Category Archives: German Royals

Adolf Friedrich VI, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

source: Wikipedia

source: Wikipedia

Adolf Friedrich VI, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Adolf Friedrich VI was the last Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He was born on June 17, 1882 in Neustrelitz, the elder son of Adolf Friedrich V, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Elisabeth of Anhalt. He had three siblings:

At his christening on July 19, 1882, he was given the names Adolf Friedrich Georg Ernst Albert Eduard. He had 12 godparents:

Adolf Friedrich was educated privately at home, tutored for several years by the Protestant theologian Carl Horn.  He then attended the Vitzthum-Gymnasium in Dresden along with his relative, and close friend, Grand Duke Friedrich Franz IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and in 1902, moved to Munich to study law.

During this time, he was made a Lieutenant in the Prussian Army’s Grand Ducal Mecklenburg Grenadier Regiment No. 89.  However, his active military career didn’t begin until after he’d finished his studies – joining the Prussian Army’s 1st Uhlan Guards Regiment in Potsdam.  Just two years later, he became Hereditary Grand Duke upon his grandfather’s death and his father’s accession the grand ducal throne.

 

Hereditary Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich, c1909. source: Wikipedia

Hereditary Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich, c1909. source: Wikipedia

In 1911, he resigned his army commission and returned to Neustrelitz to prepare for his future role.  He also spent several summers living in the United Kingdom, having developed a strong love for the country – likely influenced by his grandmother, who was born Princess Augusta of Cambridge, and was a granddaughter of King George III of the United Kingdom.  Adolf Friedrich took every opportunity to visit Britain, and often represented his father and grandfather at official functions, such as the funerals of Queen Victoria and King Edward VII, and the coronations of King Edward VII and King George V.

 

Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich VI, c1912. source: Wikipedia

Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich VI, c1912. source: Wikipedia

Upon his father’s death in June 1914, he became the reigning Grand Duke as Adolf Friedrich VI. He had little time to adjust to his role as World War I was breaking out in Europe.  He was given a commission as a colonel on the staff of the German 17th Division, and served on the Western front through much of the war.  In 1917, he was promoted to Major General.

After years of being linked to various princesses throughout Europe – including Viktoria Luise of Prussia, Patricia of Connaught, and Mary, Princess Royal – Adolf Friedrich’s close friend, Princess Daisy of Pless, set out to find him a bride.  Soon it was settled that he would marry Princess Beninga Reuss of Köstritz, and negotiations began.  However, there was a scandal brewing which needed to be dealt with first.  Years earlier, when based in Potsdam, Adolf Friedrich had a relationship with a woman named Margit Höllrigl.  Allegedly, he had proposed to her so that he could renounce his succession rights in favor of his younger brother.  But his brother had since died, and he attempted to pay off Höllrigl to release him from any obligation of marriage.  Höllrigl, however, had other plans.  She claimed to have correspondence which linked Adolf Friedrich to “certain homosexual circles” and threatened to release them to the public unless he gave into her demands for more money.

With war still raging, and the possibility of these letters being made public, Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich VI left his home on the evening of February 23, 1918 to take his dog for a walk. The following morning, his body was found in a nearby canal with a gunshot wound to his head. He left behind a suicide note which suggested that a woman was attempting to smear his name. However, his close friend, Princess Daisy of Pless suggested that he had developed severe depression over the war and the loss of his beloved grandmother.

In his will, he had requested that Duke Christian Ludwig of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the son of his good friend Grand Duke Friedrich Franz IV, become the new Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The heir presumptive – Duke Carl Michael – lived in Russia and had previously indicated that he wished to renounce his rights to the grand ducal throne. However, before the matter could be resolved, Germany became a republic and the various sovereigns lost their thrones.

The Tomb of Adolf Friedrich VI Von Niteshift (talk) - Eigenes Werk (photo), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9970644

The Tomb of Adolf Friedrich VI Von Niteshift (talk) – Eigenes Werk (photo), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9970644

Following his funeral, Adolf Friedrich VI was buried on Lover’s Island in Mirow, just near the Johanniterkirche, the traditional burial place of the Mecklenburg-Strelitz grand ducal family.

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Elisabeth of Anhalt, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

source: Wikipedia

source: Wikipedia

Elisabeth of Anhalt, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Princess Elisabeth Marie Friederike Amalie Agnes of Anhalt was born on September 7, 1857 at the Wörlitz Palace near Dessau, to Hereditary Prince Friedrich of Anhalt (later Duke Friedrich I) and Princess Antoinette of Saxe-Altenburg. She had five siblings:

Her christening was held on October 1, 1857 at the Wörlitz Church. She had the following godparents:

Her childhood was spent at the Hereditary Princely Palace in Dessau and the Wörlitz Palace, where she was educated privately by the family’s tutor and her governess. In 1871, her father succeeded as reigning Duke of Anhalt, and the family moved to the Residence Palace in Dessau.

Adolf Friedrich V, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. source: Wikipedia

Adolf Friedrich V, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. source: Wikipedia

Several years later, in 1876, she first met her future husband, the Hereditary Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He was the son of Friedrich Wilhelm, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Augusta of Cambridge. The two were second cousins once removed through their mutual descent from Carl II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. They met again later that year when Adolf Friedrich was visiting some mutual relatives, and they became engaged on December 29, 1876. They married at the Dessau Palace on April 17, 1877, and had four children:

Quickly adapting to her role as Hereditary Grand Duchess, Elisabeth found a great ally in her mother-in-law, with whom she shared many interests. The two often hosted musical concerts and promoted numerous artists and musicians. She tried to use her public profile to bring attention to causes which were near to her heart, including nature and flowers, becoming an honorary member of the Association for the Protection of Birds. After becoming Grand Duchess in 1904 following her father-in-law’s death, she continued to support her causes while taking on a much more public role. Following the death of her youngest son in 1910, she established the Duke Carl Borwin Memorial Home in Neustrelitz, to provide a home for orphans and children in need.

source: The Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

source: The Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Following her husband’s death in 1914, she remained first lady of Mecklenburg-Strelitz during the reign of her unmarried son, and became very active with the Red Cross during World War I. Following the abolition of the monarchy in 1918, Elisabeth remained in Neustrelitz, taking up residence in the Park House which she had inherited earlier that year from her son. The Neustrelitz Palace had been taken over by the government, and she continued to fight for compensation for the loss of the family’s property. Remaining active right up until her death, Elisabeth remained in Neustrelitz, often hosting visits from her daughters and grandchildren, and staying in close contact with various relatives throughout Europe. Her last public appearance was on July 19, 1933, when she attended a ceremony at the Hohenziertz Palace commemorating the death of Queen Luise of Prussia, who had been born a Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

The following day, on July 20, 1933, Grand Duchess Elisabeth died in Neustrelitz. Following her funeral, her remains were placed in the New Crypt at the Johanniterkirche in Mirow, alongside her husband and sons.

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Adolf Friedrich V, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

source: Wikipedia

source: Wikipedia

Adolf Friedrich V, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Adolf Friedrich V, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, was born on July 22, 1848 in Neustrelitz, the son of Friedrich Wilhelm, Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Augusta of Cambridge. At the time of his birth, he was 14th in line for the British throne, as his mother was a granddaughter of King George III of the United Kingdom. Adolf Friedrich was the highest ranking person in the British succession who did not hold any British titles. As the only surviving son (an elder brother had died hours after birth in 1845), Adolf Friedrich held the title Hereditary Prince of Mecklenburg-Strelitz from birth.

His christening took place at Schloss Neustrelitz on August 12, 1848. Given the names Adolf Friedrich August Viktor Ernst Adalbert Gustav Wilhelm Wellington, he had 12 godparents:

At the age of 12, Adolf Friedrich became the Hereditary Grand Duke upon his father’s accession to the grand ducal throne. Initially educated privately at home, he later attended school in Dresden and then studied law at the University of Göttingen. After finishing his studies, he began a military career in the Prussian Army, where he fought during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and served on the General staff of King Wilhelm I of Prussia. The following year, he represented his father at the proclamation of King Wilhelm I as German Emperor at the Palace of Versailles.

In 1876, while traveling through Germany, he first met his future bride, Princess Elisabeth of Anhalt. She was the daughter of Friedrich I, Duke of Anhalt, and Princess Antoinette of Saxe-Altenburg. The two met again later that year while Adolf Friedrich was visiting some mutual relatives, and became engaged on December 29, 1876. The couple were second cousins once removed, through their mutual descent from Carl II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Adolf Friedrich and Elisabeth married at Schloss Dessau on April 17, 1877. After a honeymoon at Lake Geneva in Switzerland, they took up residence at the Hereditary Grand Ducal Palace in Neustrelitz. They had four children:

source: Wikipedia

source: Wikipedia

After being heir apparent for 43 years, Adolf Friedrich succeeded to the grand ducal throne on May 30, 1904 following his father’s death. He made efforts to soothe the rocky relationship with Prussia, and brought a more militaristic atmosphere to the grand ducal court. Much more liberal than his father, he made attempts to modernize the feudal system of government, in keeping with the rest of the German Empire. (Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Mecklenburg-Schwerin were the only two states which did not have an elected assembly at the time.) In 1908, he introduced a ministerial form of government, but continued to meet resistance from the nobility when trying to make further reforms – such as the introduction of a new constitution. Thwarted at every attempt, in 1912 the Grand Duke offered to donate $2.5 million of his own funds to the national treasury, and forfeit some of his sovereign rights, in exchange for a new constitution. But again, he was denied by the nobility. This was just a small example of his vast personal wealth. In January 1914, just months before his death, he was reported to be the second richest German sovereign, with a personal fortune of $88.75 million(over $2 billion today).

source: The Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

source: The Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

In March 1914, the Grand Duke fell ill and underwent an operation in a private hospital in Berlin. He never fully recovered and died at the hospital on July 11, 1914. He is buried in the New Crypt at the Johanniterkirche in Mirow.

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Friedrich Wilhelm, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

source: Wikipedia

source: Wikipedia

Friedrich Wilhelm, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Friedrich Wilhelm,Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was born in Neustrelitz on October 17, 1819. He was the eldest son of Georg, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Marie of Hesse-Kassel, and had 3 siblings:

He was christened on November 2, 1819 and given the names Friedrich Wilhelm Karl Georg Ernst Adolf Gustav. Among his 19 godparents was his namesake – and cousin – the future King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia.

Along with his brother, Friedrich WIlhelm was educated privately at home. Shortly before turning 18, he left Neustrelitz to study law and history at the University of Bonn. After leaving Bonn in 1839, he spent some time at the Prussian court of his uncle, King Friedrich Wilhelm III, before traveling through Europe the following summer. On this trip, he spent time in Italy with his aunt and uncle, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as their daughter, Augusta. Returning to Neustrelitz, he attended his sister’s wedding to the future King Frederik VII of Denmark and accompanied her to her new country. He then travelled to Potsdam, joining the Prussian Army in September 1841.

The following year, Friedrich Wilhelm traveled to London and became engaged to his cousin, Princess Augusta of Cambridge. She was the daughter of Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge (a son of King George III of the United Kingdom) and Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel. Friedrich Wilhelm and his finacée were first cousins through their mothers, and second cousins through their fathers. After receiving Queen Victoria’s consent to marry, Friedrich Wilhelm returned to Germany where he requested, and received, a discharge from active service in the Prussian Army.

The marriage of Friedrich Wilhelm and Augusta, source: Wikipedia

The marriage of Friedrich Wilhelm and Augusta, source: Wikipedia

Friedrich Wilhelm and Augusta married on June 28, 1843 in the Private Chapel at Buckingham Palace. Following the wedding, he brought his new bride home to Neustrelitz where they received a warm welcome. They later returned to the United Kingdom, where Friedrich Wilhelm continued his education, earning his Law degree from the University of Oxford. Following the birth of a stillborn son in 1843, the couple went on to have two children:

While continuing to visit his wife’s family often in Britain, Friedrich Wilhelm began to spend more time living in Neustrelitz, preparing himself for his future role as Grand Duke. In 1851, he suffered an injury to his left eye which left him partially blind. Within a few years, the injury also took the sight in his right eye, leaving him completely blind. Because of this, he developed a close friendship with his cousin, King Georg V of Hanover, who was also blind.

In the summer of 1860, while on a visit with his wife’s family, he learned that his father was gravely ill. He and Augusta returned to Neustrelitz, where his father died days later, on September 6, 1860. Friedrich Wilhelm succeeded his father as Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. His reign saw great changes in what would later become the German Empire. Initially, during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Mecklenburg-Strelitz remained neutral, and Friedrich Wilhelm was given a guarantee by the Prussian king that this would be respected. However, the Prussian minister Otto von Bismarck, disagreed. He threatened to invade the Grand Duchy if Friedrich Wilhelm didn’t agree to mobilize his troops to fight alongside Prussia. Having no other choice, the Grand Duke acceded to the demands and joined the war against Austria. While going against what Friedrich Wilhelm had wanted, the move likely extended his reign. While other states were annexed by Prussia and their rulers deposed, the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz remained intact. Despite his animosity toward Prussia, Mecklenburg-Strelitz joined the North German Confederation later that year.

source: The Grand Ducal Family of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

source: The Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

In 1870, he was once again coerced into joining Prussia in its war against the French Empire. Following Prussia’s overwhelming victory, the German Empire was established, and the Prussian king named Emperor (Kaiser) in 1871. The unification brought about great advancements in the Grand Duchy, and the Grand Duke took particular interest in restoring and building churches. He also focused much of his time on improving the education systems, as well a building and refurbishing schools throughout the Grand Duchy. Grand Duke Friedrich Wilhelm is credited with restoring the Grand Duchy’s financial resources, taking a country which was riddled with debt after the war and amassing a great fortune in their treasury. In addition, his personal wealth made him the wealthiest of the German sovereigns at the time.

Schloss Neustrelitz, c1910. source: Wikipedia

Schloss Neustrelitz, c1910. source: Wikipedia

In early 1904, the Grand Duke fell ill, and died at Schloss Neustrelitz on May 30, 1904. His funeral was held the following week at the Schloss Church, and was attended by the German Emperor – Kaiser Wilhelm II. In keeping with tradition, his remains were placed in the New Crypt at the Johanniterkirche in Mirow.

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Elizabeth Stuart, Electress Palatine

by Susan Flantzer

by Studio of Michiel Jansz van Miereveldt, circa 1613

The eldest daughter and second child of King James I of England and Anne of Denmark, Elizabeth Stuart was born on August 19, 1596. Sources differ on her birthplace, either Dunfermline Palace or Falkland Palace, both in Scotland. At the time of her birth, Elizabeth’s father, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, was King James VI of Scotland. In 1603, upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England, James succeeded to the English throne as King James I of England. The infant princess was baptized on December 28, 1596 at the Chapel Royal, Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland. She was named for Queen Elizabeth I of England.

Elizabeth had six siblings, but only two survived childhood:

by Charles Turner, published by Samuel Woodburn, after Willem de Passe, mezzotint, published 1814

‘James I and his royal progeny’ by Charles Turner, published by Samuel Woodburn, after Willem de Passe mezzotint, published 1814 NPG D9808 © National Portrait Gallery, London

As was customary for princesses, Elizabeth was not raised by her parents, but by a noble family loyal to the Scottish royal family. Her early years were spent at Linlithgow Palace in the care of Alexander Livingstone, 1st Earl of Linlithgow, 7th Lord Livingstone and his Catholic wife, Eleanor (Helen) Hay, eldest daughter of Andrew Hay, 8th Earl of Erroll. The fact that a Protestant princess was being raised by the Catholic Lady Livingstone was controversial. Lord and Lady Livingstone remained guardians of Elizabeth until the accession of Elizabeth’s father to the English throne in 1603. Elizabeth then accompanied her mother and her brother Henry, Prince of Wales to England.

Elizabeth, aged seven, by Robert Peake the Elder, 1603; Credit – Wikipedia

Elizabeth was placed in the care of John Harington, 1st Baron Harington of Exton and his wife Anne at Coombe Abbey near Coventry, England.  Although being the guardians of Elizabeth was a heavy financial burden, Lord and Lady Harrington diligently took care of Elizabeth and provided her with an excellent education. In 1605, the conspirators of the unsuccessful Gunpowder Plot intended to use the nine-year-old princess as part of the plot. After blowing up Parliament during the State Opening, the plotters had planned to seize Elizabeth and proclaim her Queen of England. Lord Harrington was warned of the plot and brought Elizabeth to a safe place in Coventry. The plot failed when the conspirators were betrayed and Guy Fawkes was caught by King James I’s soldiers before he was able to light the bomb. In 1612, Elizabeth suffered great sorrow when her elder brother Henry, Prince of Wales died of typhoid fever. She was not allowed to see him during his illness for fear she would be exposed to the disease and her brother’s last words were said to be, “Where is my dear sister?”

As the daughter of a reigning king, Elizabeth’s hand in marriage was sought after by a number of suitors including: Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden (later King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden); Frederic Ulric, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel; Prince Maurice of Nassau; Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton; Theopilus Howard, 2nd Earl of Suffolk; Otto, Hereditary Prince of Hesse and Victor Amadeus, Prince of Piedmont (later Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy). However, after careful consideration, Friedrich V, Elector Palatine of the Rhine was chosen. Friedrich and Elizabeth were the same age. Friedrich was a descendant of the kings of Aragon and Sicily, the landgraves of Hesse, the dukes of Brabant and Saxony, and the counts of Nassau and Leuven. He was a senior prince of the Holy Roman Empire and a staunch defender of the Protestant faith. Elizabeth and Friedrich, both 16-years-old, were married on February 14, 1613 at the Chapel Royal at the Palace of Whitehall.

The couple had thirteen children:

Friedrich V, Elector Palatine by Michiel Janszoon van Mierevelt, 1613; Credit – Wikipedia

Elizabeth Stuart by Marcus Gheeraerts, 1612; Credit – Wikipedia

In August of 1619, Friedrich was elected King of Bohemia and was crowned in Prague on November 4, 1619. Elizabeth, who was in late pregnancy with her son Rupert, was crowned two days later. The crown of Bohemia had been in Habsburg hands for a long time and the Habsburg heir, Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor refused to accept Friedrich as King of Bohemia. Friedrich’s reign ended with his defeat by Ferdinand at the Battle of White Mountain, one of the early battles of the Thirty Years’ War, on November 8, 1620. Friedrich and Elizabeth are called the Winter King and the Winter Queen in reference to their short reign as King and Queen of Bohemia.

Friedrich as King of Bohemia by Gerard van Honthorst, 1634; Credit – Wikipedia

Elizabeth as Queen of Bohemia by Gerard van Honthorst, circa 1630; Credit – Wikipedia

The couple sought refuge in Berlin, but had to leave in January of 1621 when Friedrich was forced to give up the Palatinate and was banished from the Holy Roman Empire. Elizabeth, Friedrich, and their family were given refuge in The Hague by Maurice, Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of all the provinces of the Dutch Republic except for Friesland. The last eight of their thirteen children were born in The Hague. In January of 1632, their last child was born and later that same month, Friedrich left The Hague to fight alongside King Gustavus Adolphus (Gustav II Adolf) of Sweden in the Thirty Years’ War. Elizabeth never saw him again. Beginning in October of 1632, Friedrich suffered from an infection that continually worsened. Doctors determined nothing could be done and Friedrich died on November 29, 1632 at the age of 36.

Elizabeth as a widow by Gerard van Honthorst, 1642; Credit – Wikipedia

Elizabeth was devastated by Friedrich’s death. Her brother King Charles I of England invited her to return to England, but she refused as she felt she had to fight for the rights of her eldest son Karl Ludwig. She raised a small army on his behalf, and finally, in 1648, the Palatinate was restored to him. Between her husband’s death in 1632 and her death in 1662, Elizabeth suffered the death of four of her children and the execution of her brother King Charles I of England in 1649. In 1660, Elizabeth’s nephew King Charles II was restored as King of England and Elizabeth decided to visit her England. She arrived in England on May 26, 1661 and by July she was determined to remain there. She first lived in Drury House on Wych Street in London. In January of 1662, she moved to Leicester House on the north side of present-day Leicester Square. On February 13, 1662, Elizabeth died of bronchitis at the age of 65 and was buried in the Henry VII Chapel at Westminster Abbey near her brother Henry, Prince of Wales.

Through her daughter Sophia, Electress of Hanover whose son succeeded to the British throne as King George I after the Protestant Stuarts died out, Elizabeth is the ancestor of the British royal family and most other European royal families, including those of Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden, as well as the former royal families of Greece, Romania, Germany, and Russia.

Wikipedia: Elizabeth Stuart, Electress Palatine

Works Cited
Abrufstatistik. “Elisabeth Stuart.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
“Elizabeth Stuart, queen of Bohemia.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Sept. 2016. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
“Frederick V, Elector Palatine.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 6 Sept. 2016. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.
Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, Queen of Sweden

by Susan Flantzer

by Lorens Pasch the Younger; Credit – Wikipedia

Princess Louisa Ulrika of Prussia was born on July 24, 1720 in Berlin, Prussia (Germany). She was the fifth daughter and the tenth of the fourteen children of King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia and his wife Sophia Dorothea of Hanover, daughter of King George I of Great Britain and only sibling of King George II of Great Britain.

Louisa Ulrike had thirteen siblings:

Louisa Ulrika’s brothers: left to right Friedrich, August Ferdinand, August Wilhelm and Heinrich by Francesco Carlo Rusca, 1737; Credit – Wikipedia

Louisa Ulrika received an education as befitted a princess of the Age of Enlightenment and saw nothing wrong with the militaristic views of her father unlike her elder brother and her father’s successor, the future King Friedrich “the Great” II, and her elder sisters. Influenced by her mother, Louisa Ulrika shared a common interest in science and culture with her brother Friedrich. Several royal suitors sought her hand in marriage including her first cousin Frederick, Prince of Wales; King Charles III of Spain and Louis IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt.

In 1743, an election was held to appoint an heir to the childless King Fredrik I of Sweden and Adolf Fredrik of Holstein-Gottorp won the election. The powers that be decided that either Louisa Ulrika and her youngest sister Anna Amalia would be married to the future King of Sweden. The Swedish ambassador to Prussia inspected both sisters and recommended Louisa Ulrika. The sisters’ brother Friedrich, who had succeeded to the Prussia throne in 1740, described Louisa Ulrika as arrogant and divisive and recommended Anna Amalia, described as kind-hearted and more suitable. Friedrich’s real reason for recommending Anna Amalia is that he wanted a sister who would gain influence in Sweden and considered his youngest sister to be more manageable. After getting the opinion of the groom Adolf Fredrik , the Swedish government insisted on Louisa Ulrika and King Friedrich II of Prussia gave his approval. Louisa Ulrika was taught about Sweden, converted to Lutheranism, and was advised to refrain from any involvement in politics.

On July 17, 1744, Louisa Ulrika and Adolf Fredrik were married by proxy in Berlin with the bride’s brother August Wilhelm standing in for the groom. Louisa Ulrika was escorted to Sweden by the Swedish ambassador and his wife. On August 18, 1744, she was welcomed by King Fredrik I at Drottningholm Palace, where the second wedding ceremony was held the same day, followed by a ball and a court reception.

Louisa Ulrika by Antoine Pesne, circa 1744; Credit – Wikipedia

King Adolf Fredrik of Sweden by Antoine Pesne; Credit – Wikipedia

Following a stillbirth, Louisa Ulrika and Adolf Fredrik had five children:

Adolf Fredrik was introverted, gentle and submissive, and Louisa Ulrika was pleased with him because she immediately felt secure in the fact that she was his superior. Already during their first day together, she was meddling in politics, informing Adolf Fredrik that her brother Friedrich had plans for an alliance between Sweden, Russia, and Prussia, and asked Adolf Fredrik to raise the subject with the Prussian envoy, which he agreed to do. No children had been born in the Swedish royal family in over 50 years, so when Louisa Ulrika’s her first child was born in 1746, she was seen as the salvation of succession crisis. Eventually, Louisa Ulrika gave birth to three sons, two of whom became Kings of Sweden.

The three sons of Louisa Ulrika: King Gustav III of Sweden, Prince Frederick Adolf and King Carl XIII of Sweden by Alexander Roslin, 1771; Credit – Wikipedia

Upon her wedding in 1744, King Fredrik I gave Louisa Ulrika the ownership of Drottningholm Palace, not too far from the Swedish capital of Stockholm. During Louisa Ulrika’s ownership of Drottningholm Palace, the interior of the palace was redecorated in a more sophisticated French rococo style. On Louisa Ulrika’s 33rd birthday, Adolf Fredrik presented her with the Chinese Pavillion, located in the grounds of Drottningholm Palace. In a letter to her mother, Louisa Ulrika wrote: “He brought me to one side of the garden and I was surprised to suddenly be part of a fairy tale, for the King had built a Chinese castle, the most beautiful one can see.” Louisa Ulrika was also responsible for having the Drottningholm Palace Theatre rebuilt after the original building burnt down in 1762. Louisa Ulrika encouraged the leading scientists of the time to gather at Drottningholm Palace. The famous Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus worked there, cataloguing the royal collections’ natural objects. Louisa Ulrika and Adolf Fredrik continued to reside at the palace during their reign (1751–1771). In 1777, Louisa Ulrika sold Drottningholm Palace to the Swedish state. Currently, it is the home of the Swedish Royal Family.

Drottningholm

Drottningholm Palace; Photo Credit – Susan Flantzer, August 2011

europe_august-5-to-18-967

Chinese Pavillon; Photo Credit – Susan Flantzer, August 2011

 

On March 25, 1751, Louisa Ulrika’s husband succeeded to the Swedish throne. During his twenty-year reign, Adolf Fredrik had no real power. The Riksdag (Swedish Parliament) held the power. Adolf Fredrik tried to change this twice, unsuccessfully. King Adolf Fredrik died on February 12, 1771 after eating an extremely large meal. In Sweden, he is remembered as “the king who ate himself to death.”

In 1751, shortly after Adolf Fredrik became king, a betrothal was arranged between two 5-year-olds Crown Prince Gustav of Sweden and  Princess Sophia Magdalena of Denmark, daughter of King Frederik V of Denmark and his first wife Princess Louisa of Great Britain, daughter of King George II of Great Britain. The betrothal’s purpose was to foster friendship between the two countries and was arranged by the Swedish parliament, not the Danish and Swedish royal families. The proposed match was disliked by both the mothers. Gustav’s mother, Louisa Ulrika had long been in conflict with the Swedish parliament and would have preferred a marriage with one of her nieces. Sophia Magdalena’s mother feared that her daughter would be mistreated by the Louisa Ulrika. The couple married in 1766 and Queen Louise’s fear came true as her daughter Sophia Magdalena was harassed by Louisa Ulrika after the marriage.

After her husband’s death, Louisa Ulrika had difficulty with her new role of the Queen Mother. Her relationship with her son, now King Gustav III, worsened when she finally realized that he did not want to let her be the power behind the throne. In 1777-1778, a scandal broke out regarding the legitimacy of Crown Prince Gustav Adolf when King Gustav III’s younger brothers claimed that the Crown Prince was a result of an affair between Sophia Magdalena and Count Adolf Fredrik Munck af Fulkila. The marriage of Sophia Magdalena and Gustav had remained unconsummated for ten years. There were various theories regarding the cause including Sophia Magdalena’s strict religious upbringing and introverted character, Gustav’s sexuality, and the possibility that either or both Sophia Magdalena and Gustav had some kind of physical problem. Eventually, Count Adolf Fredrik Munck af Fulkila acted as a sexual instructor for the couple and Crown Prince Gustav Adolf was born. Louisa Ulrika accused her son of having another man father his child. A great scandal erupted, during which the king threatened to exile his mother. Eventually, Louisa Ulrika was forced to make a formal statement withdrawing her accusation. She was banned from the court and spent the remainder of her life at Fredrikshof Palace and Svartsjö Palace.

Louisa Ulrika by Alexander Roslin, 1775; Credit – Wikipedia

In the spring of 1782, Louisa Ulrika became ill during an influenza epidemic.  After mediation by her daughter-in-law Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte (wife of her son Carl), Louisa Ulrika and her son King Gustav III finally reconciled.  She then requested that Sofia Magdalena and four-year-old Crown Prince Gustav Adolf, whom she had never met, come to her room. Louisa Ulrika died at the age of 61 on July 16, 1782 at Svartsjö Palace with her son Frederik Adolf, her daughter Sophia Albertine, and her daughter-in-law Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte present. She was buried at Riddarholm Church in Stockholm, Sweden.

Tomb of Louisa Ulrika at Riddarholm Church; Photo Credit – http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=9482117&PIpi=9044184

Wikipedia: Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, Queen of Sweden

Works Cited
“Chinese pavilion at Drottningholm.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Jan. 2016. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.
“History – Sveriges Kungahus.” n.d. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.
“Louisa Ulrika of Prussia.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Sept. 2016. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.
“Louise-Ulrique de Prusse.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Mar. 1751. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.
“Lovisa Ulrika av Preussen.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.
Susan. “Sophia Magdalena of Denmark, Queen of Sweden.” Danish Royals. Unofficial Royalty, 8 Nov. 2016. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.

Princess Augusta of Wales, Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Born on July 31, 1737 at St. James’ Palace in London, Princess Augusta of Wales was the eldest of the nine children of Frederick, Prince of Wales and Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, Princess of Wales. Born during the reign of her grandfather King George II of Great Britain, Augusta was the elder sister of King George III, the mother of King George IV‘s wife Caroline of Brunswick, and the grandmother of Princess Charlotte of Wales.

True to the Hanoverian tradition, Augusta’s father Frederick, the eldest son, did not get along with his parents. When it was announced that the Princess of Wales was pregnant with her first child, Queen Caroline doubted that there was a pregnancy and then doubted that her son was the father. She told Robert Walpole, “At her labour I positively will be present. I will be sure it is her child.” Agreeing with Queen Caroline, King George II insisted that the birth should take place in their presence at Hampton Court Palace.

When the Princess of Wales went into labor in the middle of the night at Hampton Court Palace where King George I and Queen Caroline were in residence, Frederick insisted that Augusta endure a bumpy carriage ride back to St. James’ Palace in London to prevent his hated parents from being present at the birth. Of course, there was no preparation for the birth and there was a frantic search for napkins, tablecloths and warming pans to be used during the baby’s delivery. The couple’s first child, Augusta, was born within an hour of her mother’s arrival at Hampton Court Palace. John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey saw Augusta within a few hours of her birth and he described the infant as “a little rat of a girl about the bigness of a good large toothpick case.”

When Queen Caroline was told how tiny the new princess was, she conceded that Frederick was the father. Afterward, the king ordered them to leave St. James’ Palace and they moved to Kew Palace. The Queen paid a visit to Frederick and Augusta before they left St. James’ Palace and expressed a wish that she never see them again. Queen Caroline got her wish as she died several months later without reconciling with her son and daughter-in-law.

The infant princess was christened Augusta Frederica on August 29, 1737 at St James’ Palace by John Potter, Archbishop of Canterbury.  Both her paternal grandparents were to be Augusta’s godparents, but neither came to the christening and both were represented by a proxy.

Augusta’s godparents were:

Augusta had eight younger siblings:

Family of Frederick, Prince of Wales painted in 1751 after the prince’s death; Photo Credit – Wikipedia Front row: Henry, William, Frederick; Back row: Edward, George, Augusta, Dowager Princess of Wales holding Caroline Matilda, Elizabeth, Louisa

The family of Frederick, Prince of Wales lived at Leicester House which stood on present-day Leicester Square in London. In 1751, when Augusta was 13, her father Frederick, Prince of Wales died, leaving a pregnant widow with eight children. King George II then created his grandson George Prince of Wales. Augusta was a rather boisterous child and not afraid to express her opinions. She loved music, acting and dancing, and participated in amateur theatricals which were a favorite pastime of the royal family.

Augusta at the age of 17 by Jean-Etienne Liotard, 1754; Credit – Wikipedia

On October 25, 1760, King George II died and his grandson became King George III at the age of 22. George’s choice for a wife fell upon an obscure German princess, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. On September 8, 1761 at 10 PM, George and Charlotte married in the Chapel Royal of St. James’ Palace. On September 22, 1761, their coronation was held at Westminster Abbey.

Around this same time, negotiations for a marriage between Augusta and Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel were being held. Augusta and Karl were both great-grandchildren of King George I of Great Britain, so they were second cousins. The negotiations were slow because Augusta’s mother, now The Dowager Princess of Wales, did not like the House of Brunswick. Finally, the marriage negotiations were settled and Karl came to England in January of 1764 to marry Augusta. Karl had a military career during the Seven Years’ War of 1756-63 serving in the Hanoverian Army of Observation under Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, Augusta’s paternal uncle. On January 16, 1764, Augusta and Karl were married at the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace.

Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel by Gerrit Kamphuysen, 1763; Credit – Wikipedia

The couple had seven children:

Augusta with her first born son Karl by Angelica Kauffman, 1767; Credit – Wikipedia

In March of 1780, Karl succeeded his father as reigning Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. By that time, Augusta and Karl had four sons and three surviving daughters. Three of the couple’s four sons suffered from disabilities. Their eldest son Karl was named heir apparent, but suffered from a significant learning disability. However, he married Frederika of Orange-Nassau, daughter of William V, Prince of Orange, who remained devoted to him. He died childless at the age of 40, shortly before his father. The second son, Georg suffered from an even more severe learning disability than his elder brother. He never married, was declared incapacitated and was excluded from the succession. The couple’s third son August was blind, was also excluded from the succession, and also never married. The fourth son Friedrich Wilhelm had no health or developmental issues and eventually succeeded his father, married and had children.

Augusta’s son, Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel by Johann Christian August Schwartz, 1809; Credit – Wikipedia

Augusta never fully adapted to life in Brunswick nor was she well liked.  Any popularity she had was damaged by the fact that her three eldest sons were born with handicaps. Although Augusta reported to her brother King George III that her marriage was happy, in truth it was unhappy. Karl found Augusta dull and preferred to spend time with his mistresses.

In 1794, Augusta’s second daughter Caroline was chosen as a wife for her first cousin George, Prince of Wales (the future King George IV). Caroline was rebellious and a tomboy who preferred playing with her brothers instead of with girls. She grew up not very educated in her mother Augusta’s uncultured court. Like many German princesses, she was brought up with no religious instruction to keep her options open for marriage to a prince of any religion. James Harris, 1st Earl of Malmesbury had been sent to Brunswick to escort Caroline to England. Lord Malmesbury was astounded by her behavior and personal hygiene, and he blamed Caroline’s mother Augusta.  He wrote about Caroline’s hygiene: “It is remarkable how on this point her education has been neglected, and how her mother, though an Englishwoman, was inattentive to it.” Nevertheless, Caroline and George were married on April 8, 1795 at the Chapel Royal, St. James’ Palace in London.

Caroline of Brunswick shortly before her wedding; Credit – Wikipedia

Caroline and George’s marriage is one of the worst ever royal marriages. Upon first seeing Caroline, George said to one of his attendants, “Harris, I am not well; pray get me a glass of brandy.” Caroline said George was fat and not as handsome as his portrait. It is doubtful that the couple spent more than a few nights together as husband and wife. Their only child, Princess Charlotte of Wales, was born nine months later. They both found each other equally unattractive and never lived together nor appeared in public together. Caroline was prevented from seeing her daughter. She eventually went to live abroad where she ran up debts and had lovers. Caroline returned to England when her husband George became king and he promptly started divorce proceedings. However, a parliamentary bill dissolving the marriage and stripping Caroline of her title of Queen failed. Caroline was turned away from Westminster Abbey during her husband’s coronation in 1821. She died a few weeks later and her remains were shipped back to her native Brunswick where she was buried at Brunswick Cathedral. The inscription on her tomb reads, “Here lies Caroline, the Injured Queen of England.”

Augusta and her husband Karl; Credit – Wikipedia

In 1806, when Prussia declared war on France during the Napoleonic Wars, 71-year-old Karl, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel , was appointed commander-in-chief of the Prussian Army. Karl was mortally wounded at the Battle of Jena and died a few weeks later. Brunswick was occupied by the French and the widowed and nearly penniless Augusta escaped to Sweden with two of her sons and a widowed daughter-in-law. In 1807, Augusta’s brother King George III sent a British naval ship to transport his sister back home to England.

Augusta was reunited with her brother King George III at Windsor Castle, but her sister-in-law Queen Charlotte, whom she never got along with, was not so cordial. She lived at Montagu House in Blackheath, London with her daughter, Caroline, Princess of Wales. Augusta got to know her granddaughter Princess Charlotte of Wales, who told her grandmother upon their first meeting “that she was the merriest old woman she ever saw.” In 1810, Augusta moved to a house on Hanover Square in London, and it was there that she died on March 23, 1813 at the age of 75. She was buried in the Royal Vault at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.

Wikipedia: Princess Augusta of Wales

Works Cited
“Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 10 July 2016. Web. 25 Aug. 2016.
Fraser, Flora. Princesses: The Six Daughters of George III. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004. Print.
Hadlow, Janice. A Royal Experiment. New York: Picador, 2014. Print.
Hibbert, Christopher. George III. New York: Basic Books, 1998. Print.
“Princess Augusta of Great Britain.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Aug. 2016. Web. 25 Aug. 2016.
Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

Friederike of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen of Hanover, Duchess of Cumberland

Queen Friederike, painted by Franz Krüger,c 1830. source: Wikipedia

Duchess Friederike of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen of Hanover, Duchess of Cumberland

Duchess Friederike of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was the wife of King Ernst August I of Hanover. Through her two previous marriages, she was also a Princess of Prussia and a Princess of Solms-Braunfels. She was born on March 3, 1778, at the Altes Palais in Hanover, where her father – the future Charles II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz – was serving as Governor of Hanover for his brother-in-law, King George III of the United Kingdom. Her mother was Princess Friederike of Hesse-Darmstadt.

Friederike was christened on March 15, 1778, and given the names Friederike Caroline Sophie Alexandrine. She had nine siblings:

Friederike’s mother died in May 1782, just days after giving birth to her last child. The family left the Altes Palais and moved to Schloss Herrenhausen, where Friederike and her siblings were raised by a governess, Frau von Wolzogen. Two years later, her father remarried to Princess Charlotte of Hesse-Darmstadt, his first wife’s younger sister. From this marriage, Friederike had one additional half-sibling:

  • Carl (1785) – unmarried

In 1785, Friederike lost three of the people closest to her. In September, her elder sister, Charlotte, married the Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen and moved away, taking Frau von Wolzogen with her. And in December, her stepmother (and aunt) died a few weeks after giving birth. Her father gave up his position in Hanover and moved the family to Darmstadt, where the children were raised by their maternal grandmother, Princess Maria Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt. Her grandmother took charge of their education, ensuring that they learned to speak French, and received a strong religious instruction. She also ensured that they traveled extensively to other royal courts, and they attended the coronations of the Holy Roman Emperors Leopold II in 1790, and Franz II in 1792.

painted by Johann Friedrich August Tischbein. source: Wikipedia

Having left Darmstadt in 1792 to avoid the advancing French army, Friederike and her sister Luise returned to Darmstadt in March 1793. On the way back, they received an invitation to visit their mother’s cousin, the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, in Frankfurt, so that he could introduce them to King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia, and more specifically, to his two sons. The sisters attended the theatre in Frankfurt and were presented to the King, who found them quite charming. The following day, they were introduced to the King’s sons, Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm and Prince Ludwig. Relationships quickly developed, and just a month later, on April 24, 1793, the official engagements were announced. Luise was to marry the Crown Prince, while Friederike would marry Prince Ludwig. Always very close, Friederike and Luise were overjoyed that they would remain near to each other after their marriages.

Prince Ludwig of Prussia, painted by Edward Francis Cunningham. source: Wikipedia

After making their grand entrance into Berlin, the two marriages took place at the City Palace in Berlin. Friederike and Ludwig were married on December 26, 1793, just two days after her sister’s marriage. They took up residence at a townhouse in Berlin – just opposite the Crown Prince’s Palace – and had three children:

By Johann Gottfried Schadow – Till Niermann, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4359214

It was in 1795 that sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow began work on a statue of Friederike and her sister Luise. The statue – known as the Prinzessinnengruppe – is displayed in the Friedrichswerder Church in Berlin.

The marriage between Friederike and Ludwig was not very happy, with both of them allegedly having affairs. Rumors spread that Friederike was having an affair with her husband’s cousin, Prince Ludwig Ferdinand. And the marriage was not to be long-lasting. Prince Ludwig died of diphtheria on December 28, 1796, just two days after their third wedding anniversary. Just 18 years old, and widowed with three small children, Friederike was given an income and a residence – Schönhausen Palace – by her father-in-law.

Two years later, In 1798, Friederike accepted a proposal from Prince Adolphus of the United Kingdom, Duke of Cambridge – her first cousin. He was the seventh son of King George III of the United Kingdom and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Friederike’s maternal aunt. However, King George refused to consent to the marriage until the end of the war with the French revolutionaries. The couple continued their correspondence, both hoping that the war would soon end and they could marry.

Apparently, however, Friederike wasn’t very lonely. Despite her unofficial engagement to Adolphus, she soon found herself pregnant with the child of Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Solms-Braunfels. He was the son of Ferdinand, 2nd Prince of Solms-Braunfels and Countess Sophie of Solms-Laubach. Friederike and Friedrich were quietly married in Berlin on December 10, 1798. The scandal caused a rift with her sister Luise, and enraged her aunt – and intended mother-in-law – Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom. Friederike and Friedrich left the court in Berlin and moved to Ansbach, where their first child was born two months later. Together they had six children:

  • Princess Sophie of Solms-Braunfels (1799) – died in infancy
  • Prince Friedrich of Solms-Braunfels (1800) died three days old
  • Prince Wilhelm of Solms-Braunfels (1801) – married Countess Marie Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau
  • Princess Auguste of Solms-Braunfels (1804) – married Albert, Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, had issue
  • Prince Alexander of Solms-Braunfels (1807) – married Baroness Luise of Landsberg-Velen
  • Prince Karl of Solms-Braunfels (1812) – married Princess Sophie of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg, had issue

Within a few years of the marriage, the couple had drifted very far apart. Friedrich had resigned his military posts, and Friederike had to support their family with her own resources. The marriage was so broken that her brother-in-law, the reigning Prince of Solms-Braunfels, advised Friederike, and gave his blessing, to divorce her husband. However, the couple remained married.

Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, painting by George Dawe, c1828. source: Wikipedia

It was in 1813 that Friederike met the man who would become her third husband – Prince Ernest August of the United Kingdom, Duke of Cumberland. Another first cousin, he was also the son of King George III of the United Kingdom and Friederike’s aunt Charlotte. Finding herself in love with her British cousin, Friederike asked for, and received, permission from the Prussian king to divorce her husband. But before proceedings could move forward, Prince Friedrich died suddenly on April 13, 1814. Many believed that Friederike had poisoned her husband, to avoid the public scandal of a divorce.

The Duke of Cumberland proposed, and Friederike accepted on the condition that her aunt, Queen Charlotte, gave her approval. The Queen did consent to the marriage, and the couple married on May 29, 1815 at the parish church in Neustrelitz.

After the wedding, her husband returned to London to try – unsuccessfully – to get an increase in his appanage from the British Parliament. Despite being turned down, he returned to Germany and brought Friederike back to London, where they were married in a Church of England ceremony at Carlton House on August 29, 1815. One very notable absentee at the wedding was Queen Charlotte. Despite having given her consent the previous year, the Queen issued a statement explaining why should not receive her new daughter-in-law. She stated that she had received “information from many respectable quarters which induced her to accept the painful resolution upon which she has since acted”, and that her feelings toward the marriage had been “conveyed to her son, The Prince Regent, not only long before the marriage of the Duke of Cumberland was solemnized in Germany, but also before the formal sanction of the Crown was given.”

Despite this, the couple settled in London, taking up residence at St. James’s Palace, as well as a home in Kew. After several years, with the Duke still unable to get an increase in his appanage, the couple returned to Germany, living primarily in Berlin. After two stillborn daughters, the couple had one son:

Following their son’s birth, the British Parliament finally increased the Duke’s allowance, in order to provide him with a suitable education. The family spent the next ten years living in Germany, not returning to Britain until August 1829.

By then, Queen Charlotte had died, and Friederike’s brother-in-law was on the throne as King George IV. For the first time, she was welcomed as a full member of the British Royal Family, and returned to her homes at St. James’s Palace and Kew. The following year, upon the death of King George IV and accession of King William IV, her husband became the heir-presumptive to the throne of Hanover, and second in line for the British throne). After an accident left their son blind, in October 1833 Friederike and her husband took their son to Germany to meet with doctors, hoping to be able to restore their son’s sight. She was still in Germany when King William IV died on June 20, 1837. He was succeeded by his niece, Victoria, as Queen of the United Kingdom. But because Hanover did not allow for female succession, Friederike’s husband succeeded him as King Ernst August I of Hanover, and Friederike became Queen.

Sadly, Friederike was only Queen for a little less than three years. In April 1841, she fell ill, and after several months, passed away at the Altes Palais in Hanover on June 29, 1841. Following her funeral, the Queen’s remains were placed in the vault of the Royal Chapel. After her husband’s death 10 years later, both of their coffins were placed in a mausoleum on the grounds Schloss Herrenhausen (now Herrenhausen Gardens).

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Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover, Duke of Cumberland

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover, Duke of Cumberland was the fifth of the nine sons and the eighth of the fifteen children of King George III of the United Kingdom and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He was born at the Queen’s House (now Buckingham Palace) on June 5, 1771. Queen Charlotte had attended an afternoon reception and then gave birth to Ernest after 15 minutes of labor. Ernest was christened on July 1, 1771 in the Great Council Chamber at St. James’s Palace in London by Frederick Cornwallis, Archbishop of Canterbury. His godparents were:

Ernest had 14 siblings:

George III children

Queen Charlotte painted by Benjamin West in 1779 with her 13 eldest children; Photo Credit – http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

Ernest and his siblings were raised by their governess Lady Charlotte Finch who served the Royal Family for over 30 years. Lady Charlotte supervised the royal nursery and was responsible for the princes’ education until they lived in their own households and for the princesses until they turned 21. After leaving the nursery, Ernest lived in a household with his younger brothers Adolphus and Augustus near the royal residence Kew Palace, and the three brothers were educated by private tutors. In 1786, Ernest, Adolphus, and Augustus were sent to the University of Göttingen in Hanover (Germany) under the supervision of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, a mathematics and physics professor.

Prince Ernest in 1782 by Thomas Gainsborough; Credit – Wikipedia

In 1791, Ernest and Augustus joined the Hanoverian army and received military training from Field Marshal Wilhelm von Freytag.  Ernest proved to be an excellent horseman and good shot. After only two months of training, Field Marshal von Freytag was so impressed by the progress of his pupil that he appointed him captain in the cavalry.

In March of 1792, Ernest was commissioned as colonel of the 9th Hanoverian Light Dragoons. During the War of the First Coalition (1793-97), Ernest was stationed in Flanders and served under his older brother Frederick, Duke of York, the commander of the combined British, Hanoverian and Austrian troops. During military action in 1793, Ernest received a saber wound to the head which left him with a disfiguring scar. In the Battle of Tourcoing (1794) , Ernest was hit in the left arm by a cannonball and apparently his eyesight was also affected. He returned to England to recover, the first time he had been back home since 1786. Ernest returned to his military duties in 1787. He was promoted to the following military ranks:

  • 1798: Lieutenant General
  • 1803: General
  • 1813: Field Marshal
  • 1801 – 1827: Colonel of the 15th (The King’s Own) Light Dragoons
  • 1827 – 1830 Colonel of Royal Regiment of the Horseguards (Blues)

On April 24, 1799, Ernest was created Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale and Earl of Armagh. He was the least popular of his brothers and he had a less than favorable appearance due to the facial wounds he had received in war. Ernest had a negative reputation, probably unjustifiably. He was accused of being involved in the murder of his valet Joseph Sellis, of having an incestuous affair with his sister Sophia, and being the father of her illegitimate child. It is doubtful that there was any truth to any of those allegations.

Ernest Augustus in an 1823 miniature based on an 1802 portrait by William Beechey. The facial damage from war wounds can be seen; Credit – Wikipedia

While on a visit to his maternal uncle Karl II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in 1813, Ernest fell in love with his first cousin Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Frederica was the daughter of his mother’s brother Karl II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and his first wife, Frederica of Hesse-Darmstadt.  Ernest’s cousin Frederica had a bit of a history which disturbed Ernest’s mother Queen Charlotte. In 1793, Frederica married Prince Ludwig Karl of Prussia, the second son of King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia. The marriage was unhappy, but the couple had three children. Three years after the marriage, Ludwig Karl died from diphtheria.

In 1797, Frederica and Ernest’s younger brother Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge became unofficially engaged. It is unclear whether Frederica jilted Adolphus or if King George III, under pressure from Queen Charlotte, refused to consent to the marriage. In 1798, Frederica became pregnant and the father was Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Solms-Braunfels. The couple married in order to avoid a scandal, and two months later, Frederica gave birth to a daughter who lived only eight months. Frederica and her second husband had five more children who survived to adulthood. Friedrich Wilhelm was an alcoholic and had to quit the military for health reasons. He lost his income and even his brother advised Frederica to divorce. She was initially against it, but when she met Ernest in 1813, she too wanted the divorce. Before the divorce could be arranged, Friedrich Wilhelm died in April of 1814. For some, Friedrich Wilhelm’s death was a little too convenient, and they suspected that Frederica had poisoned him.

Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in 1796 by Johann Friedrich August Tischbein; Credit – Wikipedia

Ernest’s eldest brother George, Prince of Wales had become Prince Regent in 1811 due to the incapacitation of King George III, and so he gave his official permission for the marriage. Ernest and Frederica became engaged in August of 1814. They were married on May 29, 1815 at the Palace of Neustrelitz.  The British Privy Council recommended that a second marriage be performed when the couple arrived in England because any children born of the marriage could eventually be close to the succession. Ernest arrived back in England in June to make plans for the second marriage without Frederica, having left her in Neustrelitz. Shortly after his arrival, Ernest received a letter from his mother, Queen Charlotte. The queen regretted that she must refuse to receive Frederica because it was known in England that Frederica had broken her engagement with Adolphus and, to quote the queen, ” the unfavorable impression which the knowledge of those circumstances had made here.” Of course, Ernest was shocked that his mother would do this, but things got worse. Queen Charlotte warned the rest of the family that she would be severely displeased if they received Frederica.

Nevertheless, Ernest returned to Neustrelitz to escort Frederica to England, where the second wedding ceremony was held on August 29, 1815 at Carlton House in London, the Prince Regent’s residence. Ernest’s sisters felt that they could not defy their mother, but his elder brothers George, Frederick, William and Edward attended the ceremony. Ernest and Frederica had one son and two stillborn daughters:

Ernest and Frederica’s son, Prince George of Cumberland at birth, was born amidst the race for an heir to the British throne in the third generation.  The death of Princess Charlotte of Wales in childbirth in 1817 left King George III without any legitimate grandchildren.  Prince George was born three days after the birth of the eventual heir, Alexandrina Victoria (Queen Victoria), who was ahead of her cousin in the succession by being the child of King George III’s fourth son, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent.  After Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne in 1837, Ernest and his son George remained first and second in the line of succession to the British throne until Queen Victoria’s first child was born.  Today their descendant Prince Ernst of Hanover is the senior male line descendant of King George III and the Head of the House of Hanover.

On June 20, 1837, Ernest’s eldest surviving brother King William IV died and the only child of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent succeeded her uncle as Queen Victoria. Upon the accession of Queen Victoria, Ernest became King of Hanover.  Up until the point, Hanoverian kings of the United Kingdom were also Electors or Kings of Hanover.  However, Hanover followed the Salic Law which did not allow female succession.  Ernest Augustus, as the eldest surviving son of King George III, became King of Hanover, his wife became Queen Consort of Hanover, and his son George became Crown Prince of Hanover.

King Ernest Augustus of Hanover (Ernst August in German) arrived in his kingdom on June 28, 1837. He was greeted by booming cannons, church bells ringing and cheering people who were glad to have their king in his kingdom after years of rule by viceroys. However, Ernest soon proved unpopular with his anti-liberal style of government. In November of 1837, Ernest issued a patent declaring the 1833 liberal constitution void, and restoring the more conservative 1819 constitution. This patent required all office holders, including professors at the University of Göttingen, to take an oath of allegiance to the King. Seven professors, called the Göttingen Seven, including the two Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, refused to take the oath and encouraged others to protest against the King’s patent. Since they did not take the oath, the Göttingen Seven lost their positions, and the King expelled the three most responsible (including Jacob Grimm) from Hanover.

Queen Frederica died after a short illness on June 29, 1841, at the age of 63. Ernest commissioned the architect Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves to build a mausoleum for his wife and himself. The mausoleum was built 1842 – 1847 in the garden of the chapel at Schloss Herrenhausen, which was destroyed during World War II. A decision to rebuild the palace was made in 2007, and reconstruction was completed in 2013. Today the mausoleum is in the Berggarten, part of the Herrenhausen Gardens.

Queen Frederica of Hanover, by Franz Krüger, ca. 1830; Credit – Wikipedia

The Revolutions of 1848, which led to the fall of King Louis Philippe I of the French, encouraged citizens of Hanover and citizens of other German kingdoms, principalities, and duchies to demand German national unity, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly. Ernest was initially reluctant to make concessions, but the citizens’ demands threatened to spark a revolution against the monarchy. To prevent a revolution, Ernest agreed to reforms. He appointed liberal politician Johann Carl Bertram Stüve, the deputy of the national assembly in the Kingdom of Hanover and liberal interior minister to create a modern constitution for the Kingdom of Hanover. The new constitution, which came into effect on September 5, 1848, guaranteed freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, the separation of the judiciary and administration, and the equality of all religions. Because of the freedoms granted in the 1848 constitution, Ernest’s popularity greatly increased.

Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Ernest Augustus died on November 18, 1851, after a short illness. Of his fifteen siblings, only Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester survived him. 30,000 people passed by his coffin as he lay in state in the throne room of Schloss Herrenhausen. On November 25, 1851, his funeral was held in the Schloss Herrenhausen chapel. Ernest was then buried in the mausoleum he had built when his wife died.

Mausoleum in the Berggarten, part of the Herrenhausen Gardens; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Interior of the Mausoleum in the Berggarten with the tombs of Queen Frederica and King Ernest Augustus, about 1861; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Wikipedia: Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover

Works Cited
“Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 21 July 2016. Web. 9 Aug. 2016.
“Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 28 May 2016. Web. 11 Aug. 2016.
Van Der Kiste, John. George III’s Children. Trowbridge: Alan Sutton Publishing Limited, 1999. Print.
Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

Charlotte, Princess Royal, Queen of Württemberg

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

The eldest daughter and the fourth of the fifteen children of King George III of the United Kingdom and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Charlotte, Princess Royal, was born at The Queen’s House (now known as Buckingham Palace) on September 29, 1766. She was christened Charlotte Augusta Matilda on October 27, 1766 at St James’s Palace in London by Thomas Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury. Her godparents were:

Queen Charlotte_Pss Charlotte baby

Queen Charlotte with Charlotte, Princess Royal; Credit – Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Charlotte had fourteen siblings:

George III children

Queen Charlotte painted by Benjamin West in 1779 with her 13 eldest children; Photo Credit – http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

Charlotte and her sisters were raised by their governess Lady Charlotte Finch who served the Royal Family for over 30 years. Lady Charlotte supervised the royal nursery and was responsible for the princes’ education until they lived in their own households. She was responsible for the princesses until they turned 21. Charlotte and her sisters studied geography, English, grammar, music, needlework, dancing, and art. They were taught French by a tutor, Julie Krohme. The princesses had art lessons from famous artists Thomas Gainsborough and Benjamin West. Charlotte had an excellent memory, loved history, and had a talent for languages. On June 22, 1789, Charlotte was declared Princess Royal, the third to bear the title reserved for the monarch’s eldest daughter, but the style had been used since Charlotte’s birth.

The Three Eldest Princesses, Charlotte, Princess Royal, Augusta and Elizabeth by Thomas Gainsborough 1784; Credit – Wikipedia

Charlotte’s childhood was very sheltered and she spent most of her time with her parents and sisters.  The living conditions of King George’s daughters came to be known as “the Nunnery.” None of the daughters was allowed to marry at the age when most princesses would marry. Perhaps this over-protection of King George III’s daughters was due to what happened to his sister Caroline Matilda when she married King Christian VII of Denmark.  Christian’s mental illness led to Caroline Matilda having an affair, being caught, the execution of her lover, her exile, and her early death from scarlet fever at age 23.  The story was told in several novels including Per Olov Enquist’s The Visit of the Royal Physician (1999) and in the Danish film A Royal Affair (2012). Stella Tillyard also covers Caroline Matilda’s affair in her nonfiction book A Royal Affair: George III and His Scandalous Siblings (2006). Despite what happened to their aunt, the sisters longed to escape from “the Nunnery.”

Charlotte’s unfortunate aunt Caroline Matilda; Credit – Wikipedia

Prior to King George’s first bout with what probably was porphyria in 1788, he had told his daughters that he would take them to Hanover and find husbands for them.  Further bouts occurred in 1801 and 1804, and prevented talk of marriage for his daughters. Queen Charlotte feared that the subject of marriage, which had always bothered her husband, would push him back into insanity.  She was stressed from her husband’s illness and wanted her daughters to remain close to her.  The sisters – Charlotte, Augusta, Elizabeth, Mary, Sophia, and Amelia – continued to be over-protected and isolated which restricted them from meeting eligible suitors of their own age.

Starved for the male companionship, Sophia got pregnant by her father’s 56-year-old equerry and secretly gave birth to a boy who was placed in a foster home. Amelia had an affair with another equerry.  There have been suggestions that both Elizabeth and Augusta also had affairs.  Three of the six daughters would eventually marry, all of them later than was the norm for the time.  Mary married her cousin Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester at the age of 40 and had no children. Elizabeth was the last daughter to finally escape from “the Nunnery” when she married Frederick VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg when she was 48. But Charlotte, Princess Royal escaped “the Nunnery” first.

Charlotte was the least attractive of the daughters, but she was the eldest daughter of a king and that held some weight in the marriage market. In 1795, the Prince of Wales tried to help Charlotte by asking their maternal uncle Prince Ernst of Mecklenburg-Strelitz to help arrange a marriage between Charlotte and the Duke of Oldenburg. Charlotte was delighted and her sister Elizabeth started to refer to Charlotte as the Duchess of Oldenburg in letters, but nothing ever came of the proposed match.

Finally, a possible husband was found for Charlotte, Friedrich, Hereditary Prince of Württemberg. He was the eldest son and heir of Friedrich II Eugene, Duke of Württemberg and Friederike of Brandenburg-Schwedt. Friedrich, eight years older than Charlotte, was a huge man: 2.11 m (6 ft 11 in) and about 200 kg (440 lb). He was also a widower with three children. His first wife had been Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, niece of King George III and there were some issues with this marriage that concerned King George. Only after persistent requests and pleadings from Russian and Brunswick royals and British officials did the king consent to the marriage.

The marriage treaty had some interesting clauses. Any children from the marriage were to be brought up in Württemberg. The children could not marry without the consent of the sovereign of the United Kingdom. If Charlotte’s husband predeceased her, she could return to the United Kingdom with all her jewelry, including jewelry obtained during the marriage. Charlotte would be free to worship using the Church of England rites. Charlotte and Friedrich were married at St. James Palace in London on May 18, 1797. The bride wore a dress of white satin with a crimson velvet train with fur trimming. The groom wore a silk suit embroidered in gold and silver with German and Russian insignia.

published by Robert Laurie, published by James Whittle, mezzotint, published 7 August 1797

The Marriage of his Serene Highness the Prince of Württemberg, to the Princess Royal of England published by Robert Laurie, published by James Whittle, mezzotint, published 7 August 1797 NPG D8015 © National Portrait Gallery, London

By August of 1797, Charlotte was pregnant. Friedrich became the reigning Duke of Württemberg in December of 1797 upon the death of his father. On April 27, 1798, Charlotte delivered a stillborn daughter. At first, she was not told of her child’s death because her labor had been difficult and she had developed a fever after the delivery. Charlotte and Friedrich’s marriage remained childless.

Despite having a domineering husband, Charlotte respected and admired him. She was pious and warm-hearted, stayed out of politics, and concentrated on household and family. Charlotte was a loving stepmother to the children from Friedrich’s first marriage. She was especially close to her stepdaughter Princess Catharina of Württemberg whose education she took over.

Charlotte’s stepchildren, from Friedrich’s first marriage to Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel:

Ludwigsburg Palace in Stuttgart, Germany, Friedrich and Charlotte’s home; Wikipedia

Charlotte had loved art in childhood and continued with artistic pursuits as an adult. She painted and embroidered, and some of her paintings and embroidered upholstery can still be seen in Ludwigsburg Palace and in English castles and palaces as she sent some of her creations to her father.

In 1800, Napoleon‘s French troops invaded Württemberg, and Friedrich and Charlotte took refuge in Vienna. The following year Napoleon and Friedrich concluded a secret treaty with provisions that included a trade of land.  Württemberg became a puppet state of Napoleon. In 1803, Friedrich became the Elector of Württemberg. In 1805, in exchange for providing France military aid, Napoleon recognized Friedrich as King of Württemberg. Friedrich and Charlotte were crowned King and Queen of Württemberg in Stuttgart on January 1, 1806. Friedrich’s alliance with France turned him into the enemy of his father-in-law King George III. George III was Infuriated by what he considered a betrayal, and he refused to call his daughter Queen of Württemberg.

Coronation Portrait of King Friedrich I of Württemberg; Credit – Wikipedia

In 1813, King Friedrich changed sides and went over again to the British side. After Napoleon’s fall, Friedrich attended the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815), whose goal was to provide a long-term peace plan for Europe by settling critical issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. At the Congress of Vienna, Friedrich was confirmed as King of Württemberg.  Shortly thereafter, Friedrich died of pneumonia on October 30, 1816 at Ludwigsburg Palace in Stuttgart at the age of 61, and was buried in the Royal Crypt in the Castle Chapel at Ludwigsburg Palace in Stuttgart. Friedrich’s son from his first marriage succeeded him as King Wilhelm I of Württemberg.

As Queen Dowager, Charlotte continued to live in Ludwigsburg Palace . She was always pleased to have visits from any of her siblings. In 1819, Charlotte was godmother by proxy of her niece, the future Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. In 1827, Charlotte returned to England for the first time since their wedding in 1797, for treatment of pulmonary edema, called dropsy at that time. However, she enjoyed returning to her home country and seeing her relatives, especially her goddaughter Princess Victoria. Forty-five years later, Queen Victoria recalled meeting her aunt: “She had adopted all the German fashions and spoke broken English – and had not been in England for many years. She was very kind and good-humored but very large and unwieldy.”

by William Skelton, after Paul Fischer, line engraving, published 1828

Charlotte Augusta Matilda, Princess Royal by William Skelton, after Johann Paul Georg Fischer, line engraving, published 1828 NPG D10839 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Soon after her return to Württemberg, Charlotte fell ill. Her spirits were lifted by visits from her brother Adolphus and her sister Elizabeth, but it was evident that she was dying. On October 5, 1828, Charlotte asked that her stepson King Wilhelm I of Württemberg and his family come to her bedside. Charlotte died peacefully in the arms of her stepson surrounded by his family, her friends, and her faithful servants. She was buried next to her husband in the Royal Crypt in the Castle Chapel at Ludwigsburg Palace in Stuttgart.

Wikipedia: Charlotte, Princess Royal

Recommended books that deal with Charlotte, Princess Royal, Queen of Württemberg
George III’s Children by John Van Der Kiste (1992)
The Georgian Princesses by John Van Der Kiste (2000)
Princesses: The Six Daughters of George III by Flora Fraser (2004)