Prince Karl Eitel Friedrich Zephyrinus Ludwig of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was born in Sigmaringen, in the German Confederation. A younger son of Prince Karl Anton of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and his wife, Princess Josephine of Baden, he was unable to inherit his own principality. However, in 1866, he became the Prince of Romania, changing his name to the more Romanian Carol. The earliest landowner of the slice North Carlton that would become Princes Hill was a Romanian immigrant named Petre Moldoveanu, who chose to name the area after his head of state.
This patriotic gesture was completely misunderstood from the predominately British-descended population of Melbourne, who assumed that the name referred to Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria. Had they known, the suburb would no doubt have been considerably less popular in its early years.
From its earliest subdivision, the land at Princes Hill was intended to be a home for well-to-do young gentlemen to dwell in, retaining the luxury they were accustomed to, but cutting (or at least loosening) the ties of their mothers’ apron strings. Many of these young men would form the upper crust of the Carlton Football Club social club – not the actual players (that would be an affront to their social standing – although some of the more liberal allowed their servants to play), but the moneyed men behind them.
Indeed, given the club’s poor performance in the 1880s and 1890s, these upper middle class fops, dilettantes and wastres were the salvation of the club. Without the influx of wealth that they brought to the area from the early 1870s onwards, it is safe to say that the Carlton club would not have been invited, nor been able to afford, admission to the newly-formed Victorian Football League in 1897.
Naturally, this influx of eligible bachelers made the suburb a popular one with young women seeking husbands. Although it would take the better part of a century for the transition to occur, aided as it was by the rise of feminism in the 1960s, by the late 1970s and for the next several decades, the area would be noted as having one of the highest – and often, the highest – proportion of single women to single men living in it of any part of Melbourne.
Suburbs near Princes Hill: