Friday, June 22, 2012

The new queen of Hanover

The new Queen consort of Hanover was born at the Altes Palais at Hanover on March 3, 1778.  Friederike Luise Caroline Sophie Charlotte Alexandrine was the fifth daughter of Karl II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and his first wife, Princess Friederike of Hesse and By Rhine.  Her father's sister, Charlotte, was the wife of George III.

After the deaths of their mother and their stepmother in childbirth,  Friederike and her older sisters, Charlotte, Therese and Luise, were sent to live with their maternal grandmother, Maria Luise, the Dowager Princess Georg of Hesse and by Rhine.

As the Mecklenburg-Strelitz Princesses approached the age of marriage,  they were taken to the theatre in Frankfurt-am-Main, where King Friedrich Wilhelm II was waiting to meet Friederike and Luise.  He was delighted with the two sisters, and soon their father started the process of arranging marriages between his two daughters and the Prussian king's sons, Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm and Prince Louis.

The engagements were announced at Darmstadt on April 24, 1793.  Princess Luise and the Crown Prince of Prussia were married on Christmas Eve at the Royal Palace in Berlin.  Two days later, Friederike and Prince Louis were married in the same chapel. 

Princess Luise's marriage was a love match.   Sadly, for Friederike,  her husband preferred his mistresses to his wife.

Friederike gave birth to the couple's first son, Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig, on October 30, 1794.  He married Princess Luise of Anhalt-Bernburg in 1817.  He died in on July 27, 1863.

A second son, Karl, was born a year later on September 26, 1795, but he lived only until April 6, 1798.

A daughter, Princess Friederike Wilhelmina Luise Amalia, was born on September 30, 1796.  She married in 1818 to Leopold IV, Duke of Anhalt.

Prince Louis died on December 23, 1796, having contracted diphtheria.  Less than a year later,  Friederike became "unofficially engaged" to her first cousin, Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge.  The Duke asked his father for permission, but George III, reportedly under pressure from his wife, Charlotte, who did not like her niece, would not agree to the marriage.

The young widow was not lonely for long.  She began a relationship with Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Solms-Braunfels that led to a pregnancy.  The Prince, who was born in 1770, acknowledged that he was the father.  A marriage was hastily arranged, and the pregnant princess and her lover were married on December 10, 1798. 

In order to avoid further scandal, the newlyweds moved to Ansbach, where two months later, Friederike gave birth to a daughter, Sophia, who lived for only eight months.

In September 1800,  Friederike gave birth to a son, Friedrich Wilhelm, who lived for only three days.   Another son, Wilhelm, was born on December 13, 1801.  He married in 1831 to Countess Maria Kinsky.  He died in 1868.   A daughter Auguste was born on July 25, 1804.  She married Albert, the Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt in 1827.  She died in October 1865. 

Friederike gave birth to a stillborn daughter in 1805.   Two years later, in March 1807, she had another son, Alexander, who in 1863 married Princess Luise of Landsberg-Velen.

Although her marriage to the Prince of Solms-Braunfel was also not happy, and the prince quickly fell back into his bad habits of drinking and living a dissipated lifestyle,  she gave birth to one more child on July 27, 1812, who was named Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Carl Alfred Alexander.   He was Karl.   New Braunfels, Texas, is named for him.   After a morganatic marriage with Stephanie Beyrich, which ended in divorce in 1841,  Carl married Princess Josephine of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg.    He died in 1875.

Due to a serious problem with drinking, Prince Friedrich Wilhelm was forced to resign his military posts.  Friederike had asked her brother-in-law, King Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia to restore her widow's pension, but he refused.  She had to rely on her own small income to keep family together.

It was her brother-in-law, the Prince of Solms-Braunfel, who recommended that she divorce his brother.  He gave his full approval for the action, but the request was turned down by his brother and Princess Friederike, although they lived largely separate lives.

Enter Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, 5th son of King George III, and Friederike's first cousin.  It was during a visit to his uncle, Duke Carl, in May 1813, when he met and fell in love with his cousin, Princess Friederike.

Friederike's father decided that a marriage between his daughter and the Duke of Cumberland would be good for everyone.  Friederike sought permission to divorce her husband from the King of Prussia, who, along with everyone else, including her husband, agreed to the divorce.

Friederike's husband obliged everyone by dying rather suddenly on April 13,1814.  By August, Friederike and Ernest Augustus were engagement,  This was followed by approval of the British Parliament. 

Once the approval was obtained, the couple were married at Neustrelitz on May 29, 1815.   A second wedding took place at Carlton House in London on August 29, 1815.

Queen Charlotte, however, remained adamant in her opposition to her niece.  She refused to attend the wedding, and did not want her son and daughter-in-law to live in England. 

The new Duchess of Cumberland gave birth to a stillborn daughter, Frederica, in January 1817.  A year later, in April, she gave birth to another stillborn daughter.

On May 27, 1819, at the age of 41, the Duchess gave birth to a healthy son, George,  who was known as Prince George of Cumberland, until June 20, 1837, when he became Georg, the Crown Prince of Hanover. 

Prince George was born three days after the birth of the May princess,  Alexandrina Victoria of Kent, the future Queen Victoria.

After the death of the Queen, the Hanover Gazette reported: "It is pleased that the Disposer of all Human events, today at twenty past twelve o'clock to remove from this life the august and most illustrious Princess Frederica Louisa Carolina Sophia Alexandrina, the grace of God, Queen of Hanover, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland, Duchess of Cumberland, Duchess of Brunswick and Lüneburg, (born Princess of Mecklenburg). His Majesty the King, the Royal Family, and all faithful subjects are hereby plunged the deepest affliction.
"After being confined to her bed for three months, Her Majesty expired from a decay of strength, constantly attended by the King, the Crown Prince, and the Duchess of Anhalt Dessau.  Her Majesty will be ever remembered as a mother and a Queen."

Although the Queen of Hanover died on June 29, it was not until July 2nd, when "despatches were brought by a messenger to town on Saturday night, conveying the mournful intelligence of the demise of Her Majesty the Queen of Hanover, aunt of Her Majesty.  This melancholy intelligence was forwarded to the Queen, and was notified yesterday [July 4] afternoon to all the members of the Royal Family in town."

The Queen and Prince Albert were visited yesterday at Buckingham Palace by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, who was accompanied by the Princesses Augusta and Mary of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex and Prince George of Cambridge.   Later in that afternoon, Prince Albert visited Princess Sophia and the Duke of Sussex at their apartments in Kensington Palace.  The King and Queen of the Belgians visited the Duchess of Cambridge at Cambridge House and Princess Sophia and the Duke of Sussex at Kensington Palace.

Queen Victoria ordered the Court to go into mourning on July 6.

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