Hermine: an Empress in Exile
The life and times, and mysterious death of an ambitious Empress in exile, unloved by many.
Hermine Reuss of Greiz is perhaps better known as the second wife of the Kaiser (Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany) whom she married shortly after the death of his first wife Auguste Viktoria and while he was in exile in the Netherlands. She was by then a widow herself with young children. She was known to be ambitious about wanting to return to power, and her husband insisted on her being called 'Empress'.
To achieve her goal, she turned to the most powerful man in Germany at the time, Adolf Hitler. Unfortunately, her dream was not realised as Hitler refused to restore the monarchy and with the death of Wilhelm in 1941, Hermine was forced to return to her first husband's lands. She was arrested shortly after the end of the Second World War and would die under mysterious circumstances while under house arrest by the Red Army.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed getting to read a topic that I didn't know anything about, it was a good read and I was fascinated by Hermine's story. ~ Kay McLeer (Reviewer) , NetGalley
Hermine Reuss de Greiz (1887-1947) had such an exciting life that the journalist and historian Moniek Bloks has dedicated a book to her that is quite a page-turner, which is what the Anglo-Saxons call those who cannot stop reading once you start. 'Hermine, an Empress in Exile' recreates the future of the second wife of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany , who did everything possible and impossible, without success, to restore the monarchy in his country. He spared no expense and looked to Hitler and the Nazi party for more than questionable allies. Author of the blog and podcast 'The History of Royal Women', which any passionate about history or pro monarchist should not miss, she is also one of the star firms of 'Royal Central',one of the British publications that most rigorously follows the future of royal houses around the world. With a degree in Law, the Dutch author introduces us to the universe of Hermine, who died six years after her second husband, with whom she lived in exile in Holland until the death of the Kaiser, who had abdicated after the First World War. After the German defeat, she would end up in a concentration camp and would be finally released, although she would end up living under house arrest. A heart attack could be the cause of his death, about which there remains the shadow of doubt, and his mortal remains rest in Potsdam, along with other members of the imperial family......................................https://www.vanitatis.elconfidencial.com/casas-reales/2021-01-18/moniek-bloks-entrevista-maxima-guillermo-holanda_2903472 ~ Juanra López, Vanitatis-El Confidencial
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I had heard of Hermine Reuss of Greiz, but didn't know any details of her life. In fact a few years ago, I was bidding on a couple of dresses owned by her. That being said, this book does give a good background of her early life, first marriage and her marriage to Kaiser Wilhelm II. Her early life was filled with tragedy, horrific accidents and deaths of several family members. She first met the Kaiser at her elder sister's wedding and had a crush on him. Reminds one a bit of Alexandra and Nicholas at Ella's and Serge's wedding and Diana having a school girl crush on Prince Charles. Although Hermine's first marriage was a fairly happy one at first, her husband was not well at all and died, leaving her a widow with 5 children. The author also delves into the first marriage of the Kaiser to Augusta Victoria. From his early years the Kaiser was a womanizer married to a silent suffering wife. In Hermine, he found a more spirited partner. His children were not happy, when they married in 1922. The rest of the book deals with the determination of Hermine to help Wilhelm regain his throne and both families' dealings with Adolf Hitler. Whether you sympathize with Hermine or not, this book is well researched and is a good, short biography of her life. ~ Denise Duvall (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. What drew me to this book was the fact that I knew absolutely nothing about the subject. It is, I think, an indication as to how women in history are ignored but could in fact add valuable knowledge to a subject and the surrounding history of its time. I think she was a fascinating figure. I enjoyed this book immensely. If you are interested in history at all, I would highly recommend. ~ Maria Martignetti (Librarian), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. This was a fascinating biography. Prior to reading this, I admit I knew nothing about her or her story. Wilhelm tends to be ignored in the period after his abdication, and I think that Hermine unfortunately gets swept up in that. However, she was a determined woman and she lived through a chaotic and difficult period in Europe. The book focuses largely on her later life, but I appreciate that- her early life is similar to many other German princesses, so I didn't feel like I was missing anything. Her later life and death is really the interesting part for me; I was stunned to read that Wilhelm was buried in the Netherlands and that Hermine was buried with his first wife. (Yes, you read that correctly!) This is a well-written biography, and a must-read! ~ Jessica Storoschuk (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Moniek Bloks defines for us very well the monarchy families of Europe in the early 20th century. We see the effects of WWI and carry through into the devastation of Europe and the Mediterranean during and following WWII. Keeping in mind that during these times the norm was for many a privileged child of the ruling class to carry the first name of their parents - boys the father, girls the mother - and that the given name extended through generations as well, this previously was for me difficult to follow, but Ms. Bloks simplifies it for us so eventually, we can separate the personalities of the individuals in our mind. I found myself feeling bad for Hermine fairly early on in this biography. Born Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz, she was the fifth child, fourth daughter of Prince Johann Georg of Schonaich-Carolath (Heinrich XXII), and Princess Ida Mathilde Adelheid of Schaumburg-Lippe. Hermine married Prince Johann Georg of Schonaich-Carolathdid with whom she had five children. Hermine nursed her husband through about 15 years of TB before his death. Though she had vowed to remain single after the death of her first husband, after two years of widowhood, just after Easter in 1922 at the age of 34 she agreed to marry the exiled Emperor of Germany, 63-year-old Wilhelm, after his abdication in 1918. Hermine was misunderstood and resented by many of her peers. Outsiders and the press attributed as fact wild theories to her actions whether or not they were indeed fact or mere rumors and flights of fancy. It reminds us of the horrors of civil war and the restricted lives passed during those times. Hermine had several estates and five children from her first marriage, and a suitcase filled with over $500,000 in jewelry and gold adornments (much of which was later stolen), but her households still had restricted foods, clothing, gasoline - basics of life as we know it - just as did the common European citizen. All of Europe and western Asia suffered a lack of many essentials both during and following these World Wars. Makes a person be very sure to get out and vote... ~ Bonnye Reed Fry (Reviewer), NetGalley
I love Royal History from around the world and what drew me to Hermine: An Empress in Exile was that it was about a royal I had never heard about before. Hermine lived an interesting life and always believed she was doing what was best for the family and the country she loved despite what it looked like to others. I recommend this book to any royal and history buff out there. ~ Leslie Hartman (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. In 1922, Princess Hermine Ruess of Griez’s son sent birthday wishes to the exiled Kaiser, prompting the widowed man to invite the boy and his mother to Huis Doorn. Soon after the meeting, the 63-year-old Kaiser marries the 34-year-old widow and insists she be called ‘Empress’. But the world is changing and for an ambitious woman, exile can be a heavy burden. My knowledge of European monarchs in history is not the strongest, so I had never realized the last German emperor had a second wife. It was even more of an astonishment when I learned of the age gap between them. I found it fascinating to read how Hermine had a childhood crush on the emperor before she married her first husband. When the books outlined how they met and the emperor proposed, I didn’t think she was ambitious when she hesitated. I was offended on her behalf that her engagement present from the kaiser was a picture of his dead, first wife. Clearly, he was not ready for another marriage. But, as history shows through letters and her own actions, Hermine was eager for the emperor to be restored to the German throne, even currying favor with the rising Nazi power. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her when her world came crashing down. The kaiser dies, and she returns to her first husband’s lands. Then, she flees from the approaching army during World War II. Then, at the end of the war, she is held under house arrest and then dies under mysterious circumstances. The history of Hermine is laid out in an easy-to-read way. The German names were a bit of a muddle to get through sometimes, and I couldn’t easily remember who was who. Still, it was a fascinating read. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy reading about people from history. ~ Bethany Swafford (Reviewer) , NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Why haven't I heard of this interesting character before? I truly enjoyed reading this book. I quite liked the way it was written , though now that I've finished, I realize that I still can't decide whether Hermine was a calculating royal or a loyal loving wife. Or is she somewhere in between? Misunderstood or devious? Thank you to the author for just giving the facts and allowing each reader to make up their own mind. ~ Donna Pingry (Reviewer) , NetGalley