Wednesday, 2 March 2016

At the road's end: Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern (1932-2016), art historian

The Swedish royal court today announced that Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern, the husband of King Carl Gustaf's second oldest sister, Princess Birgitta, died in a hospital in Munich today. Prince Johann Georg, who was himself a renowned art historian, was 83 and had apparently been suffering from cancer for some years.
Born on 31 July 1932, Johann Georg Carl Leopold Eitel-Friedrich Meinrad Maria Hubertus Michael Prinz von Hohenzollern was the sixth child of Prince (Fürst) Friedrich of Hohenzollern and Princess Margarete of Saxony, a daughter of that country's last King. Prince Johann Georg, who was known as "Hansi", studied art history and gained a doctorate on a dissertation on the royal galleries on the facades of French cathedrals in 1964.
From 1986 to 1991 he served as director general of the Bavarian National Museum before becoming head of the Bavarian State Collection of Paintings, a post he held until his retirement in 1998.
On 25 May 1961, Prince Johann Georg married Princess Birgitta of Sweden in a civil ceremony at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. A religious blessing took place in his hometown Sigmaringen five days later. The Vatican had opposed a Protestant ceremony in Stockholm and the bride had to sign a promise to raise the children as Catholics, which she has never ceased resenting.
Three children were born of the marriage - Carl Christian in 1962, Désirée in 1963 and Hubertus in 1966, but when the children moved out, the parents realised they had little in common, and in 1990 Princess Birgitta moved to Majorca, while Prince Johann Georg remained in Munich. However, the couple never formally separated and the Princess used to visit her husband in Munich once a month and vented his anger in public when he appeared in the press with another partner.

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