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Thursday, 24 May, 2001, 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK
Kaiser's secret sex life revealed
Kaiser Wilhelm II pictured in Turkey
The young Wilhelm was known for his sexual conquests
Letters indicating that Germany's last emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II was blackmailed by a prostitute with whom he had sado-masochistic sex, have been unearthed.


Some very peculiar inclinations towards complication of the usual coitus were revealed in the letters - for example, tying the hands together

Wilhelm von Bismarck
The German weekly, Die Zeit, discovered the bundle of letters in an archive belonging to the Bismarck family.

It appears that a high-class prostitute Emile Klopp - known as "Miss Love" in the letters - had threatened to go public about the details of her kinky liaisons with the then prince, but was silenced by a cash settlement.

The revelations may have influenced a political struggle between the kaiser and the Chancellor Otto von Bismarck - who hated the emperor - and, Die Zeit speculates, may even have forced Bismarck from power.

"Spicy stories"

Miss Love claimed to have in her possession six letters from Wilhelm, who was Queen Victoria's grandson, which described the nature of their relationship "in a particularly spicy way".


Nowadays these matters cause more of a stir than they used to, because the press is much more wide-spread and mean-spirited than before

Herbert von Bismarck
"Love indicated, that some very peculiar inclinations towards complication of the usual coitus were revealed in the letters - for example, tying the hands together," wrote Wilhelm von Bismarck, Otto von Bismarck's son, who was eventually commissioned with sorting out the embarrassment.

Love claimed that after being introduced to Prince Wilhelm in Strasbourg, he had brought her to Potsdam, where he had set up a flat for her near his palace.

Price of silence

While he had been well-known for his conquests and "adventures", the Love affair was considered by the Bismarcks as particularly "fatal".

"Nowadays, these matters cause more of a stir than they used to, because the press is much more wide-spread and mean-spirited than before and because the German Kaiser is more in the public view than any other person or monarch," bemoaned Herbert, Otto von Bismarck's other son.


Wilhelm II now had to live with the knowledge that his great adversary knew more about his private life than he could have wanted

Volker Ullrich
In 1888, Love apparently threatened to have the letters published in France - Germany's enemy - after she believed she had been spurned.

The crisis was managed by Wilhelm von Bismarck and in time-honoured fashion money was the way to stop this potential disaster.

Wilhelm von Bismarck paid 25,000 marks - now worth around DM 500,000 ($220,000) - in return for the letters.

"It is hair-raising to put something like that to paper," he said on finally receiving them.

He put them in a sealed envelope and sent to the kaiser but to this day they have not been seen again.

Power struggle

But, while Love may have been silenced, the reverberations from the affair may have been felt for years to come, speculates Die Zeit.

"The Bismarcks saw in this the confirmation of what they judged to be a lack of character in the ruler," a Die Zeit journalist wrote.

"And vice versa, Wilhelm II now had to live with the knowledge that his great adversary knew more about his private life than he could have wanted," Volker Ulrich wrote.

As the revelations of the Love affair occurred at the height of a power-struggle between the chancellor and the kaiser, it could even have influenced Bismarck's demise.

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15 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Germany
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