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Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Princess Louis Charles of Prussia
Princess Frederick William of Solms-Braunfels
Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, queen of Hannover.jpg
Queen consort of Hanover
Tenure20 June 1837 – 29 June 1841
Born3 March 1778
Electorate of Hanover, Holy Roman Empire
Died29 June 1841(1841-06-29) (aged 63)
Kingdom of Hanover
Herrenhausen Palace, Kingdom of Hanover
SpousePrince Louis Charles of Prussia
Prince Frederick William of Solms-Braunfels
Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover
Prince Frederick of Prussia
Prince Charles of Prussia
Princess Frederica, Duchess of Anhalt-Dessau
Princess Sophia of Solms-Braunfels
Prince Frederick of Solms-Braunfels
Prince Wilhelm of Solms-Braunfels
Augusta, Princess of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
Prince Alexander of Solms-Braunfels
Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels
Princess Frederica of Cumberland
George V of Hanover
Frederica Louise Caroline Sophie Alexandrina
German: Friederike Luise Caroline Sophie Alexandrine
FatherCharles II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
MotherPrincess Friederike of Hesse-Darmstadt
Princess Frederica of Prussia with Turban. By Johann Friedrich August Tischbein, 1796 (Anhaltische Gemäldegalerie Dessau)
Princess Frederica of Prussia with Turban. By Johann Friedrich August Tischbein, 1796 (Anhaltische Gemäldegalerie Dessau)

Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Friederike Louise Caroline Sophie Charlotte Alexandrine) (3 March 1778 – 29 June 1841) was a German princess who became, by marriage, princess of Prussia, princess of Solms-Braunfels, Duchess of Cumberland in Britain and Queen of Hanover (in Germany) as the consort of Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover (the fifth son and eighth child of King George III).

She was born in the Altes Palais of Hanover as the fifth daughter of Charles II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and his first wife, Frederica, daughter of Prince George William of Hesse-Darmstadt.[1]

Her father assumed the title of Grand Duke of Mecklenburg on 18 June 1815. Duchess Frederica was the niece of her future mother-in-law, Queen Charlotte, through her father.

Early life

Frederica's mother died on 22 May 1782 after giving birth to her tenth child. Two years later (28 September 1784), her father remarried the younger sister of his deceased wife, Princess Charlotte of Hesse-Darmstadt, but this union ended just one year later, when Charlotte died of complications resulting from childbirth on 12 December 1785.

Princess Frederica of Prussia with her sister Louise in 1795.
Princess Frederica of Prussia with her sister Louise in 1795.

The twice-widowed Duke Charles considered himself unable to give his daughters proper rearing and education, so he sent Frederica and her elder sisters Charlotte, Therese and Louise to their maternal grandmother, Princess Maria Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt. Princess Maria Louise's choice of a Swiss teacher for the girls, Salomé de Gélieu, proved to be a good one. Some time later, Duke Charles also sent his two surviving sons, the Hereditary Grand Duke George and Charles, to be raised by their grandmother.

First marriage

Frederica's parents were anxious to arrange advantageous marriages for all their daughters, and used family connections to bring this about. Queen Frederika Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt, wife of King Frederick William II, was a first cousin of Frederica's mother. Frederica's parents broached with the Prussian royal family the idea of marriage between their children, and the Prussians were not averse. On 14 March 1793, the Princesses of Mecklenburg-Strelitz "coincidentally" met the Prussian King Frederick William II at the Prussian Theatre in Frankfurt-am-Main. He was immediately captivated by the grace and charm of both sisters, Frederica and Louise. The pending marriage negotiations received traction, and within weeks, the matter was settled: Frederica's elder sister Louise would marry Crown Prince Frederick William, and Frederica would marry his younger brother Prince Louis.[1]

Famous Schadow statue of Frederica (right), with her sister, Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The statue was initially deemed too erotic, and was consequently closed to public viewing.[2]
Famous Schadow statue of Frederica (right), with her sister, Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The statue was initially deemed too erotic, and was consequently closed to public viewing.[2]

The double engagement was celebrated in Darmstadt on 24 April 1793, only a few weeks after the sister fortuitously met their future father-in-law at the theatre. On December 24, Louise and Crown Prince Frederick William were married in the Royal Palace of Berlin; two days later, on 26 December, Frederica and Prince Louis were also married at the same venue.[1]

Unlike her sister, Frederica did not enjoy a happy marriage. Although her husband died only three years after the wedding, Louis was said to have preferred the company of his mistresses and completely neglected his wife, or at least, that is her version; in response, she allegedly began an affair with her husband's uncle Prince Louis Ferdinand.[citation needed] Despite her husband's alleged neglect, Fredrica did bear him three children in as many years: Frederick in 1794; a short-lived son, Charles, in 1795; and a daughter, Frederica, in 1796.

In 1795, King Frederick William II appointed Louis as Chief of the Dragoons Regiment No.1, which was stationed in Schwedt. One year later, on 23 December 1796, Prince Louis died of diphtheria. It was three years almost to the day since their wedding. At this time, his youngest child, Frederica, was less than three months old, and his eldest son was hardly two years old. After Louis's death, his father provided Frederica with a suitable residence near Berlin, and a sufficient income, and she moved with her three children to Schönhausen Palace near Berlin.

In 1797, Frederica and her cousin Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, seventh son of King George III of Great Britain by his wife Queen Charlotte (Frederica's paternal aunt), became unofficially engaged. The Duke of Cambridge asked the consent of his father to the marriage. The King did not refuse his consent but asked his son to wait until the ongoing war with France was over. The relationship eventually ended, with rumors circulating that either Adolphus had offered to release Frederica from the engagement, or - as Queen Charlotte believed - Frederica had jilted him for another man.[3]

Second marriage

In 1798 Frederica became pregnant. The father was Prince Frederick William of Solms-Braunfels. The prince recognized his paternity and requested her hand in marriage, a proposal that was quickly granted in order to avoid scandal. On 10 December of that year, the couple was married in Berlin and immediately moved to Ansbach.[1] Two months later, in February 1799, Frederica gave birth to a daughter who only lived eight months. Prince Frederick William, disappointed and embittered, resumed his old dissipated lifestyle and became an alcoholic.[citation needed] In 1805 he resigned his military posts for "health reasons". Frederica had to maintain her family with her own resources after her brother-in-law, King Frederick William III of Prussia, refused to restore her annual pension as a dowager princess of Prussia. Frederica's older brother-in-law and head of the family, William Christian, Prince of Solms-Braunfels, advised her to get a divorce, with his full approval. She and her husband nonetheless refused.[citation needed]

Third marriage

In May 1813, during a visit to his uncle Duke Charles in Neustrelitz, Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, the fifth son of King George III of Great Britain, met and fell in love with Frederica, who was his first cousin.[4] Duke Charles made it clear to his daughter that her separation from the Prince of Solms-Braunfels was absolutely logical, and that he saw a marriage with an English prince as a great opportunity for her. During the next months Frederica considered the intentions of Ernest Augustus and the possible effects on her own situation. When, after the victory of the allies in the Battle of Leipzig, Ernest Augustus spent some days in Neustrelitz, he was greeted enthusiastically. Some time later Frederica asked the Prussian king for approval for her divorce from Prince Frederick William of Solms-Braunfels. All parties agreed, including the Prince of Solms-Braunfels, but Frederick William's sudden death on 13 April 1814 precluded the need for a divorce. The prince's demise was considered by some as a little too convenient, and some suspected that Frederica had poisoned him.[5] In August, the engagement with Ernest Augustus was officially announced. After the British Prince Regent gave his consent to the wedding, Frederica and Ernest Augustus were married on 29 May 1815 at the parish church of Neustrelitz.[1] Some time later, the couple traveled to Great Britain and married again on 29 August 1815 at Carlton House, London.[1]

Queen Charlotte bitterly opposed the marriage, even though her future daughter-in-law was also her niece.[4] She refused to attend the wedding and advised her son to live outside England with his wife. Frederica never obtained the favor of her aunt/mother-in-law, who died unreconciled with her in 1818. During her marriage to Ernest Augustus she gave birth three times, but only a son survived, who would eventually become King George V of Hanover.[1]

Queen of Hanover

On 20 June 1837 King William IV of the United Kingdom and Hanover died without issue. His heir was Princess Victoria, only daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, but because Hanover had been ruled under semi-Salic Law since the times of the Holy Roman Empire, she could not inherit the Hanoverian throne. The next male descendant of the late king was the Duke of Cumberland, Frederica's husband, who then became King of Hanover, with Frederica as his Queen consort.[1]

After a short illness, Queen Frederica of Hanover died in 1841 at Hanover.[1] The Court master builder Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves was instructed by the King to build a mausoleum for his wife and himself in the garden of the chapel at Herrenhausen Palace. He also gave royal orders for the transformation of a central square near the Leineschloss and renamed it Friederikenplatz in her honor.


Name Birth Death Notes
By Prince Frederick Louis of Prussia (married 29 December 1793; he died 23 December 1796)
Prince Frederick of Prussia 30 October 1794 27 July 1863 married, 1817, Princess Louise of Anhalt-Bernburg
Prince Charles of Prussia 26 September 1795 6 April 1798
Princess Frederica of Prussia 30 September 1796 1 January 1850 married, 1818, Leopold IV, Duke of Anhalt-Dessau
By Prince Frederick William of Solms-Braunfels (married 10 December 1798; he died 13 April 1814)
Princess Sophia of Solms-Braunfels 27 February 1799 20 October 1799
Prince Frederick of Solms-Braunfels 11 September 1800 14 September 1800
Prince Wilhelm of Solms-Braunfels 13 December 1801 12 September 1868 married, 1831, Countess Maria Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau
Princess Augusta of Solms-Braunfels 25 July 1804 8 October 1865 married, 1827, Albert, Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
Unnamed daughter 1805 stillborn
Prince Alexander of Solms-Braunfels 12 March 1807 20 February 1867 married, 1863, Baroness Louise of Landsberg-Velen; had issue
Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels 27 July 1812 13 November 1875 married, 1845, Princess Sophie of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg
By Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale (later King Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover) (married 29 May 1815)
Princess Frederica of Cumberland 27 January 1817 stillborn
Unnamed daughter April 1818
George V of Hanover 27 May 1819 12 June 1878 married, 1843, Princess Marie of Saxe-Altenburg; had issue



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Willis, Daniel A., The Descendants of King George I of Great Britain, Clearfield Company, 2002, p. 73. ISBN 0-8063-5172-1
  2. ^ Clark, Christopher (2006). Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947, p. 316. Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Belknam Press of Harvard University Press.
  3. ^ Van der Kiste, 66
  4. ^ a b Van der Kiste, 100
  5. ^ Van der Kiste, p. 114

External links

Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Born: 3 March 1778 Died: 29 June 1841
Hanoverian royalty
Preceded by
Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen
Queen consort of Hanover
20 June 1837 – 29 June 1841
Title next held by
Marie of Saxe-Altenburg
This page was last edited on 19 June 2021, at 05:00
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