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Eduard Prince of Anhalt
- peaking about the nobility
- celebrating great festivities,
- most people think of dream
Prince Eduard also knows how to report pictorially about his own affairs, for example about the last investiture at Ballenstedt Castle, which took place in September 2021. Admittedly, very few people have heard of an investiture so far, hence the question of what it actually is?
Prince Eduard explains that it is an investiture, in this case for the order of “Albrecht the Bear”. The latter conquered the Slavic Brandenburg, his grandsons founded Berlin and bestowed the bear as heraldic animal on today’s capital in honour of their grandfather. Albrecht was not only a conqueror, but also a great diplomat who travelled on many secret missions to Rome and Byzantium on behalf of the emperor. Albrecht the Bear was an important ancestor to be proud of and therefore the namesake for the House Order to this day, as Prince Eduard notes.
The investiture takes place annually at Albrecht’s gravesite in Prince Eduard’s birthplace castle of Ballenstedt in Saxony-Anhalt. The idea is that people who are interested in his family of the Ascanians and the preservation of their culture are invited to attend. At this celebration, a wide variety of people from all over the world get to know each other; they examine and look at each other and have the opportunity to determine whether personal membership in the Order is a good fit for all concerned. If this is the case, the candidate is knighted by Prince Edward the following year.
The number of applicants grows from year to year. It is not a purely male circle, but couples and ladies, such as a museum director who had rendered outstanding services to the restoration of the castle, are also accepted, although not as knights, but as ladies of the order. For example, thanks to the help of art historian Dr. Ingeborg Becker, Ballenstedt Castle and the medieval town have become a tourist magnet.
There are a total of 46 members of the order as well as sponsors from business, politics and culture who support the projects financially like the brother of the Sultan of Dubai, or with expertise like the chief conductor of the Saxon State Orchestra Christian Thielemann.
The investiture takes place once a year on a weekend. It begins with an initial get-together and dinner on Friday evening. Saturday is followed by a press conference in front of the local press, and then the actual investiture begins with a carriage ride or walking from the hotel up to the castle. The first stop in the castle courtyard is a boulder made of Harz Grauwacke, into which Prince Edward has embedded an urn with soil from his father’s mass grave. Prince Edward’s father, the last reigning Duke of Anhalt, was born 120 years ago. He was the only German monarch born and placed on the throne in the 20th century. In 1947, he died in the Stalinist special camp Buchenwald and was thrown into a mass grave. Prince Edward removed soil from this grave in 1992 and placed it in an urn, symbolically bringing his father back to his millennial homeland.
The second station in the castle courtyard is the statue of Albrecht the Bear, standing in armour and looking east, where he once set out to conquer Brandenburg. The artist has modelled his face on Prince Edward. Albrecht has risen from his pedestal and stands among the people, for he was a prince of the people. The tour then continues to his tomb, where the participants lay flowers, and then to the chapel of the palace where Prince Edward was baptised in 1942 and where the award ceremony is now taking place.
Finally, the gala dinner follows in the evening, where everyone wears their medal, but in a cheerful and relaxed atmosphere that makes the weekend of the Order Ceremony an enjoyable event for all Order bearers and Order recipients.
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