by Susan Flantzer
Princess Viktoria of Prussia (Frederica Amalia Wilhelmine Viktoria) was born on April 12, 1866 at the Neues Palais in Potsdam, Prussia (now Germany). Known in the family as Moretta, was the second daughter and fifth of eight children of Friedrich III, German Emperor, King of Prussia and his wife Victoria, Princess Royal, who was a daughter of Queen Victoria. Moretta was born two months before the tragic death of her brother Sigismund at the age of 21 months due to meningitis. Sigismund was a favorite of their mother, who suffered intense grief upon her son’s death. Unlike some of her older siblings, Moretta was devoted to her mother and very English in her ways. Moretta had seven siblings:
- Wilhelm II, German Emperor (1859 –1941) married (1) Princess Auguste Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein, had issue (2) Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz, no issue
- Charlotte (1860 –1919) married Bernhard III, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, had issue
- Heinrich (1862 –1929) married his first cousin Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine, had issue
- Sigismund (1864 – 1866) died of meningitis at 21 months
- Waldemar (1868 – 1879) died of diphtheria at age 11
- Sophie (1870 – 1932) married King Constantine I of Greece, had issue
- Margaret (1872 –1954) married Prince Friedrich Karl of Hesse, had issue
Moretta’s first possible love match was recommended by her mother and grandmother, Queen Victoria. Prince Alexander of Battenberg (called Sandro), a brother of Prince Henry of Battenberg (husband of Moretta’s aunt Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom), and a brother of Prince Louis of Battenberg (husband of Moretta’s cousin Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine), had been selected the reigning Prince of Bulgaria in 1879. Sandro visited the Prussian court on the suggestion of Moretta’s mother in 1881 and at age 15, Moretta fell in love with Sandro. Her parents were eager for a marriage, but Moretta’s grandfather Wilhelm I, German Emperor and Chancellor Otto von Bismarck were not in favor of the marriage. They felt that Tsar Alexander III of Russia would be offended by the marriage because Russia and Bulgaria did not have a positive relationship. When Moretta’s father became Emperor in 1888, it appeared that it was possible that the marriage would occur. However, Friedrich III, already ill with throat cancer, died three months after becoming Emperor. The new Emperor, Moretta’s brother Wilhelm II, took Bismarck’s advice and did not give permission for the marriage. The dejected princess was forced to give up the possibility of marrying Sandro.
Over the next several years, Moretta, who was not considered to be attractive, became convinced that she would remain unmarried. There was talk of Moretta marrying Prince Carl of Sweden and a couple of Russian Grand Dukes. In June of 1890, Moretta along with her sister Mossy (Margaret) and their mother visited Princess Marie of Wied. Prince Adolf of Schaumburg-Lippe was one of the other guests. The weather during the visit was rainy and Adolf and Moretta spent time together indoors. On June 11, 1890, the couple became engaged. They married on November 19, 1890. Moretta suffered a miscarriage early in the marriage and the couple never had children. Prince Adolf died in 1916.
Moretta’s second marriage was made despite the disapproval of her siblings. On November 19, 1927, Moretta married Alexander Zoubkoff, a Russian refugee described as a “dancer”, who was 35 years younger. At this point in time, Moretta’s finances were not good, nevertheless, her new husband carelessly spent her money and was at home very infrequently. Moretta was forced to sell the contents of Palais Schaumburg, her home in Bonn, Germany, but the sale did not net much money and she moved into a single furnished room in the Bonn suburb of Mehlem. In 1929, Moretta announced that she was divorcing her second husband, but she died of pneumonia a few days later on November 13, 1929 in a Bonn hospital. She was buried at the home her mother had built after her father’s death, the Schloss Friedrichshof in Kronberg im Taunus, Germany.