|Intro||Member of the House of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1918-2019)|
|A.K.A.||Woizlawa-Feodora Herzogin von Mecklenburg-Schwerin|
|Birth||17 December 1918, Rostock, Germany|
|Death||3 June 2019, Germany|
Princess Woizlawa Feodora Reuss (née Duchess of Mecklenburg, 17 December 1918 – 3 June 2019) was a German royal and a member of the House of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. At her death at the age of 100, she was the oldest living royal and the oldest living resident of Gorwihl.
Since there are no males left in the family, the house is considered extinct due to the Salic law of succession.
Duchess Woizlawa Feodora of Mecklenburg was born at Rostock, Free State of Mecklenburg-Schwerin on 17 December 1918, just after the abdication of her first cousin Frederick Francis IV of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and the establishment of the Weimar Republic. Her parents were Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg and Princess Victoria Feodora Reuss zu Schleiz. Her father was the seventh son of Frederick Francis II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1823–1883) by his third wife Princess Marie of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt (1850–1922). Her mother Princess Victoria Feodora was the eldest child of Heinrich XXVII, Prince of Reuss Younger Line and Princess Elise of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. Princess Victoria Feodora died a day after Woizlawa's birth. She was named for Woizlawa, the daughter of Wartislaw I (d. 1135), Duke of Pomerania, and the wife of Pribislav (d. 1178), an Oborite prince and the first duke of Mecklenburg. Her name was an acknowledgement that the House of Mecklenburg, although Germanized over the centuries, was originally of Slavic origins.
She was a first cousin of:
- Cyril Vladimirovich, Grand Duke of Russia (1876–1938) pretender to the Russian throne after the assassination of his cousin Nicholas II of Russia.
- Queen Alexandrine of Denmark (1879–1952), consort of Christian X of Denmark.
- Cecilie, German Crown Princess (1886–1954), wife of William, German Crown Prince.
- Queen Juliana of the Netherlands (1909–2004), queen regnant of the Netherlands.
Preparations for the wedding of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands's only child Crown Princess Juliana to the German Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld were underway in the 1937 when a small diplomatic scandal occurred.
The affair was the result of Wilhelmina's opinion that the wedding be a family affair; consequently, she did not invite foreign royalty unless she was personally familiar with them. As a result, Juliana’s chosen bridesmaids were either her relatives or family friends. These included Woizlawa herself (being first cousins), Duchess Thyra of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (her second cousin), Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia (her first cousin once removed), Princess Sophie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (her second cousin), and two of Bernhard’s sisters, among others.
Marriage and family
On 15 September 1939 in Bad Doberan Woizlawa married, Prince Heinrich I Reuss of Köstritz, elder son of Prince Heinrich XXXIV Reuss of Köstritz and Princess Sophie Renate Reuss of Köstritz. They had six children (one daughter and five sons).
- Princess Feodora Reuss (b. 5 February 1942)
- Prince Heinrich VIII Reuss (b. 30 August 1944)
- Prince Heinrich IX Reuss (b. 30 June 1947)
- Prince Heinrich X Reuss (b. 28 July 1948)
- Prince Heinrich XIII Reuss (b. 4 December 1951)
- Prince Heinrich XV Reuss (b. 9 October 1956)
At the time of her death, she was one of the only remaining members of the House of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, after her cousins (twice-removed), Donata and Edwina.
In 1935 Woizlawa Feodora's husband has been adopted by one of his relatives, Heinrich XLV, Hereditary Prince Reuss Younger Line (1895–1945), head and last male member of the House of Reuss Younger Line, for inheritance reasons, and after the latter's death in 1945 had become the sole heir of the private assets that had remained in the ownership of the House of Reuss Younger Line after its dethronement in the German Revolution of 1918. In 1945 however, the communist land reform in the Soviet occupation zone (East Germany) expropriated all movable and immovable assets of the House of Reuss. After the German reunification of 1990, the princess, as her husband's heir, claimed for restitution based on the fact that her late husband was of British nationality, as well as German, and should thus legally not have been expropriated under occupation law. Furthermore, a legal restitution claim for movable assets was passed by the Bundestag, leading to vast returns of museum items. In a settlement, the princess also received Thallwitz castle and some forest property, with Waidmannsheil hunting castle in Saaldorf near Bad Lobenstein.