Duchess Beatrix Amelie Ehrengard Eilika of Oldenburg was born 27 May 1971 at Lübeck, Germany, as the eldest daughter of Duke Huno of Oldenburg (b.3 June 1940) and Countess Felicitas-Anita Schwerin von Krosigk (b.5 July 1941). Beatrix was shortly followed by a youngest sister, Duchess Sophie (b.6 November 1972). The paternal grandparents of Beatrix are Hereditary Grand Duke Nikolaus of Oldenburg (1897-1970) and his first wife Princess Helene of Waldeck and Pyrmont (1899-1948); her maternal grandparents are Count Johann Ludwig “Lutz” Schwerin von Krosigk (1887-1977) and his wife Baroness Ehrengard von Plettenberg (1895-1979).
Duchess Beatrix of Oldenburg began her professional career by completing an apprenticeship as a bank clerk in Hamburg. She went on to study law in Heidelberg and Lausanne, where she focused on anti-trust as well as family and inheritance law. In 1996, Beatrix completed an internship under Representative Lee H Hamilton, a member of the Democratic Party who represented the US 9th District in the House of Representatives from 1965 until 1999.
|Duchess Beatrix of Oldenburg with her husband Sven von Storch and their parents
On 22 October 2010 at Schloß Eutin, Beatrix of Oldenburg married Chilean born Sven von Storch (b.23 December 1970). The following day, 23 October, the couple were joined in an ecumenical religious ceremony as Beatrix is Lutheran and Sven is Roman Catholic. The duchess announced that she would be taking her husband’s name: thus becoming known as Beatrix von Storch. The couple had been together since at least 2004; they met whilst skiing. Beatrix and Sven von Storch do not have children.
|The duchess receives a cream pie to the face in 2016
In 2014, Beatrix von Storch was elected as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the far-right Germany political party Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland; aka AfD). During her political tenure, the duchess has adopted inflammatory positions: advocating for the shooting of refugees from the Middle East who are trying to reach Europe (…though she later back-peddled on that statement) and opposing same-sex marriage, in addition to accusing school gay youth networks of using “forced sexualization” on students. The fact that extreme factions of the AfD have espoused racist, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic views have also made Beatrix, especially as a member of a formerly reigning German regnal family, open to intense criticism. In February 2016, a protester dressed as a clown delivered a special surprise to the duchess while she was attending an AfD party conference in Kassel: the clown gave Beatrix von Storch a cream pie to the face while singing Happy Birthday (which was a tad premature, as Beatrix would not celebrate her 54th birthday until May). The Prince of Schaumburg-Lippe, a cousin of the duchess, had given an interview in February 2016 in which he stated: “That the AfD is so on the rise, I personally find very disturbing. Especially because a relative of mine works there in a leading position.” Alexander of Schaumburg-Lippe made it clear that he was flummoxed by his cousin’s involvement with the AfD: “I consider Beatrix a very intelligent, thoughtful and by no means radical person. At the moment, however, it seems to me that she is simply playing in the wrong movie.“
In 2017, after having served as a MEP for three years, Beatrix was elected to represent the AfD in the Bundestag (German Federal Parliament). The duchess has also served as the Deputy Leader of AfD since 2015. Beatrix von Storch has not meaningfully retracted any of her very controversial stances.
|Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk with Adolf Hitler
To royal watchers, what is terribly troublesome about Duchess Beatrix of Oldenburg’s involvement in German politics, and, especially, her actual political positions, is the fact that members of her own family held high offices in the Third Reich…and their stances on certain important issues echo hers. Beatrix’s maternal grandfather Count Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk served as Adolf Hitler’s Minister of Finance from the 1930s until the collapse of the regime in 1945. Schwerin von Krosigk was put on trial at Nuremberg, along with other leading members of the Nazi government. At the conclusion of the Ministries Trial in 1949 he was found guilty of laundering property stolen from Nazi victims and financing the concentration camps, and sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment. His sentence was reviewed by the “Peck Panel”. He was released during an amnesty in 1951.
|Prince Josias of Waldeck and Pyrmont after his arrest
Furthermore, Beatrix von Storch’s double great-uncle was Prince Josias of Waldeck and Pyrmont (1896-1967), the husband of Beatrix’s paternal great-aunt Duchess Altburg of Oldenburg (1903-2001) and the brother of Beatrix’s paternal grandmother Princess Helene of Waldeck and Pyrmont. Josias of Waldeck and Pyrmont joined the Nazi Party in 1929 and became a member of the SS in 1930. Later that same year, the prince became Heinrich Himmler’s adjutant and staff chief. Josias was elected as the Reichstag member for Düsseldorf-West in 1933 and was promoted to the rank of SS Lieutenant General. He was promoted again in 1938, to the Higher SS and Police Leader for Weimar. In this position he had supervisory authority over Buchenwald concentration camp. Prince Josias of Waldeck and Pyrmont was arrested on 13 April 1945, and sentenced to life imprisonment by an American court at Dachau during the Buchenwald Trial on 14 August 1947. In 1953, the prince was granted amnesty and released from prison.
|Beatrix von Storch on the floor of the Bundestag in 2019
As aforementioned, Beatrix von Storch currently serves as a member of the German parliament. She continues to espouse the controversial line of her Alternative for Germany political bloc. What is most worrisome is that, given her family history, the duchess seems to have learned nothing from it whatsoever. As the Spanish-born philosopher George Santayana noted: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.“