(Grand) Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
(Groß-)Herzogtum Mecklenburg-Strelitz
State of the Holy Roman Empire (until 1806)

Flag Coat of arms
Mecklenburg-Strelitz within the German Empire
Capital Neustrelitz
Government Monarchy
 - Established 1701
 - Disestablished 1918
 - 1905 est. 103,000 

Mecklenburg-Strelitz was a duchy and later grand duchy in northern Germany, consisting of the eastern fifth of the historic Mecklenburg region, roughly corresponding with the present-day Mecklenburg-Strelitz district (the former Lordship of Stargard), and the western exclave of the former Bishopric of Ratzeburg in modern Schleswig-Holstein. At the time of its establishment, the duchy bordered on the territory of Swedish Pomerania in the north and of Brandenburg in the south.



It was established in 1701 on the territory of the former duchy of Mecklenburg-Güstrow. The Güstrow branch of the House of Mecklenburg had become extinct with the death of Duke Gustav Adolph in 1695, whereupon his heritage was claimed by his cousin Duke Frederick William of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. He had however to cope with the demands of his uncle Adolphus Frederick, husband of Mary of Mecklenburg-Güstrow, the daughter of predeceased Duke Gustav Adolphus. After a long and tough inheritance conflict, the emissaries of the Lower Saxon Circle on March 8, 1701 negotiated a compromise, whereafter Adolphus Frederick received the territory of Mecklenburg-Strelitz as a duchy in its own right. Both continued to call themselves "Dukes of Mecklenburg", while Duke Adolphus Frederick took his residence at Strelitz.

Mecklenburg-Strelitz (yellow) in 1866

The Strelitz duchy remained one of the most backward regions of the Empire. Nevertheless, its princesses achieved prominent marriages: In 1761 Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, sister of Duke Adolphus Frederick IV, by marrying King George III became queen consort of Great Britain. In 1793 her niece Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, daughter of Duke Charles II married Frederick William III of Hohenzollern and in 1797 became queen consort of Prussia.

In 1808, the duchy joined the Confederation of the Rhine. The Congress of Vienna recognized both Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Mecklenburg-Schwerin as a grand duchies and members of the German Confederation. Mecklenburg-Strelitz joined the North German Confederation in 1867, and became part of the German Empire in 1871. The partition of Mecklenburg outlasted even the abolition of the monarchy, until on January 1, 1934 the Free State of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was united with the neighbouring state of Mecklenburg-Schwerin to form the State of Mecklenburg (today part of the Bundesland Mecklenburg-Vorpommern).

The lingering end of the ruling family of Mecklenburg-Strelitz occurred just prior to the loss of actual monarchy in developments of World War I — at that time, there existed only two surviving recognized male dynasts of Strelitz, the young Grand Duke Adolphus Frederick VI and his cousin Charles Michael who was in Russian service, being a son of Grand Duchess Catherine Mikhailovna. In 1914, before the proclamation of war between Germany and Russia, Duke Charles Michael renounced his Mecklenburgish citizenship. On 23 February 1918, Grand Duke Adolf Frederick VI committed suicide, leaving his cousin Charles Michael as heir to the Strelitz throne. Being in Russia, however, Charles Michael did not assume the throne and in 1918, he wrote to Grand Duke Frederick Francis IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who was acting as regent in Strelitz, stating that he wished to renounce his rights of succession to Strelitz, though the letter was only received by Frederick Francis in 1919 after the end of German monarchies, so the issue of succession could not be resolved in time.


The House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz survives to this day descending from Duke George, the morganatic son of Duke George Alexander with Countess Natalia Carlow and nephew of Duke Charles Michael, who adopted him in 1928. George subsequently assumed the title "Duke of Mecklenburg" (Serene Highness) which was acknowledged by Grand Duke Frederick Francis IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. He was later given the style of Highness by the House of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. George's grandson Borwin is the present head of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

The American county of Mecklenburg which includes the city of Charlotte, North Carolina is named after the duchy.

Dukes of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, 1701-1815

Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, 1815-1918

  • Charles II 1815-1816
  • George 1816-1860, son
  • Frederick Willliam 1860-1904, son
  • Adolphus Frederick V 1904-1914, son
  • Adolphus Frederick VI 1914-1918, son
  • Frederick Francis IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin 1918 (Regent)

Heads of the House post-monarchy

See also

External links

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