Wednesday, June 3, 2015

More on the Finckensteins

Karl Wilhelm Finck von Finckenstein
I have a correction to make.  Well, not so much a correction as a clarification.

It started bugging me that I had so casually tossed off in that blog entry I posted yesterday the assumption that Finckensteinallee was named after a castle.  I woke from a nap with a flash of insight.  Germans (or anybody else I know, for that matter) don’t name their streets after castles, dummy, I said to myself.  They name them after people!  I did mention one of the Finck von Finckensteins in connection with the castle,  Count Albrecht Konrad, etc. (1660–1735), who ran the castle when Napoleon lived there in sin with Maria Walewska.*   It turns out Finckensteinallee in Berlin was named after Albrecht's son, Karl Wilhelm.

I managed to locate a document on the origin of street names in Lichterfelde (no one will ever convince me the internet is not the greatest invention in my lifetime) and sure enough, there it was:

  •  Latitude and longitude: 52° 25′ 57.4″ N, 13° 17′ 41.47″ E 52.432611°, 13.294852°
  •  length: 2020 meters
  • laid out in 1878 as Zehlendorfer Straße
  • renamed for Karl Wilhelm von Finckenstein (1714-1800), Prussian minister, on June 9, 1933
There’s more information, but that’s the essence of it all.

So who was Karl Wilhelm, then, that he should have a street named after him that I would come to live on?  That’s the easy part.  He was born on February 11, 1714, just two years after Frederick the Great, and being a member of one of Prussia’s most illustrious families, it’s not surprising that he should play a role in Frederick’s life.  Papa Albrecht made sure Freddie’s childhood was pure torture.  As overseer for Freddie’s father, a real bastard if there ever was one (he had Freddie's best friend executed and forced Freddie to watch in order to "toughen him up"), Freddie was forbidden to roll over once he woke up, had fifteen minutes for prayer and toilet, seven minutes for breakfast and on and on throughout the day.  Freddie wanted to play the flute.  His father wanted to make him into a soldier.  Albrecht Finck von Finckenstein was the guy who made this happen.

Karl Wilhelm, on the other hand, became a childhood friend of Freddie and as he grew up became a trusted advisor.  Freddie sent him first to the Danish court, then in 1742 to England, then in 1744 to Stockholm (where his sister Luise Ulrike married the Swedish king, by the way.)  In 1747 Karl Wilhelm earned the title of Minister of State and was made ambassador to the Russian court.   He was also an honorary member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. 

Collectively, the Finck von Finckenstein family played quite a role in European history.  Besides Karl Wilhelm’s childhood friendship with Frederick the Great and subsequent success at his court, there is Katharina Dorothea Elisabeth Finck von Finckenstein (1700-1728) who despite her death at a young age at least gave birth to someone whose daughter would marry into the Danish Royal Family.  That made her the great-great-grandmother of Denmark’s Christian IX.  

And it doesn’t stop there.  Through one of her granddaughters she became the 6x great grandmother of the present Queen Elizabeth II, and thus the 7x great grandmother of Charles and the whole British royal family.  Also Margrethe II of Denmark, Constantine II of Greece, Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Harald V of Norway.   And let’s not forget she is also a 7x great grandmother of Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant – aka “King of the Belgians,”  and Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

So there.

It’s also possible she’s got a connection as well to Tommy Finke, who’s got a punk rock band and sings real nice.  Check out this YouTube video of him performing.  Or go to Tommy’s Facebook page and leave him a message. 
Tommy Finke, aka
T. D. Finck von Finckenstein

Now I don’t have confirmation that Tommy is actually heir to the Finckenstein name, but he does use the pseudonym T. D.  Finck von Finckenstein,  and that information is listed alongside information on other members in the Wikipedia entry on the Finck von Finckenstein family. 

Must now see if I can find proof of an actual biological connection.

Not that it matters.  I found this entry on his Facebook page for May 27:

Sorry, wenn ich mal politisch werde. Aber wenn der Vatikan die gleichgeschlechtliche Ehe als "Niederlage für die Menschheit" bezeichnet, dann rege ich mich auf. Weil nämlich weltweit viele Leute auf Rom hören. Für mich wird der Vatikan immer mehr zum Vatican't.

(Translation:  Sorry if I get political for a minute, but when the Vatican describes same-sex marriage as a “Defeat for Humanity,” then I’m going to get upset.  Because lots of people around the world listen to Rome.  For me, the Vatican is becoming more and more a Vatican’t.)

Cool, don’t you think?

*and got that wrong - check the dates.  It must have been his grandson who hosted the French marauder.

picture credits: 

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