>Can anyone clarify for me who is the Head of the House of Lippe? Why
>did the sons of Leopold IV renounce their rights in favour of their
>youngest brother Arnim? Did he renounce his rights in 1953 in favour of
>his cousin, Ernst August? Does Arnim and his son still consider
>themselves the rightful heirs? Is the marriage of Ernst August's son,
>Friedrich Wilhelm, considered equal?
This is explained in detail in *L'Allemagne Dynastique*, Tome II ,
pp. 359-362, in "Note Lippe XXIII 1".
First, you have to understand that there are two different jobs here. One
is Head of the House and the other is Administrator of the Estates (i.e.,
the property owned by the dynasty). Ordinarily these two jobs go together,
but the Lippes didn't do it that way.
Leopold IV, last reigning Prince of Lippe, died on 30 December 1949,
leaving four sons by his two wives. Because two of his sons, including the
Crown Prince, had married unequally, and had adopted unacceptable religious
beliefs (they had converted to "Gottglaubige", the Nazi party religion),
Leopold, in his will (dated 23 December 1947), made his *youngest* son,
Armin, Head of the House and Administrator of the Estates. This was
confirmed by a contract between Anne, Leopold's widow and executrix, and
all of his sons, dated 9 March 1950, which confirmed Armin in those jobs,
with his older half-brother Leopold Bernhard as his heir presumptive.
On 22 March 1953, Armin, who was about to get married unequally himself,
renounced his position as Head of the House in favor of Leopold Bernhard.
Armin kept his position as Administrator of the Estates, and his retention
of this position was later confirmed by a decision of the Detmold civil
authorities on 7 June 1955. Unless he died recently, he is still the
Administrator of the Estates, and the possessor of Detmold Castle, etc.
Leopold Bernhard accepted the Headship of the House, but Ernst August, a
cousin, said, "Hey, wait a minute. If all of the sons of Leopold IV either
are excluded or have renounced, and the next males in line are descended
from an unequal marriage (Armgard von Cramm), then the next male in line is
me. I'm Head of the House". For several years there was confusion and
disagreement, and then in 8 January 1958 Leopold Bernhard renounced his
position as Head of the House in favor of his oldest brother, Crown Prince
Ernst, with the intent of restoring the natural order of succession. Ernst
responded that he had already renounced, so he couldn't succeed.
Then the Lippes held a family council at Detmold on 14 September 1958. The
council issued a convention in which the post of Head of the House would go
to the senior member of the House. Not senior in terms of descent (the
oldest son of the oldest son, etc.), but the senior in terms of longevity,
i.e., the most elderly Prince. At that date the Senior Lippe Prince was
Simon Casimir (b. 1900), who thus became Head of the House.
Ernst August, who was present at the council, and who signed the convention
making Simon Casimir the Head of the House, immediately backtracked, and
said he was still Head. Most of the other Lippe princes acknowledged Simon
Casimir, who died in 1980.
I don't know what happened after that, but Armin is now considered Head of
the House by GHdA and AdG, both of which state that Armin has been Head
since his father bequeathed it to him. Okay.
You ask, "Is the marriage of Ernst August's son, Friedrich Wilhelm,
considered equal?" A better question is, "Is Friedrich Wilhelm's birth
considered equal?". Check the dates.
His illegitimacy, and subsequent legitimation, notwithstanding, Friedrich
Wilhelm appears now to consider himself Head of the House, with the
privilege of awarding decorations, which he seems to be doing at a
prodigious rate. In the past two years, three separate persons, each
previously unknown to me, have approached me to inquire about the validity
of orders or decorations which Friedrich Wilhelm either had bestowed or was
about to bestow on them. After explaining the situation (the above is just
a summary, actually), their eyes glaze over and they go away. I've never
bothered to follow up to see whether they accepted, or kept, their orders
William Addams Reitwiesner
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