Ernst August Georg Wilhelm Christian Ludwig Franz Joseph Nikolaus Oskar, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, Prince of Hanover is the head of the German House of Hanover, and the great, great grandson of Queen Victoria. Like Queen Elizabeth, his third cousin, once removed, he is descended from King George III, who was Queen Victoria's grandfather, making him a member of both the German and British royal families.

Earnst was awarded the title Prince of the United Kingdom and Ireland by George V shortly after his birth. As a British prince, he was heir to the titles Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, and Early of Armagh. These titles, last held by his father, were suspended during World War I under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917, which removed British titles from German princes, and never revived.

The House of Hanover

The House of Hanover is one of many small duchies into which Germany was divided prior to World War I, each ruled by a sovereign. When the British Queen Anne died in 1714, none of Anne's children having survived her, her second cousin, George I of the House of Hanover became King of Great Britain and Ireland. This marked the end of the House of Stuart and the beginning of the House of Hanover as the Royal House of Great Britain and Ireland.

There were six Hanoverian monarchs:

  • George I (r. 1714–27) (born Georg Ludwig)
  • George II (r. 1727–60) (born Georg August)
  • George III (r. 1760–1820) [During George III's reign, the Act of Union created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland]
  • George IV (r. 1820–30) [George IV ruled as Prince Regent for periods of his father's reign]
  • William IV (r. 1830–37)
  • Victoria (r. 1837–1901)

George I through III also served as the German Duke of Brunswick; when Hanover became a Kingdom in 1814, George III through William IV were concurrently Kings of Hanover. However, because Hanover was governed by Salic Law, which forbade the succession of women to the throne, Victoria could not ascend the Hanover throne. Instead, her uncle, the Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale became the King of Hanover, and the British branch of the Hanoverian line ended with Victoria. Victoria's son, Edward VII became the first King of the British House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, later renamed the House of Windsor.