Friedrich-Wilhelm III, King of Prussia (1770-1840) and Queen Luise (1776-1810)

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Friedrich-Wilhelm III, King of Prussia (Potsdam, 3 August 1770 – Berlin, 7 June 1840); married 1stly Berlin on 24 December 1793 Duchess Luise Auguste Wilhelmine Amalia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Hannover, 10 March 1776 - Hohenzieritz, 19 July 1810); married 2ndly at Charlottenburg on 9 November 1824 Countess Auguste von Harrach (Harrach, 30 August 1800 - Homburg, 5 June 1873)

Dynasty: Hohenzollern

Reign: 1797 - 1840

Predecessor: King Friedrich-Wilhelm II of Prussia

Successor: King Friedrich-Wilhelm IV of Prussia

Children: King Friedrich-Wilhelm IV of Prussia; Emperor Wilhelm I of Germany, Emperor of Prussia; Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia; Princess Frederica of Prussia; Prince Karl of Prussia; Grand Duchess Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin; Prince Ferdinand of Prussia; Princess Luise of The Netherlands and Prince Albrecht of Prussia

Parents Friedrich-Wilhelm: King Friedrich-Wilhelm II of Prussia and Landgravine Friederike Luisa of Hesse-Darmstadt

Parents Luise: Grand Duke Karl of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Landgravine Friederike of Hesse-Darmstadt

Siblings Friedrich-Wilhelm: Princess Friederike of Great Britain and Hannover, Duchess of York; Princess Christine of Prussia; Prince Ludwig of Prussia; Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands; Electress Auguste of Hesse; Prince Karl of Prussia and Prince Wilhelm of Prussia

Siblings Luise: Duchess Charlotte of Saxe-Altenburg; Duchess Karoline and Duke Georg Karl of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; Princess Therese of Thurn and Taxis; Duke Friedrich Georg of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; Princess Frederika of Prussia, later Princess of Solms, later Queen of Hannover; Duke Georg, Duke Friedrich Karl and Duchess Auguste Albertine of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
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Frederick William III (German: Friedrich Wilhelm III., August 3, 1770 – June 7, 1840) was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840.

The son of King Frederick William II of Prussia, Frederick William was born in Potsdam and became Crown Prince in 1786, when his father ascended the throne.
As a child, Frederick William's father (under the influence of his mistress, Wilhelmine Enke, Countess of Lichtenau) had Frederick William handed over to tutors, as was quite normal for the period. He spent part of the time living at Paretz, the estate of the old soldier Count Hans von Blumenthal who was the governor of his brother Prince Heinrich. They thus grew up partly with the Count's son, who accompanied them on their Grand Tour in the 1780s. Frederick William was happy at Paretz, and for this reason in 1795 he bought it from his boyhood friend and turned it into an important royal country retreat. He was a melancholy boy, but he grew up pious and honest. His tutors included the dramatist Johan Engel.
As a soldier he received the usual training of a Prussian prince, obtained his lieutenancy in 1784, became a colonel in 1790, and took part in the campaigns against France of 1792-1794. On December 24, 1793, Frederick William married Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, a princess noted for her beauty.

He succeeded the throne on 16 November 1797 and at once gave earnest of his good intentions by cutting down the expenses of the royal establishment, dismissing his father's ministers, and reforming the most oppressive abuses of the late reign. Unfortunately, however, he had all the Hohenzollern tenacity of personal power without the Hohenzollern genius for using it. Too distrustful to delegate his responsibility to his ministers, he was too infirm of will to strike out and follow a consistent course for himself. At first he and his advisors attempted to pursue a policy of neutrality in the Napoleonic Wars. Although they succeeded in keeping out of the Third Coalition in 1805, but eventually Frederick William was swayed by the belligerent attitude of the queen, who led Prussia's pro-war party, and entered into war in October 1806. On October 14, 1806, at the Battle of Jena-Auerstädt, the French defeated the Prussian army led by Frederick William, and the Prussian army collapsed. The royal family fled to Memel, East Prussia, where they fell on the mercy of Emperor Alexander I of Russia (who, rumour has it, had fallen in love with Queen Louise).
Alexander, too, suffered defeat at the hands of the French, and at Tilsit on the Niemen France made peace with Russia and Prussia. Napoleon dealt with Prussia very harshly, despite the pregnant Queen's personal interview with the French emperor. Prussia lost all its Polish territories, as well as all territory west of the Elbe, and had to finance a large indemnity and to pay for French troops to occupy key strong points within the Kingdom.
Although the ineffectual King himself seemed resigned to Prussia's fate, various reforming ministers, such as Baron vom Stein, Prince von Hardenberg, Scharnhorst, and Count Gneisenau, set about reforming Prussia's administration and military, with the encouragement of the Queen (who died, greatly mourned, in 1810).
In 1813, following Napoleon's defeat in Russia, Frederick William turned against France and signed an alliance with Russia at Kalitsch, although he had to flee Berlin, still under French occupation. Prussian troops played a key part in the victories of the allies in 1813 and 1814, and the King himself travelled with the main army of Prince Schwarzenberg, along with Alexander of Russia and Francis of Austria.
At the Congress of Vienna, Frederick William's ministers succeeded in securing important territorial increases for Prussia, although they failed to obtain the annexation of all of Saxony, as they had wished. Following the war, Frederick William turned towards political reaction, abandoning the promises he had made in 1813 to supply Prussia with a constitution.
He died on June 7, 1840. His eldest son, Frederick William IV, succeeded him.

Read the entire wikipedia article here.
Luise Auguste Wilhelmine Amalie (Luisa Augusta Wilhelmina Amelia) (March 10, 1776 - July 19, 1810), Queen of Prussia, was born in Hanover, where her father, Karl of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, was field marshal of the household brigade. Her mother was princess Friederike Caroline Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt.
Her paternal grandparents were Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Elizabeth Albertine, Princess of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Queen Charlotte, royal consort of King George III of the United Kingdom, was her paternal aunt.
Her maternal grandparents were Georg Wilhelm of Hessen-Darmstadt and Maria of Leiningen-Dagsburg. Georg Wilhelm was a son of Louis VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt.
In 1793, at Frankfurt, Luise met the crown prince of Prussia, afterwards King Frederick William III. Deeply impressed by her beauty and nobility of character, Frederick William asked her to become his wife. They were married on December 24 of the same year. As Queen of Prussia she commanded universal respect and affection, and nothing in Prussian history is more admired than the dignity and unflinching courage with which she bore the sufferings inflicted on her and her family during the war between Prussia and France.

After the battle of Jena she went with her husband to Königsberg, and when the battles of Eylau and Friedland had placed Prussia absolutely at the mercy of France, she made a personal appeal to Napoleon I of France at his headquarters in Tilsit, but without success. Early in 1808 she accompanied the king from Memel to Königsberg, whence, towards the end of the year, she visited Saint Petersburg, returning to Berlin on December 23, 1809.
During the war Napoleon attempted to destroy the queen's reputation, but the only effect of his charges in Prussia was to make her more deeply beloved. On July 19, 1810 she died in her husband's arms, while visiting her father in Strelitz. She was buried in the garden of the palace at Charlottenburg, where a mausoleum, containing a fine recumbent statue by Rauch, was built over her grave. In 1840 her husband was buried by her side.

Read the entire wikipedia article here.
A lovely portrait of Queen Luise


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Her daughters are quite a character.

Alexandrine used coarse language, was disagreeable all the time, and talked about Empress Victoria with Princess Karl (Marie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach) , "I never ceased regretting that there is an Englishwoman in the family."

Luise is not as bad, but she was sometimes disagreeable. Emperor William II called her an "ugly monkey"

The only one decent enough (according to me) is Princess Charlotte who later become Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. Her daughter said she was a good mother (though Empress Victoria wrote she paraded her jewels but it seems kind of harmless :))

A painter (Madame Vigee-Lebrun if I am not mistaken) wrote Queen Luise's daughters face possess more character (correct me again since her memoirs is not in my hand :))
I believe WQueen Sophie of the Netherlands also hadd an intense dislike for Princess Luise. Not very surprising as she detested most of her in-laws of course. Did Wilhelm II really say that about the princess? He was 11 when she died so he probably didn't see all that much of his great aunt.
I read it somewhere and the source is quite reliable :). But I guess we will never know for sure...
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If I remember it right, then Queen Luise was some kind of an IT-Girl in her days. And she was extraordinarily popular. Not only for supporting the Prussian reformers, which later modernized the country but also for being very close to the public, and for her disrespect to royal protocols.
If I remember it right, Queen Luise once talked to a countess and when the countess ask why a queen talked to a "mere" countess like her, she said "everyone is the same." A very down to earth queen :).
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Down to Earth Queen

Well, a countess was actually a high ranking noble woman in Prussia - not so many Princes and Princesses there... But I was once in the little village Paretz not far from Berlin. Luise and her husband loved to spend the summer there. And the guide there claimed that Queen Luise even helped local peasants to make Pflaumenmus, plum jam.
ARTE the German/French culture channel produced a portrait of queen Luise in 4 parts, using historic portraits but added film scenes. On You Tube it's in German unfortunately but still has nice impressions about life at Prussia's court and in Prussia in times of Napoleonic wars.

Part 1 starts here: Königin Luise von Preußen 1/4 - YouTube
If I remember it right, Queen Luise once talked to a countess and when the countess ask why a queen talked to a "mere" countess like her, she said "everyone is the same." A very down to earth queen :).

I was wrong. When I checked again on The Soldier Kings: The House of Hohenzollern, the countess turned out to be an officer wife! (Sorry, my mistake :p).

She was in a ball when she was introduced to many people, including an officer wife. The queen asked her about her family and her birth, which the officer wife said she is a nobody. The nobles began to snicker but Queen Luise said "All of us, without exception, are equal."

Once again, I am very sorry if I cause confusion.
During Napoleon I's reign as Emperor of the French, Prussia was obliged to give up territories for the creation of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw and the Kingdom of Westphalia. Queen Luise was so distressed by the harsh terms imposed upon Prussia that she knelt before Napoleon. She begged the Emperor for concessions. In reply, Napoleon asked Luise of what material her dress was made.
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The Life of His Majesty King Friedrich Wilhelm III
Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz became Queen Consort of Prussia in 1797.
Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was just 34 years old when she died unexpectedly at at Hohenzieritz Castle.
Her remains were buried on July 30th, 1810 in Berlin Cathedral but the king order that a mausoleum be built in the park of Charlottenburg Palace.
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