Sunday, May 5, 2019

Secret Sins of The Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

fascism corruption crime history Nazi politics war accountability
Prince Carl Eduard (Charles Edward) with Adolf Hitler
George V’s decision, a century ago, to change the name of the royal family from “Saxe-Coburg and Gotha” to “Windsor” was so momentous that it caused the king’s cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm II, to utter his only recorded joke.

“I am planning to go and see The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha,” the Kaiser quipped.

World war was raging in 1917, anti-German sentiment in Britain was ferocious, and Germany’s Gotha heavy aircraft had begun bombing London. The royal family’s German name, the result of Queen Victoria’s marriage in 1840 to Prince Albert, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, had to go.

The proclamation of July 17, 1917, permanently changing the royal surname to the impeccably British-sounding Windsor, was one of the most successful rebranding exercises in history. But while the royal family could ditch its name, it could not shed its German relatives, who would re-emerge in the most sinister way during the next war.

The relationship between the royal family and their pro-Nazi German cousins is one of the most important untold stories in British history. But the details of that salutary tale remain securely locked away in the royal archives in the Round Tower at Windsor, inaccessible to scholars and public alike. One hundred years after it changed its name, the royal family is determined to protect its good name by concealing this dubious but crucial chapter of its past.

The key figure in the saga was Carl Eduard, Duke of Coburg, first cousin of George V, who began life as an English prince and ended it as a committed Nazi. “Charlie Coburg”, as he was known, a grandson of Queen Victoria, was born in Britain and educated at Eton. At the age of 16 he inherited the Dukedom of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, moved to Germany and became thoroughly Germanised. In due course he fell under the Nazis’ spell, backed the terrorist organisation that brought Hitler to power and was promoted to the rank of general.  (more...)

fascism corruption crime history Nazi politics war accountability


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