Thursday, February 24, 2011

Grand Duke of Oldenburg dead at 78

February 24, 1931

The Associated Press is reporting that former Grand Duke Friedrich August of Oldenburg died today.  He was 78 years old.

He abdicated on November 11, 1918, after a "group of revolutionary sailors from Wilhelmshaven told him that time for royalty in Germany had passed."   Friedrich August retired to his family estate at Rastede and "took up farming and local industrial interests."   A year after his abdication, the Grand Duke "presented a claim to the Oldenburg Diet for an allowance of 150,000 marks annually for his family for fifty years."  In his claim, he stated that his financial situation was "extremely precarious."   Three years later, he was "reported to be at the head of a meat packing plant" in Oldenburg. 
In 1926, Friedrich August "courteously refused," citing old age,  an offer from the citizens of Rastede "to become their Mayor."
It is said that the former Grand Duke was the first European sovereign to visit the United States.  He came in 1904, traveling incognito as Count Lensahn, and "accompanied only by a valet."  He visited Niagara Falls and the Metropolitan Opera.  During his visit, he "received no official attentions."   He spent only a short amount of time in the United States, "crossing the Atlantic and returning so quickly," as he wanted to be out of Oldenburg to avoiding meeting with Kaiser Wilhelm II, who "had announced his intention of going to Oldenburg to discuss the then bitter question of the succession" in Oldenburg.
He succeeded his father in 1901, as Grand Duke of a "little territory encompassing about 2,500 square miles on Germany's northwestern coast.  
Grand Duke Friedrich August was married twice.  After the death of his first wife in 1895, Princess Elisabeth of Prussia,  he married Duchess Elizabeth of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.   He is survived by his wife, Elisabeth, and four children,  Duchess Sophie Charlotte, who was once married to Prince Eitel Friedrich of Prussia;  Duke Nikolaus, who succeeds him as head of the house; Duchess Ingeborg, the wife of Prince Stephan of Schaumburg-Lippe; and Duchess Altburg, the wife of Prince Josias of Waldeck und Pyrmont.

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