This is a “paletot” (a loose or fitted overcoat, originally a medieval French term, later used in 19th Century Germany) once owned by the Duchy of Braunschweig’s Herzog Ernst August (1887-1953). Ernst August was Braunschweig’s final Duke, who married Viktoria Luise (1892-1980), Kaiser Wilhelm II and Kaiserin Augusta Viktoria’s only daughter. [Braunschweig was the Kingdom of Hannover’s vassal state, until both were absorbed into Prussia following their defeat in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War. Braunschweig’s ducal succession was rather confused at the time. Otto von Bismarck stepped in to block the purported Hannover/Braunschweig next-in-line from ascending the throne. Instead, Prussia’s Prinz Albrecht (1837-1906) was named as Braunschweig’s regent, a role in which he served from 1885 to 1906. (Albrecht’s father was Wilhelm I and Friedrich Wilhelm IV’s brother). Prinz Albrecht had been a military officer, serving as the Hannover-based X. Armeekorps’ commander prior to his regency. Another Prussian took over the regency after Albrecht’s 1906 death. Following Ernst August’s 1913 marriage to Viktoria Luise (THE year’s social event and the European crowned heads’ last major gathering before WW I), Ernst August was allowed to become Braunschweig’s final Herzog. Braunschweig was then afforded greater independence, but remained a Prussian vassal state.
The Braunschweigisches Husaren-Regiment Nr 17 was founded in 1809. The regiment was garrisoned in the capital city of Braunschweig, and assigned to the X. Armeekorps. Braunschweigisches Husaren-Regiment Nr 17 possessed a fabled history. Among the battles and campaigns in which it participated were: the Peninsula Campaign (Spain and Portugal) with Wellington, Waterloo (again with Wellington), and Mars La Tour, during the 1870/71 Franco-Prussian War. The regiment, along with Infanterie-Regiment Nr 92, and a single artillery Bataillon, constituted the Duchy of Braunschweig’s entire military. Young Ernst August was the Regimental Chef for his Duchy’s Husaren-Regiment Nr 17, a well as Infanterie-Regiment Nr 92.
Our offering today is that very Duke’s Braunschweigisches Husaren-Regiment Nr 17 paletot. We are very excited to offer a general officer’s rank coat that once belonged to a German HEAD-OF-STATE (the Kaiser’s son-in-law, no-less). The tunic is made of light-grey ultra-high-grade doeskin wool. It has the classic paletot’s double breasted front with two rows of six tombac buttons. A black turn-down collar with red underlay and beautiful general’s shoulder boards with black underlay denote Braunschweigisches Husaren-Regiment Nr 17. A generalmajor’s sewn-in shoulder boards are sewn-in on one side, and attached by a small, gilt-toned button on the other. The coat possesses false barrel cuffs with two deep flap pockets. The coat’s reverse features a short horizontal half belt with one connecting button. Below that, two vertical pockets with scalloped flaps on either side are decorated with six silver (three per side) buttons. The coat’s interior features a fine, champagne-colored, heavy-gauge silk liner with interior pockets. The coat itself shows aging and mothing (tracks and minor holes), mainly to its lower front section. Otherwise, it is in good condition.
This coat, along with the feldgrau overcoat above (also belonging to Ernst August) came from the Royal House of Hanover sale that was conducted by Sotheby’s Auction House at Schloss Marienburg, Germany, in 2005.