squads of tailors on permanent standby

Kaiser Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, was a grandson of the British Queen Victoria, and related to many kings and princes around Europe. He also had a uniform fetish.

Wilhelm with his father found here

During the course of a levée he will change his uniform five or six times. For instance, if the son of a deceased general of artillery comes to announce the death of his father, the Emperor does not fail to put on his artillery uniform to do honor to the officer who has died in his service. He wears the uniform of a general of artillery, of cavalry, of infantry, or the naval uniform, according to the person he receives and the position that person occupies. If the Emperor receives representatives of military attachés of foreign powers, he wears the uniform of the army of the country which the visitor represents, or at least the orders belonging to that country.

image found here

By one account he possessed exactly 295 different uniforms, thirty of which were in constant use. Fourteen valets, plus two head valets, were in charge of his uniform wardrobe. Three branches of service were put in motion every time the Kaiser wanted a costume — the garments department, that of the accessories, and that of the decorations.

image found here

Wilhelm made it a rule to always wear the uniform of the principal regiment garrisoned in the place visited ; the attendant unable to draw from among the baggage the military dress desired would quickly find himself dropped from the salary list. When one realises that a cavalry uniform, for instance, consists of fourteen distinct parts, it’s easy to see the amount of work involved in these sudden journeys, for one uniform would of course not do ; there must be three or four in reserve, and also civilian and hunting dress.

image found here

Wilhelm had a strong preference for male company, especially with tall and handsome officers and even taking male partners at regimental dances. He often attended the all male “white stag” dining club, where very bizarre actitives took place…. it is said that Wilhelm took great delight in asking the fellow diners to kneel over a chair, whilst he smacked them on the behind.

man in uniform found here

During the period 1907 to 1909 Wilhelm’s cabinet and entourage was rocked by the Harden-Eulenburg affair, the controversy surrounding a series of courts-martial and five civil trials regarding accusations of homosexual conduct, and accompanying libel trials.

Harden as a young man found here

The affair centred on journalist Maximilian Harden’s accusations of homosexual conduct between Philipp, Prince of Eulenburg-Hertefeld, and General Kuno, Graf von Moltke. Accusations and counter-accusations quickly multiplied, and the phrase “Liebenberg Round Table” came to be used for the homosexual circle around the Kaiser.

Kuno von Moltke found here

The incident which provoked the affair followed on the heels of a public relations gaffe by Wilhelm while on vacation at an estate in the Black Forest. One evening after dinner, chief of the Military Secretariat Dietrich, Graf von Hülsen-Häseler, was performing a pas seul dressed in a woman’s ballet tutu when his heart failed and he died. Ottokar von Czernin, also in attendance, remarked, “In Wilhelm II, I saw a man who, for the first time in his life, with horror-stricken eyes, looked upon the world as it really was.” Despite the Emperor’s fears, the incident, with its implications of homosexuality at high levels, seemed successfully hushed up.

image found here

Between 1906 and 1907, six military officers had committed suicide after blackmail, while in the preceding three years, around twenty officers were convicted by courts-martial, all for homosexual acts

Harden outed Eulenburg in 1907, confirming the identity he previously had parodied as “the Harpist” (Eulenburg), along with “Sweetie” General Kuno Graf von Moltke, in 1906.

“General Sweetie” by Jonathon Meese

Testifying against Moltke were his former wife of nine years, Lili von Elbe, and Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld. Elbe described the lack of conjugal relations, happening only on the first and second night of their marriage, Moltke’s overly close friendship with Eulenburg, and her ignorance of homosexuality. Hirschfeld, based on von Elbe’s comments and his courtroom observation of Moltke, testified that Moltke most certainly had a feminine side and was homosexual even if he had never committed sodomy. On October 29th, the court found Moltke homosexual and Harden innocent.

Hirschfeld co-wrote and acted in this film

Elbe, through a diagnosis of classical hysteria, and Hirschfeld, by retracting his earlier testimony, were discredited and Harden was convicted of libel and sentenced to four months imprisonment. Two weeks later Harden’s conviction was overturned and a second trial begun.

After the first of 41 witnesses, including ten witnesses who described watching Eulenburg through a keyhole in 1887, the trial was delayed because of Eulenburg’s ill health. As Eulenburg’s wife later commented, “They are striking at my husband, but their target is the kaiser.”

Peeping Tom – a seriously scary movie

There was never any evidence that Wilhelm’s and Eulenburg’s relationship went beyond friendship.

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36 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You’re lovely shade of mad, Myra :)

    • Yes, barking. and thank you for noticing :-)

  2. We’ve moved on to the German branch of the family now I see. It’s a rich seam to mine, that’s for sure.

    I never knew about the uniforms and the tutus. Very Village People.

  3. Ten witnesses peering through a keyhole – that must have been a helluva large door.

  4. So, the lovely shade of mad has amused me greatly this morning. A couple of thoughts arose as I was wandering beguiled. I thought that “Man in uniform” really should have been entitled “Man almost in uniform” or “sort of in uniform”.

    and the burning question: How long were those levees that he had time to change uniform FIVE times? That was quite a feat.

  5. What would he wear when the circus came to town? Or visitors from Mars?

    • I think a tutu would be most appropriate for those occasions

  6. If I were his valet, I would just have a garmet bag with all accessories, for each of his outfits.

    • you’ve put some thought into that bearman

  7. And we thought Lady GaGa changed her outfits a lot…
    Sx

    • With Katy Perry hot on her trail

  8. Is changing your uniform five to six times a day considered a fetish? I’ve always told people it was because I’m eccentric.

    • Stick with that story GG

  9. Dropped from the salary list – what a wonderful euphemism. I must remember that the next time I’m firing one of my domestic staff. Frightfully sorry, Ipswich, old chap, but I’m dropping you from the salary list.

    Sounds like the authorities had their work cut out trying to control homosexuality. No sooner had one of the little blighters been put bang to rights than another one popped up.

  10. 295 uniforms?
    Wowza – that might be an even more impressive wardrobe than my extensive black tee-shirt collection. :)

    • I love a man in a plain fitted black tee

  11. I think you need to start a new blog titled the Making of Gimcrack Hospital where you show us how you go about finding your amazing stories and photos. Honestly!

    • I get most of the ideas for posts from the books I read (see sidebar). The images come from too many hours trolling the internet :-)

  12. What an amazing waste of time for everyone concerned! (though I wonder what The King would look like in a tutu).

    • Careful, people have been dropped from the salary list for less.

      The King

      • Let’s just stick with the kilt queenie

  13. At least the uniform fetish seems a little more benign than a lot of the royal eccentricities.

  14. i have a bit of a uniform fetish myself… doormen beware!

    • Even janitors wear uniforms daisyfae. I think it should be “Men Beware” in your case ;-)

  15. Woof. Man in uniform photo… rawr.

  16. Changing many sets of clothes wld require plenty of washing. Not cut out for that kind of thing ! Haha.

    • I doubt he ever washed a single item of clothing in his life. Neither would I if I had minions

  17. OK, the spanking your generals stuff is a bit unusual, but with uniforms that good the fetish is understandable- who wouldn’t want a collection of helmets with eagles or spikes on them?

    • And a castle to show them off in

  18. Did the Mountbatten branch translate their name from Battenberg because of the war…or because of the Kaiser?
    Too bad most of them died long before Corset Friday! ;-)

  19. I have a lot to say to you. But haven’t had the time to put it all together. I must, soon.

  20. They should have hired the Kaiser to host the Oscars. He was more facile than Anne Hathaway with wardrobe changes.

  21. I wish I were surrounded by a round table of fabulous gay men.

  22. So not a case of ‘The Emperor has No Clothes’? (except at the ‘white stag’ dining club ;-) )

  23. “the court found Moltke homosexual and Harden innocent”

    That’s really how it works, isn’t it? You’re one or the other.


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