Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Death of Queen Louise

September 29, 1898

In its editorial,  The Times notes that the "death of the Queen of Denmark, at the age of 81, is an event of domestic interest and sorrow in many of the greatest Courts in Europe, and not least in that of England, where the Princess of Wales mourns a beloved mother."   She will have "the heartfelt sympathy of the entire nation."
When Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel married her cousin, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, the young couple, "though connected with the highest families on the Continent, had no very brilliant prospects before them."  The newlyweds moved into a a palace near Copenhagen, "under the tutelage of their kinsman the King of Denmark."
In 1852, Prince Christian was recognized as heir to the Danish throne, "partly through the influence of Russia, with whom he was persona grata."  According to Denmark's old succession law, the right, "on the extinction of the elder line," passed to the Hesse-Cassel line.  The head of that house, Prince Ferdinand, renounced his right in favor of his daughter, Louise, who, in turn, ceded her right to her husband, Prince Christian.
With "great sagacity and prudence," Louise devoted "herself to the education of her children, all of whom made remarkable marriages."  Crown Prince Frederik, the heir to the Danish throne is married to a Swedish princess, and one of his sons, Carl, is the husband of Princess Maud of Wales;  King George of the Hellenes is the husband of Grand Duchess Olga of Russia; Princess Alexandra is married to the Prince of Wales;   Princess Dagmar is the Dowager Empress of Russia; Princess Thyra is the wife of the Duke of Cumberland, and Prince Waldemar is  the husband of Princess Marie of Orleans.
In this country, Queen Louise "was honoured and respected, like our own gracious Sovereign, as the type of the dignified head of a Royal Family.  She was not usually considered a factor in international politics, though it is quite within the bounds of possibility that she may have played a part in this sphere which has never been revealed to the public."   Her "conduct was a model for the Courts towards which she stood in an attitude of maternal authority."

The Court Circular reports that the "Queen of Denmark died at 5:40 this morning.  After passing almost the whole in an unconscious condition, the Queen slept last night.  Almost all the members of the Royal family, and Professors Petersen, Gram and Plum, had been present since the morning.  The King of Denmark, the King of Greece, and the Princess of Wales alternately during many hours held the hands of the dying Queen, who for a few single moments recovered consciousness, but could not speak.  The King of Denmark was moved to tears."
The king's doctors wanted him to rest, but he said to them: "I will stay at least while the Queen in conscious."
All of Denmark is "deeply moved by the Queen's death."   After she was dead, King Christian "kissed the body and then rested for some hours.  He rose early and made arrangements for the burial , which will probably take place on Tuesday."
The Princess of Wales "laid the the first wreath on the body of the Queen."
Reuters reports that the Queen "died quite peacefully.  At the last moments all the members of the Royal family were at the bedside.  When it was all over the bed was strewn with flowers."

The Times' correspondent reports that the "news of the fatal termination of the illness of the Queen of Denmark was received by the Queen at Balmoral and the Prince of Wales at Mar Lodge at an early hour."   The news was not unexpected as "telegrams have been passing constantly between the Royal Courts for the past few days."

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