Pictures by two friends of mine, including Royal Travel & Events
In the early hours of Tuesday 7 June 2022 Duke Carl von Württemberg died aged 85 in a hospital in Ravensburg, Germany. He had already health problems for a few years, that slowly got worse. But his death after a hospital stay of a few days still came as a surprise.
Carl Maria Peter Ferdinand Philipp Albrecht Joseph Michael Pius Konrad Robert Ulrich Duke von Württemberg was born in Friedrichshafen am Bodensee, Germany, on 1 August 1936 as second son of Duke Philipp Albrecht and his wife Archduchess Rosa of Austria, Princess of Tuscany. The young duke studied law at the Eberhard Carls University in Tübingen. As second son he wasn’t destinated to become the next head of the royal family of Württemberg. However his elder brother Duke Ludwig (1930-2019) gave up his rights on 29 June 1959. It was agreed that Carl would be the heir to his father.
When Duke Philipp Albrecht died in 1975 Carl became the head of the royal family of Württemberg and chef of the Hofkammer des Hauses Württemberg. The Hofkammer manages around 5.500 hectares of forest, around 2,000 hectars of meadows and fields, and fifty hectares of veinyards, not only in Germany but also aborad. The Hofkammer also maintains about 70 cultural monuments of the House of Württemberg. During the funeral service it was said that the Duke was very generous and always tried to help when people or projects needed money.
Carl in July 1960 married Princess Diane of France (1940). She once told in an interview that he actually came to see her more beautiful sisters, but that he chose her, because she was more fun. The couple lived at Altshausen Castle in Altshausen. They had six children: Friedrich (1961-2018), Mathilde (1962), Eberhard (1963), Philipp (1964), Michael (1965) and Fleur (1977). Diane and Carl had 16 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The death of his eldest son and heir Duke Friedrich in a car accident was a huge blow. It is Friedrich’s son Duke Wilhelm (1994), who at the age of 27 has become the new head of the house.
The people of Altshausen were already able to say goodbye to their duke on Friday 1 July, when also the coffin was taken to the castle church on a gun carriage pulled by four horses. Several musical groups and the Gelben Husaren, Altshausen’s historical civil guard, accompanied him. Tens of wreaths, also from royals, laid outside the church, while the ones of the closest relatives were inside the castle church.
The funeral service
The funeral service itself at 11am was only for invited guests, but around 250 people followed the service on screens outside at the market square in front of the castle church. Before the funeral the wife, children(-in-law) and the new head of the family Duke Wilhelm in procession went from the castle, through the castleyard, to the church. It was bishop Gebhard Fürst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart who led the catholic Requiem. The service was very moving and very personal. Parts of the requiem of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played a role. Four grandchildren – Amélie, Marie-Therese, Maximilian (in French) and Zeno – held the intercessions. The coffin, covered by the flag of Württemberg topped by a pink floral piece, surrounded by candles, stood in front of the altar. Also his decorations were placed in front of the coffin.
After the service the Duke’s coffin was placed in the family vault behind the altar in the castle church in private. Here a ritual was held, that is known from the Austrian imperial family. There are three knocks on the door of the vault. After the question, “Who seeks admittance?”, the deceased is mentioned with all his names and titles. The answer: “We don’t know him!” Another try using a simplified name, but with a lot of important functions mentioned. The answer still is: “We don’t know him!” Finally another try saying: “Carl – a mortal, sinful man!”, and then the answer is: “So let him come in!” The background to this ceremony is the Christian belief that a person cannot come before God with inherited titles and dignities, not even with honours and distinctions.
The funeral service was broadcasted live by SWR. It can be seen online in the ARD Mediathek until 2 July 2023. The broadcast was very respectfull, interesting and informative, with lovely footage and interesting background information.
Around 800 royal, noble and other distinguished guests attended the funeral service in the castle church of Altshausen Castle in Altshausen, Germany. The guests from the political world included the Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann and former Prime Minister Erwin Teufel, as well as members of parliament from the region. Among the guests (according to observations by friends and tv-watchers) were:
- Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg
- Sovereign Prince Hans Adam of Liechtenstein
- Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein (there are reports that her husband was there, he was even mentioned during the service, however he was not seen)
- Archduke Carl Christian and Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria
- Archduke Joseph of Austria
- Archduke Simeon and Archduchess Maria of Austria
- The Margravinne von Baden
- Hereditary Prince Bernhard and Hereditary Princess Stephanie von Baden
- Prince Leopold von Baden
- Prince Ludwig and Princess Marianne von Baden
- Duke Franz of Bavaria
- Duke Max and Duchess Elizabeth in Bavaria
- The Duke of Bragança
- The Duke and Duchess of Chartres
- Count zu Erbach-Erbach
- Countess zu Erbach-Fürstenau
- Fürst and Fürstin Fugger von Babenhausen
- Countess Franziska Fugger von Babenhausen
- Fürst and Fürstin zu Hohenlohe-Bartenstein
- Fürst Philipp zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg
- Fürst and Fürstin zu Hohenlohe-Oehringen
- Prince Ferdinand von Hohenzollern
- Fürst Alexander von Isenburg
- Hereditary Count zu Königsegg-Aulendorf
- Fürst Andreas zu Leiningen
- Princess Margaretha von und zu Liechtenstein
- Prince Gundakar and Princess Marie von und zu Liechtenstein
- Prince Johann Wenzel von und zu Liechtenstein
- Prince Stephan zur Lippe
- Fürstin zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg
- Philipp Lovrek and his wife Alice née zu Königsegg-Aulendorff
- Countess Douairière de la Marche
- Count de la Marche
- Duchess Donata zu Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Alexander von Solodkoff
- The Duchess of Montpensier
- Count Karl Eugen von Neipperg
- Hereditary Count Philipp von Neipperg
- Fürst zu Oettingen-Spielberg
- Fürst zu Oettingen-Wallerstein
- The Duke and Duchess of Orléans
- The Count of Paris
- Prince Georg Friedrich and Princess Sophie of Prussia
- Fürst Heinrich XIV Reuss and Fürstin Johanna Reuss
- Hereditary Prince Hubertus von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha
- Prince Michael and Princess Dagmar von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach
- François-Xavier and Chantal de Sambucy de Sorgue
- Fürst Albert von Thurn und Taxis
- The Duke of Urach
- Count Franz Clemens zu Waldburg-Zeil-Hohenems
- Count Georg zu Waldburg-Zeil-Hohenems and wife
- Hereditary Prince zu Waldeck und Pyrmont