MAINZ, Germany – Where did Germany's fairytale princesses go? Well, royals actually stopped playing a political and social role in Germany back in 1918, when the country's last emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, stepped down.
But, it certainly did not put an end to the Germans' strong interest in all things noble. More than 10 million people in Germany alone are expected to tune into one of the six German channels that will carry the British royal wedding live on April 29.
And some Germans will even make the trip across the channel to pay tribute to the newlyweds in London.
For a group of German aficionados of British culture and history, six men, who call themselves "Friends of British Royalty Germany Section," the upcoming royal wedding is truly special.
"We have been practicing a barber shop song for weeks, which we intend to perform in the streets of London on our upcoming trip to the British capital. This will be the highlight of the year for us," says 50-year old Bernhard Zanders, who heads the so-called “gentlemen's club.”
"You are the flower of my heart, sweet Catherine" is the main line of their altered version of an old tune called "Sweet Adeline," which these die-hard fans of the British monarchy have been re-writing and rehearsing for weeks.
On the wedding day, the German travel group plans to perform the four-voice serenade and a little lullaby after the ceremony, under a window of the building, where William and Kate are believed to be spending their wedding night.
Windsors are German
To get into the mood for their journey, Zanders and his friends held a special birthday party for the queen last Wednesday – an evening ceremony in which they played the British national anthem and raised the union jack flag.
“A rite that actually required the consent of the British consulate because it is considered an official state act,” Zanders explained, who has been meeting with his group every two weeks for the past 15 years.
But why the Windsors and not King Gustav of Sweden or King Juan Carlos of Spain?
"The Windsors have a truly German background," said Zanders, "which has always made me feel a special European connection to the British monarchy.”
As a matter of fact, Britain's Windsors are descended from German stock.
The royal family's bloodline reaches back to the German ducal house of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. In the old days, the "Coburgs" were closely related to many European princely families and furnished the sovereigns of several royal dynasties in Europe, including Belgium, Portugal and Great Britain.
Eventually, Britain's royal family managed to shake off their German roots, but some of their German family members are still part of Europe's glamorous present-day aristocracy. Like Prince Ernst August V, the third husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco, and also the head of the deposed royal House of Hanover. He is the great-grandson of the last German emperor, Wilhelm II. He was 385th in the line of succession to the British throne – until he married Princess Caroline, according to Wikipedia.
Royal expert Norbert Loh with Sweden's Princess Victoria in 2009.
Love for royalty
Short of German kings or queens to go crazy for, people in Germany simply look beyond the borders to European countries which still have active royal households – like Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, or yes, the mother-of-all-monarchies: England.
Republicanism and democratic systems are nice, but many Germans will tell you stylish princesses, golden wedding carriages and all the other glamour that surrounds these royal dynasties are sometimes even better.
"The love for anything royal reflects the yearning for an ideal world, it is a modern-day fairy tale for many people," says Norbert Loh, a royal expert at "die aktuelle" tabloid magazine in Munich, who has been reporting on European royals for more than 30 years.
While Loh admits that the majority of his readers are above age 50, he also says that the broad media coverage of royal celebrities makes today's monarchies no less popular among the younger generation.
"I get many, many letters from teenagers who read my 'royal moment' column. For them, especially the young royals, like Prince William and Prince Harry, are real pop stars," said Loh, who will be acting as a royal expert during German television ZDF's six-hour coverage of the royal wedding on April 29.
For all things Royal Wedding, see msnbc.com's Windsor Knot blog