It was the royal wedding of the German season. It was the only royal wedding in a country that has no official royalty and little in the way of a fashionable season!
On Saturday Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, the great-great grandson of the last Kaiser, married Sophie, Princess of Isenburg, at the Church of Peace in the grounds of Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam, the former summer residence of the Hohenzollern kings and emperors of Prussia and Germany.
I read about this in the Times and thought about all of the ghosts who must be looking over their shoulders, the ghosts of the past, of past glory; the ghost, perhaps, of Alte Fritz himself, Frederick the Great, who build Sanssoucci, a palace intended as a home, a place, as the name suggests, that was to be free of care.
The Germans, who lapped up the marriage of William and Kate earlier this year, are keen for their own spot of glamour, even though the couple in question are merely business consultants and only royal by inherited honour.
The whole event was broadcast in three hours of live TV. “People are looking for things they don’t get out of a republic”, said Rolf Seelman-Eggebert, who provided the commentary. “In a confusing, fast-changing world, people are looking for little princes and princesses who are born and will be of some importance for the rest of their lives.” Yes, I suppose, even a simple von is bound to work wonders in reserving a table for dinner!
Ah, but as always on these occasions there are churlish voices in the wings. There is Die Linke – the Left – the successor to the old Socialist Unity Party, which ruled, or misruled, the communist satrapy of East Germany for so many years. They called on the broadcasters, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB), to “finance progressive show formats rather than the cult of nobility.” Yes, some people know all about “progressive show formats”, broadcast endlessly when Die Linke and their like had the power. Small wonder there is such hunger for royal weddings and other regressive show formats.
Now they can safely disregard these lefties, continually under watch for anti-constitutional behaviour, rather appropriate payback for the watch they once kept people under for any sign of deviant behaviour, with the Stasi, the secret police, even keeping an archive of stolen underwear. After all, one simply never knows when used briefs will come in handy.
Meanwhile 57-year-old Jurgen Reidel, a Potsdamer who grew up under communism, delights in his new freedom, his right to admire the present inheritors of a great German tradition. “The Hohenzollern did a lot for Potsdam”. They did indeed, and it not been for the multiple inadequacies of Kaiser Wilhelm II, deposed in 1918, they might still be doing a lot for Potsdam; Friedrich IV might be doing a lot for Potsdam and Germany. Come to think of it he is, even if only as a shadow Kaiser. I wish him and Princess Sophie the very best. Herzlichen Glückwunsch!