His father was Wilhelm II, the last kaiser of the German empire. As the oldest son, Crown Prince Wilhelm became crown prince at age six and held the title for three decades until the fall of the German Empire in November 1918, three months after this article was originally published.
During WWI, he was one of the top military commanders despite being in his early 30’s and never having previously commanded a military unit larger than a regiment. It… did not go well. This article, filled with ludicrous exaggerated drawings depicted the Crown Prince as a bumbling fool, describes the man:
As a menace to the success of German campaigns, he has not missed a point in the game. He is known as the best friendly enemy the Allies ever had. His being ousted by Foch from the Rheims-Soissons salient is the most recent of a long series of errors which have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of his fellow-countrymen.
But that didn’t stop him earning illustrious prizes thanks to nepotism:
There have been plenty of telegrams of congratulation and awards of medals. It is said that on occasion the headstrong and ill-balanced heir has overruled experienced commanders, making necessary an undue haste to chide failure with medals. The first German drive toward Paris in 1914 was hardly smothered before the Crown Prince got his Iron Cross. That was soon followed by the Star of the House of Hohenzollern.
In later years Crown Prince Wilhelm would go on to befriend Adolf Hitler, who promised to restore the German monarchy, but their relationship soured once Wilhelm realized Hitler would actually do no such thing. The Crown Prince died in 1951.
Kaiser’s Heir, Prince of Failure: The Sad Military Career of Frederick William, Who Stops Losing Battles Only Long Enough to Accept Decorations and Study the Strategic Value of Frogs
Published: Sunday, August 4, 1918