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Who is Prince Ernst August of Hanover? Inside the controversial life of Princess Caroline's estranged husband

Prince Ernst August of Hanover turned 70 on 26 February

Princess Caroline and Prince Ernst August of Hanover
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
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Princess Caroline of Monaco's estranged husband, Prince Ernst August of Hanover, turned 70 on Monday 26 February.

The Monaco royal separated from the head of the House of Hanover in 2009, but the pair have never formally divorced.

In recent years, Prince Ernst has been involved in a number of scandals, including a legal dispute with his first-born son, also called Prince Ernst August.

He has also been hospitalised a number of times in recent years, including surgery for pancreatitis.


Born in 1954, Prince Ernst August is the eldest son of Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover (1914 to 1987) and his first wife, Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (1925 to 1980).

The House of Hanover is a European royal house of German origin, which ruled Hanover, Great Britain, Ireland and the British Empire at various times between the 17th and 20th centuries.

When his father died in 1987, Prince Ernst became head of the House of Hanover.


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Marriages, children and grandchildren

Ernst August of Hanover's first marriage to Chantal Hochuli© Getty
Ernst August of Hanover's first marriage to Chantal Hochuli

In 1981, Ernst married Swiss heiress, Chantal Hochuli, and the couple went on to have two sons, Prince Ernst August and Prince Christian, born in 1983 and 1985 respectively.

Ernst and Chantal finalised their divorce in 1997 and two years later, the prince tied the knot with Princess Caroline of Monaco, who at the time, was expecting their daughter, Princess Alexandra.

Princess Caroline and Prince Ernst August of Hanover on their wedding day in 1999© Getty
Princess Caroline and Prince Ernst August of Hanover on their wedding day in 1999

Caroline also has three older children from her second marriage to Stefano Casiraghi – Andrea, Charlotte and Pierre.

Princess Alexandra of Hanover attends the Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2024 show © Getty
Ernst August and Princess Caroline's daughter, Princess Alexandra

Prince Ernst August Jr and his wife Ekaterina Malysheva have two daughters and one son, while Prince Christian and his wife, Alessandra de Osma, have a twin daughter and son, and a third child, who was born on 16 February 2024.

Controversial moments

Prince Ernst August of Hanover (L) arrives at court in Wels, Austria, for the start of his trial on March 23, 2021© Getty
Prince Ernst August of Hanover in court in Austria in March 2021

Prince Ernst has been involved in various scandals over the years, including being fined for attacking a German photographer in 1999.

He was photographed allegedly urinating on the Turkish Pavilion at the Expo 2000 event in Hanover, sparking a diplomatic incident as the Turkish embassy accused him of insulting the Turkish people. He later successfully sued the publication which ran the photograph.

In 2004, he was found guilty of causing serious bodily harm and fined when he allegedly attacked a hotel-owner in Kenya. In 2009, he sought a retrial to have the charge reduced.

In 2017, the prince did not attend his eldest son Prince Ernst August's wedding to Russian fashion designer Ekaterina Malysheva, due to a financial dispute over property.

The Hanover family's ancestral home, Marienburg Castle© Getty
The Hanover family's ancestral home, Marienburg Castle

Ernst Sr later took legal action against his eldest son for the sale of the ancestral castle, Marienburg Castle, which was first gifted to Ernst August Jr in 2004.

Prince Ernst's sons,  Prince Ernst August Jr and Prince Christian© Getty
Prince Ernst's sons, Prince Ernst August Jr and Prince Christian, pictured in 2011

In 2021, the prince was handed a ten-month suspended jail sentence after an altercation with the police at his lodge in Grünau im Almtal, Austria.  

Health history

In April 2005, Ernst August was admitted to hospital with acute pancreatitis, where he was placed in intensive care and later reportedly fell into a deep coma. The hospitalisation came two days before the death of his father-in-law, Prince Rainier III of Monaco.

In 2018, he was hospitalised with food poisoning during his son Prince Christian's wedding, according to reports at the time.

Following the police altercation in 2021, he also received treatment at a psychiatric facility in the Vöcklabruck district.

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