Category Archives: Hessian Royals

Marie of Hesse-Kassel, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

by Scott Mehl

Marie of Hesse-Kassel, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Princess Marie of Hesse-Kassel was the wife of Grand Duke Georg of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. She was born Princess Marie Wilhelmine Friederike on January 21, 1796 in Hanau, Hesse-Kassel, the second daughter of Landgrave Friedrich of Hesse-Kassel and Princess Karoline of Nassau-Usingen. Marie had seven siblings:

Georg of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

On August 12, 1817, Marie married Grand Duke Georg of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, in Kassel. They had four children:

Marie’s copy of Raphael’s ‘Christ Falling on the Way to Calvary’, painted in 1856, used on the altar at the town church in Neustrelitz. photo: Von Concord – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20264996

A talented painter, Marie often painted copies of famous paintings. Many were used as altarpieces in churches within Mecklenburg, including the town churches in Schönberg and Neustrelitz – both of which still exist. Another, which was used in the Johanniterkirche in Mirow, was destroyed when the church burned in 1945.

Marie in her later years. source: Wikipedia

Having survived her husband by just three months, the Dowager Grand Duchess Marie died in Neustrelitz on December 30, 1880. She is buried in the New Crypt at the Johanniterkirche in Mirow.

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Friederike of Hesse-Darmstadt, Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

by Scott Mehl

Friederike of Hesse-Darmstadt, first wife of Grand Duke Carl II

Friederike Karoline Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt was the first wife of the future Grand Duke Carl II of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. She was born in Darmstadt on August 20, 1752, the eldest daughter of Prince Georg Wilhelm of Hesse-Darmstadt and Countess Maria Luise Albertine of Leiningen-Falkenburg-Dagsburg. Friederike had eight siblings:

Carl of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

On September 18, 1768 in Darmstadt, Friederike married Carl of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. At the time, he was heir-presumptive to his brother, the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Friederike and Carl had ten children:

The New Crypt at the Johanniterkirche. photo: Von Peter Schmelzle – Eigenes Werk (Eigenes Foto), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4816015

On May 22, 1782, three days after giving birth to her last child, Friederike died from complications of childbirth in Hanover. She is buried in the New Crypt at the Johanniterkirche in Mirow. Two years later, her husband married her younger sister, Charlotte. He later became the first Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in 1815.

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Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt, Grand Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Luise Auguste of Hesse-Darmstadt was the first Grand Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach through her marriage to Grand Duke Karl August. She was born in Berlin on January 30, 1757, the daughter of Ludwig IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt and Caroline of Zweibrücken. Luise had seven siblings:

Karl August of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. source: Wikipedia

In the early 1770s, Luise’s mother took Luise and two of her sisters to St. Petersburg to be presented to the Russian Empress Catherine the Great as potential brides for the future Tsar Paul. Luise’s sister Wilhelmine was chosen, but on the journey home, Luise’s future would be arranged thanks to a chance meeting with Anna Amalia of Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Eisenach, who was serving as Regent for her young son, Karl August. An engagement was soon arranged, and Luise and Karl August were married in Karlsruhe on October 3, 1775, just a month after he reached his majority. Luise became the Duchess of Saxe-Weimar and Duchess of Saxe-Eisenach upon her marriage, and the couple had seven children:

The arranged marriage was purely dynastic and there was not much love between the two. Karl August had a long-term and very public affair with an actress, and gave his wife little emotional support. Despite this, she was devoted to her husband’s position, as well as her new homeland. When French forces advanced on Weimar in 1806, Luise stood firm and remained there while most of the family fled or were off fighting in the war. She would take it upon herself to stand up to Napoleon himself and protect Weimar and its people from the fighting. Her efforts were successful, and Weimar remained mostly untouched. Several years later, at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Luise’s efforts ensured that the duchy did not have to cede any territory, and was instead elevated to a Grand Duchy. Those efforts also earned her the love and complete devotion of the people.

Luise stepped away from public duties after being widowed in 1828. The Dowager Grand Duchess died nearly two years later, on February 14, 1830 at the age of 73. She is buried in the Weimarer Fürstengruft in the Historical Cemetery in Weimar.

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Mathilde Karoline of Bavaria, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Mathilde Caroline of Bavaria was Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine, through her marriage to Grand Duke Ludwig III. She was born in Augsburg on August 30, 1813, the eldest daughter of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and Therese of Saxe-Hildburgausen. Mathilde Karoline had eight siblings:

Ludwig III. source: Wikipedia

On December 26, 1833, Mathilde Karoline married the future Grand Duke Ludwig II of Hesse and by Rhine. They had no children. She became Grand Duchess upon her husband’s accession in 1848.

Grand Duchess Mathilde Karoline died in Darmstadt on May 25, 1862. Because she had remained Catholic after her marriage into the grand ducal family who were Lutheran, she is buried at St. Ludwig’s Catholic Church (link in German) in Darmstadt. One other member of the grand ducal family, her husband’s uncle, Prince Friedrich, was also Catholic and is buried at St. Ludwig’s as well.

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Ludwig III, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Ludwig III was born in Darmstadt on June 9, 1806, the eldest son of Ludwig II, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Wilhelmine of Baden. He had five siblings:

Ludwig studied at Leipzig University as well as receiving military training.

Mathilde Karoline of Bavaria. source: Wikipedia

On December 26, 1833 in Munich, Ludwig married Princess Mathilde Caroline of Bavaria, the eldest daughter of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. They had no children.

Ludwig became Grand Duke on March 5, 1848 when his father abdicated during the March Revolution.

Anna Magdalena Appel. source: Wikipedia

In June 1868, six years after the death of his first wife, Ludwig married a second time to Anna Magdalena Appel. The marriage was morganatic, so she did not become Grand Duchess. Instead, she was created Baroness of Hochstätten. Together, they lived very quietly at Schloss Braunshardt in Weiterstadt for the remainder of his life.

Grand Duke Ludwig III died in Seeheim, Hesse, on June 13, 1877. He is buried in the Altes Mausoleum in the Rosenhöhe in Darmstadt. He was succeeded by his nephew, Ludwig IV. The Baroness of Hochstätten moved to Wiesbaden where she lived until her death in December 1917. She is buried in the Old Cemetery in Darmstadt.

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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.

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Ludwig II, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Ludwig II was Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine from April 6, 1830 until his abdication in 1848. He was born in Darmstadt on December 26, 1777, the eldest son of Ludwig X, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt (the future Grand Duke Ludwig I) and Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt. He had seven siblings:

  • Princess Luise (1779) – married Ludwig of Anhalt-Köthen, had issue
  • Prince Georg (1780) – married Caroline Török de Szendrö, had issue
  • Prince Friedrich (1788) – unmarried
  • stillborn twin daughters (1789)
  • Prince Emil (1790) – unmarried
  • Prince Gustav (1791) – unmarried

Ludwig became Hereditary Grand Duke in 1806 when the Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine was established. He served in the First Chamber of the Hessian parliament, and was a member of the Council of State from 1823-1830. He also represented the Grand Duchy at the Congress of Erfurt in 1808 and the Congress of Vienna in 1814-1815.

Wilhelmine of Baden. source: Wikipedia

On June 19, 1804 in Karlsruhe, Ludwig married his first cousin, Princess Wilhelmine of Baden. She was the daughter of Karl Ludwig, Hereditary Prince of Baden and Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt. Ludwig and Wilhelmine had seven children:

Ludwig became Grand Duke upon his father’s death in March 1830, and continued his father’s policies. Soon after his accession, he demanded that the state assume all of his personal debts. This led to a growing dislike for Ludwig amongst the Hessian people. He also stood strongly against calls for a more liberal government which was sweeping through Europe. Following the beginning of the March Revolution, Grand Duke Ludwig II abdicated on March 5, 1848, in favor of his eldest son.

Grand Duke Ludwig II died just three months later, on June 16, 1848. He is buried in the Altes Mausoleum in the Rosenhöhe in Darmstadt.

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Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Luise Henriette Karoline of Hesse-Darmstadt was the first Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine, through her marriage to Grand Duke Ludwig I. She was born in Darmstadt on February 15, 1761, the daughter of Prince Georg Wilhelm of Hesse-Darmstadt and Countess Maria Luise Albertine of Leiningen-Falkenburg-Dagsburg. Luise had eight siblings:

Ludwig I. source: Wikipedia

On February 19, 1777 in Darmstadt, Luise married her first cousin, Ludwig of Hesse-Darmstadt (the future Grand Duke Ludwig I), the son of Ludwig IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt and Caroline of Zweibrücken. Luise and Ludwig had eight children:

Since the mid-1780s, Grand Duchess Luise spent the summer months Auerbach, where the family had a summer residence in a large park known as the Fürstenlager. It was there that she died on October 24, 1829. She was buried in the Darmstadt Stadtkirche until 1910, when her remains were moved to the Altes Mausoleum in the Rosenhöhe in Darmstadt.

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Ludwig I, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Ludwig I was the first Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, reigning from 1806-1830. He was born on June 14, 1753 in Prenzlau, Brandenburg, the eldest son of Ludwig IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt and Caroline of Zweibrücken. Ludwig had seven siblings:

Along with his siblings, Ludwig was raised primarily in Buchsweiler (now Bouxwiller, in France) by his mother, while his father was often away with his military career. Ludwig attended the University of Leiden and then traveled throughout Europe. After escorting his sister Wilhelmine to Russia for her wedding to the future Emperor Paul I in 1773, Ludwig remained in Moscow and served with the Russian military. With the rank of General, he fought in the Russo-Turkish War of 1774. In 1776, he was engaged to Sophia Dorothea of Württemberg. However, the Russian Empress Catherine the Great instead chose Sophia Dorothea as a bride for the future Paul I after Ludwig’s sister Wilhelmine died.

Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt. source: Wikipedia

The following year, on February 19, 1777, Ludwig married Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt, his first cousin. She was the daughter of Prince Georg Wilhelm of Hesse-Darmstadt and Maria Luise of Leiningen-Falkenburg-Dagsburg. Ludwig and Luise had eight children:

Ludwig succeeded his father in April 1790 as Ludwig X, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt. His reign saw the establishment of constitutional rule in Hesse-Darmstadt, with Catholics and Jews being given equal rights. Having lost significant territory to France, he soon saw the Landgraviate expand when he was given the former Duchy of Westphalia in 1803, as part of the German mediatization. After the fall of the Holy Roman Empire, Hesse-Darmstadt was raised to the Grand Duchy of Hesse, with Ludwig becoming its first Grand Duke, Ludwig I. Some years later, at the Congress of Vienna, he was forced to cede his Westphalian territories, but in return was given the Rheinhessen region which included the city of Mainz. It was then, on July 7, 1816, that the Grand Duchy of Hesse became the Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine.

As Grand Duke, Ludwig granted the first constitution and worked to establish cultural institutions in the Grand Duchy. He established the court theater in Darmstadt as well as the court library and promoted the arts. He is also credited with creating the Botanical Garden in Darmstadt.

Grand Duke Ludwig I died in Darmstadt on April 6, 1830, and was succeeded by his eldest son. He was buried in the Darmstadt Stadtkirche until 1910 when his remains were moved to the Altes Mausoleum in the Rosenhöhe in Darmstadt.

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Karoline Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt, Margravine of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Karoline Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt was the first wife of the Karl Friedrich, Margrave of Baden-Durlach, who would later become the first Grand Duke of Baden. She was born in Darmstadt on July 11, 1723, the youngest child of Ludwig VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt and Charlotte, Countess of Hanau-Lichtenberg. Karoline Luise had two older siblings:

After her mother’s death when Karoline Luise was just three, she was raised in Buchsweiler by her father. A very talented child, she learned to speak five languages and developed a love for the arts. As an adult, she maintained a correspondence with Voltaire and worked to establish Karlsruhe as one of the cultural centers of Europe, often hosting noted writers and musicians. A talented artist and musician herself, Karoline Luise was a member of Baden’s court orchestra and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. In addition to her artistic interests, she was also a student of the natural sciences and had a laboratory in Karlsruhe where she often conducted experiments. Her numerous collections – including artwork, musical manuscripts, minerals and other natural history artifacts – later formed the foundation for several museums in Karlsruhe.

Karl Friedrich of Baden. source: Wikipedia

Karoline Luise married Karl Friedrich on January 28, 1751 in Darmstadt. Together they had five children:

Titled Margravine of Baden-Durlach from her marriage, she became Margravine of Baden in October 1771 when Baden-Durlach and Baden-Baden were reunited as one Margraviate.

After falling down some stairs in 1799, her health began to deteriorate. While in Paris with her son, she suffered a stroke on April 8, 1783 and died. She is buried in St. Michael’s Church in Pforzheim.

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