If not for Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria, Donald Trump might never have become president of the United States.
The president-elect’s grandfather Friedrich Trump once begged the Bavarian prince regent to stay in what is now southern Germany after becoming a U.S. citizen, according to a signed 111-year-old letter published by the tabloid Bild Monday. The elder Trump had been banished along his wife Elisabeth for avoiding his military service when he immigrated to America in 1885.
In the February 1905 letter, Trump begged the "well-loved, noble, wise and just" prince regent to acknowledge his "most subservient request" to stay, the Wall Street Journal reported. The decree had ordered "American citizen and pensioner Friedrich Trump" to leave before May "or else expect to be deported," according to the Guardian.
His appeal was rejected.
It was for want of a job that Friedrich Trump had left the Kingdom of Bavaria at all, according to the Journal. He had decided to pursue a career as a barber, "because I was frail by nature and my mother and I thought that I couldn’t withstand agricultural work," he would later tell officials investigating his departure.
But when he left, the 16-year-old Trump neglected to leave behind a government deposit to promise he would fulfill his mandatory military service, the Journal reported. Trump, while making a fortune in the States, still visited his homeland multiple times and, on one visit in 1901, met his eventual wife Elisabeth Christ. After they married, she traveled back with him to New York where he had settled, but Trump promised her father that they would return if the country didn’t suit her, the Journal reported.
In 1904, they came back with a newborn daughter. They also quickly came to the attention of authorities for Trump’s failure to complete his military service.
The decree banishing them was issued in February 1905, according to the Guardian. Trump’s letter appealing that was written at the end of the month, begging for leniency.
But Prince Regent Luitpold refused to reconsider, and so Trump and his wife left Germany for the last time on the Hapag steamship Pennsylvania in July 1905, according to the Guardian. With them was their daughter and yet-to-be-born son Fred: Donald Trump’s father.