Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Empress Auguste dead

January 7, 1890

Dowager Empress Auguste of Germany, widow of Wilhelm I, died today at her palace in Berlin at 4:20 p.m.  The cause of death, according to the New York Times, was pneumonia, "following an attack of influenza."   She was 78 years old.

She had "suffered from the prevailing epidemic for three days," and appeared to be doing well, and her doctors believed she would recover.  During the night she developed pneumonia, and this development "presented a crisis too great for her remaining strength."

As early as 3 a.m, this morning, her physicians "perceived that there was no hope of saving her life."

At 2 p.m., this afternoon nearly all of her family and friends were "gathered in and about the palace."   The Emperor and Empress and their two eldest sons, Crown Prince Wilhelm and Prince Friedrich, the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Baden, son-in-law and daughter, respectively, were at her bedside.

A large crowd gathered outside her palace on the Unter den Linden as word spread that she was dying.   Empress Auguste "passed away peacefully."  She received the sacrament of Holy Communion shortly before her death.  "As the end came," her family knelt around her bed, and the Court Chaplain "offered a prayer and then blessed the body."

Emperor Wilhelm II and his wife, Auguste Viktoria, then left.  The announcement of the death was made by the "lowering of the imperial standard from its place over the palace."

Dowager Empress Auguste was the daughter of Grand Duke Carl Friedrich of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.  She was born on September 30, 1811.  She married the future Wilhelm I at Berlin on June 11, 1829.

Her first child, the late Emperor Friedrich III, was born in October 1831.   He succeeded to the thrones of Germany and Prussia in March 1888, when Wilhelm I died.

Auguste "sincerely mourned the loss of her companion of nearly sixty years."  His deat6h was a severe blow to her.  During the illness and death of her son, Friedrich III, in June 1888, she became a "staunch friend" of her daughter-in-law, Victoria, thus, incurring "the extreme displeasure" of her grandson, the present emperor.

She was well known for her support for "sick and wounded soldiers, and "unostentatious but liberal charities," and she was also known as a "patron of music and art."

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