I am extremely thrilled to have obtained this magnificent document from a small auction house in Germany, and at a surprisingly affordable price. The region of Mecklenburg is not commonly found, and what makes this piece even more remarkable is that it is a diplomatic passport that was specially issued by Grand Duke Friedrich Franz for Caroline von Rieben (formerly von Bülow), the widow of the renowned German Lieutenant General Julius von Rieben, who served as the Director of the German Navy Department and as the Prussian Minister Plenipotentiary of the North German Confederation. Additionally, the document is in excellent condition, further enhancing its value and appeal.
Frederick Francis IV
(9 April 1882 – 17 November 1945) was the last Grand Duke of Mecklenburg–Schwerin and regent of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He inherited the throne at age fifteen in 1897 and was forced to renounce it in 1918.
He was born in Palermo the son of Friedrich Franz III, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia. He succeeded his father as Grand Duke upon his death on 10 April 1897, but due to his minority, the grand duchy was governed by his uncle Duke Johann Albrecht as regent until Friedrich Franz came of age on 9 April 1901.
On 7 June 1904, Frederick Francis married Princess Alexandra of Hanover and Cumberland in Gmunden. She was the second eldest daughter of Ernest Augustus, Crown Prince of Hanover, and his wife Princess Thyra of Denmark, a daughter of Christian IX of Denmark.
- Hereditary Grand Duke Friedrich Franz (22 April 1910 – 31 July 2001)
- Duke Christian Ludwig (29 September 1912 – 18 July 1996) married Princess Barbara of Prussia, daughter of Prince Sigismund of Prussia
- Duchess Olga (1916–1917)
- Duchess Thyra (18 June 1919 – 27 September 1981)
- Duchess Anastasia (11 November 1922 – 25 January 1979) married Prince Friedrich Ferdinand of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Following the 1918 suicide of Grand Duke Adolphus Frederick VI of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Frederick Francis took up the regency of Strelitz. This happened because the heir presumptive Duke Charles Michael was serving in the Russian Army at the time and had indicated that he wished to renounce his succession rights. Friedrich Franz abdicated the grand ducal throne on 14 November 1918 following the German Empire’s defeat in World War I; the regency ended at the same time.
After his abdication, he was initially not allowed to live in Mecklenburg and had to move to Denmark. A year later, he was permitted to return. He recovered some of his former properties and occupied some of his former homes. Frederick Francis died on 17 November 1945 in Flensburg after being arrested by No. 6 RAF Security section on 9 November 1945.
He was succeeded as head of the grand ducal house by his son Hereditary Grand Duke Friedrich Franz. However, his former states became part of East Germany. His widow and children were forced to move to the West.