The Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe, a German state since 1280, was a member state of the Germanic Confederation from 1815 to 1866. In 1854, Schaumburg-Lippe joined the Prussian Customs Union (Zollverein). In 1867, Schaumburg-Lippe joined Prussia in a military union. After the Prussian-Austrian War, it became a member state of the North German Confederation in 1867 and a member state of the Imperial German Empire in 1871.
The principality was a hereditary constitutional monarchy whose constitution called for a parliament of one house called the Landtag. This consisted of 15 members with two appointed by the Prince, two elected by the clergy, one by the professors, three by cities, and seven in rural communities. The vote was universal direct, and secret. Schaumburg-Lippe sent one member to the Bundesrat and one deputy to the Reichstag.
The reigning prince Adolph was a bachelor, who married after the war and died with his wife in a plane crash.
The Kaiser’s sister, Victoria (also known as Moretta), married the seventh child of the Duke. This was a rather quick arranged marriage after the bride was jilted by Prince Alexander of Battenbergwho ended up running away with the Hessian opera singer Johanna Loisinger. Johanna was the daughter of domestic servants. Adolf and Moretta who were not rich, became appointed by the Kaiser to be the regent of Lippe. Backed up by Prussian troops, Prince Adolph was able to seize the considerable riches of the house of Lippe.
After several years this regency failed in a court of arbitration and the money had to be returned. Most non-Prussian rulers took great umbrage at the Kaiser’s behavior. The Kaiser never forgave Adolf and blamed him personally for the Lippe disaster. Adolf died in the middle of World War I in 1916. After the war and the fall of the German Empire, we were a script for Moretta was allowed to live in Germany. In 1927, when she was 62, she met a young Russian refugee and professional waiter, Alexander Zoubkhoff, who was 27 years old. He had passed himself off as a noble Russian emigre, but was in fact, a penniless con-man. She married him in November of that year. Her family was shocked with the news of her marriage and they broke off relations with her. She did not care and she defended her marriage, “Nobody’s consent – not even the Kaiser’s- is required for my marriage. It is incorrect to say that he has refused consent as such step would be unnecessary, owing the fact that the Kaiser is not head of the Schaumburg Lippe family. In fact nobody’s consent is required.” This marriage caused Moretta to become the object of scorn and ridicule throughout Europe. Zubkov delighted in the money he could make by staging photo-ops and granting interviews as the ‘Kaiser’s brother-in-law’. The marriage was a failure; two years later, she began divorce proceedings. Moretta died on 13 November 1929 before the case came to court. Zoubkhoff was on his way to attend his wife’s funeral when he was arrested for violating a law expelling all Russian parvenus from German soil. He died in poverty in Luxembourg in 1936.
Schaumburg-Lippe was the smallest of the independent states with a population of about 48,000 in 1914. The great bulk of the population was Lutheran. The capital was Bückeburg, and the tiny principality was made up of 340 km².