Swabian[11] branch of the House of Hohenzollern was founded by Frederick IV, Count of Zollern. The family ruled three territories with seats at, respectively, Hechingen, Sigmaringen and Haigerloch. The counts were elevated to princes in 1623. The Swabian branch of the Hohenzollerns is Roman Catholic.

Affected by economic problems and internal feuds, the Hohenzollern counts from the 14th century onwards came under pressure by their neighbors, the Counts of Württemberg and the cities of the Swabian League, whose troops besieged and finally destroyed Hohenzollern Castle in 1423. Nevertheless, the Hohenzollerns retained their estates, backed by their Brandenburg cousins and the Imperial House of Habsburg. In 1535, Count Charles I of Hohenzollern (1512–1576) received the counties of Sigmaringen and Veringen as Imperial fiefs.[6]

In 1576, when Charles I, Count of Hohenzollern died, his county was divided to form the three Swabian branches. Eitel Frederick IV took Hohenzollern with the title of Hohenzollern-Hechingen, Karl II took Sigmaringen and Veringen, and Christopher got Haigerloch. Christopher's family died out in 1634.

In 1695, the remaining two Swabian branches entered into an agreement with the Margrave of Brandenburg, which provided that if both branches became extinct, the principalities should fall to Brandenburg. Because of the Revolutions of 1848, Constantine, Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Karl Anton, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen abdicated their thrones in December 1849. The principalities were ruled by the Kings of Prussia from December 1849 onwards, with the Hechingen and Sigmaringen branches obtaining official treatment as cadets of the Prussian royal family.

The Hohenzollern-Hechingen branch became extinct in 1869. A descendant of this branch was Countess Sophie Chotek, morganatic wife of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Lotharingen.

Counts of Hohenzollern (1204–1575)

Hohenzollern region, in present-day Baden-Württemberg, Germany (red color) and their Prussian cousins' kingdom (light beige)

In 1204, the County of Hohenzollern was established out of the fusion of the County of Zollern and the Burgraviate of Nuremberg. The Swabian branch inherited the county of Zollern and, being descended from Frederick I of Nuremberg, were all named "Friedrich" down through the 11th generation.[12] Each one's numeral is counted from the first Friedrich to rule his branch's appanage.[12]

The most senior of these in the 12th century, Count Frederick VIII (d. 1333), had two sons, the elder of whom became Frederick IX (d. 1379), first Count of Hohenzollern, and fathered Friedrich X who left no sons when he died in 1412.[12]

But the younger son of Friedrich VIII, called Friedrich of Strassburg, uniquely, took no numeral of his own, retaining the old title "Count of Zollern" and pre-deceased his brother in 1364/65.[12] Prince Wilhelm Karl zu Isenburg's 1957 genealogical series, Europäische Stammtafeln, says Friedrich of Strassburg shared, rather, in the rule of Zollern with his elder brother until his premature death.[12]

It appears, but is not stated, that Strassburg's son became the recognized co-ruler of his cousin Friedrich X (as compensation for having received no appanage and/or because of incapacity on the part of Friedrich X) and, as such, assumed (or is, historically, attributed) the designation Frederick XI although he actually pre-deceased Friedrich X, dying in 1401.

Friedrich XI, however, left two sons who jointly succeeded their cousin-once-removed, being Count Frederick XII (d. childless 1443) and Count Eitel Friedrich I (d. 1439), the latter becoming the ancestor of all subsequent branches of the Princes of Hohenzollern.[12]

In the 12th century, a son of Frederick I secured the county of Hohenberg. The county remained in the possession of the family until 1486.

The influence of the Swabian line was weakened by several partitions of its lands. In the 16th century, the situation changed completely when Eitel Frederick II, a friend and adviser of the emperor Maximilian I, received the district of Haigerloch. His grandson Charles I was granted the counties of Sigmaringen and Vehringen by Charles V.

Counts, later Princes of Hohenzollern-Hechingen (1576–1849)

Stetten Abbey church in Hechingen, the burial place of the Swabian line

The County of Hohenzollern-Hechingen was established in 1576 with allodial rights. It included the original County of Zollern, with the Hohenzollern Castle and the monastery at Stetten.

In December 1849, the ruling princes of both Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen abdicated their thrones, and their principalities were incorporated as the Prussian province of Hohenzollern.[6] The Hechingen branch became extinct in dynastic line with Konstantin's death in 1869.

Portrait Name
Dynastic Status Reign Birth Death Marriages
Eitelivs Fridericvs Comes Zollerensis.jpg Eitel Friedrich IV Son of Charles I 1576–1605 1545 1605 Veronica of Ortenburg

Sibylle of Zimmern
Johanna of Eberstein

Coat of Arms of House of Hohenzollern (small).png Johann Georg Son of

raised to Prince in 1623

1605–1623 1577 1623 Franziska of Salm-Neufville
Coat of Arms of House of Hohenzollern (small).png Eitel Frederick V Son of

also count of Hohenzollern-Hechingen

1623–1661 1601 1661 Maria Elisabeth van Bergh ’s-Heerenberg
Coat of Arms of House of Hohenzollern (small).png Philipp Brother of 1661–1671 1616 1671 Marie Sidonie of Baden-Rodemachern
Friedrich Wilhelm, Fùrst von Hohenzollern-Hechingen (1663-1735).jpg Friedrich Wilhelm Son of 1671–1735 1663 1735 Maria Leopoldina of Sinzendorf

Maximiliane Magdalena of Lützau

Coat of Arms of House of Hohenzollern (small).png Friedrich Ludwig Son of 1735–1750 1688 1750 unmarried
JosefHohenzollernHechingen.jpg Josef Friedrich Wilhelm Son of Herman Frederick of Hohenzollern-Hechingen 1750–1798 1717 1798 Maria Theresia Folch de Cardona y Silva

Maria Theresia of Waldburg-Zeil

Hermannhohenzollern.jpg Hermann Son of Franz Xaver of Hohenzollern-Hechingen 1798–1810 1751 1810 Louise of Merode-Westerloo

Maximiliane of Gavre
Maria Antonia of Waldburg-Zeil-Wurzach

Coat of Arms of House of Hohenzollern (small).png Friedrich Hermann Otto Son of 1810–1838 1776 1838 Pauline, Duchess of Sagan
KonstantinHohenzHech.jpg Constantine Son of 1838–1849 1801 1869 Eugénie de Beauharnais

Amalie Schenk von Geyern

Counts of Hohenzollern-Haigerloch (1576–1634 and 1681–1767)

Wappen Haigerloch.svg

The County of Hohenzollern-Haigerloch was established in 1576 without allodial rights.

Between 1634 and 1681, the county was temporarily integrated into the principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.

Upon the death of Francis Christopher Anton in 1767, the Haigerloch territory was incorporated into the principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.

Counts, later Princes of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1576–1849)

Sigmaringen Castle

The County of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was established in 1576 with allodial rights and a seat at Sigmaringen Castle.


In December 1849, sovereignty over the principality was yielded to the Franconian branch of the family and incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia, which accorded status as cadets of the Prussian Royal Family to the Swabian Hohenzollerns. The last ruling Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Karl Anton, would later serve as Minister President of Prussia between 1858 and 1862.

Portrait Name
Dynastic Status Reign Birth Death Marriages
Karl II hohenzollern.jpg Charles II Son of Charles I 1576–1606 1547 1606 Euphrosyne of Oettingen-Wallerstein

Elisabeth of Palant

Jean de Hohenzollern 1578-1638.jpg Johann Son of

elevated to Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in 1623

1606–1638 1578 1638 Johanna of Hohenzollern-Hechingen
Meinrad von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.jpg Meinrad I Son of 1638–1681 1605 1681 Anna Marie of Törring at Seefeld
Maximilien I de Hohenzollern.jpg Maximilian I Son of 1681–1689 1636 1689 Maria Clara of Berg-'s-Heerenberg
Coat of Arms of House of Hohenzollern (small).png Meinrad II Son of 1689–1715 1673 1715 Johanna Catharina of Montfort
JosefFriedrErnstHohenzSig.jpg Joseph Friedrich Ernst Son of 1715–1769 1702 1769 Marie Franziska of Oettingen-Spielberg

Judith of Closen-Arnstorf
Maria Theresa of Waldburg-Trauchburg

Coat of Arms of House of Hohenzollern (small).png Karl Friedrich Son of 1769–1785 1724 1785 Johanna of Hohenzollern-Bergh
Adel im Wandel401.jpg Anton Aloys Son of 1785–1831 1762 1831 Amalie Zephyrine of Salm-Kyrburg
Adel im Wandel403.jpg Karl Son of 1831–1848 1785 1853 Marie Antoinette Murat

Katharina of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst

Karl Anton von Hohenzollern.jpg Karl Anton Son of 1848–1849 1811 1885 Josephine of Baden

House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen after 1849

Map of the Prussian Province of Hohenzollern after 1850
Karl Friedrich, Prince of Hohenzollern, head of the Swabian branch

The family continued to use the title of Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. After the Hechingen branch became extinct in 1869, the Sigmaringen branch adopted title of Prince of Hohenzollern.

In 1866, Prince Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was chosen prince of Romania, becoming King Carol I of Romania in 1881.

Charles's elder brother, Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern, was offered the Spanish throne in 1870 after a revolt exiled Isabella II in 1868. Although encouraged by Bismarck to accept, Leopold declined in the face of French opposition. Nonetheless, Bismarck altered and then published the Ems telegram to create a casus belli: France declared war, but Bismarck's Germany won the Franco-Prussian War.

The head of the Sigmaringen branch (the only extant line of the Swabian branch of the dynasty) is Karl Friedrich, styled His Serene Highness The Prince of Hohenzollern. His official seat is Sigmaringen Castle.[6]

Kings of the Romanians

Kingdom of Romania - Small CoA.svg

Reigning (1866–1947)

Coronation of Carol I in Bucharest
Evolution of Romania

The Principality of Romania was established in 1862, after the Ottoman vassal states of Wallachia and Moldavia had been united in 1859 under Alexandru Ioan Cuza as Prince of Romania in a personal union. He was deposed in 1866 by the Romanian parliament.

Prince Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was invited to become reigning Prince of Romania in 1866. In 1881 he became Carol I, King of Romania. Carol I had an only daughter who died young, so the younger son of his brother Leopold, Prince Ferdinand of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, would succeed his uncle as King of Romania in 1914, and his descendants, having converted to the Orthodox Church, continued to reign there until the end of the monarchy in 1947.

Portrait Name
Dynastic Status Reign Birth Death Marriages
Carol I King of Romania.jpg Carol I Son of Karl Anton, Prince of Hohenzollern

titled as Prince until 1881

1866–1914 1839 1914 Elisabeth of Wied
King Ferdinand of Romania.jpg Ferdinand I Nephew of Carol I 1914–1927 1865 1927 Marie of Edinburgh
Mihai.jpg Michael I Grandson of Ferdinand I
1st reign
1927–1930 (regency) 1921 2017 Anne of Bourbon-Parma
Carol al II-lea.jpg Carol II Son of Ferdinand I 1930–1940 1893 1953 Zizi Lambrino

Helen of Greece and Denmark
Magda Lupescu

Mihai.jpg Michael I Son of Carol II
2nd reign
1940–1947 1921 2017 Anne of Bourbon-Parma

Succession since 1947

In 1947, the King Michael I abdicated and the country was proclaimed a People's Republic. Michael did not press his claim to the defunct Romanian throne, but he was welcomed back to the country after half a century in exile as a private citizen, with substantial former royal properties being placed at his disposal. However, his dynastic claim was not recognized by post-Communist Romanians.

On 10 May 2011, King Michael I severed the dynastic ties between the Romanian Royal Family and the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.[13] After that the branch of the Hohenzollerns was dynastically represented only by the last king Michael, and his daughters. Having no sons, he declared that his dynastic heir, instead of being a male member of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen princely family to which he formerly belonged patrilineally and in accordance with the last Romanian monarchical constitution, should be his eldest daughter Margareta.[14]

The royal house remains popular in Romania[15] and in 2014 Prime Minister Victor Ponta promised a referendum on whether or not to reinstate the monarchy if he were re-elected.[16]


Palaces of the Prussian Hohenzollerns

Palaces of the Franconian branches

Palaces of the Swabian Hohenzollerns

Property claims

In mid-2019, it was revealed that Prince Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, Head of the House of Hohenzollern had filed claims for permanent right of residency for his family in Cecilienhof, or one of two other Hohenzollern palaces in Potsdam, as well as return of the family library, 266 paintings, an imperial crown and sceptre, and the letters of Empress Augusta Victoria.[17]

Central to the argument was that Monbijou Palace, which had been permanently given to the family following the fall of the Kaiser, was demolished by the East German government in 1959. Lawyers for the German state argued that the involvement of members of the family in National Socialism had voided any such rights.[17]

In June 2019, a claim made by Prince Georg Friedrich that Rheinfels Castle be returned to the Hohenzollern family was dismissed by a court. In 1924, the ruined Castle had been given by the state of Rhineland-Palatinate to the town of St Goar, under the provision it was not sold. In 1998, the town leased the ruins to a nearby hotel. His case made the claim that this constituted a breach of the bequest.[18]

Coats of arms

Members of the family after abdication

Royal Prussian branch

Princely Swabian branch

See also



  1. ^ "Hohenzollern". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Hohenzollern". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Hohenzollern" (US) and "Hohenzollern". Oxford Dictionaries UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. n.d. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Hohenzollern". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica. Hohenzollern Dynasty".
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser XIX. "Haus Hohenzollern". C.A. Starke Verlag, 2011, pp. 30–33. ISBN 978-3-7980-0849-6.
  7. ^ "Jeep, John. Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia".
  8. ^ "Cawley, Charles. Swabia, Nobility".
  9. ^ a b c Schmid, Ludwig (1862). Geschichte der Grafen von Zollern-Hohenberg. Geschichte der Grafen von Zollern-Hohenberg. Anhang. Historisch-topographische Zusammenstellung der Grafschaft und Besitzungen des Hauses Zollern-Hohenberg. Google Books: Gebrüder Scheitlin. Retrieved February 1, 2013. schmid zollern.
  10. ^ "Official Website of the House of Hohenzollern: Prinz Georg Friedrich von Preußen". Archived from the original on 2014-02-18. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  11. ^ Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe, Jiří Louda & Michael Maclagan, 1981, pp. 178–179.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Huberty, Michel; Giraud, Alain; Magdelaine, F.; B. (1989). L'Allemagne Dynastique, Tome V – Hohenzollern-Waldeck. France: Laballery. pp. 30, 33. ISBN 2-901138-05-5.
  13. ^ "Romania's former King Michael ends ties with German Hohenzollern dynasty". The Canadian Press. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  14. ^ ""King Michael I broke ties with historical and dynastic House of Hohenzollern" in Adevarul – News Bucharest, 10 May 2011".
  15. ^ V.P. Long live the ex-king; The former King Michael is received warmly in parliament October 25, 2011
  16. ^ "Romania may hold a referendum on the return of Monarchy". 29 October 2014.
  17. ^ a b Derek Scally (25 July 2019). "The fall of the House of Hohenzollern". Irish Times.
  18. ^ Josie Le Blond (25 June 2019). "Kaiser's descendant loses court battle to regain 13th-century castle". The Guardian.

Further reading

  • Bogdan, Henry. Les Hohenzollern : La dynastie qui a fait l'Allemagne (1061–1918)
  • Carlyle, Thomas. A Short Introduction to the House of Hohenzollern (2014)
  • Clark, Christopher. Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947 (2009), standard scholarly history ISBN 978-0-7139-9466-7
  • Koch, H. W. History of Prussia (1987), short scholarly history

External links

Royal house
House of Hohenzollern
Founding year: 12th century
German unification Ruling House of Germany
18 January 1871 – 9 November 1918
Prussia established Ruling House of Prussia
1525 – 9 November 1918
Romanian unification Ruling House of Romania
26 March 1881 – 30 December 1947