Category Archives: Baden Royals

Wilhelmine of Baden, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Wilhelmine of Baden was the second Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine, as the wife of Grand Duke Ludwig II. She was born in Karlsruhe on September 21, 1788, the youngest child of Karl Ludwig, Hereditary Prince of Baden and Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt. Wilhelmine had seven siblings:

Ludwig II. source: Wikipedia

On June 19, 1804 in Karlsruhe, Wilhelmine married her first cousin, the future Ludwig II of Hesse and by Rhine. They had seven children:

In 1810, Wilhelmine had a large garden – called the Rosenhöhe (link in German) – built on a hill in Darmstadt. Soon, she added several buildings, including a summer residence and a tea house. When her daughter Elisabeth died in 1826, Wilhelmine decided to have a mausoleum built in the park instead of using the traditional grand ducal tomb in the Darmstadt Stadtkirche. It is because of this that the Rosenhöhe has become the traditional burial site for the Grand Ducal Family.

Schloss Heiligenberg. photo: by Heidas – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3645053

Wilhelmine’s marriage was never happy, and she separated from her husband after the birth of their first three children. In the 1820s, Wilhelmine purchased Schloss Heiligenberg in Jugenheim and expanded and designed the grounds just as she had done at Rosenhöhe. It was here where she met her chamberlain, Baron August von Searclens de Grancy and began a longtime affair. While her husband recognized their younger children as his own, it is believed that they were actually fathered by de Grancy.

Despite her separation, Wilhelmine became Grand Duchess upon her husband’s accession in 1830. With the increased means now at her disposal, she set about expanding Heiligenberg, and avoiding the court in Darmstadt as much as possible.

Grand Duchess Wilhelmine died in Darmstadt on January 27, 1836 after contracting typhoid. She is buried in the Altes Mausoleum in the Rosenhöhe in Darmstadt.

Learn more about royalty, past and present here and share your thoughts on our forums.

Hilda of Nassau, Grand Duchess of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Princess Hilda Charlotte Wilhelmine of Nassau was the last Grand Duchess of Baden, as the wife of Grand Duke Friedrich II. She was born in Biebrich on November 5, 1864, the youngest child of Adolphe, Duke of Nassau (later Grand Duke of Luxembourg) and Adelheid-Marie of Anhalt-Dessau. Hilda had four siblings:

When Hilda was nearly two years old, the Duchy of Nassau was annexed by Prussia, causing her father to lose his ducal throne. He would later become Grand Duke of Luxembourg in 1890, following the death of King Willem III of the Netherlands. King Willem had also ruled Luxembourg in personal union, and while his daughter Wilhelmina succeeded him on the Dutch throne, she was not eligible to succeed in Luxembourg which followed Salic Law. Under the terms of the Nassau Family Pact, the Luxembourg throne passed to Adolphe who was Willem III’s nearest male heir (despite being his 17th cousin once removed.)

Friedrich II of Baden. source: Wikipedia

On September 20, 1885 at Schloss Hohenburg, Hilda married the future Grand Duke Friedrich II of Baden. He was the son of Friedrich I, Grand Duke of Baden and Princess Luise of Prussia. The couple had no children.

She became Grand Duchess upon her husband’s accession on September 1907. A keep supporter of the arts, the Grand Duchess often visited museums and exhibitions, and helped to promote the arts throughout Baden. She also promoted education,and several schools were named in her honor.

Hilda’s husband was deposed and forced abdicate when the German Empire came to an end in November 1918. Upon news of the German Emperor’s abdication, riots broke out all over Germany. Hilda and her family managed to escape from Karlsruhe Palace despite a large mob who had gathered outside, and made their way to Zwingenberg Castle before taking up residence at Langenstein Palace. The family were granted protection from the government, primarily because Hilda’s sister-in-law, Queen Victoria of Sweden, was with them. Soon the family were given permission to return to their home on the island of Mainau. Hilda was widowed in 1928, and spent the remainder of her life living quietly in Mainau and the surround areas.

source: Wikipedia

The last Grand Duchess of Baden died in Badenweiler on February 8, 1952. Following a funeral held in the town church there, her remains were interred in the Grand Ducal Chapel in the Pheasant Garden in Karlsruhe.

Learn more about royalty, past and present here and share your thoughts on our forums.

Friedrich II, Grand Duke of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Friedrich II was the last Grand Duke of Baden, reigning from 1907 until the end of the German Empire in 1918. He was born Prince Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Leopold August – known as Fritz – on July 9, 1857 in Karlsruhe, the eldest child of Friedrich I, Grand Duke of Baden and Princess Luise of Prussia. He had two younger siblings:

Friedrich was initially tutored privately at home, before attending the Friedrichs-Gymnasium in Karlsruhe. After graduating in 1875, he began his military service, while also attending lectures at the University of Heidelberg and the University of Bonn (which he attended with his cousin, the future Kaiser Wilhelm II of Prussia.)

His military career flourished over the next 20 years. In 1880, he became a member of the 1st Regiment of the Footguards in Potsdam, and after his marriage, transferred to the 5th Baden Regiment, serving in Freiburg and Berlin. He was named Commander-in-Chief of the 8th Army Corps in Koblenz where remained until 1901. After being refused the command of the 14th Army Corps in Baden, Friedrich retired from active service and returned to Baden to support his aging father.

Hilda of Nassau. source: Wikipedia

On September 20, 1885, Friedrich married Princess Hilda of Nassau at Schloss Hohenburg in Lenggries, Bavaria. Hilda was the daughter of Adolphe, Duke of Nassau (later Grand Duke of Luxmebourg) and Princess Adelheid-Marie of Anhalt-Dessau. Friedrich and Hilda had no children.

Although he had no children, in 1927 Friedrich and his wife formally adopted Berthold, Margrave of Baden – the son of Friedrich’s first cousin, Max of Baden. This was done to ensure that the family’s properties would not pass to the government upon Friedrich’s death.

Friedrich became Grand Duke upon his father’s death in September 1907, and continued his father’s liberal policies. When the German Emperor abdicated in 1918, riots broke out throughout the German Empire, and Friedrich and his family were forced to flee Karlsruhe Palace, for Zwingenberg Castle in the Neckar valley. They then arranged to stay at Langenstein Castle, where Friedrich formally abdicated the throne of Baden on November 22, 1918.

Nearly blind and in poor health, Grand Duke Friedrich II died in Badenweiler on August 8, 1928. He is buried in the Grand Ducal Chapel in the Pheasant Garden in Karlsruhe.

Learn more about royalty, past and present here and share your thoughts on our forums.

Luise of Prussia, Grand Duchess of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Princess Luise Marie Elisabeth of Prussia was the wife of Friedrich I, Grand Duke of Baden. She was born in Berlin on December 3, 1838, the only daughter of the future Wilhelm I of Prussia and Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. She had one older brother:

Raised in Berlin and Potsdam, and then in Koblenz where her father was serving as Governor-General of the Rhineland and Westphalia, Luise was educated privately, and was instilled with a sense of empathy for those less fortunate. From a young age, her mother arranged visits to hospitals and orphanages which helped form her character. Her inherent need to help others would remain and continue to grow throughout her life.

Friedrich of Baden, c1857. source: Wikipedia

On September 20, 1856, at the Neues Palais in Potsdam, Luise married Prince Friedrich of Baden, who was serving as Prince Regent, and would later become Grand Duke. Friedrich was the son of Leopold I, Grand Duke of Baden and Princess Sofia of Sweden. Luise and Friedrich had three children:

The marriage, which had been encouraged by Luise’s uncle, Wilhelm IV of Prussia, turned out to be a very happy one. Luise quickly became involved in charitable causes in Baden, particularly those which helped and promoted women. She founded the ‘Baden Frauenverein’, a welfare charity for women which provided hospitals and homes for children, and founded the first school for housewives. Although not particularly close with her sister-in-law, Victoria, she was quite close with Vicky’s sister, Alice, the Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine, as the two shared a passion for nursing. Luise also maintained a correspondence with Florence Nightingale, and developed a lifelong friendship with Clara Barton, after the two met during the Franco-Prussian War. Together they organized military hospitals and established sewing factories for women to aid in the war effort. Disliking the formality of Karlsruhe, Luise and her family spent much of their time at their home on the island of Mainau, in Lake Constance. It was there that Luise’s husband died in 1907.

Luise, photographed c1906. source: Wikipedia

The next years would see the devastation of World War I, and the end of the German Empire. When the German Emperor abdicated, riots spread in Karlsruhe. Luise and her family, along with her daughter who was visiting from Sweden, managed to escape the palace and fled to Zwingenberg Palace in the Neckar valley. The new government then granted the family permission to stay at Langenstein Castle, owned by the Swedish Count Douglas, who was related to the Baden Grand Ducal family through marriage. The government ordered that Luise and her family be protected – primarily because her daughter was Queen of Sweden, and they did not want to cause any sort of diplomatic problems. The following year, the family was also given permission to return to their home in Mainau.

The Dowager Grand Duchess photographed in her later life. source: Wikipedia

The Dowager Grand Duchess Luise of Baden died in Baden-Baden on April 24, 1923. Her remains were returned to Karlsruhe, where she is buried alongside her husband in the Grand Ducal Chapel in the Pheasant Garden.

Learn more about royalty, past and present here and share your thoughts on our forums.

Friedrich I, Grand Duke of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Friedrich I was born September 9, 1826 in Karlsruhe, the third son of Leopold, Grand Duke of Baden and Princess Sofia of Sweden. He had seven siblings:

Portrait of Friedrich and Luise, 1856. source: Wikipedia

On September 20, 1856, Friedrich married Princess Luise of Prussia at the Neues Palais in Potsdam. Luise was the daughter of the future King Wilhelm I of Prussia and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. The marriage was encouraged by Luise’s uncle, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, who wanted to form an alliance with Baden to strengthen Prussia’s influence within the German Confederation against Austria. Friedrich and Luise had three children:

Friedrich’s children (l-r) Victoria, Friedrich and Ludwig with Victoria’s husband, Gustav of Sweden, c1882. source: WIkipedia

Friedrich’s father died in 1852 and was succeeded by Friedrich’s elder brother, Ludwig II. However, Ludwig was deemed mentally ill, and Friedrich was appointed Regent during his reign. When Ludwig died in 1858, Friedrich succeeded him as Grand Duke Friedrich II.

As Grand Duke, Friedrich sided with Prussia in the wars against Austria and France, and represented Baden at the Palace of Versailles when his father-in-law was created Emperor of Germany in 1871. Within Baden, he was a strong supporter of constitutional monarchy, which was often at odds with his Prussian in-laws. His reign saw the adoption of civil marriage, as well as free elections to the Baden parliament.

Friedrich and Luise, c1902. source: Wikipedia

Friedrich I died on September 28, 1907 while at his summer residence on the island of Mainau. He is buried in the Grand Ducal Chapel in the Pheasant Garden in Karlsruhe. He was succeeded by his elder son, Friederich II, who would become the last Grand Duke of Baden.

Learn more about royalty, past and present here and share your thoughts on our forums.

Ludwig II, Grand Duke of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Ludwig II was born August 15, 1824 in Karlsruhe, the eldest surviving son of Leopold, Grand Duke of Baden and Sofia of Sweden. He had seven siblings:

He received a solid education, studying in Vienna and Heidelberg. As a Prince of Baden, he held a seat in the Baden Assembly, but only took part in several of their meetings. As he got older, signs of mental illness began to show, and in March 1852, he was diagnosed as having a non-curable mental disorder.

The following month, Ludwig’s father died and he succeeded as Grand Duke of Baden. But because of his illness, his brother Friedrich served as Regent during Ludwig’s brief four-year reign.

At just 33 years old, Grand Duke Ludwig II died in Karlsruhe on January 22, 1858, and was buried in the Karlsruhe Stadtkirche. After World War II, his remains were moved to the Grand Ducal Chapel in the Pheasant Garden in Karlsruhe.

Learn more about royalty, past and present here and share your thoughts on our forums.

Sofia of Sweden, Grand Duchess of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Princess Sofia of Sweden was the wife of Leopold, Grand Duke of Baden. She was born Princess Sofia Vilhelmina Katarina Maria Lovisa Charlotta Anna of Sweden on May 21, 1801 in Stockholm. She was the daughter of King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden and Friederike of Baden, and had four siblings:

Sofia’s father was deposed as King of Sweden in 1809, and the family went into exile in Baden, her mother’s homeland. Her parents soon separated and divorced, and Sofia and her siblings stayed with their mother at Meersburg Castle on Lake Constance in Baden. In 1814, their mother placed the children under the guardianship of her brother-in-law, Tsar Alexander I of Russia.

Leopold of Baden. source: Wikipedia

On July 25, 1819 in Karlsruhe, Sofia married Leopold of Baden, her grandfather’s half-brother. The marriage had been arranged by her great-grandfather, Karl Friedrich, Grand Duke of Baden, to help strengthen Leopold’s right to the throne of Baden. (Leopold had been born of Karl Friedrich’s second – and morganatic – marriage, and had only recently been elevated to Prince and Margrave of Baden, and formally acknowledged as having succession rights.) Sophie – having taken the German version of her name – and Leopold had eight children:

Sophie and her children, c1834. source: Wikipedia

She became Grand Duchess in March 1830, when her husband succeeded to the throne. Very conscious of her duty, she worked diligently, supporting her husband and becoming involved in charitable organizations which helped those in need. She maintained a strong interest in science and art, but it was politics that seemed to be her biggest interest. A prolific writer, she maintained an extensive correspondence with relatives and friends throughout Europe, and never hesitated to share her thoughts and opinions when it came to any sort of political situation – whether in her own country or elsewhere.

Sophie was widowed in 1852, and lived out the rest of her life at Karlsruhe Palace. Despite having been very angry because of the way her father had been deposed, and her brother stripped of his Swedish titles, in 1863 Sophie met with the heir to the Swedish throne – the future King Oscar II – and his wife Sofia of Nassau. The meeting served to begin healing the relationship between the two families.

The Dowager Grand Duchess Sophie died at Karlsruhe Palace on July 6, 1865, and was buried in the Karlsruhe Stadtkirche. After World War II, her remains were moved to the Grand Ducal Chapel in the Pheasant Garden in Karlsruhe.

Learn more about royalty, past and present here and share your thoughts on our forums.

Leopold, Grand Duke of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Grand Duke Leopold was born on August 29, 1790 in Karlsruhe, the eldest son of Karl Friedrich, Margrave (later Grand Duke) of Baden and his second wife, Luise Karoline, Baroness Geyer von Geyersberg. He had four siblings:

  • Prince Wilhelm (1792) – married Alexandrine of Württemberg, had issue
  • Prince Friedrich Alexander (1793) – died in infancy
  • Princess Amalie (1795) – married Karl Egon II, Prince of Fürstenberg, had issue
  • Prince Maximilian (1796) – unmarried

He also had four half-siblings from his father’s first marriage to Karoline Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt:

As his parents’ marriage was morganatic, Leopold and his siblings were not titled as Prince/Princess of Baden, nor were they initially in the line of succession. They were styled as Baron/Baroness of Hochberg, and later as Count/Countess of Hochberg. Leopold’s father had always intended that his younger children would be eligible for succession if there were no heirs left from his elder sons. But it wasn’t until 1817 that the Hochberg children were raised to Prince and Margrave of Baden and formally given succession rights by the government the following year.

Sofia of Sweden. source: Wikipedia

Leopold married Princess Sofia of Sweden – the granddaughter of his elder half-brother Karl Ludwig – on July 25, 1819. They had eight children:

He became Grand Duke on March 30, 1830, upon the death of his nephew, Ludwig I. Leopold became the first of the Hochberg line to rule in Baden, and held the throne for just over 22 years. Grand Duke Leopold died in Karlsruhe on April 24, 1852. He was buried in the Karlsruhe Stadtkirche, and after World War II, his remains were moved to the Grand Ducal Chapel in the Pheasant Garden in Karlsruhe.

Learn more about royalty, past and present here and share your thoughts on our forums.

Ludwig I, Grand Duke of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Ludwig I was the third Grand Duke of Baden, reigning from 1818 until 1830. He was born in Karlsruhe on February 9, 1763, the third son of Karl Friedrich, Margrave of Baden (later Grand Duke), and Karoline Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt. He had three siblings:

From his father’s second marriage to Baroness Luise Karoline Geyer von Geyersburg (later Countess of Hochberg), he also had five half-siblings:

As the third son, there was little expectation that he would succeed to the throne. He pursued a military career from a young age, serving in the Prussian forces and was recognized for his bravery in battle during the War of the First Coalition. He left the Prussian military in 1795, returning to Baden to assist his father who was the reigning Margrave at that time. He participated in the negotiations with Napoléon Bonaparte, and attended his crowning in 1804. Ludwig also served as Minister of War, and was responsible for the financial and forestry administration of Baden. Despite being friendly with Napoléon, the Emperor soon pushed Ludwig out of his positions with the Baden government, and after criticizing him publicly in 1808, was stripped of his leadership of the military and banished to Schloss Salem in 1810. He would not return to Baden for several years.

Ludwig became Grand Duke upon his nephew’s death on December 8, 1818. He worked to promote the development the country, as well as strengthening the military forces. He also established several universities and churches.

Ludwig never married, but he did have several illegitimate children. He had a long relationship with Katharina Werner – an actress and dancer nearly 35 years younger than him. They met in 1816, when Katharina was just sixteen and Ludwig nearly 51. This relationship resulted in three children – Luise (1817), Ludwig Wilhelm August (1820) and Luise Katharina (1825). In 1827, Ludwig created Katharina Countess of Langenstein and Gondelsheim, and there were rumors that the two had married morganatically, but no proof of this exists. Their youngest daughter married the Swedish Count Carl Douglas in 1848, and their son founded the Baden line of Douglas-Langenstein (named when he took Langenstein Castle as his main residence in the early 1900s).

source: Wikipedia

Grand Duke Ludwig I died in Karlsruhe on March 30, 1830 after suffering a stroke, and was buried in the Karlsruhe Stadtkirche.  After World War II, his remains were moved to the Grand Ducal Chapel in the Pheasant Garden in Karlsruhe. As he had no legitimate heirs, the throne passed to his half-uncle, Leopold I.

Learn more about royalty, past and present here and share your thoughts on our forums.

Stéphanie de Beauharnais, Grand Duchess of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Stéphanie de Beauharnais was the first Grand Duchess of Baden, through her marriage to Grand Duke Karl I. She was born at Versailles on August 28, 1789, the daughter of Claude de Beauharnais and Claudine Françoise de Lézay-Marnézia. Stéphanie had one older brother, Albéric (born in 1787), who died in childhood. She also had a younger half-sister from her father’s second marriage – Josephine de Beauharnais (1803). The Beauharnais family soon found themselves under the patronage of the French Emperor Napoléon I. His wife, Joséphine, had previously been married to Stéphanie’s father’s cousin, Alexandre.

After her mother’s death in 1791, Stéphanie was placed in the Convent of Penthemont by her godmother, and later moved to southern France with two nuns. When Napoléon learned of her existence, he had her brought to Paris and placed under the care of his wife, Joséphine. After becoming Emperor in 1804, Napoléon sought to strengthen alliances with several of the European dynasties by arranging several marriages of his extended family. One of these marriages was between Stéphanie and Hereditary Prince Karl, the grandson and heir of the Elector of Baden. In 1806, Napoléon brought Stéphanie to the Imperial Court and adopted her, elevating her to an Imperial Highness and French Princess.

Karl of Baden. source: Wikipedia

Stéphanie and Karl married in a lavish ceremony held in Paris on April 8, 1806. Stéphanie was not interested in her new husband at all, and refused to spend time with him. Upon returning to Baden, they lived separately for several years, and Stéphanie was largely shunned by the Grand Ducal court. After several years, with the Grand Duke’s health declining, she and her husband finally came together, accepting their responsibility to provide heirs to the throne. Over the next seven years, they had five children:

Her husband became Grand Duke of Baden just days after Stéphanie gave birth to her first child. As the previous Grand Duke had been widowed before the Grand Duchy was proclaimed, Stéphanie was the first Grand Duchess. Never immensely popular, her position weakened even further after the death of Emperor Napoléon in 1814.

When her husband died in 1818, Stéphanie moved with her surviving daughters to Mannheim Palace where she focused on providing them with a proper education and finding them suitable husbands. Through these marriages, Stéphanie’s descendants include the former Kings of Romania and Yugoslavia, as well as the current King of the Belgians, Grand Duke of Luxembourg and Sovereign Prince of Monaco.

Having survived her husband by more than 41 years, the Dowager Grand Duchess of Baden died in Nice on January 29, 1860. Her remains were returned to Baden and she was buried alongside her husband in St. Michael’s Church in Pforzheim.

Learn more about royalty, past and present here and share your thoughts on our forums.