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A German prince who was the focus of the alleged coup attempt has testified for the first time

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“I naturally reject violence, but the charge against me is trying to accuse me of the opposite,” the 72-year-old told the court on Friday.

The aristocrat's testimony was emotional and he wiped away tears several times during the two-hour interrogation.

Prince Royce, a descendant of a noble German family whose princely title does not carry any official weight, spoke in court about what he described as “the rape of his psyche and spirit” at the hands of teachers while he was at school.

Furthermore, he recounted how his family fled from Thuringia, a German state occupied by the Soviet Red Army at the end of World War II, to the Frankfurt area in the American zone, where he was born in 1951.

He is one of several accused of membership in a terrorist organization that planned to overthrow the German government in 2022, and who said they accepted the possibility that people might be killed in the coup.

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The group, called the Reichsbürger Network, believes that the modern German state illegitimately replaced the German Reich founded in 1871 and which lasted under the Nazi regime until 1945.

According to prosecutors, members of the group's paramilitary wing planned to overthrow the German National Assembly, arrest politicians, and ultimately appoint Prince Reuss as Germany's new leader.

The group was uncovered during large-scale police raids abroad and in several German states in 2022.

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