Friedrich II 'The Great', King in Prussia (1712-1786) and Queen Elisabeth (1715-1797)
Friedrich II "the Great", King of Prussia (Berlin, 24 January 1712 - Potsdam, 17 August 1786); married at Schloß Salzdalum, Wolfenbüttel on 12 June 1733 Duchess Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (Wolfenbüttel, 8 November 1715 - Berlin, 13 January 1797)
Reign: 1740 - 1786
Predecessor: King Friedrich Wilhelm I in Prussia
Successor: King Friedrich Wilhelm II in Prussia
Parents Friedrich: King Friedrich Wilhelm I in Prussia and Princess Sophia Dorothea of Hannover
Parents Elisabeth: Duke Ferdinand Albrecht II of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Duchess Antoinette Amalie Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Siblings Friedrich: Prince Friedrich Ludwig of prussia, Prince of Orange; Margravine Wilhelmine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth; Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia, Prince of Orange; Princess Charlotte Albertine of Prussia; Margravine Friederike Luise of Brandenburg-Ansbach; Duchess Philippine Charlotte of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel; Prince Ludwig of Prussia; Margravine Sophie Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt; Queen Luise Ulrike of Sweden; Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia; Princess Anna Amalie of Prussia, Abbess of Quedlinburg; Prince Heinrich of Prussia and Prince Ferdinand of Prussia
Siblings Elisabeth: Duke Karl I of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel; Duke Anton Ulrich of Brunswick Lüneburg; Duke Ludwig Ernst of Brunswick-Lüneburg; Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick-Lüneburg; Princess Louise Amalie of Prussia; Duchess Sofie Antonie of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld; Duke Albrecht of Brunswick-Lüneburg; Duchess Teresa Natalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Abbess of Gandersheim; Queen Juliana Marie of Denmark & Norway and Duke Friedrich Franz of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Frederick II (German: Friedrich II.; January 24, 1712 – August 17, 1786) was a King of Prussia (1740–1786) from the Hohenzollern dynasty. In his role as a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire, he was Frederick IV (Friedrich IV) of Brandenburg. He became known as Frederick the Great (Friedrich der Große) and was nicknamed der alte Fritz ("Old Fritz").
Interested primarily in the arts during his youth, Frederick unsuccessfully attempted to flee from his authoritarian father, the "Soldier-King" Frederick William I, after which he was forced to watch the execution of a childhood friend. Upon ascending to the Prussian throne, he attacked Austria and claimed Silesia during the Silesian Wars, winning military acclaim for himself and Prussia. Near the end of his life, Frederick united most of his disconnected realm through the First Partition of Poland.
Frederick was a proponent of enlightened absolutism. For years he was a correspondent of Voltaire, with whom the king had an intimate, if turbulent, friendship. He modernized the Prussian bureaucracy and civil service and promoted religious tolerance throughout his realm. Frederick patronized the arts and philosophers. Frederick is buried at his favorite residence, Sanssouci in Potsdam. Because he died childless, he was succeeded by his nephew, Frederick William II of Prussia, son of his brother, Prince Augustus William of Prussia (the second son of King Frederick William I of Prussia).
Frederick was born in Berlin, the son of King Frederick William I of Prussia and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover. The so-called "Soldier-King", Frederick William had developed a formidable army and encouraged centralization, but was also known for his authoritarianism and temper. He would strike men in the face with his cane and kick women in the street, justifying his outbursts as religious righteousness. In contrast, Sophia was well-mannered and well-educated. Her father, George, Elector of Hanover, was the heir of Queen Anne of Great Britain. George succeeded as King George I of Great Britain in 1714.
The birth of Frederick was welcomed by his grandfather with more than usual pleasure, as two of his grandsons had already died at an early age. Frederick William wished his sons and daughters to be educated not as royalty, but as simple folk. He had been educated by a Frenchwoman, Madame de Montbail, who later became Madame de Rocoulle, and he wished that she should educate his children. Frederick was brought up by Huguenot governesses and tutors and learned French and German simultaneously.
Although Frederick William was raised a devout Calvinist, he feared he was not of the elect. To avoid the possibility of Frederick having the same motives, the king ordered that his heir not be taught about predestination. Although he was largely irreligious, Frederick adopted this tenet of Calvinism, despite the king's efforts. It is unknown if the crown prince did this to spite his father, or out of genuine religious belief.
In early 1730, Queen Sophia Dorothea attempted to orchestrate a dual marriage of Frederick and his sister Wilhelmina with Amelia and Frederick, the children of King George II of Great Britain. Fearing an alliance between Prussia and Great Britain, Field Marshal von Seckendorff, the Austrian ambassador in Berlin, bribed Field Marshal von Grumbkow and Benjamin Reichenbach, the Prussian Minister of War and Prussian ambassador in London, respectively. The pair discreetly slandered the British and Prussian courts in the eyes of the two kings. Angered by the idea of the effete Frederick being so honored by Britain, Frederick William presented impossible demands to the British, such as Prussia acquiring Jülich and Berg, leading to the collapse of the marriage proposal.
Frederick found an ally in his sister, Wilhelmina, with whom he remained close for life. At age 16, Frederick had formed an attachment to the king's 13-year-old page, Peter Karl Christoph Keith. Wilhelmina recorded that the two "soon became inseparable. Keith was intelligent, but without education. He served my brother from feelings of real devotion, and kept him informed of all the king's actions."
When he was 18, Frederick plotted to flee to England with Hans Hermann von Katte and other junior army officers. While the royal retinue was near Mannheim in the Electoral Palatinate, Robert Keith, Peter's brother, had an attack of conscience when the conspirators were preparing to escape and begged Frederick William for forgiveness on August 5, 1730; Frederick and Katte were subsequently arrested and imprisoned in Küstrin. Because they were army officers who had tried to flee Prussia for Great Britain, Frederick William leveled an accusation of treason against the pair. The king threatened the crown prince with the death penalty, then considered forcing Frederick to renounce the succession in favor of his brother, Augustus William, although either option would have been difficult to justify to the Reichstag of the Holy Roman Empire. The king forced Frederick to watch the decapitation of his friend Katte at Küstrin on November 6.
Frederick was granted a royal pardon and released from his cell on November 18, although he remained stripped of his military rank. Instead of returning to Berlin, however, he was forced to remain in Küstrin and began rigorous schooling in statecraft and administration for the War and Estates Departments on November 20. Tensions eased slightly when Frederick William visited Küstrin a year later, and Frederick was allowed to visit Berlin on the occasion of his sister Wilhelmina's marriage to Margrave Frederick of Bayreuth on November 20, 1731. The crown prince returned to Berlin after finally being released from his tutelage at Küstrin on 26 February 1732.
Frederick William considered marrying Frederick to Elisabeth of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the niece of Empress Anna of Russia, but this plan was ardently opposed by Prince Eugene of Savoy. Frederick himself proposed marrying Maria Theresa of Austria in return for renouncing the succession. Instead, Eugene persuaded Frederick William, through Seckendorff, that the crown prince should marry Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Bevern, a Protestant relative of the Imperial Habsburgs. Although Frederick wrote to his sister that, "There can be neither love nor friendship between us," and he considered suicide, he went along with the wedding on June 12, 1733. Once Frederick secured the throne in 1740, he prevented Elisabeth from visiting his court in Potsdam, granting her instead Schönhausen Palace and apartments at the Berliner Stadtschloss. Frederick bestowed the title of the heir to the throne, "Prince of Prussia", on his brother Augustus William; despite this, his wife remained devoted to him.
Frederick was restored to the Prussian Army as Colonel of the Regiment von der Goltz, stationed near Nauen and Neuruppin. When Prussia provided a contingent of troops to aid Austria during the War of the Polish Succession, Frederick studied under Prince Eugene of Savoy during the campaign against France on the Rhine. Frederick William, weakened by gout brought about by the campaign, granted Frederick Schloss Rheinsberg in Rheinsberg, north of Neuruppin. In Rheinsberg, Frederick assembled a small number of musicians, actors and other artists. He spent his time reading, watching dramatic plays, making and listening to music, and regarded this time as one of the happiest of his life. Frederick formed the "Bayard Order" to discuss warfare with his friends; Heinrich August de la Motte Fouqué was made the grand master of the gathering.
The works of Niccolò Machiavelli, such as The Prince, were considered a guideline for the behavior of a king in Frederick's age. In 1739, Frederick finished his Anti-Machiavel — an idealistic writing in which he opposes Machiavelli. It was published anonymously in 1740, but Voltaire distributed it in Amsterdam to great popularity. Frederick's years dedicated to the arts instead of politics ended upon the death of Frederick William and his inheritance of the Kingdom of Prussia.
Read the entire wikipedia article here.
Elizabeth Christine of Brunswick-Bevern, Queen of Prussia (November 8, 1715, Wolfenbüttel – January 13, 1797) was the daughter of Ferdinand Albert II, Duke of Brunswick-Lunenburg.
On June 12, 1733 she married Frederick II of Prussia and lived with him in Neu-Ruppin and later in the castle at Rheinsberg.
This was an involuntary marriage, and did not result in children, as Frederick almost completely ignored Elizabeth. Directly following his father's death, Frederick initiated the break up between the two. Some sources (Voltaire) lead one to believe that Frederick the Great was homosexual. This however has never been proved and neither has the story ever been confirmed that the king was impotent due to a venereal disease, as was rumoured by his enemies. Nowadays it is considered more likely that Frederick was asexual and just had no concern for dynastic obligations, as his succession was already secured by the offspring of his younger brother August Wilhelm and his wife Luise Amalie, Elisabeth Christine's younger sister.
After Frederick became King in 1740, Elisabeth lived apart from him in Niederschöenhausen Castle, north of Berlin.
Text from this wikipedia article.
So Friedrich II. was cousin-in-law of Maria Theresia and of Tsar Peter II - who of course didn't live long enough to become a player in Maria-Theresia's and Friedrich's games
Poor man.The loss of Katte by torture and murder,and the reason why,impregnated him for the rest of his life.
An almost dull man,but a poet,musician,he took " refuge " in that,who's father was a military monster and raised
his children accordingly.A spartan upbringing with a minimum of love but equalling present day child abuse.
Looking at this map it is so fragmented but in a way it
is a German Empire in the heart of Europe.
Maybe historically the Hapsburgs ruled from their
base in Vienna, then the upstart Hohenzollerns in Prussia
and Frederick the Great emerged to demand leadership.
Prussia became so threatening and ambitious that an
unlikely alliance of Austrria and France emerged with
Marie Antoinette's marriage sealing the new entente cordialle
... but look how that ended in tragedy !
Napolean's military adventures put an end to Prussias ambitions....
seemingly once and for all.... but Bismark
came along and the German states united under Prussian leadership.....
until overambition led to yet more disasters !
the map reflects boundaries in 1789.
He had a horrible temper and I do realize that this may be because of a medical condition, but this does not excuse the way he acted towards his children. He purposely was mean to Frederick II because he enjoyed arts, literature, and things of the such.
If you did not know, Hans Hermann von Katte was charged only with lifelong imprisonment and that Frederick Williams had it changed to execution, he also tried to have his son executed or renounce being the crown prince to just simply being a prince as well, but he would not be able to justify this to the general assembly of the Holy Roman Empire. Frederick Williams by no means needed to have his son witness, his friend and possibly his lover, Katte's, execution, you can call that a punishment for the prince but personally I call it cruel and unusual.
So in short, Frederick Williams was a wonderful king to his people, and had good intentions for treating his children the way he did but by no means do I call him a good father.
I also apologize for any bad grammar it is rather late where I live
Friedrich II established the first German code of law.
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