Versatile sportsman fostered Olympic ideal
PRINCE GEORGE OF HANOVER ; Versatile sportsman ; fostered Olympic ideal : As headmaster of Salem School, he and students rebuilt earthquake-damaged home in Ionian islands LONDON DAILY TELEGRAPH 1 London - HRH Prince George of Hanover, who died in Munich on Jan. 8 ' at age 90, was a grandson of the Kaiser, . the brother of Queen Frederika of Greece and the brother-in-law of Prince ' Philip; he was also a first-class educa- tionalist in the tradition of Kurt Hahn, ' and a keen sportsman who carried the torch of Pierre de Coubertin, creator of ; the new era of the Olympic movement. Prince George was the second son of Ernst August, duke of Brunswick, head of the royal house of Hanover and, , therefore, a direct lineal descendant of King George III. His mother was '. Princess Viktoria Luise, only daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II, emperor of Germany and, thus, a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. '. Prince Georg Wilhelm Ernst August , Friedrich Axel was born at Brunswick on March 25, 1915. The First World War , was a difficult time for the house of , Hanover, as for so many German royal houses. The kingdom had been annexed by Prussia in 1866, but in 1913, Prince ! George's father was reinstated as reign-. ing duke of the small duchy of . Brunswick, as a gesture of reconcilia-. ' tion between Hanover and Prussia on the occasion of his marriage to the ' Kaiser's daughter. But in 1915, Duke Ernst August was struck off the roll of the Order of the Garter; three years later, he was deprived of his titles prince of the United Kingdom and duke of Cumberland. He abdicated as duke of Brunswick on Nov. 8,1918. At tle time of his birth, however, Prince George was technically a prince of the United Kingdom and Ireland, with the British title of His Highness, due to his direct male descent from George Lu. His life changed when he and his elder brother left a stern tutor to be educated at Salem School, north of Lake Constance, which had been founded by Kurt Hahn. In the Second World War, George served as a major in the 10th ; Cavalry Regiment, and was then attached to the staff of General Heinz . Guderian before being thrown out of the army when Hitler forced all the German princes to resign their commis- . sions in 1942. He went to help his father at Schloss Blankenburg in Thuringia, and was involved in the move of the family art treasures to Schloss Marien- - burg (near the city of Hanover) when the Red Army marched into Thuringia. After the war, he studied law at the University of Gottingen, gaining his doctorate in 1948. That year, the Margrave of Baden (Prince George's first cousin) invited him to become headmaster of Salem School, where for a time Prince Philip had been a pupil. He proved an enterprising, unconventional and athletic headmaster. He led by example, wanted pupils to study hard at normal subjects, and to take responsibility in the community. The pupils were sent out as apprentices to workmen and artisans to learn a trade, their exams later being supervised by the same workmen. Before leaving school boys had to devote three weeks of their holidays to social work. They built houses for the less fortunate, while the girls worked in hospitals. In 1955, Prince George took a group of 100 boys age between 18 and 20 to Argostoli in the Ionian islands to spend a month reconstructing an old peoples' home that had been destroyed by an earthquake. He created a riding school in Munich, and became chairman of the Outward Bound Mountain School in Austria, where more than 20,000 youngsters were trained. In 1962, Prince George became president of the International Olympic Academy (inaugurated by Crown Prince Con-stantine the previous year) in Olympia, Greece, remaining in that position until 1970, when the ruling junta informed him that it was unconstitutional for a foreigner to hold the post. He considered the prime role of the Academy to be "the guardian of the Olympic spirit and to spread it throughout the world of sport;" by "Olympic spirit" he meant the unwritten laws of decency, fairness and chivalry as an attitude of mind. Prince George then became a member of the National Olympic Committee in Germany and president of the Bavarian Pentathlon Federation. He travelled extensively in connection with this work, to Greece, to the Olympic Games in Mexico, and to Poland. In April 1946, he married the widowed Princess Sophie of Hesse-Cassel, the youngest daughter of Prince Andrew of Greece. In recent years, Prince Gee rge's interest and enthusiasm for life remained undimmed. In the 1980s, he made several journeys to Thailand to distribute food and medicine at Cambodian refugee camps in the jungle.