Friedrich Franz IV, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Friedrich Franz IV von Mecklenburg-Schwerin (born on April, 9 1882 in Palermo, Italy), is the fifth and current ruler of Grand-Duchy of Meckenburg-Schwerin, one of the constituent states of the German Empire, succeeding to his father Friedrich Franz III on April, 10 1897. He is also Regent of the Grand-Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz since February, 23 1918. He is mostly known as stepbrother of the Kronprinz Wilhelm, who married his sister Cecilie.
Friedrich Franz was born in Palermo the son of Friedrich Franz III, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia. He succeeded his father as Grand Duke on April, 10 1897 but due to his minority the Grand Duchy was governed by his uncle, Duke Johann Albrecht as regent until Friedrich Franz came of age on April, 9 1901.
Assuming military commanding on the Western Front during the Weltkrieg, the Grand Duke had to face a new challenge on February, 23 1918: Adolf Friedrich VI, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, committed suicide after various love deceptions. As he died childless, his unexpected death opened a succession crisis: the only surviving member of the Strelitz line, the Duke Carl Michael of Mecklenburg, had taken Russian citizenship, was detained by the government and had previously announced to his cousin Adolf Friedrich VI his wishes to renounce to his rights. He confirmed his renunciation in 1919, before dying childless in 1934. Grand Duke Friedrich Franz IV, as member of the Meckenburg family, became Regent of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, leaving the succession crisis unsolved. If Adolf Friedrich VI had given his fortune and his title to Friedrich Franz's second son, Christian Ludwig, in his testimony, the Kaiser Wilhelm II refused that the Mecklenburgs became too powerful. Also, after the death of Carl Michael in 1934, his nephew, Georg Count of Carlow, had made repeated claims on the Strelitz throne, despite the fact he came from a morganatic marriage. There was even proposals of merging of the two Grand Duchies, but the reactionary German administration denies such an option, as it would trigger a costful and difficult federal reform. The Kaiser has announced that he would give his final decision concerning the Mecklenburg issue in April 1936.
Friedrich Franz married Princess Alexandra of Hanover and Cumberland (born 1882), sister of Ernst August III, Duke of Braunschweig, in Gmunden on Juny, 7 1904 and they had five children:
- Hereditary Grand Duke Friedrich Franz (born 1910), who would succeed his father as Friedrich Franz V
- Duke Christian Ludwig (born 1912), designated by Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich VI of Mecklenburg-Strelitz as his heir, but not recognized by the German government
- Duchess Olga (1916-1917)
- Duchess Thyra (born 1919)
- Duchess Anastasia (born 1922)