John Smith and his wife Renata have recently been travelling in Germany. He filed this report on the amazing Hans Caspar.
A man on the make
By John Smith
We spent two nights in a village near Lubeck with Renata’s sister Eloise and her German husband.
On the second day we went for a drive and passed a sign to a ‘Schloss Bothmer’ – schloss means castle/palace so we thought it might be worth a look.
Turned out to be fascinating – the Bothmer name came from Hans Caspar Graf von Bothmer who was a self-made diplomat in the early 18th Century – one of the people involved in getting George I on to the English throne.
Hans Caspar was from Mecklenburg in Northern Germany. And he went to London with George. He became one of his key advisers and lived in 10 Downing St! He spent the rest of his life in the British capital, wielding considerable power and making rather a lot of money.
Building the castle and improving his status
Later in life he invested some of his by then considerable fortune in building the Schloss, even though he was not noble by birth and so had technically no right to do so.
It was all done by remote control from London and he never set foot in the completed building, but it was his investment in being remembered in history. Because he left it legally only able to be inherited by the oldest male Bothmer, it stayed in the family until the end of WW2 when the East German government turned it into an old peoples’ home.
Interesting also that there was extensive detail on what happened in the Bothmer family for most of the last 300 years but very little on the period between 1933 and 1945 – presumably because other things were happening in Germany in that time!
Due to some judicious arranged marriages the Bothmer descendants are now linked to the royal families of The Netherlands, Norway Sweden and Denmark.