The head of the House of Württemberg turned 85. The official head of the family is now his 27-year-old grandson Wilhelm.
Carl Duke of Württemberg had been in poor health for several years and had hardly kept official appointments. On Tuesday, after a long illness, he surprisingly died, the Hofkammer said. He was at the Oberschwaben Clinic in Ravensburg for a week. Carl lived to be 85. He is survived by his wife Diane, three sons and two daughters. If Württemberg was still a kingdom as it was until 1918, Carl would have been King of Württemberg.
Transformation of the Hofkammer into a modern company
But he was mainly active as a businessman. Carl, who stayed out of politics and apparently still considered the monarchy the best form of government, had been head of the House of Württemberg since 1975 and therefore also ruled the court chamber. It is to his merit that this company, mainly focused on forestry and agriculture with 5500 hectares of forest and 1000 hectares of arable land, has transformed in such a way that it is now very active in the real estate and financial – according to the Munzinger archives, 700 properties belong to the Hofkammer. 50 hectares of vineyards, the Schlosshotel Monrepos near Ludwigsburg and several golf courses are also part of the family business.
The death of Duke Friedrich four years ago was a blow to the whole family. Friedrich had an accident at the age of 56 while driving his vintage car from Altshausen Castle, the ancestral seat of the House of Württemberg, to Friedrichshafen. Friedrich would have been Carl’s successor. Now, in 2020, Carl’s second eldest son, Michael, has taken over the management of the Hofkammer. The head of the house is now Wilhelm, 27, son of Friedrich and grandson of Carl. Carl decided that during his lifetime. Wilhelm studied in Britain and is expected to gain further professional experience before also running the Hofkammer.
The management of the Hofkammer and the house remain separate for the time being
Historian Gerhard Raff, who knows the history of the House of Württemberg better than anyone, described Duke Carl as a stroke of luck for Württemberg: Carl was a nice, modest person who did well and was a great patron of the arts. Unlike some other noble houses, Württemberg never produced scandals for the tabloid press.
Kretschmann leases community services
Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann was touched by the death of Duke Carl, to whom he presented the gold Staufer medal for his commitment in 2017: “Through his great and varied commitment and the many honorary positions, he made a great contribution to our community. Duke Carl has always spoken out in favor of the cohesion of our society,” Kretschmann stressed on the death of Carl von Württemberg. Years ago, the duke warned against extremes on the fringes of politics. Kretschmann had already hailed this in 2017 as “clear words from a simple man”.
The head of the House of Württemberg was committed to culture, education and science. He was honorary senator of the universities of Tübingen and Hohenheim, to which he donated a scholarship. Stefan Köhler, managing director of the Baden-Württemberg Monument Foundation, hailed him as “the key initiator of the Monument Foundation and a key driving force”. His death was “a very great loss”.
The University of Hohenheim bids farewell to Duke Carl with “great gratitude”. “Since its foundation in 1818, the University of Hohenheim has been closely linked to the House of Württemberg”, underlines a spokesperson for the university to our newspaper. The university recently received a “generous donation, thanks to which new places of learning have been created. The Herzog Carl Scholarship allows students to spend time doing research abroad as part of their final theses.
The Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg honors Duke Carl von Württemberg as a long-time sponsor. He supported the young art scene in Baden-Württemberg, “for which we owe him a lot of thanks”.