From the Jura student to the castle owner and guest host: A down-to-earth prince: Metfried Prinz to Runkel in the NNP interview
In his elected home, they like to talk to him with “His Serene Highness”. The administrator of the Runkel castle, Metfried Prinz zu Wied, is very grounded. The 82-year-old Metfried Prinz told Wied of the Nassauische Neue Presse in conversation with his colleague Robin Klöppel, explaining why he was sleeping in a sleeping bag in the Runkeler castle and presented it as an innkeeper’s beer.
NNP: First of all. How do you want to be addressed?
Prince Metfried: Many in Runkel speak of me as “Serene”, others say Prince Metfried, Herr zu Wied or are unsure. I really do not care.
Many have certain notions of a prince’s life. Do you grow up in a castle?
Prince Metfried: No, I lived as a child in Dierdorf with my parents and two siblings in one of the first prefabricated houses in the old park. It was a copper house, and it was incredibly hot in the summer. In the Second World War, however, they arranged the copper because it was needed for the armaments industry. Later, the house was plastered as normal.
The first since 1842
And because, unfortunately, you were only the second-oldest son of your family, you knew immediately that you would not inherit all the lands of the princely house at Wied. Were you envious of her brother Friedrich Wilhelm?
Prince Metfried: No, not at all. Since we are four years apart from each other, there was never this fraternal competition between us at a young age. My brother later did not mind that I care about Runkel and has me here in the management of the business never synonymous reingeredet. If I needed money for some measure, he usually gave it to me without any consultation. As a compensation for the fact that I did not inherit the country, there were also regular payments from Neuwied. But of those alone you could not live.
How did you get to Runkel at all?
Prince Metfried: Since 1842 no one has lived here from the family. In Runkel, at that time, there was only one private administrator and one secretary. But my mother Marie Antonia has kept in touch with this. At some point after the Second World War, she said to me, “If no one cares about Runkel, the building is soon at an end.”
Then you came to Runkel.
Prince Metfried: Yes, I was a Jurassic at this time, and when I came in 1954, most of the rooms in the castle were not habitable. In the beginning I sat with a chair and a sleeping bag in a room. If I wanted to sleep there, I always had to go through another bedroom. Through practical skill I have done much in the building myself. Since I also commissioned local craftsmen, I immediately had a good relationship with the Runkelern. They were really happy that something was done at the Runkel castle again. They were also very interested in me, which certainly had to do with the noble origin.
What have you changed?
Prince Metfried: Previously this was only a ruin, which was opened with moderate success for guests. I tried to make the exhibition more interesting to the visitors. For example, I have a large collection of arms from Wuerttemberg, which was previously owned by my grandma. Men always care about weapons. I have outsourced the archive and set up a bachelor’s flat in the main building. When she finished, I got married. The apartment was too small after the second child at the latest.
Was it important for you to marry a woman of noble house?
Prince Metfried: My father died early and my mother did not give me any rules. Ultimately, however, it was easier because our style and our understanding of child rearing are the same. My wife Felicitas and I was always in the opinion of an opinion, despite 14 years of age difference. We met on a ball in Koblenz. That my mother knew her parents before, made everything easier.
They have two sons, Friedrich Christian and Magnus Alexander, as well as seven grandchildren. Will one of the descendants take the stewardship in Runkel if you can no longer healthfully?
Prince Metfried: As long as I can, I will continue here. Because we now have a caretaker available, it is still good. What comes after this is still open. Whether my sons want to take on the task is completely open. From Neuwied shows so far also no interest. Of the children of my deceased nephew, however, no one is over 18. That is, if I need money for Runkel, I have to ask the estate administrator. Then I have to explain everything in more detail than it used to be for my brother.
What did they do in the first place?
Prince Metfried: : I had not finished my Jurastudium in Bonn and Tübingen. I found the topic interesting, especially because it would have made many professional opportunities possible. But matter did not suit me. Because the right room was available, I opened a restaurant in Runkel Castle. The Burgschänke ran in the summer always well, but because of the bad winter months, it did not expect. We had to pay a cook. We wanted to make a hotel out of the castle. But it was already a huge problem because of the cut-to-size of the rooms, the baths to be installed alone. We then left it, because hotel guests have certain requirements, which one must also be able to meet.