Gregory Brown
513 Agnes Arnold Hall
Department of Philosophy
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204-3004

Karl II.
(Charles II.)

Duke of Brunswick (1826-1830)

Karl II. was the first-born son of duke  Friedrich Wilhelm (1711-1815) of Brunswick - Wolfenbüttel - Bevern.  When duke Friedrich Wilhelm was unexpectedly killed in 1815 in the war against Napoleon in the battle at Waterloo, he left behind two as yet minor-aged sons, Karl II. and Wilhelm (1806-1884).  King George IV. of Great Britain (1762-1830) assumed the guardianship of the two young boys.  Until Karl II. came of age, a regency council ruled in the reestablished duchy of Brunswick.  At the Vienna Congress in 1814 the principality of Brunswick - Wolfenbüttel was elevated to the duchy of Brunswick. Beginning in 1826 the young Duke Karl II. personally assumed the rule  in Brunswick.  In 1830 the generally inept governing style of duke Karl II. and his neo-absolutist regime led to a revolution in the duchy and his removal from office.  Thereupon, in September 1830, duke Karl II. left his land in full flight and removed to London.  In Berlin the younger brother duke Wilhelm did his service as a cavalry captain in the Prussian army.  In the same month, after the removal of Karl II. in Brunswick, duke Wilhelm took over the regency in the duchy.  Although immediately after his flight duke Karl II. transferred the rule to his brother Wilhelm for a limited period of time, Wilhelm never gave it back to his brother Karl II.  The relationship between the two brothers remained disturbed until the death of Karl II. in 1873.  The deposed duke Karl II. sought repeatedly to recover the throne in Brunswick.  In 1831 extraordinary proceedings in Paris and the dissolute life of the powerless duke led the German states which were joined in the Frankfurt parliament to make a declaration about the duke's fitness for rule.  This judgment was never again raised in the parliament.  Powerless and embittered, the unmarried duke Karl II. died in Geneva in 1873.  He bequeathed to this city his not inconsiderable fortune.  Even today an imposing memorial in front of  the hotel "Beaurivage" in Geneva reminds one of this inheritance.

--Adapted from the website, Die Welfen


  • Römer, Christof. Ein Fürstenhaus als eruopäische Dynastie, Braunschweig - Bevern. Brunswick, 1997.