The Douglas family in Germany

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By a 1848 closed marriage with Louise Countess of Langenstein and Gondelsheim, an illegitimate daughter of the Baden Grand Duke Ludwig I, the Swedish count Carl Israel Wilhelm Douglas (1824-1898) 1872 in the possession of the castle Langenstein (municipality Orsingen-Nenzingen) not far of Lake Constance. Her children achieved important political offices in both Sweden and Germany. The grandson Karl Robert then founded the existing until today Baden Counts Douglas-Langenstein, as he relocated in 1906 his main residence to Langenstein Castle. Castle Gondelsheim remained until 2010 in the possession of the family, which has extensive possessions, especially in Hegau, in the Upper Danube Valley and in Gondelsheim.

Important members of the sex were the German Reichstag deputy Wilhelm Graf Douglas (1849-1908), whose brother, the Swedish Reichsmarschall and Foreign Minister Ludvig Douglas (1849-1916), whose son, the landowner Karl Robert Count Douglas (1880-1955), whose son and successor Wilhelm Graf von Douglas-Langenstein (1907-1987) and his uncle, the Swedish army chief Count Archibald Douglas (1883-1960). The current head of the family of the German branch is Axel Count Douglas (* 1943). His cousin, Patrick Count Douglas (1938-2010) was by adoption heir of the sex of the barons of Reischach and thus owner of Schlatt Castle and the Hohenkrähen Castle, later also the Nellenburg. Also known is the art broker and longtime head of Germany of Sotheby's, Christoph Graf Douglas (1948-2016).

A bourgeois member of the Douglas clan moved to Aschersleben in 1772, where he and his descendants worked as Calvinist preachers in the Reformed congregations and also farmed. Wilhelm Douglas discovered in 1795 at Aschersleben a brown coal deposit and founded with his sons in 1828 a pit. His grandson Hugo Sholto Oskar Georg von Douglas was raised in 1884 in the baron and in 1888 in the rank of count. He built the castle Ralswiek on Rügen, which belonged to the family until 1945.

Field Marshal Robert Douglas was firstly created baron, and then count, in Sweden. His main fief was the town of Skänninge, and his wife brought in the estate where they had the manor of Stjernorp erected. His descendants generally continued to reside in Sweden, some offshoots to Russia, Germany etc. The head of the house received in 1848 the title of Count (count of the entail of Mühlhausen) also in peerage of the Grand Duchy of Baden. The main lineage did not produce long-lasting branches (except the Russian branch, a few generations), until the riksmarskalk of Sweden (High Marshal), Count Ludvig Douglas, Minister of Foreign Affairs, in the late 1800s, had several sons and yet more grandsons. Branches starting from his sons and so:

• von Douglas-Langenstein, descendants of count Robert, eldest son of the High Marshal Ludvig. They hold the castle of Langenstein in Baden-Württemberg, Germany
• von Reischach-Douglas, a cadet grandson of said count Robert
• Douglas-Stjernorp, the branch descending from the Swedish general Archibald Douglas, second son of the High Marshal Ludvig. In this branch, there's the castle of Stjärnorp, reacquired to the family in c. 1875
   • Countess Dagmar Rosita Astrid Libertas Douglas-Stjernorp (born 1943), British artist and former wife the 11th Duke of Marlborough.
   • Princess Elisabeth, Duchess in Bavaria (born 1940), heir presumptive to both the former Bavarian Royal House and the Jacobite Succession
   • Douglas-Kolfall, the branch descending from Oscar, youngest son of the High Marshal Ludvig.

See also:
•  Chicago Tribune article of 1911 on the Douglas family in Germany
•  Douglas descendants of Grand Duke Ludwig I of Baden
•  The Douglas family in Aschersleben [527 kb  pdf]  or read the full magazine here>>> [4.7mb  pdf]


Sources for this article include:
•  Deutsche Grafen-Haeuser der Gegenwart. In heraldischer, historischer und genealogischer Beziehung. Band 3: A – Z. Weigel, Leipzig 1854; Ernst Heinrich Kneschke

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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024