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Alexander, Prince of Lippe ( ) (16 January 1831 – 13 January 1905) was the penultimate sovereign of the Principality of Lippe. Succeeding to the throne in 1895, power was exercised by a regent throughout his reign on account of his mental illness.

Early life and ascension

Prince Alexander of Lippe was born in Detmoldmarker the seventh child of Leopold II, Lippe's reigning prince and his consort Princess Emilie of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen (1800-1867). Prince Alexander for a time served as a captain in the Hanoverian Army.

He succeeded as Prince of Lippe on 20 March 1895 following the death of his brother Prince Woldemar. As Alexander had been showing signs of a mental illness and having been placed under legal restrictions in 1870 and 1893 it was necessary for a regency to established in Lippe. Alexander was the last male of the Lippe-Detmold line, the next senior line of the House of Lippe were the Counts of Lippe-Biesterfeld followed by the Counts of Lippe-Weissenfeld and then the most junior line the princes of Schaumburg-Lippe.

Regency dispute

Prince Adolf of Schaumburg-Lippe the brother in law of the German Emperor Wilhelm II immediately claimed the position of regent on Alexander's ascension, basing his claim on a decree issued by Prince Woldemar in 1890 but kept secret until his death. This act was disputed by Count Ernst of Lippe-Biesterfeld who also put forward a claim to the regency. Lippe's diet confirmed Prince Adolf as regent on 24 April pending a settlement over the disputed regency.

A settlement was reached in 1897 when a commission under the presidency of King Albert of Saxony ruled in favour of the claims of Count Ernst of Lippe-Biesterfeld. Prince Adolf then resigned the regency and was replaced by Count Ernst who would rule as regent for Alexander until his death in 1904 when his son Count Leopold of Lippe-Biesterfeld succeeded as regent.

Life as prince

While unable to exercise power Alexander lived at the sanatorium of St Gilgenberg near Baireuthmarker where he would often be seen attending concerts and the theatre. He also passed time by playing chess, copying pictures from newspapers and listing to music. He was also aware of his position as a sovereign prince and used to insist on etiquette being observed.

Alexander's death at St Gilgenberg brought about the extinction of the Lippe-Detmold line, with the regent Count Leopold of Lippe-Biesterfeld succeeding him as Prince of Lippe.



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