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.

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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.

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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.