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Head of defunct Germany royal house, Duke of Württemberg, dies aged 85

Carl, Duke of Württemberg, has passed away at the age of 85 – four years after his son and heir died in a car crash in his vintage Porsche.

The duke, who was distantly related to the British royal family through a fourth great-grandfather of the Queen, was the head of the House of Württemberg, one of Germany’s many defunct monarchies.

The two families were also related through the Queen’s grandmother, Mary of Teck, who was born into a branch of the Württemberg dynasty. 

The duke – who became the head of his house after his brother renounced his succession rights – died at the Ravensburg clinic after having been ill for a long time, with his condition deteriorating in the past five days, according to Bild. 

In May 2018, his son, Duke Friedrich of Württemberg, then aged 56, was killed in a crash as he tried to overtake a tractor on a rural road in south-western Germany.

Carl (pictured), Duke of Württemberg, has passed away at the age of 85 – four years after his son and heir died in a car crash in his vintage Porsche

The duke (pictured with his wife Duchess Diane), who was distantly related to the British royal family through a fourth great-grandfather of the Queen, was the head of the House of Württemberg, one of Germany's many defunct monarchies

The duke (pictured with his wife Duchess Diane), who was distantly related to the British royal family through a fourth great-grandfather of the Queen, was the head of the House of Württemberg, one of Germany’s many defunct monarchies

In May 2018, his son, Duke Friedrich of Württemberg, then aged 56, was killed in a crash as he tried to overtake a tractor on a rural road in south-western Germany

In May 2018, his son, Duke Friedrich of Württemberg, then aged 56, was killed in a crash as he tried to overtake a tractor on a rural road in south-western Germany

The family are descendants of the former royal family of the Kingdom of Württemberg, which existed from 1805 to 1918, formerly the Duchy of Württemberg, which began in 1495.

The last King of Württemberg, Wilhelm II – not the former German emperor – was removed from office in 1918 when all the German monarchies were abolished at the end of World War I. 

Revealed: The House of Württemberg

House of Württemberg is made up of descendants of the former royal family of the Kingdom of Württemberg, which existed from 1805 to 1918, formerly the Duchy of Württemberg, which began in 1495.

The last King of Württemberg, Wilhelm II – not the former German emperor – was removed from office in 1918 when all the German monarchies were abolished at the end of World War I. 

The family now runs Hofkammer of the House of Württemberg, which owns 5,500 hectares of forest and 50 hectares of vineyards. 

The House of Württemberg also retains its castles at Monrepos, Altshausen and Friedrichshafen.

Duke Wilhelm succeeds his grandfather Carl. 

Carl was born in Friedrichshafen on 1 August 1936. He was the second son of Philipp Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg (1893–1975), and Archduchess Rosa of Austria, Princess of Tuscany (1906–1983).

He became the heir to the house on 29 June 1959, when his older brother, Ludwig, renounced his succession rights, and later became head of the family following his father’s death in 1975.

The duke was educated at a grammar school in Riedlingen before going to the University of Tübingen to study law.

Following his studies, Carl joined the family business, running Hofkammer of the House of Württemberg, which owns 5,500 hectares of forest and 50 hectares of vineyards.

 He became head of the company in 1995.

The House of Württemberg also retains its castles at Monrepos, Altshausen and Friedrichshafen. 

Carl married Diane, Duchess of Württemberg, the fourth daughter of a Orléanist claimant to the French throne, Prince Henri, Count of Paris, in 1960. 

They had five children – including Duke Friedrich, Duchess Mathilde, Duke Eberhard, Duke Philipp, Duke Michael and Duchess Eleonore.

The couple also have 16 grandchildren. Duke Friedrich’s son, Wilhelm, succeeded him as heir to the house. 

Carl took part in many charitable activities, such as being involved with the German Red Cross and the Baden-Württemberg Monument Foundation.

The duke (pictured in 2020) - who became the head of his house after his brother renounced his succession rights - died at the Ravensburg clinic after having been ill for a long time, with his condition deteriorating in the past five days, according to Bild

The duke (pictured in 2020) – who became the head of his house after his brother renounced his succession rights – died at the Ravensburg clinic after having been ill for a long time, with his condition deteriorating in the past five days, according to Bild

On 31 May 2002, Pope John Paul II made the duke the Commander-in-Chief of the Papal Order of St Gregory the Great. 

Carl’s late son Friedrich was born in 1961 at Friedrichshafen castle in south Germany, one of the properties belonging to the former royal house. 

He served in the German Army after leaving school and reached the rank of colonel in the reserves. 

In 1993 he married now-Duchess Marie, who was born in Munich and descended from a different former royal family. 

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk