Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Prince Henry of Prussia

Born Friedrich Heinrich Ludwig in Berlin, Prince Henry of Prussia (1726-1802) was the younger brother of Frederick the Great*. Prince Henry was a distinguished soldier and statesman who in 1786 was backed by Alexander Hamilton*, Baron von Steuben* and other disgruntled American politicians as a cultured and liberal-minded candidate for “king” of the United States. Prince Henry was 60 years old at the time. In the end, however, a republic form of government won out, headed by a president, so the offer was not open long enough for Henry to accept, and George Washington was elected as the unanimous choice of the electors. Even so, there had been a real possibility that our fledgling nation’s first leader could have been a gay Prussian royal from the House of Hohenzollern.

While it might seem far-fetched that a Prussian man would be accepted by the American people as their leader, it must be recalled that without the military leadership of the Prussian Baron von Steuben, our continental army would likely not have prevailed against the British. Benjamin Franklin, while based in Paris, recommended Baron von Steuben to General George Washington, who brought von Steuben to Valley Forge. Von Steuben affected an astonishing turnaround, whipping into shape Washington’s rag-tag band of soldiers.

Prince Henry (childless), Frederick the Great (childless), Alexander Hamilton and Baron von Steuben (never married) all had one thing in common, and that is sexual relations with men. Benjamin Franklin was well aware of Baron von Steuben’s proclivity for young men but did not tell Washington that von Steuben was about to be run out of France for his “immoral” acts, which von Steuben never denied. Fellow countryman Prince Henry was also brazenly open about his sexual interest in young men. Both Prussians had advanced military skills, and Prince Henry led Prussia’s troops so successfully during the Seven Years' War that he never lost a battle. Baron von Steuben never married, but Prince Henry entered into a childless marriage of convenience, as was the custom of high-born homosexuals of the time.

Three of Prince Henry’s affairs with younger men are documented: the 17-year-old French émigré Count of Roche-Aymon, Major Christian Ludwig von Kaphengst (1743-1800) and an actor known as Blainville. It is known that Major Kaphengst exploited the prince's interest in him to lead a dissipated, wasteful life on a Prussian estate. It was also reported that Henry often chose the officers in his regiment for their handsomeness rather than for their military competence.


After the death of his brother Frederick the Great, Henry became an advisor to his nephew, the new King Frederick William II of Prussia (regent 1786-1797), and during the last five years of his life advised his grand nephew, King Frederick William III, who reigned over Prussia from 1797 to 1840.

*Frederick the Great:
http://gayinfluence.blogspot.com/search/label/Frederick%20the%20Great

*Alexander Hamilton:
http://gayinfluence.blogspot.com/search/label/Alexander%20Hamilton

*Baron von Steuben:
http://gayinfluence.blogspot.com/2011/12/baron-von-steuben.html


Sources:

Keith Stern’s Queers in History (2009)


Wikipedia

Wayne R. Dynes’s Encyclopedia of Homosexuality

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