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Eduard Prince of Anhalt
- he cultivation of traditions
- has always been a top priority
- at Ballenstedt Castle, which
The festive programme had numerous highlights, such as the inauguration of the new statue of the great ancestor “Albrecht the Bear” in the courtyard of Ballenstedt Castle. Keeping with the times, the statue with the face of the host Eduard has descended from the pedestal and stands at eye level with visitors, allowing them to touch and take selfies.
The idea for the statue and its design came from the organiser of the annual investiture and the parliamentary party leader of the Left Party of Ballenstedt Karl-Heinz Meyer, who received the Grand Cross of the Askan House Order of Albrecht the Bear in 2019. The design was realised by metal designer Jochen Müller from the nearby imperial city of Quedlinburg.
If you ask Prince Eduard about the history of the Order, you learn some interesting facts. “The Order and Albrecht the Bear belong to our dynasty of the Ascanians since the 12th century. Albrecht moved east from Ballenstedt in the Harz Mountains and founded the Mark Brandenburg. In the process, he laid the foundations of Ascanian history and culture, which we bestow by awarding his Order once a year in recognition of deserving comrades-in-arms.”
Albrecht the Bear was born in Stendal around 1100, died in 1170 and is buried in Ballenstedt, the prince’s birthplace. Three Anhalt princes joined forces in the 18th century and named their house order after him.
After reunification, the family activated the Order with Order bearers from the pre-war period and so, since 1995, around forty ladies and gentlemen have joined this community through their merits.
A completely different historical highlight and a class of its own was the presentation of a Mercedes 540 K from 1937, a model that the Prince’s father already owned. The initiative came from Klaus Kienle, the managing director of KIENLE Automobiltechnik GmbH in Heimerdingen. He is one of the most renowned classic car restorers in the world. The company owner personally chauffeured this equally valuable and rare example, while Prince Eduard enjoyed the ride as a passenger. He knew this Mercedes model from his mother’s stories. His father Duke Joachim Ernst often drove at increased speed through the narrow villages of his former duchy, not always managing to avoid chickens or ducks. The farmers concerned were not angry with him, because the popular duke stopped immediately and paid good prices for the fowl he had just “shot”.
Traditions were lived in every respect at this double celebration and so it is not surprising that Eduard Prince of Saxony-Anhalt concludes by revealing what particularly moves him. His book “The Cursed Century”, published in December 2021, enjoys great popularity. It is a double biography about his father and his own life. There is a great deal of literature about the House of Askanien and the princes and dukes of Anhalt, but what happened to the dynasty in the 20th century was left to Prince Eduard for the time being. The content refers to that what accompanied him as a homeless prince, as well as to hearsay and legends from family members and contemporaries from Anhalt. Even if the book does not correspond to a precisely researched history book, it is an interesting overview of an eventful life in a dynasty that has lasted for over 1,000 years.
In addition to all the highlights and good food made from products of the Harz region, the guests had stimulating and entertaining conversations, so that the mood was completely reflected in the sunny spring weather. The festival at Ballenstedt Castle showed that tradition and joie de vivre go together quite well, even today, as was also the case with the 70th anniversary of the throne in England.