His Highness Georg Borwin Friedrich Franz Carl Stephan Konrad Hubertus Maria, Duke of Mecklenburg, Prince of Wenden, Schwerin and Ratzeburg, Count of Schwerin, Lord of the Lands of Rostock and Stargard was born on 10 June 1956 in Freiburg-im-breisgau. He is the youngest child and only son of Duke Georg Alexander and Duchess Ilona.
As is traditional for the eldest son of the family Duke Borwin received Georg as his first Christian name, his second name Borwin is a Wendish name with a long history in the House of Mecklenburg having first been given to Heinrich Borwin I, Prince of Mecklenburg (died 1227), the grandson of the progenitor of the family, Niklot, Prince of the Obotrites. The name Friedrich Franz was given in honour of his godfather Hereditary Grand Duke Friedrich Franz of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.
Early life and education
Duke Borwin spent his early years in Baden-Württemberg, and from 1963 onwards in the Republic of Ireland. In Ireland he lived with his parents at Culleen House, near Mullingar in County Westmeath, which was owned by one the Swiss businesses of his uncle Hassan Sayed Kamil. In 1964 Duke Borwin began attending Headfort School near Kells in County Meath.
Duke Borwin and his family returned in Baden-Württemberg in 1969 following the sudden collapse of his uncle’s Swiss businesses when their assets, including Culleen House, were taken over and sold by the state. Back in Germany he resumed his education at the Waldorf School in Freiburg-im-breisgau where he studied until 1976.
With the end of studies Duke Borwin joined the German Army where he would achieve the rank of Captain of the German Federal Forces. In 1982 he began studying at the Geisenheim Grape Breeding Institute, graduating with an engineer degree in viticulture and beverage technology in 1987.
Family and career
Duke Borwin was married to Alice Wagner in Hinterzarten on 24 December 1985 in a civil ceremony, followed by a religious ceremony on 19 July 1986. The couple made their home in the Black Forest region of the state of Baden-Württemberg where they raised their three children together, Duchess Olga, born 1988, Hereditary Prince Alexander, born 1991 and Duke Michael, born 1994. Duke Borwin and his wife continue to live in the Black Forest region today.
Living in the Black Forest has enabled Duke Borwin to enjoy his outdoor interests like the environment, fishing, and hunting; his other interests include art, culture and social issues. He is actively involved in his local community supporting children with special needs through the Friends Association of the Upper Black Forest Support Centre, which he was chairman of for over 10 years; he is also an active member of his local hunting association.
Early in Duke Borwin’s professional career he and his wife managed a hotel together between 1988 and 1995, afterwards he became a manager at a Swiss drinks company. Latterly before retirement he pursued a career in sales for Germany’s largest hunting outfitter, Frankonia and for the Vogel Shooting Centre in Eschbach. He became a licensed weapons dealer in August 2015 following the completion of a course at the Weapons School in Suhl.
Head of the house
Duke Borwin succeeded as head of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz on 26 January 1996 upon the death of his father Duke Georg Alexander. Due to the terms of the 1701 Treaty of Hamburg, with the death of Hereditary Grand Duke Friedrich Franz of Mecklenburg-Schwerin on 31 July 2001 Duke Borwin became head of the entire House of Mecklenburg.
While not resident in Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Duke Borwin maintains a close link to the state and attends various functions there throughout the year. In June 2016 he chose to celebrate his landmark 60th birthday in Neustrelitz with the celebrations being attended by family, friends and local politicians and dignitaries. Being directly descended from the Russian branch of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, which was founded by Duke Borwin’s great-great grandfather Duke Georg upon his 1851 marriage to Grand Duchess Ekaterina Mikhailovna of Russia, he also retains ties to Russia having first visited the country in 1997.
After becoming head of the house Duke Borwin had to address the ongoing restitution claims with the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which his father had begun after German reunification in 1990 with the family’s claims dating back to the period of Nazi rule. When the process was concluded in 2004 the family reclaimed some land and buildings in Remplin, the majority of which were in a poor condition, including the badly damaged northern wing of the Remplin Palace, the majority of which had been destroyed by the Nazis in an arson attack in 1940. The Remplin Palace was sold via auction in March 2019.
Duke Borwin is a supporter of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) and was a guest at the dedication of their baptismal site by the River Jordan in January 2014. He also supported the 1998 republication, after a 54-year absence, of the respected genealogical directory the Almanach de Gotha and serves as a member of its Comité de Patronage.
- Head of the Mecklenburg-Strelitz House Order of the Wendish Crown (26 January 1996)
- Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Danilo, Royal House of Montenegro (1 August 2018)
- Knight of the House Order of Saint Peter of Cetinje, Royal House of Montenegro (1 August 2018)