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Royals

6 Things to Know About the Controversial German Prince Who Wed Grace Kelly’s Daughter

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Prince Ernst-August V, head of the now-deposed royal House of Hanover, is stirring up serious royal family drama by formally opposing his son’s upcoming marriage, but this isn’t the first time he has made headlines.

Here’s what’s you need to know about the 63-year-old royal, who is the estranged husband of Grace Kelly’s daughter, Princess Caroline of Monaco.

1. He has major royal ties.
Prince Ernst-August V is head of the deposed royal House of Hanover — a German royal dynasty that provided monarchs of Great Britain and Ireland from 1714 and ruled the United Kingdom until the death of Queen Victoria in 1901. A distant cousin of Queen Elizabeth, he is also a great-grandson of the last German emperor, Emperor Wilhelm II.

Willi Schneider/REX/Shutterstock

2. His mother-in-law is Grace Kelly.
After his first marriage to Swiss heiress Chantal Hochuli ended in 1997, he wed Princess Caroline of Monaco on January 23, 1999. At the time, she was expecting the birth of their first and only child, Princess Alexandra. He also had two sons with his first wife. As the husband of Princess Caroline, he is the brother-in-law of Prince Albert.

Princess Caorline and Prince Ernst-August V in 2009.
Pool BENAINOUS/DUCLOS/SCORCELLETTI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty
Princess Caroline, Prince Ernst-August V and Princess Alexandra in November 1999.
Pool BENAINOUS/DUCLOS/SCORCELLETTI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty

3. He had to ask Queen Elizabeth’s permission to marry into Monaco’s royal family.
Since Prince Ernst was technically in line to the British throne, he had to ask Queen Elizabeth’s permission to marry. On January 11, 1999, Queen Elizabeth issued a Declaration in Council, “My Lords, I do hereby declare My Consent to a Contract of Matrimony between His Royal Highness Prince Ernst August Albert of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg and Her Serene Highness Princess Caroline Louise Marguerite of Monaco…”

4. He has a violent past.
In January 1999, he reportedly assaulted a journalist with an umbrella who was filming at the entrance to his residence as he and Princess Caroline returned home from a charity gala. He agreed to a fine in a settlement.

Prince Ernst-August V in 2009.
Karl Schoendorfer/REX/Shutterstock

The prince made headlines again when he allegedly took part in an assault on a German nightclub owner in Kenya. In 2004, he was found guilty of causing serious bodily harm and received a fine. Josef Brunlehner testified that the prince punched him with a metal ring in the chest and abdomen after complaining of noise coming from the hotel disco, causing injuries that required hospital treatment. According to the royal’s testimony and that of Princess Caroline, the prince slapped the man lightly (“symbolically” it was said) twice on the head. The prince sought an acquittal but was convicted of causing actual bodily harm.

5. Public urination scandal.
In 2000, Prince Ernst was photographed urinating on the Turkish Pavilion at the Expo 2000 event in Hanover, causing a diplomatic incident as the Turkish embassy accused him of insulting the Turkish people. He successfully sued the publication (Bild-Zeitung) that ran the photo for invasion of privacy.

The estranged couple in 2002
Pool BENAINOUS/DUCLOS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty

5. Health woes.
The prince was admitted to the hospital with acute pancreatitis in April 2005. He reportedly fell into a deep coma, one day before the death of his father-in-law, Rainier III, Prince of Monaco. In April 2005, hospital officials reported that the prince was no longer in a coma but remained in intensive care. He was released on April 19, 2005. The palace confirmed at the time that he would require “permanent” medical care.

6. Estrangement from Princess Caroline.
Since his separation from Princess Caroline in 2009, he has been seen with several young women, including a former nightclub dancer from Romania who modeled for brothels in Austria in 2010.