Some royal mausoleums are open regularly, some once in a while and others are never open. The Welfenmausoleum in the Berggarten of Hannover, opposite the Herrenhausen Palace, used to be open in the past. But who would like to visit it now, will hear it is not open. Really a pity for people like me who are interested in royal history, but also understandable as of course these buildings are a burial place. The first time I was in Hannover me and a friend actually missed going into the Berggarten, so of course I went in the next time I was there to search for the mausoleum.
The order to build the small ‘temple’ was given by King Ernst August I of Hannover (1771-1851) – son of King George III of Great Britain – after the death of his wife Friederike, a born Princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. It took the court master builder Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves from 1842 to 1847 to realise the plans. The sculptor of the monument for Friederike inside the mausoleum was Christian Daniel Rauch. After his death also King Ernst August I was buried here in the vault. Their sarcopaghi can however be found in the grave chapel. In World War II the Leineschloss in Hannover was destroyed by bombs, and therefore on 5 December 1957 8 (according to the Hannover website; 11 according to some other websites) other sarcopaghi were transferred to the Mausoleum.
According to a stone outside the mausoleum resting here now are:
- Johann Friedrich, Duke of Hannover (1625-1679).
- Ernst August, Elector of Hannover (1629-1698).
- Sophie, Electress of Hannover (1629-1696).
- Georg I, Elector of Hannover (1660-1727), King of Great Britain and Ireland since 1714.
- Ernst August , King of Hannover (1771-1851).
- Friederike, Queen of Hannover (1778-1841).
Others buried here are according to Wikipedia:
- Anna Sophie, Princess of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1670-1672), daughter of Duke Johann Friedrich.
- Sophie, Electress of Hannover (1630-1714).
- Ernst August, Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück, Duke of York and Albany (1674-1728).
- Charlotte, Princess of Clarence (1819-1819), daughter of the later King William IV of Great Britain and Ireland, King of Hannover.
- Marie-Friederike Countess zu Solms-Braunfels (1833-1845), granddaughter of King Ernst August I.
But please if you face the mausoleum, don’t forget to look what is behind you. Outside are two gravestones. These are the ones of the last Duke of Brunswick (Braunschweig) and Lüneburg, Prince of Hannover, Ernst August III (1887-1953). He reigned from 1913 to 1918 and was married to Princess Viktoria Luise, daughter of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. The couple married in 1913, the last huge European gathering of sovereigns before the First World War. Viktoria Luise was the last person to be buried here – outside – in 1980.
Outside on the mausoleum wall by the way is also a plaque commemorating George V (1819-1876), who rests at Windsor, Great Britain.
See also the Royalty Guide: Hannover: Mausoleum in the Berggarten.