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Symons, Susan - Schloss: the fascinating Royal history of 25 Ger

Symons, Susan - Schloss: the fascinating Royal history of 25 Ger
Schloss is the German word for castle or palace. This book by Susan Symons visits 25 beautiful schloss in Germany and tells the compelling personal stories of the royalty that lived in them. It is recommended to anyone who likes history or sightseeing or who is interested in people’s personal stories. Germany has a rich royal history. The country was not fully unified until 1870, and before that there were hundreds of different kingdoms, duchies and principalities, each with their own reigning family. These have left their mark, not least in the numerous schloss that dot the German countryside. This book is about 25 of these German schloss. It looks at the history of these fascinating buildings over time, from early defensive fortresses to renaissance palaces and symbols of the wealth and power of the ruling German princes. It tells the colourful stories of some historical characters who lived in them; characters such as the mistress of the king who tried to blackmail him and was imprisoned for 49 years; the crown princess who ran away from her husband and six children with their tutor; and the insignificant princess who was passed on by her fiancé to his brother but who ended up heiress to the throne of England. The book brings these and other stories vividly to life. With so many eligible princesses to choose from, Germany was the royal marriage market for Europe, and German princesses married into all of Europe’s royal families. The book looks at how the British royal family is descended from the rulers of these German kingdoms and duchies. It also brings out two themes; the lottery of arranged dynastic marriages for royal princesses, and the equally sad fate of their landless younger brothers. The German royal princes abdicated in 1918 at the end of World War I. As they lost their royal families, many of the schloss went into decline and became prisons, workhouses and other institutions. Some were behind the iron curtain for 50 years. The book charts these difficult years and their resurgence and use today as museums, hotels and public buildings. The book is intended to be easy to read, light-hearted and entertaining. It has more than 50 illustrations and 9 family trees. The schloss included range from fortified castles of the middle ages, to grand palaces built in the 18th century in imitation of Louis XIV’s Versailles, to stately homes from the turn of the 20th century. Many of them are not well known outside Germany and visiting these wonderful buildings is a real treat. Paperback, 210 pages, in English.

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