Louis Ferdinand was born in Potsdam as the third in succession to the throne of the German Empire, after his father, German Crown Prince William and elder brother Prince Wilhelm of Prussia. The monarchy was abolished after Germany's revolution in 1918. When Louis Ferdinand's older brother Prince Wilhelm renounced his succession rights to marry a non-royal from the lesser nobility in 1933 (he was later to be killed in action in France in 1940 fighting in the German army), Louis Ferdinand took his place in line for the throne following the deaths of the Kaiser and the Crown Prince.
Louis Ferdinand was educated in Berlin and deviated from his family's tradition by not pursuing a military career. Instead, he travelled extensively and settled for some time in Detroit, where he befriended Henry Ford and became acquainted with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, among others. He held a great interest in engineering. Recalled from the United States upon his brother's renunciation of the throne, he got involved in the German aviation industry, but was barred by Hitler from taking any active part in German military activities.
Louis Ferdinand dissociated himself from the Nazis after this. He was not involved in the 20 July Plot against Hitler in 1944 but was interrogated by the Gestapo immediately afterwards.
He married the Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia in 1938 in first a Russian Orthodox ceremony in Potsdam and then a Lutheran ceremony in Huis Doorn, Netherlands. Kira was the second daughter of Grand Duke Kyril Vladimirovich and Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The couple had four sons and three daughters. His two eldest sons both renounced their succession rights in order to marry commoners. His third son, and heir-apparent, Prince Louis Ferdinand died in 1977 during military maneuvers, and thus his eighteen-year-old grandson Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia (son of Prince Louis Ferdinand) became the new heir-apparent to the Prussian and German Imperial throne; Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia became the pretender to the thrones and Head of the Hohenzollern family upon Louis Ferdinand's death in 1994.
After the reunification of Germany, Louis Ferdinand arranged to have the remains of several Hohenzollern members reinterred at the imperial vault in Potsdam.
Louis Ferdinand was on friendly terms with the Pulitzer Prize winning American journalist Louis P. Lochner.
Prince of Prussia
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