Monday, January 25, 2010

The death of Kaisern Auguste Viktoria's mother

January 25, 1900

The New York Times is reporting that the Dowager Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein Sonderburg-Augustenburg has died. She had been suffering from pleurisy. The Duchess was the mother of the German Empress, Auguste Viktoria, who arrived with her husband, the Kaiser, at her mother's castle this afternoon.

The Duchess Friedrich of Schleswig-Holstein had also suffered from a heart complaint, and "lately her condition gave rise to such anxiety" that the Empress twice visited Dresden to see her mother, according to The Times (London.) Only yesterday, the duchess's doctors reported that she was improving, so the "news of a fatal issue of an illness was unexpected in Berlin."

The Duchess was born Princess Adelheid of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, a daughter of Ernst, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, and his wife, Princess Feodora of Leiningen, who was Queen Victoria's older half-sister.

Adelheid and Duke Friedrich were married on September 11, 1856. Their first marital home was at Dolzig in Nieder Lausitz, but in 1863, when Frederik VII of Denmark died - and the question of the issue of Schleswig-Holstein became "acute -- the couple moved to Kiel. Friedrich became heir to the duchies after his father, Duke Christian August, renounced his claims. But in 1866, when Schleswig=Holstein, Hannover  and Hesse-Cassel became Prussian provinces, Duke Friedrich "again retired, a broken and dissipated man, to Dolzig." When his father died in 1869, Friedrich inherited Primenkau in Silesia. He and Adelheid alternated living there and at Gotha until his death on January 14, 1880.

A month after Friedrich's death, Princess Auguste Viktoria became engaged to the Prince Wilhelm of Germany, the eldest son of Crown Prince Friedrich and Crown Princess Victoria.

Shortly after Auguste Viktoria's marriage, Duchess Friedrich moved to Dresden, "where she lived a very retired life, interesting herself chiefly in painting and music." The only time she was "visible to the public" was when she occupied her box at the Royal opera.

The Duchess is survived by five children: Auguste Viktoria, the German Empress, who was born in 1858; Princess Caroline Mathilde, born in 1860. who is the wife of Duke Friedrich Ferdinand of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg; Duke Ernst Günther. born in 1863 and married to Princess Dorothea of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; Princess Luise Sophie, born in 1866. and the wife of Prince Friedrich Leopold of Prussia; and Princess Feodora, born in 1874.

All court functions have been cancelled in Berlin.

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