Wilhelm II. A man, a Prince

Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert of Hohenzollern, who was born on 27 January 1859 in Berlin and died on 4 June 1941 in Doorn, in the Netherlands, was, from 1888 until his abdication in 1918, the third and final German Emperor (Deutscher Kaiser) and the ninth and last King of Prussia.

Albert I of Monaco met Wilhelm II for the first time in 1891, but he really got to know him in 1898, during the week of the Kiel Regattas, a sporting and society event. Until summer 1914, he would remain attached to the image of Wilhelm II that was commonly held in the 1890s and in the early 1900s – that of a modern sovereign who was committed to maintaining the peace. Like Bertha von Suttner, his pacifist friend and the first Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1905, he hoped to use this friendship to promote internationalism and bring about a rapprochement between France and Germany. Profoundly disappointed, the Prince distanced himself from the Kaiser when the First World War broke out. He was deeply affected by the bombing of Reims Cathedral in September 1914, and denounced the Kaiser’s warmongering policy in his book “La guerre allemande et la conscience universelle” (The German War and Universal Conscience) following the conflict