Medals, medals – and yet more medals! These decorations were awarded to the princes of the house for outstanding service, or to ensure their loyalty. The orders in this display case, and the uniforms in the next room, give an insight into the political connections of the Princely House of Solms-Braunfels in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Most are decorations awarded by Prussia, Hanover and Hesse, showing how important those states were to the dynasty.
From 1816, Solms-Braunfels was part of the Kingdom of Prussia, though some areas lay within the Grand Duchy of Hesse. The princes had hereditary seats in the first chamber of the legislature, the Hessische Landstände. At times, they even exercised subordinate sovereign powers within the Kingdom of Prussia. The family was closely related to the Royal House of Hanover.
Male members of the family held high military office in Hanover, Hesse and Prussia. No wonder, then, that they were awarded decorations to reflect that association and to express appreciation.
On your screen is a picture of Prince Ferdinand – remember him? He was 28 when the portrait was painted. He’s wearing the uniform of the Prussian Knights of St. John, the St. John’s Cross and the Hanoverian Royal Guelphic Order, and is armed with a rapier.
Some parts of his costume are on show here in the Family Museum. Have a look around in the next room and see if you can find them!
All depictions: © Schloss Braunfels