War Heritage Institute

A new WHI eye-catcher: a unique tunic!

In May 2020 the WHI acquired a true treasure.

The First World War collection now also features a cavalry uniform jacket of the 16th Dragoon regiment, that belonged to the last German Emperor Wilhelm II (1859-1941).

A silk tailor’s label of court supplier Noé & Schultze, with the Emperor’s signature in blue pencil, as well as an embroidered regiment label for the 2nd Hanoverian Dragoon regiment n° 16 with the hand-sewn imperial monogram and crown, do not leave any doubt as to the uniform’s authenticity. The length of the sleeves also betrays the jacket belonged to Emperor Wilhelm II, who was born with a paralyzed and atrophied left arm. The gilded epaulettes, the silver buttons, the silk lining and the fabric with contrasting yellow piping all testify to the wearer’s social status.

Emperor Wilhelm II, King of Prussia, was a First World War key character. In 1918 he resided in Spa, where he had established his headquarters for tactical reasons. His reign ended in Belgium on 9 November 1918. He fled to the Netherlands, a neutral territory, where he obtained asylum on 10 November and where he passed away in June 1941.