Siegfried Koffi zu Mecklenburg: The Until Now Unknown Member of the Mecklenburg-Schwerins

Siegfried zu Mecklenburg.

Born in 1914 at Lomé, Togo, Siegfried Koffi zu Mecklenburg was the son of Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1873-1969) and Ayikutu Honsoussi. Siegfried was commonly known in Togo as Herzog Koffi; this way of identification did not betray who exactly his father was, even though it did give a hint that Koffi’s father was a German duke. Siegfried zu Mecklenburg’s paternal grandparents were Grand Duke Friedrich Franz II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1823-1883) and his third wife Princess Marie von Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt (1850-1922). Siegfried could count among his aunts and uncles Grand Duke Friedrich Franz III of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1851-1897), Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia (1854-1920; wife of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich), Grand Duchess Elisabeth of Oldenburg (1869-1955; wife of Grand Duke Friedrich August of Oldenburg), and Prince Hendrik of the Netherlands (1876-1934; husband of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands).

Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

Siegfried’s father Adolf Friedrich served as Governor of Togoland (in German West Africa) between 19 June 1912 and 31 August 1914. In December 1913, the Marquise de Fontenoy (Marguerite Cunliffe-Owen, who was not always a reliable correspondent) wrote: “Duke Adolf of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who enjoys the distinction of being the only consul-general who is a prince of the blood, has just produced in English a very remarkable book of African exploration, entitled ‘From the Congo to the Nile.’ The duke is an uncle of the present sovereign of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and of the German crown princess, and is a brother of the Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia, of the Prince Consort of the Netherlands, and of the late Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. He has already achieved much distinction as an African explorer, has ideas of his own on the subject of the development of Germany’s African colonies, and with the object of putting them into practice, induced Emperor William a year ago to appoint him to the governorship of Togoland, and at the same time to the office of German consul-general for the French colony of Dahomey, and for the British dependencies of the Gold Coast, Nigeria, and other British possessions on the west coast of Africa. He holds these consul-generalships in order to enable him to deal directly with the authorities of these French and English dependencies, instead of having to refer the matters at issue to Berlin… Duke Adolf Friedrich is probably the most popular prince of his house, devoted to sport of every kind, has broken his collar-bone in steeplechases, his arms and legs in motoring accidents, is the finest four-in-hand whip in Germany, and has made a record long-distance ride on horseback, from Constantinople to Berlin. He is secretly and morganatically married to a woman of bourgeois birth, of great refinement, and irreproachable antecedents, who has born him a couple of children.” It is likely that his son Siegfried was born during his tenure as governor, as Adolf Friedrich did not have to leave his post until British and French troops took Togo from Germany in late 1914. Adolf Friedrich was invited to the independence celebrations of Togo in 1960, as recounted in this news report: “The dean of the guests is 86-year-old Duke Adolf von Mecklenburg, who was Governor of the German Colony of Togo when it surrendered to British and French troops in 1914.” Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin married twice. In 1917, the duke wed Princess Viktoria Reuß (1889-1918). Adolf Friedrich and Viktoria had one child, Duchess Woizlawa-Feodora (1918-2019). Woizlawa-Feodora married Prince Heinrich I Reuß (1910-1982). Adolf Friedrich married for a second time in 1924 to Princess Elisabeth zu Stolberg-Rossla (1885-1969). Elisabeth was the second wife and eventual widow of the duke’s elder brother Johann Albrecht of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1857-1920).

Frieda zu Mecklenburg.

Siegfried Koffi zu Mecklenburg married Angela Imelda Dèdè Ekue (b.1933). The couple had one daughter: Frieda Fafavi Sika Akuavi zu Mecklenburg (b.Lomé, Togo 5 January 1955). His daughter Frieda went on to marry Paul Agbobli, with whom she had four children. Frieda zu Mecklenburg studied at the Collége Protestant Lomé in the early 1970s. In the 1980s, she attended the Institut Universitaire de Technologie de Bordeaux. Frieda zu Mecklenburg is an honorary member of the Société Allemande-Togolaise (SAT). At the age of forty-five, Siegfried zu Mecklenburg died in 1959 at Douala, Cameroon.

Princess Woizlawa-Feodora Reuß and her niece Frieda zu Mecklenburg.

Eventually, Frieda zu Mecklenburg and her family moved to France. Duchess Woizlawa-Feodora of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Princess Reuß, Siegfried’s younger half-sister, established a relationship with her niece Frieda. Among the guests at Woizlawa-Feodora’s funeral were Frieda and one of her children. 

Frieda zu Mecklenburg.

Frieda zu Mecklenburg is a second cousin once-removed of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, and Princess Beatrix of The Netherlands. Frieda zu Mecklenburg is also a second cousin twice removed of Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia, the grandson of Frieda’s second cousin Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, who married Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia, the aunt of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna.

Note: The author of this post wishes to acknowledge Bearn Bilker, Paul Theroff (see here for his website), and Hein Bruins (see here for his website) for their research on this topic.

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