Kaiser Wilhelm’s great-great-grandson to attend Croydon’s Silent Night carols


By - Monday 8th December, 2014

Prince Philip Kiril of Prussia, great-great-grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II, will visit Croydon next week (Tuesday 9th December) to deliver a timely message. 


Prince Philip Kiril of Prussia. Photo from Croydon Churches, used with permission.

Release begins: It was under the orders of his great-great-grandfather that the German army went to war in August 1914. A century later, Prince Kiril will bring a message of peace and reconciliation to Silent Night Carols – a commemorative carol service, remembering WW1 and the Christmas Truce of 1914 (7pm, Tue 9 Dec, Selhurst Park).

‘I have accepted the guilt of Wilhelm II but so far no-one has asked for forgiveness for his actions,’ said the Prince, an ordained minister in the Lutheran church. He hopes his message will increase the current bond between Germany and England. ‘Being a believer is more important than being a royal. Names and titles are irrelevant to God. Everyone is accountable before him for their action or inaction. Politics and even history are shaped by man, by certain individuals. And man is driven by his heart and his convictions. So, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation are very important to minimise hatred. Then trust and brotherhood can grow.’

 His visit to the home of Crystal Palace FC is even more poignant in context of the club’s history.

 ’When war was declared in 1914, the Crystal Palace was requisitioned as a naval training station,’ explained Crystal Palace historian Ian King. ‘The club played at Herne Hill until 1918 when it moved to The Nest, next to Selhurst Station, before its final move to Selhurst Park in 1924. It has never returned to its original home. The war had a profound and lasting effect on the club.’

All men over 18 were encouraged to join one of Lord Kitchener’s lads’ battalions. Several Crystal Palace players who were part of the 17th Service Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, commonly known as the Football Battalion, went to war and never returned, including Norman Wood, Edwin Myers, Richard Harker and John Williams. They will be the subject of a book to be published in the next 12 months by fellow Palace historian Alan Russell.

Silent Night Carols will be a time for the community to gather for a moment, to share in the celebration of Christmas but also reflect on the cost of war for Britain, and more specifically Croydon. Others taking part will include Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock, Archbishop Tenison School Choir, Salvation Army band, Boys’ Brigade, Lantern Theatre Company and Seventh Day Adventist choir.

Silent Night Carols events are taking place in more than 50 football stadia and 450 cathedrals, churches and schools as part of a national initiative by the charity HOPE Together to encourage communities to mark the centenary of the 1914 Christmas Truce. On Sunday 7 December Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts releases a new version of the iconic carol Silent Night (Christ the Saviour is Born) as part of the initiative.

 * Tickets for Silent Night Carols at Selhurst Park can be booked here. Entrance is free (ends)

Release ends.

Release provider: Croydon Churches.

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  • Claire Alonge

    Is it possible for us to send a message of thanks to him? It was the most moving service my family has ever been to.