Wilhelm IV (1906-1974) was the eldest son of Kaiser Wilhelm III and succeeded to his father's throne in 1949. Such were among the conditions for ending the Second Great War, which resulted in Wilhelm being King of Prussia rather than Kaiser of the Holy Roman Empire. He was in fact estranged from his father at the time of his succession and had withdrawn from public life in the wake of Grand Duke Friedrich Franz IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and his family's murder. It had been a more-or-less open secret among the royals of Europe that young Wilhelm disliked Chancellor Hessler intensely--which may have been one reason he kept his throne and Prussia did not become a republic.
In 1949, Wilhelm was 43, having spent over a decade immersing himself in philology which continued to be his hobby and fascination. He spoke or read fifteen languages. His scholarly papers on the history of translations of the Bible were very respected. Between 1968 and 1973 he even translated the Koran into German, and his translation is considered superior by most experts. He corresponded several times with J.R.R. Tolkien of whose books Wilhelm was a fan.
Politically, Wilhelm seemingly held himself aloof but did act in certain subtle ways. For example, he quietly (and never explicitly) refused to be crowned while Prussia was still occupied by the Allied Powers. That act alone helped cement a relationship with the Prussian people. He also chose not to live in the Schlossplatz, the fortress/palace of the Hohenzollerns, which after its repair and rennovation became the seat of the new Reichstag. During the early 1960s, when certain conservative elements tried to have a special "non military" uniform designed for the royal family, Wilhelm made his opposition to such an idea known and it failed to pass.
A heavy smoker, he died of lung cancer in 1974.
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Holy Roman Emperor
King of Prussia
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