In November 1918, the German Empire came to an end with the abdication of Victoria Louise’s father. He had crossed the border into the Netherlands and had been granted asylum. Brunswick itself was not safe either and as Victoria Louise lay ill with the Spanish flu revolutions rocked the state. The family – now with the additions of Georg Wilhelm and Frederica – was ordered to leave immediately and together they left for Karlsruhe. Upon arrival, they were promptly arrested. They managed to escape to Bavaria and then on to Austria. They went to live with Ernst August’s parents until they could move into Villa Weinburg. In 1919, she gave birth to their fourth child.
In March 1920, Victoria Louise was at last allowed to visit her parents in their Dutch exile. Along the way, she visited several relatives. Her mother had been terribly ill for quite some time. Her parents were able to buy their own home in the Netherlands, and House Doorn and the few miles around it became their new home. Her mother did not live to enjoy it for very long. As her mother lay dying, they received the news that Victoria Louise’s brother Prince Joachim had killed himself. The Empress died on 11 April 1921, but Victoria Louise was not there.
Her father’s decision to remarry not even two years later hurt Victoria Louise. His intended bride was the much younger and widowed Hermine Reuss of Greiz, who had five children by her first husband. Victoria Louise and her brother Oskar wrote a letter to their father, but the wedding went ahead as planned, though several members of the family – including Victoria Louise – were not present. The following year, Victoria Louise gave birth to her fifth and last child, a son named Prince Welf Henry.
It was the Crown Prince who first had contact with Adolf Hitler in 1926. He also sent Hermann Göring to Doorn to meet with the Emperor. Prince August Wilhelm became a member of the Nazi party to his father’s dismay. Victoria Louise met Hitler in 1933 when he invited her and her husband to Berlin. She thought him to be polite and correct and he spoke in a friendly fashion. She would meet him a few more times over the years.
Their children were growing up now, and in 1938, Frederica married the future King Paul of Greece. At the end of the year, Victoria Louise became a grandmother with the birth of Sophia (later Queen of Spain and mother of King Felipe VI of Spain). The Second World War threw things into turmoil. Victoria Louise’s sons went off to war with their cousins. The invasion of the Netherlands brought her father into an uncomfortable position, and he would welcome the invaders with open arms, smilingly shaking soldiers’ hands. He would die the following year on 4 June 1941 with Victoria Louise by his side.
The end of the Second World War brought the American and British troops to Victoria Louise’s home. Several boxes of the German Foreign Office had been stored at her home, and they mainly showed interest in those. They were confiscated by the Americans, but Victoria Louise and her family were treated well by them. Nevertheless, the family went on the move once more, and they went to Marienburg Castle.
Ernst August suffered from an eye ailment that required an operation. He lost the sight in one eye, and a little while later, he had a severe inflammation of the lungs and never fully recovered. In early 1953, he became weaker and weaker. He told his doctor, “I’ve lived a wonderful life, and I want to go through the remainder courageously.” Victoria Louise was by his side during his final hours. He died on 30 January 1953. Victoria Louise would survive him for almost 30 years.
She returned to Brunswick two years after her husband’s death. She threw herself into charity work and worked for prisoners of war who returned from Russia. She outlived all her siblings and buried her last brother, Prince Oskar in 1958. In her later years, she wrote several books, including her own memoirs.