The Info List - House Of Welf

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The House of Welf
House of Welf
(also Guelf or Guelph[1]) was a European dynasty that has included many German and British monarchs from the 11th to 20th century and Emperor Ivan VI of Russia
Ivan VI of Russia
in the 18th century.


1 Origins 2 Bavaria
and Saxony 3 Brunswick and Hanover

3.1 Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel 3.2 Principality of Calenberg – later Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg 3.3 British succession 3.4 Kingdom of Hanover 3.5 Brunswick succession

4 Early Welf princes (1070–1269)

4.1 Dukes of Bavaria
and Saxony 4.2 Count Palatine of the Rhine 4.3 Holy Roman Emperor 4.4 Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg

5 See also

5.1 Welf family tree 12th century 5.2 Welf family tree 11th century to present

6 References 7 External links

Origins[edit] See also: Guelphs and Ghibellines
Guelphs and Ghibellines
and Hundings The House of Welf
House of Welf
is the older branch of the House of Este, a dynasty whose earliest known members lived in Lombardy
in the late 9th/early 10th century, sometimes called Welf-Este. The first member was Welf I, Duke of Bavaria; he inherited the property of the Elder House of Welf when his maternal uncle Welf III, Duke of Carinthia and Verona, the last male Welf of the Elder House, died in 1055. Welf IV was the son of Welf III's sister Kunigunde of Altdorf
Kunigunde of Altdorf
and her husband Albert Azzo II, Margrave of Milan. In 1070, Welf IV became duke of Bavaria. Welf II, Duke of Bavaria
Duke of Bavaria
married Countess Matilda of Tuscany, who died childless and left him her possessions, including Tuscany, Ferrara, Modena, Mantua, and Reggio, which played a role in the Investiture Controversy. Since the Welf dynasty sided with the Pope in this controversy, partisans of the Pope came to be known in Italy as Guelphs (Guelfi).

Kunigunde of Altdorf, sister of Welf III, wife of Albert Azzo II of Este, Margrave of Milan, parents of Welf IV

Welf I, Duke of Bavaria
Welf I, Duke of Bavaria
(c. 1030/1040 – 1101)

Welf II, Duke of Bavaria
Duke of Bavaria

and Saxony[edit] Henry IX, Duke of Bavaria, from 1120–1126, was the first of the three dukes of the Welf dynasty called Henry. His wife Wulfhild was the heiress of the house of Billung, possessing the territory around Lüneburg
in Lower Saxony. Their son, Henry the Proud was the son-in-law and heir of Lothair II, Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
and became also duke of Saxony on Lothair's death. Lothair left his territory around Brunswick, inherited from his mother of the Brunonids, to his daughter Gertrud. Her husband Henry the Proud became then the favoured candidate in the imperial election against Conrad III of the Hohenstaufen. But Henry lost the election, as the other princes feared his power and temperament, and was dispossessed of his duchies by Conrad III. Henry's brother Welf VI
Welf VI
(1115–1191), Margrave of Tuscany, later left his Swabian territories around Ravensburg, the original possessions of the Elder House of Welf, to his nephew Emperor Frederick I and thus to the House of Hohenstaufen.

Henry the Black, duke of Bavaria
(1075–1126) and his wife Wulfhild of Billung

Henry the Proud (1102–1139), Duke of Bavaria
Duke of Bavaria
and Saxony, and his wife Gertrud of Saxony, daughter of Lothair II, Holy Roman Emperor, Duke of Saxony

Welf VI
Welf VI
(1115–1191), Margrave of Tuscany

Steingaden Abbey, Swabia, place of burial of its founder Welf VI
Welf VI
(d. 1191)

The next duke of the Welf dynasty Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
recovered his father's two duchies, Saxony in 1142, Bavaria
in 1156 and thus ruled vast parts of Germany. In 1168 he married Matilda (1156–1189), the daughter of Henry II of England
Henry II of England
and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and sister of Richard I of England, gaining ever more influence. His first cousin, Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
of the Hohenstaufen
dynasty, tried to get along with him, but when Henry refused to assist him once more in an Italian war campaign, conflict became inevitable. Dispossessed of his duchies after the Battle of Legnano
Battle of Legnano
in 1176 by Emperor Frederick I and the other princes of the German Empire eager to claim parts of his vast territories, he was exiled to the court of his father-in-law Henry II in Normandy in 1180, but returned to Germany three years later. Henry made his peace with the Hohenstaufen Emperor in 1185, and returned to his much diminished lands around Brunswick without recovering his two duchies. Bavaria
had been given to Otto I, Duke of Bavaria, and the Duchy of Saxony
Duchy of Saxony
was divided between the Archbishop of Cologne, the House of Ascania
House of Ascania
and others. Henry died at Brunswick in 1195.

Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
(1130–1195), Duke of Bavaria
Duke of Bavaria
and Saxony

Matilda Plantagenet (1156–1189), wife of Henry the Lion, sister of Richard I of England

Henry's Dankwarderode Castle
Dankwarderode Castle
in Brunswick

Henry's Brunswick Lion

Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor, son of Henry the Lion
Henry the Lion
and Matilda of England

Brunswick and Hanover[edit] Henry the Lion's son Otto of Brunswick was elected King of the Romans and crowned Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
Otto IV after years of further conflicts with the Hohenstaufen
emperors. He incurred the wrath of Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III
and was excommunicated in 1215. Otto was forced to abdicate the imperial throne by the Hohenstaufen
Frederick II.[2] He was the only Welf to become emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

Coat-of-arms of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg

Henry the Lion's grandson Otto the Child
Otto the Child
became duke of a part of Saxony in 1235, the new Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and died there in 1252. The duchy was divided several times during the High Middle Ages amongst various lines of the House of Welf, but all members of the family continued to be styled as "Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg" in addition to "Prince of Lüneburg", "Prince of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel", "Prince of Calenberg-Göttingen-Grubenhagen" (later to become "Prince of Hanover") etc. The subsequent history of the dukedom and its subordinate principalities was characterized by numerous divisions and reunifications. The subordinate states that were repeatedly created, and which had the legal status of principalities within the duchy (officially remaining an undivided imperial fief) were generally named after the residences of their rulers. The estates of the different dynastic lines were always inherited by another line - or rather divided between the remaining lines - when a branch died out in the male line, as the Imperial fief (the duchy) remained always enfeoffed to the family as a whole, not to its individual members. This is why all members of the House of Welf, male or female, bore the title Duke/Duchess of Brunswick-Luneburg, in addition to the style of the subordinate principality of their respective branches, for example the Electorate of Hanover. They do this to this day. The individual subordinate principalities continued to exist until the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. Following the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
in 1814/15, the territories became part of the Kingdom of Hanover
Kingdom of Hanover
and the Duchy of Brunswick. Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel[edit] In 1269 the Principality of Brunswick was formed following the first division of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg. In 1432, as a result of increasing tensions with the townsfolk of Brunswick, the Brunswick Line moved their residence to Wolfenbüttel
Castle, thus the name Wolfenbüttel
became the unofficial name of this principality. With Ivan VI of Russia
Ivan VI of Russia
the Brunswick line even had a short intermezzo on the Russian imperial throne in 1740. Not until 1754 was the residence moved back to Brunswick, into the new Brunswick Palace. In 1814 the principality became the Duchy of Brunswick, ruled by the senior branch of the House of Welf. Principality of Calenberg – later Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg[edit]

Coat of Arms of the Electorate of Brunswick- Lüneburg

In 1432 the estates gained by the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
between the Deister
and Leine split away as the Principality of Calenberg. In 1495 it was expanded around Göttingen
and in 1584 went back to the Wolfenbüttel
Line. In 1634, as a result of inheritance distributions, it went to the House of Luneburg residing at Celle Castle. In 1635 it was given to George, younger brother of Prince Ernest II of Lüneburg, who chose Hanover
as his residence. New territory was added in 1665, and in 1705 the Principality of Luneburg was taken over by the Hanoverians. In 1692 Duke Ernest Augustus from the Calenberg- Hanover
Line acquired the right to be a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire as the Prince-Elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Colloquially the Electorate was known as the Electorate of Hanover. In 1814 it was succeeded by the Kingdom of Hanover. British succession[edit] Religion-driven politics brought about Ernest Augustus' wife Sophia of Hanover
being in the line of succession to the British crown by the Settlement Act of 1701, written to ensure a Protestant succession to the thrones of Scotland and England at a time when anti-Catholic sentiment ran high in much of Northern Europe and Great Britain. But Sophia died shortly before her first cousin once removed, Anne, Queen of Great Britain, the last sovereign of the House of Stuart. Sophia's son George I succeeded queen Anne and formed a personal union from 1714 between the British crown and the Electorate of Hanover, which lasted until well after the end of the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
more than a century later, through the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and the rise of a new successor kingdom. The British royal family became known as the House of Hanover.

Coat of arms of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain (1714–1801)

George I (1714–1727)

George II (1727–1760)

Frederick, Prince of Wales
Frederick, Prince of Wales
(b. 1707 d. 1751)

George III (1760–1820)

George IV (1820–1830)

William IV (1830–1837)

Victoria (1837–1901)

Kingdom of Hanover[edit] The "Electorate of Hanover" (the core duchy) was enlarged with the addition of other lands and became the Kingdom of Hanover
Kingdom of Hanover
in 1814 at the Congress of Vienna. During the first half of the nineteenth century, the Kingdom was ruled as personal union by the British crown from its creation under George III of the United Kingdom, the last elector of Hanover
until the death of William IV in 1837. At that point, the crown of Hanover
went to William's younger brother, Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale under the Salic law requiring the next male heir to inherit, whereas the British throne was inherited by an elder brother's only daughter, Queen Victoria. Her offspring belong to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha: in 1917 the name was changed to the House of Windsor. The Kingdom of Hanover
Kingdom of Hanover
was lost in 1866 by Ernest Augustus' son George V of Hanover, Austria's ally during the Austro-Prussian War, when it was annexed by Prussia
after Austria's defeat, and became the Prussian province of Hanover. The Welfs went into exile at Gmunden, Austria, where they built Cumberland Castle.

Coat of arms of the kingdom of Hanover

King Ernest Augustus I of Hanover

King George V of Hanover

Brunswick succession[edit]

Coat-of-arms of the Duchy of Brunswick

The senior line of the dynasty had ruled the much smaller principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, created the sovereign Duchy of Brunswick in 1814. This line became extinct in 1884. Although the Duchy should have been inherited by the Duke of Cumberland, son of the last king of Hanover, Prussian suspicions of his loyalty led the duchy's throne to remain vacant until 1913, when the Duke of Cumberland's son, Ernst August, married the daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II and was allowed to inherit it. His rule there was short-lived, as the monarchy came to an end following the First World War in 1918. The Welf dynasty continues to exist. The last member sitting on a European throne was Frederica of Hanover, Queen of Greece († 1981), mother of Queen Sofia of Spain
Queen Sofia of Spain
and King Constantine II of Greece. Frederica's brother Prince George William of Hanover
married Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark, sister of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The House's head is Queen Frederica's nephew Ernst August, the third and present husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco.

The Leine Palace in Hanover

Herrenhausen Palace
Herrenhausen Palace
and Herrenhausen Gardens
Herrenhausen Gardens
in Hanover

Celle Castle

Brunswick Palace


Marienburg Castle (Hanover), present seat of the Princes of Hanover

Early Welf princes (1070–1269)[edit] Dukes of Bavaria
and Saxony[edit]

Welf I, Duke of Bavaria
Welf I, Duke of Bavaria
(1070–1077, 1096–1101) Welf II, son of Welf I; Duke of Bavaria
Duke of Bavaria
(1101–1120) Henry IX, the Black, son of Welf I; Duke of Bavaria
Duke of Bavaria
(1120–1126) Henry X, the Proud, son of Henry the Black; Duke of Bavaria (1126–1138), Duke of Saxony
Duke of Saxony
(1137–1139) Henry XI, the Lion, son of Henry the Proud; Duke of Saxony (1142–1180), Duke of Bavaria
Duke of Bavaria

Count Palatine of the Rhine[edit]

Henry V, son of Henry the Lion; Count Palatine of the Rhine (1195–1213) Henry VI, son of Henry V; Count Palatine of the Rhine (1213–1214)

Holy Roman Emperor[edit]

Otto IV, son of Henry the Lion; Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor

Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg[edit]

Otto I, grandson of Henry the Lion; Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1235–1252) Albert I, son of Otto I; Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
(1252–1269); ancestor of the House of Hanover John, son of Otto I; Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg

See also[edit]

Guelph Treasure Family tree of the German monarchs

Welf family tree 12th century[edit]

Welf family tree 11th century to present[edit]


^ Jones, B. (2013). Dictionary of World Biography. Canberra, Australia: Australian National University. p. 356. ISBN 9781922144492.  ^ Canduci, pg. 294

External links[edit]

has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Welf.

Die Welfen. Official site (in German) Succession laws in the House of Welf

v t e

Royal houses of Europe

Nordic countries


Knýtlinga Fairhair Estridsen Griffins Palatinate-Neumarkt Oldenburg Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg


Bjelbo Mecklenburg Griffins Palatinate-Neumarkt Bonde Oldenburg Vasa Palatinate-Zweibrücken Hesse Holstein-Gottorp Romanov


Fairhair Knýtlinga Hardrada Gille Sverre Bjelbo Estridsen Griffins Palatinate-Neumarkt Bonde Oldenburg Holstein-Gottorp Bernadotte Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg


Munsö Stenkil Sverker Eric Bjelbo Estridsen Mecklenburg Griffins Palatinate-Neumarkt Bonde Oldenburg Vasa Palatinate-Zweibrücken Hesse-Kassel Holstein-Gottorp Bernadotte


Fairhair Bjelbo Estridsen Griffins Palatinate-Neumarkt Bonde Oldenburg Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg

Britain and Ireland


Mercia Wuffing Kent Sussex Essex Bernicia Deira Northumbria Uí Ímair Wessex Knýtlinga Normandy Angevin Plantagenet Lancaster York Tudor


Fergus Óengus Strathclyde Mann and the Isles Alpin Northumbria Bernicia Uí Ímair Galloway Dunkeld Sverre Balliol Bruce Stuart


Dinefwr Aberffraw Gwynedd Mathrafal Cunedda Tudor


Ulaid Dál Riata Érainn Corcu Loígde Laigin Connachta Uí Néill Ó Gallchobhair Ó Domhnail Ó Néill Ó Máel Sechlainn Mac Murchada Ó Briain Mac Lochlainn Ó Conchobhair

Gaelic Ireland

Laigin Síl Conairi Ulaid Dáirine Osraige Cruthin Dál nAraidi Connachta Uí Fiachrach Uí Briúin Uí Néill Síl nÁedo Sláine Clann Cholmáin Eóganachta Chaisil Glendamnach Raithlind Uí Dúnlainge Uí Ímair
Uí Ímair
(Norse) Uí Ceinnselaig Dál gCais Ó Briain Mac Carthaig Ó Conchobhair Ó Ruairc De Burgh (Norman) FitzGerald (Norman) Ó Domhnaill Ó Néill

Great Britain

Stuart Orange-Nassau Hanover Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Windsor

Eastern Europe


Angevin Progon Arianiti Thopia Kastrioti Dukagjini Wied Zogu Ottoman Savoy


Orontid Artaxiad Arsacid Bagratid Artsruni Rubenids Hethumids Lusignan Savoy


Boričević Kulinić Kotromanić Kosača Ottoman Habsburg-Lorraine


Dulo Krum Cometopuli Asen Smilets Terter Shishman Sratsimir Battenberg Saxe-Coburg and Gotha


Trpimirović Domagojević Svačić Ottoman Luxembourg Habsburg Habsburg-Lorraine Bonaparte Savoy (disputed)


Plantagenet Lusignan Ottoman Savoy


Pharnavazid Artaxiad Arsacid Ottoman Chosroid Bagrationi


Argead Macedonian Doukas Komnenos Angelos Laskaris Palaiologos Ottoman Wittelsbach Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg


Mindaugas Gediminids Jagiellon Valois Báthory Vasa Wiśniowiecki Sobieski Wettin Leszczyński Poniatowski Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov


Dragoș (Drăgoșești) Rossetti Bogdan-Muşat Movilești Drăculeşti Ghica Cantacuzene Cantemirești Racoviță Mavrocordato Ypsilantis Soutzos Mourousi Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen Basarab


Vojislavljević Balšić Ottoman Crnojević Petrović-Njegoš


House of Basarab Rossetti Bogdan-Mușat Movilești Drăculești Ghica Cantacuzene Cantemirești Romanov Racoviță Ottoman Mavrocordato Ypsilantis Soutzos Mourousi Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen Romania/Royal family


Rurik Borjigin Godunov Shuysky Vasa Romanov


Vlastimirović Vukanović Nemanjić Lazarević Mrnjavčević Dejanović Branković Ottoman Obrenović Karađorđević




Rurikids Piast Gediminids Olshanski Olelkovich Giray Romanov Habsburg-Lorraine

1 Transcontinental country. 2 Entirely in Southwest Asia
but having socio-political connections with Europe.

Western Europe


Saxe-Coburg and Gotha


Merovingian Carolingian Capet Valois Bourbon Bonaparte Orléans


Aleramici Appiani Bonaparte Bourbon-Parma Bourbon-Two Sicilies Carolingian Della Rovere Este Farnese Flavian Gonzaga Grimaldi Habsburg Julio-Claudian Malatesta Malaspina Medici Montefeltro Nerva–Antonine Ordelaffi Orsini Palaiologos Pallavicini Savoy Severan Sforza Visconti


Orange-Nassau Nassau-Weilburg Bourbon-Parma




Bonaparte Orange-Nassau (Mecklenburg) (Lippe) (Amsberg)


Vímara Peres Burgundy Aviz Habsburg Spanish Braganza

Braganza-Saxe-Coburg and Gotha


Asturias Barcelona Jiménez Burgundy Champagne Capet Évreux Trastámara Habsburg Bourbon

Bonaparte Savoy

Central Europe


Babenberg Habsburg Habsburg-Lorraine


Přemyslid Piast Luxembourg Jagiellon Habsburg Habsburg-Lorraine


Ascania Carolingian Conradines Ottonian Luitpolding Salian Süpplingenburg Hohenstaufen Welf Habsburg Hanover Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Nassau Luxembourg Wittelsbach Schwarzburg Brunswick-Lüneburg House of Pomerania Hohenzollern Württemberg Oldenburg Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg Orange-Nassau Nassau-Weilburg Mecklenburg Vasa Palatine Zweibrücken Hesse Holstein-Gottorp Romanov Bonaparte Wettin Lippe Zähringen


Árpád Přemyslid Wittelsbach Angevin Luxembourg Hunyadi Jagiellon Szapolyai Ottoman Habsburg Habsburg-Lorraine




Piast Přemyslid Samborides Griffins Jagiellon Valois Báthory Vasa Wiśniowiecki Sobieski Wettin Leszczyński Poniatowski

After partitions:

Kingdom of Poland Habsburg Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria Wettin Duchy of Warsaw Lefebvre Duchy of Gdańsk Hohenzollern Duchy of Poznań

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 15565