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His Imperial Majesty Heinrich, North German Emperor

Heinrich, North German Emperor

Heinrich in 1908

North German Emperor
Norddeutscher Kaiser


– His Majesty (Formal)


12 April 1908 – Present (0 years)


Alfred von Wastrecht-Orenblau


14 August 1862 (a.44)


Irene, North German Empress (m. 1888)


Prince Waldemar
Prince Sigismund
Prince Henry

Full Name

Heinrich Albert Wilhelm




Friedrich, North German Emperor


Victoria, North German Empress


Prussian United

Military Service


North Germany

Service Branch


Years of Service



Rank Grand Admiral

Henry (German: Heinrich; 14 August 1862 - Present) is the North German Emperor and King of Prussia. He was the second son of Emperor Friedrich and was raised in his family's tradition of military service. While not as much of an academic as his father or mother, he still adhered to their ideals and opinions. Henry was a long-time personnel of the North German Navy and saw a number of significant, if not history-turning battles and conflicts as an sailor. As the second in line to the throne, he did not take part in politics for the majority of his young life.

Henry saw a number of significant naval operations, including an the acquisition of North German Tsingtao in 1898 and the Boxer Rebellion in 1902, though his success was a political one rather than a military as he, later, became the first European potentate to be received at the Chinese imperial court, which -four years later- gave him their formal surrender to the Eight-Nation Alliance. He served as the Grand Admiral of the Home Fleet for five years following the Boxer Rebellion, until he retired to begin his term as the Crown Prince in 1907.

Unlike his brother, Henry was not a political man (and thus, a much more popular Prince than the infamous Crown Prince William) and as such, he was appreciated by his Father and his Country as much for being a capable Naval Officer as he was for being a natural diplomat. His entry into politics was quite a surprise for him, as the office of Crown Prince was thrust upon him by his father when Wilhelm, inexplicably, abdicated as the Crown Prince. Henry's reign as the North German Emperor coincided with the end of la Belle Époque and the beginning of The Great War, but he was, generally, viewed as a just and righteous Emperor that tried his best with the terrible burden he was destined with.


Early Days

Born in Berlin, Prince Henry was the third child and second son of Crown Prince Frederick (later Kaiser Friedrich) and Victoria, Princess Royal of the United Kingdom (later Empress Victoria), eldest daughter of the British Queen Victoria. Henry was three years younger than his brother, long-time Crown Prince William (born 27 January 1859). He was born on the same day as King Frederick William I "Soldier-King" of Prussia.

After attending the gymnasium in Kassel (which he left in 1877), the 15-year-old Henry entered the Imperial Navy cadet program. His naval education included a two-year voyage around the world (1878-1880), the naval officer examination (Seeoffizierhauptprüfung) in October 1880, and attending the German naval academy (1884-1886)

Entry to the Navy

As an imperial prince, Henry quickly achieved command. In 1887, he commanded a torpedo boat and simultaneously the First Torpedo Boat Division, in 1888 the Imperial yacht SMY Hohenzollern, from 1889 to 1890 the second-class cruiser SMS Irene, the armored coastal defense ship SMS Beowulf, the Ironclad SMS Sachsen, and the Pre-Dreadnought SMS Wörth.

Military Service

SMS Wörth

Henry was the officer-in-charge of several naval task forces ever since 1897. These included an improvised Squadron that took part with East Asia Squadron in consolidating and securing Kiaochow and the port of Tsingtao for North Germany. Upon his victory over the local navy and later the Chinese garrison in Tsingtao, he was received at the Chinese Imperial Court, becoming the first European potentate ever to be received by the Chinese Emperor. He officially took command of the East Asia Squadron, later the Tsingtao Fleet, was named Supreme Commander of the Eight-Nation Alliance against the Boxer Rebellion in 1902 and -presumably in promotion due to this- raised to Grand Admiral back home. He was recalled to Danzig after pacifying the Chinese rebels in Tsingtao and extending North Germany's dominion over China to its modern borders, where he would be put in charge of the Baltic sector of the Home Fleet, one of the main Battlefleets of the North German Realm.

Crown Prince of North Germany

Prince Henry of Prussia became Crown Prince Henry on the very first day of March, 1907. His older brother William, who was quite famous at the time for opposing his father on almost every single political or social issue the nation faced, abdicated a day earlier. While at the time largely unknown to the public, this was to a large degree due to Friedrich's insistence -and at some point even threatening-, as William later penned in his Autobiography (Published 1928). As the Crown Prince, Henry was a high ranking member of the nation's diplomatic corps, primarily responsible for keeping Qing-North German relations as high as they possibly could and to make sure North German-American relations would remain high. He used a balance of pleasantries, compromises, and subtle threats of retribution with the Qing, while he remained a popular figure in America -as he had been since his visit in 1902. His biggest challenge as the Crown Prince was the occupation of Puerto Rico in March 1908. As the diplomatic Attaché to the United States, Henry had to use every bit of his skill, popularity, and 'Neighborly Conduct' to ensure the United States that North Germany had no expansionist views on the American Continent and only wished to secure its own interests in response to the decaying Spanish Empire. America joined the Caribbean war of Independence only a few days after the North German Annexation of Puerto Rico had ended, and only a few days before he himself would be recalled home.

Henry returned home on 3 April 1908 after receiving a letter from his wife Irene. She announced that "Papa Frits is ill again, Henry. The entire Rat is in shambles. I don't know what to do!", and Henry, wishing to return to his father's side, returned in a matter of days. The Bundesrat declared him "Emperor Pro Tem" upon his return on 5 April, though he refused, claiming that he had "no intention of taking my father's title from him at his time of weakness", instead naming himself Regent. Henry's regency was not much of a political time, as he himself stated that "Our Constitution does not define the extension of the regent's jurisdiction, and thus I leave the daily affairs of the Realm in the capable hands of the Reichstag and the Chancellor". Only eleven days later, Emperor Friedrich passed away.

North German Emperor

Emperor Friedrich passed away on 12 April 1908. Upon his departure, the Bundesrat and the Reichstag summoned the Crown Prince and temporarily named him North German Emperor on the same day. Henry, now Heinrich, took his office eleven hours later when the other fifteen North German sovereigns arrived in Berlin to pay their respects to their fallen Sovereign and affirm their loyalty to the new Emperor. Heinrich was received as Emperor on 18:00 of 12 April 1908.

Month of Unrest

Heinrich's reign coincided with the rise of Socialism in The Occident. On 25 March 1908, Socialist revolutionaries successfully toppled the Romanian government and proclaimed the creation of the Socialist Republic of Romania. In less than a day, similar revolts began in Bulgaria (in particular the "South Slavian Frontier"), Albania, Greece, and Illyria. Within a week, the Greek Kingdom and the Albanian Principalities had fallen to the Socialist Threat and the multiple Socialist Riots had started in southern Italy, the war-torn Turkey, with more rising in various Habsburg Domains, France, Switzerland, and Catalonia. Liberia in Africa fell to the Socialism on 9th of April, and more revolts continued.

The wave of socialism finally reached North Germany on 27th of April. A Massive revolt began in the Prussia Province of Silesia. Silesia had historically been a hotspot for pro-worker movements, particularly due to the extended iron ore and black coal deposits of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin that had caused massive urbanization and industrialization. Massive revolts in multiple cities began, with Socialists demanding at the very least to be given ownership of the "means of production" in the area. An order for Partial mobilization was given by the Reichskanzler, against the wish of the Reichstag and the Bundesrat. While the Reichstag called for emergency meetings, the Battle of Breslau between around 75,000 armed (to different qualities) socialists and the Second Silesian Army Corps (50,000), which resulted in an Army defeat. By 6 May, the local Silesian government had fallen, with the locals proclaiming a "Silesian Socialist Republic", while similar riots were beginning in Posen, Ruhr, and Hanover. The Reichstag was, with consent of the Emperor, give the Chancellor "emergency powers" to deal with the Socialist threat.

Meanwhile, in Saxony, North German Reactionaries had risen in protest, claiming that Henry's weakness was the reason for this rebellion, and had nearly called for William to replace him. Wilhelm, however, refused to take part in such a rebellion at the time, sneeringly proclaiming "I will not be party in the fracturing of our Fatherland, much less be the cause for one.". On 8th of May, full mobilization of all North German forces in the Metropol was given. the 8th Field Army (formed out of Silesia) challenged the Socialist Rebels in 7 occasions between 9 and 16 May, defeating them in every turn. Breslau was taken back on 19th of May and put under heavy martial law while Prussian Saxony was dealt with in the Battle of Magdeburg where the Royal Saxon Army defeated the Saxon reactionaries in a decisive battle. By 30 May, the protests had calmed down. Chancellor Wastrecht-Orenblau called off the state of emergency and, at the behest of Emperor Heinrich, called for an election on 4 June. The June Election 1908 resulted in a NNP-Zentrum Coalition and a continuation of Wastrecht-Orenblau's election despite his travesty in the rebellions, the Social Democratic Party won more seats individually than either of the two parties and formed the opposition in a Coalition with the Progressive People's Party. The "Month of Unrest" was put to an end, but the hard times had just begun for North Germany. The International Socialist Wave continued both as a wave of revolts and as a massive spike in popularity of Socialist parties and movements in multiple countries that did not end until after the Great War.

The Great War


Military career and Honorary Ranks

Henry was, prior to his ascension as the Crown Prince -and later Emperor-, a well-known naval officer. He had multiple advancements in his own career and was given regimental commissions and honorary ranks by multiple countries throughout his life.

Naval career and advancement

  • Unterleutnant zur See, 14 August 1872; Basic Training and Naval Academy 1877-1878

  • Leutnant zur See, 18 October 1881; Training Cruises and Naval Academy 1878-1882

  • Kapitänleutnant, 18 October 1884; Executive Officer, Armored Cruiser SMS Oldenburg, 1886

  • Korvettenkapitän, 18 October 1887; Commander, 1st Torpedo Boat Division, 1887; Commander, Imperial Yacht SMY Hohenzollern, 1888

  • Kapitän zur See, 27 January 1889; ; Commander, Cruiser SMS Irene, 1889–1890; Commander, Armored Coastal Defense Ship SMS Beowulf, 1892; Commander, Armored Cruiser SMS Sachsen, 1892–1894; Commander, Armored Ship of the Line SMS Wörth, 1894–1895

  • Konteradmiral, 15 September 1895; Commander, 2nd Division, 1st Battle Squadron, 1896–1897; Commander, 2nd Division, Cruiser Squadron, 1897–1899

  • Vizeadmiral, 5 December 1899; Commander, Cruiser Squadron, 1899–1900; Commander, 1st Battle Squadron, 1900–1903

  • Admiral, 13 September 1901; Commanding Admiral

  • Großadmiral, 4 September 1909; Inspector General of the Imperial Navy, 1901-1902; Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet, 1902-1907

Regimental commissions and honorary ranks
North German

  • 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß (Royal Prussian 1st Regiment of foot Guards) - Leutnant through Generaloberst im Range eines Generalfeldmarschalls (Colonel-General in the rank of Field Marshal), 1867-1907

  • Kgl. Sächs. 2. Grenadier-Regiment Kaiser Wilhelm, König von Preußen Nr. 101 (Royal Saxon 2nd Grenadier Regiment)

  • 1. Kgl. Hessisches Feldartilleree-Regiment 25 (Kingdom of Hesse 2nd Artillery Regiment)

  • Fußilier-Regiment "Prinz Heinrich von Preußen" (Brandenburgisches) Nr 35 (The Brandenburg Fusilier Regiment) - Generaloberst im Range Eines Generalfeldmarschalls und Chef (Colonel in Chief)


  • The United Kingdom: Royal Navy - Admiral (Honorary) 13 September 1901

  • The United Kingdom: Royal Navy - Vice-Admiral (Honorary) 5 February 1901

  • Russian Empire: Imperial Dragoon Regiment Nr. 33 – Colonel

  • The Eight-Nation Alliance: Oberbefehlshaber des Vereinigte acht Staaten (Supreme Commander of the Eight-Nation Alliance) 1902

Titles, styles, and honours

Titles and styles
  • 14 August 1862 - 1 March 1907: His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Prussia

  • 1 March 1907 - 5 April 1908: His Imperial and Royal Highness The North German Crown Prince, Crown Prince of Prussia and Limburg

  • 5 April 1908 - 12 April 1908: His Imperial and Royal Highness The Prince Regent

  • 12 April 1908 - Present: His Imperial and Royal Majesty The North German Emperor, King of Prussia, Duke of Limburg, Stadthalter of Berlin

Kingdom of Prussia
Order of the Black Eagle, Knight with Collar, 1872
Order of the Red Eagle, Grand Cross, 1872 (by statute of the Order of the Black Eagle, for princes of Prussia)
Order of the Prussian Crown, Knight 1st Class, 1872 (by statute of the Order of the Black Eagle, for princes of Prussia)
Royal House Order of Hohenzollern, Grand Commander with Collar chain
Johanniter Order, Commander of Justice
Long Service Award

Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen: Princely House Order of Hohenzollern, Cross of Honour 1st Class
Kingdom of Hanover
Order of St. George, Knight

Kingdom of Saxony
Order of the Rue Crown, Knight
Albert Order, Grand Cross with Crown and Swords

Kingdom of Hesse
Ludwig Order, Grand Cross
House Order of the Golden Lion, Knight
Medal of Bravery

Kingdom of Mecklenburg
House Order of the Wendish Crown, Grand Cross with Crown and Diamonds

Grand Duchy of Oldenburg
House Merit Order of Duke Peter Friedrich Ludwig, Grand Cross with Golden Crown

Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Order of the White Falcon, Grand Cross

Duchy of Anhalt
Order of Albert the Bear, Grand Cross

Duchy of Brunswick
Order of Henry the Lion, Grand Cross

Ernstine Duchies
Saxe-Ernestine House Order, Grand Cross

Hanseatic Cities
Hanseatic Crosses

The Brazilian Empire
Imperial Order of the Southern Cross, Grand Cross

The Bulgarian Empire
Order of St. Alexander, Grand Cross
Order of Danilo I, Grand Cross
Royal Order of the White Eagle, Grand Cross

The United States of Colombia
Order of the Liberator, Collar

Kingdom of Denmark
Order of the Elephant, Knight, 30 July 1888

Legion of Honour, Grand Cross, 11 December 1856
Husainid House Order

Kingdom of Greece
Order of the Redeemer, Grand Cross

Kingdom of Hawaii
Royal Order of Kalākaua I, Grand Cross, 1881

Kingdom of Italy
Order of the Annunciation, Knight
Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, Grand Cross
Supreme Order of Christ, Knight
Tuscan Grand Ducal family: Order of St. Joseph, Grand Cross

The Japanese Empire
Order of the Chrysanthemum, Grand Cordon
Grand Order of the Golden Ruler, Grand Cordon

The Dutch Empire
Order of the Netherlands Lion, Grand Cross
Royal Order of Leopold, Grand Cordon

The Ottoman Empire
Order of Osmanieh, 1st Class with Diamonds

The Portuguese Empire
Sash of the Two Orders
Order of the Tower and Sword, Grand Cross

The Qing Empire
Order of the Double Dragon, Class I Grade I

Kingdom of Romania
Order of the Star of Romania, Grand Cross

The Russian Empire
Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First Called, Knight
Order of St. Alexander Nevsky, Knight
Order of St. Anna, 1st Class
Order of St. Stanislaus, 1st Class
Imperial Order of the White Eagle, Knight

Kingdom of Siam
Order of the Royal House of Chakri, Knight

Kingdom of Spain
Order of the Golden Fleece, Knight, 1883
Order of Naval Merit, 4th Class

Royal Order of the Seraphim, Knight, 17 October 1887
Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav, Grand Cross

The British Empire
Order of the Bath, Honorary Grand Cross, 13 August 1881
Order of the Garter, Knight, 8 August 1889

Honorary degrees and offices

  • Honorary Doctrate (Doctor of Engineering honoric causa), Technical University of Berlin (1899)

  • Freedom of the City of New York during his visit to the city. (25 February 1902)

  • Honorary doctorate (LL.D.) Harvard University, (6 March 1902)

  • Freedom of the City of Philadelphia during his visit to the city, (10 March 1902)


Henry married his first cousin, Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine on 24 May 1888 at the chapel of Charlottenberg Palace in Berlin. Their marriage displeased Queen Victoria because she had not been told about the courtship until they had already decided to marry. At the time of the ceremony, Irene's uncle and father-in-law was suffering through his convalescence after throat cancer. Henry's mother, Empress Victoria, was fond of Irene. However, she was shocked because she did not wear a shawl or scarf to disguise her pregnancy when she was pregnant with her first son, Prince Waldemar, in 1889. Empress Victoria also found it confusing that Heinrich and Irene -at least at the time- did not appear to care about politics. Irene and Henry were happily married and known as "The Very Amiables" by their relatives due to their very pleasant natures. Henry and Irene's marriage produced three children:






Prince Waldemar of Prussia

20 March 1889



Prince Sigismund of Prussia

27 November 1896



Prince Henry of Prussia

9 January 1900

26 February 1904

Was a haemophiliac and died aged four after bumping his head

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