Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Frederica of Hanover: A Passionate & Obstinate Princess (Part 2)

Friedrich and Victoria paid separate visits to  Princess Frederica, as Vicky noted in a letter to her mother on March 22, 1879.  “Fritz was, I regret to say, disagreeably impressed by her tone and manner and by what she said to him.  I was not.  I was much captivated by her magnificent appearance and, when the very stern and haughty look she put on (which did not become her ill) melted into a sweet and gentle expression, by her agreeable way of speaking.”

The Crown Princess noted how Frederica “took up the standpoint that her country and family had simply been plundered and injured and treated with the greatest injustice in an uncalled-for way, and that it is our (i.e. the Emperor and the Government) bounden to repair all the mischief they have done and restore what has been lost!”

This was about the loss of a large part of the King of Hanover’s fortune, which had been appropriated by Bismarck.

“This is a one-sided view and must lead to illusions,” Crown Princess Victoria wrote.  “That the King of Hanover chose to be our enemy was his own free will, and the Emperor left no stone unturned to implore him to join us. [Victoria is referring to Georg V’s decision to side with Austria in the Austro-Prussian war, where Prussia was the victor.] He would not.”    

The Crown Princess blamed Frederica’s brother, Ernst August, Duke of Cumberland, for furthering the situation.   “Their money would have been returned to them last June if it had not been for that unfortunate letter of Ernest which is looked upon here as an insult.”

Three days after this letter was written, the Crown Princess wrote again to her mother.  Although the primary focus of her letter was about her young son, Waldemar, who was suffering from diphtheria [he died on March 27], she also gave further news about “Lily of Hanover.”   Queen Victoria’s response to the earlier letter provided some comfort for Frederica, as Vicky noted that Fritz “is no more inclined to judge her harshly.  I think he does not understand people’s motives at first always quiet, and as you know he has his own ideas of the respect and courtesy due to himself which he is always ready to pay to others.”

“I think he quite understands now, and I know he is determined to use every means in his power to try and get the money for the Queen and the Princesses.”

As Victoria debated her cousins’ situation, she seemed encouraged by Leopold’s pursuit of Princess Frederica, which was in total contrast to her view, fourteen years earlier, when Prince Alfred wanted to marry her.    In October 1878, she allowed Leopold to visit Lily and her family at Gmunden, “officially to see the widowed Queen” on Victoria’s behalf, but the real purpose of the visit was for Leopold to “assess his chances.”  

 Leopold’s chances were not good.  Frederica remained determined to marry Alfons (the romance was still secret), but she knew her family would oppose the marriage.    It soon became apparent to Leopold that Frederica would not be receptive to a proposal of marriage.  He left  Austria and traveled to Darmstadt, where he “sought comfort” with Alice and her family.

Several friends spoke to the princess on Leopold’s behalf, again to no avail, as Frederica had decided sometime before that she would only marry for love.  Leopold was a friend, but she did not love him. 

Prince Leopold remained very much the gentleman, and after “the truth came out,” he chose to help Frederica’s dream to marry come true.   He remained one of her closest friends until he died in 1884.

The opportunity to leave Schloss Cumberland in Gmunden came in early 1879 when the Duchess of Cambridge invited Frederica to visit her in England.  Frederica her favorite niece, and she responded favorably to the invitation.   This invitation would be her chance, her opportunity to secure her freedom, and to marry the man she loved.  Soon after she arrived in London,  she told the duchess and Queen Victoria that she wanted to stay in England.  This meant that she wanted a life independent of her family, and she knew her decision would cause great outrage. 

 Queen Marie was certainly not happy with Frederica’s decision.   “You are at a dangerous point.  You are about to separate yourself from those who are closest to you to follow an independent course,” she wrote to Frederica in July 1879.

The Duke of Cumberland was equally disapproving and threatened to stop providing her with an allowance.  One of the reasons for leaving Gmunden was certainly financial.  The Princesses Fund (Prinzessinnenfund) was sequestered by Prussia after 1866, but the distaff members of the family had been receiving an annual annuity from the Prussians, negotiated by Victoria, from 1873.  Most of the money was being used by Queen Marie for the expenses of her two daughters.   Frederica, now thirty years old, “felt deprived of her fortune and living,” and she chose to leave her family.   

After the death of King Georg, the Prussian government began negotiations about new funding arrangements for Queen Marie and her daughters.   The Queen, her younger daughter, and the Duke of Cumberland all agreed to Prussia’s terms.   In London, Frederica turned down the offer.  She wrote to her mother in June 1879 that accepting the money “could be interpreted as agreeing to Prussian arrangements regarding the political situation in Hanover.”

Queen Victoria informed the duke that she “offered to act as a guardian” for Frederica, and supported her decision to stand up to her family.

 Queen Marie was appalled by her daughter’s behavior and begged Frederica to reconsider her decision.  The Duke of Cumberland was losing his patience with her, as he and Queen Marie hammered the point that without her signature, there would be no allowance for anyone.   Frederica claimed that her family had a “legitimate right” to the money, and the Prussians “were dressing up the offer like a gift or a present.”

Frederica caved into her family’s demands and accepted the new allowance.  But she would not return to Austria.  “After all that has occurred it seemed better to prolong my stay here indefinitely,” she wrote to her mother in February 1880.

Queen Victoria again sided with the Princess, writing to the Duke of Cumberland that Frederica was old enough to live on her own.  In the end, the Duke of Cumberland and Queen Marie acquiesced and accepted the Queen’s role as Frederica’s guardian.  Arrangements were also made to send a representative to London to negotiate Frederica’s percentage of the Prussian allowance.

The Queen and her family were fond of Frederica.  When she first arrived at Windsor Castle, determined to seek her freedom from her family, it was Prince Leopold who met her at the train station and escorted her to the castle.  She also began to undertake royal engagements, as a member of the British royal family.  One of her first appearances was on July 17, 1879, when she accompanied Prince and Princess Christian and the Duke of Cambridge, to attend the laying of the foundation stone at Brompton Hospital by the Prince of Wales, accompanied by the Princess of Wales.

She was attended by Miss Taylor, or, more often, by the Hon. Mrs. Charles Eliot, who was named as her lady-in-waiting on February 9, 1880.

After acquiescing to her family’s demands to accept the Prussian offer, Princess Frederica dropped another bombshell.  She wrote a letter to her family, announcing that she would marry Baron Alfons von Pawel-Rammingen, a man with limited income, and of a much lower rank than herself.   The Duke of Cumberland was furious and had no intention of giving his approval for such a mesalliance.  He and his mother made it clear that Frederica would not be given permission to marry her father’s secretary.  

Frederica, however, held her ground, and she had a formidable ally in Queen Victoria, who pointed out to Ernst August that she was Frederica’s guardian, and responsible for her.   She also told him that she gave her permission for marriage (just as she gave  permission for Ernst August to marry Princess Thyra.)    The princess’ marriage may have been morganatic, but, as Frederica had no dynastic rights in Hanover, the marriage did not impact the family’s dynastic status.  In Britain, however, morganatic marriages did not exist, although Victoria was aware that the baron had no real income of his own.

In a letter to Frederica’s brother, Victoria said she supported the couple’s desire to wed. “I know well that you, as well as your dear mother ... would have desired another marriage more in accordance with her rank, for Lily is worthy of the highest position; but she cannot marry without her heart and her heart belongs to another.  I can only respect her noble decision and I believe that a peaceful life with the man she loves and esteems will be the best for her.”

  In January 1880, the Princess spent several days with the Queen at Osborne, and, when it was time to leave, and return to London to begin the preparations for a wedding soon to be announced, she was, once again, accompanied by Prince Leopold.

Queen Victoria shared the news of Lily’s marriage with the Crown Princess in a letter sent from Windsor Castle on March 17, 1880.  “I must tell you of another marriage which will very likely surprise you.  When you told me last year that Uncle Ernest [Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha] maintained that Frederica of Hanover was married to Herr von Pawel, I told you it was totally false; and so it was and is; but not the attachment though I was not aware of it.  I knew last summer and she confided this long attachment to me and asked me to help her and to give my sanction to it. Of course, we should have wished a better marriage in a worldly point of view for one so handsome and distinguished but as she can never give her heart to another, and as he is equally devoted to her and was so devoted to her poor father – and as she is 32 and old enough to know her own mind I felt it right and kind towards this noble-hearted girl who has suffered so much to consent to it, and I shall therefore tomorrow give my consent in Council to this marriage.  She is a British Princess and my subject and wishes to live in Eng£land quite as a particulière and I shall give her a small apartment. He will be naturalised.”

 Queen Victoria noted that the “Cambridges except Augusta Strelitz are furious too but that will blow over as she can hurt no one, poor thing.  The marriage will take place in the private chapel here as soon as I return from Germany.”

The Crown Princess responded that she was “not very much astonished” by the news about Frederica’s marriage.  “I knew she had an attachment for this gentleman. She is so charming and distinguished a creature that one feels sorry she could not take a more prominent place in the world, and make a marriage more in accordance with the usual notions of rank, etc.”

 The Crown Princess may have been referring  to her youngest brother, Leopold’s desire to marry Frederica.

Vicky did not doubt that Lily would be “far happier as the wife of a man she really loves, and in beloved England where homes are the best and happiest.”

The Crown Princess pressed her mother for more information about the Baron.  She was concerned with reports about the Baron’s father, who was said to be “so odious and he made himself such a bad name in Coburg and was so little liked and respected.  I hope the son is worthy of Frederica’s devotion and that her noble heart has not misplaced its confidence and affection!  I do not know whether it is true but it is said Ernest of Cumberland [Frederica’s brother] would never give his consent.”

The Crown Princess said that the “announcement to the family at Berlin has gone off very well.”

Queen Victoria was quick to reassure her daughter that Alfons was “totally unlike his odious father – and is very agreeable and gentlemanlike and was truly devoted to Lily’s poor father and is so to her. The unkindness she meets from her family is dreadful – and (excepting Augusta Strelitz) the Cambridge family are very unkind.  Leopold has been her great help throughout.”

The Queen’s official consent to Frederica’s marriage was announced at Court at Windsor Castle on March 18, 1880.

 The wedding took place on April 24, 1880, in the private chapel at Windsor Castle.  One can only imagine Frederica’s feelings on her wedding day.  She was marrying the man she loved, but without the support of her widowed mother and her brother and sister.   Taking the place of the Duke of Cumberland, the Queen gave away the bride.  Prince Leopold served as Baron von Pawel-Rammingen’s best man.

The Times noted that wedding “had no public or State character,” although it “might possibly affect the succession.”   Only “just over a hundred persons of distinction in English politics, art or society” attended the wedding.  The Duke and Duchess, married the previous year, had stayed at Windsor Castle and accompanied the Queen to the Wedding.  Prince and Princess Christian and their children were driven from Cumberland Lodge on the Windsor estate.  The Duke and Duchess of Teck arrived by the South Western Railway and drove up to the castle in one of the Queen’s carriages.  Most of the guests had traveled by special train from Paddington to Windsor, and this group included the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Princess Augusta of Cambridge) the Duke of Cambridge, and the Duchess of Wellington (Mistress of Robes).

Princess Beatrice and Count and Countess Gleichen were also guests at the wedding.  It is a telling statement that the Prince and Princess of Wales did not attend the wedding.  They spent that weekend at their London home, Marlborough House.  It can be assumed that the Prince and Princess were not present at the wedding was because the Princess of Wales’s sister, Thyra, was married to Frederica’s brother, the Duke of Cumberland.

Inside the chapel, the Queen “took her seat on a low stool placed between the reading -desk and the altar.”

Princess Frederica was attended by six bridesmaids (Countess Feodora Gleichen, Lady Muriel Hay, Lady Mary Ashburnham, Lady Victoria Spencer, Lady Albertha Edgcumbe, and Lady Florence Bridgeman), who were all dressed in white satin.  The bride was “veiled in white and with orange blossoms in her hair.”   The bridesmaids carried wreaths “of yellow flowers, appropriate since yellow is conspicuous in the Hanoverian colours.”

As the wedding party approached the altar, the march in Handel’s “Occasional Overture” and Gounod’s “Marche Religieuse” was played.    The ceremony was performed by the Bishop of Oxford, and assisted by Dean Wellesley.

Princess Mary, Duchess of Teck, and most of the other ladies sat on the left side of the chapel as the Queen, while Prince Leopold, the Duke of Cambridge, and other princes were on the right side, “supporting the bridegroom.”

The ceremony ended when the band of the Grenadier Guards, gathered in the Quadrangle, played “God Save the Queen.”

Queen Victoria, Princess Frederica, and Baron von Pawel-Rammingen, and the Royal guests gathered in the Green Drawing Room.  The register recited the consent of the Queen “in accordance with the Royal Marriages Act.”  The consent was signified “under the Great Seal and also by declaration of the Queen in Council” and entered into the register.  This was followed by the Special License from the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the official acknowledgment that the marriage was solemnized.  The register was signed by the bride and bridegroom, the Queen, the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the Duke of Connaught, the Duchess of Connaught (signing as Louise Margaret), Prince Leopold, Princess Christian (signing as Helena), Prince Christian, Princess Beatrice, the Duke of Cambridge, Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck (signing as Mary Adelaide), the Duke of Teck, Count and Countess Gleichen, Lord Cairns, Lord Beaconsfield, Sir R.A Cross, Lord Salisbury, Lord Mount Edgcumbe, Lord Bradford, the Duchess of Wellington and the Dean of Windsor.

The Queen, the newlyweds, and members of the Royal Family were served lunch in the White Drawing Room, while the other guests “took light refreshment at a buffet” served in the Waterloo Chamber.   At five p.m., the guests gathered in the Quadrangle to throw rice at the “fortunate couple.”  It was shortly after five p.m., when Princess Frederica, wearing a dark traveling dress, and Baron von Pawel-Rammingen got into the carriage.  Followed by a “shower of slippers and race,” the couple were driven out of the castle and to Claremont for their honeymoon.  Along the route, the newlyweds were cheered, and “they bowed to smiling acknowledgments.”

A list of wedding gifts was published in the Times several days after the wedding.   The Queen gave the couple “Indian shawls, silver forks, silver spoons, prayer book, and a ring.”  Although they did not attend the wedding, the Prince and Princess of Wales did send several gifts, including a silver candelabra, a diamond butterfly, and from their children, a diamond and lapis-lazuli brooch.  The Duke and Duchess of Connaught’s gift was a claret jug.  Prince Leopold gave them a silver kettle.  Princess Beatrice’s gift included salt cellars, silver muffineers, and a diamond and coral brooch.   The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz’s present was a silver tea service.   The Count and Countess Gleichen’s gift of a reading lamp was more practical (and within their budget.)  The six bridesmaids chipped in for a dessert service, although one assumed that their parents provided the actual funds for the present.

The Poet Laureate, Alfred Tennyson, gave Princess Frederica and her husband, a copy of his poem “The Lovers’ Tale.”   He also composed a quatrain, “To Princess Frederica on Her Marriage: 

"O You that were eyes and light to the king till he past away 

From the darkness of life - He saw not his daughter - he blest her: the blind King sees you today, 

He blesses the wife.”“

The Queen was keen to show her support for the wedding.   “Our wedding went off well and were very pretty – the private Chapel being decorated with garlands of flowers, green and white, azaleas and palms and primroses near the altar,” she wrote to her daughter on April 27, 1880.   

“No one was in uniform. Lily looked beautiful in her bridal dress  – every inch a Queen she looked; her dress was my gift made in Paris with the Irish lace trimming and the veil the same.  I led her in and gave her away. Her own mother refusing to give her blessing and her sister and brother casting her off.  She looks on me as her mother, and on Beatrice and Leopold as her sister and brother. They went off to Claremont till today.  The bridesmaids were charmingly dressed – all in white with wreaths of lilies of the valley and white veils.”

Several weeks later, the Queen wrote to her daughter: “As we know no morganatic marriage in England, I shall it announce just like I did Ernest of Hanover’s and Louise’s.”

The Queen was referring to the Duke of Cumberland’s marriage in December 1878 to Princess Thyra of Denmark and to the 1871 marriage of Princess Louise to the Marquess of Lorne.

After the honeymoon, Frederica and her new husband moved into an apartment at Hampton Court Palace, a gift from Queen Victoria.  The apartment was in the southwest wing of the Palace, located in the front, and was previously known as the “Lady Housekeeper’s Lodgings.”  Frederica was warmly embraced by Queen Victoria, who cherished her, and she became close friends with Princesses Helena and Beatrice.  

By the end of the summer of 1880, Princess Frederica became pregnant.  She and her husband remained at Hampton Court Palace for the reason of the year.   On March 7, 1881, the Court Circular announced “Her Royal Highness the Princess Frederica (Baroness von Pawel-Rammingen) was safely delivered of a daughter this day at 2:35 p.m.  Her Royal Highness and infant are doing well.”

It is not known if the baby was born prematurely, but it was soon apparent that something was wrong, as the Court Circular noted the next day: “Her Royal Highness the Princess Frederica (Baroness von Pawel Rammingen) has passed an excellent night, and is as well as could be wished.”

The third bulletin, issued on March 9, stated that the Princess had “passed a good night, and is going on well.”    The next day, the Court Circular stated that the Princess “continues to make satisfactory progress.”

None of these announcements mentioned the condition of Frederica’s infant daughter, which meant that the newborn was not thriving.  Three weeks later, another official announcement was made: “We regret to announce that the infant daughter of her Royal Highness the Princess Frederica and of Baron von Pawel Rammingen, whose condition had given rise to grave anxiety for some days, died on Sunday evening at 8:45.  The child was privately baptized on Friday evening by the Rev. Mr. Woodhouse, Chaplain to the Hampton Court Palace, and received the names Victoria Georgina Beatrice Maude Anne.“

It was Princess Beatrice, accompanied by her lady in waiting, Hon. Lady Biddulph, and the Colonel the Hon. O. Lindsay, who traveled to Hampton Court Palace to visit and offer condolences to Princess Frederica two days after the infant Victoria’s death.

Princess Beatrice and her lady-in-waiting were also present for Victoria’s funeral on March 29, 1881, at Windsor Castle.  The coffin was “conveyed” from Hampton Court Palace “at an early hour and deposited in the Albert Memorial Chapel.” 

At noon, Victoria’s grieving father, Baron Alfons, and his sister, Baroness von Coburg,  accompanied by the Hon. Mrs. Charles Eliot and Mr. W.H.  Roots, one of the two doctors present at the birth, arrived at the Deanery and were met by the Dean of Windsor.  The funeral took place at St. George’s Chapel.    The tiny coffin was “conveyed to the Royal Vault,” where the service ended.  

After the wreaths were placed on the coffin, the mourners left the chapel.  The Baron and his sister were “afterward received” by Queen Victoria.

The details were noted in Court Circular, but The Times also devoted a separate news report on the “Royal Funeral at Windsor.”   The Baron traveled from Hampton Court Palace to Windsor on the South-Western Railway, arriving at Windsor at 11:54 a.m.   The body “was brought down to Windsor in a hearse drawn by four horses and were drawn up near the Albert Memorial Chapel.”  

The Times’ reporter included the details of  the “polished oak” coffin with “silver mountings.”  The  inscription read: ‘The infant child of Princess Frederica, daughter of the King of Hanover, and Baron von Pawel Rammingen.’

After the lesson was read, the Hymn “There is a Friend for Little Children.”    Victoria’s coffin was placed with other members of the Royal Family, including her grandfather, the King of Hanover.

After visiting the Queen, the Baron (and his sister) returned to Hampton Court on the South Western Railway at 2:35.

Princess Frederica returned to Court on May 19, when she and her husband visited Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle, and stayed for lunch.  It was not reported, but one assumes, the Princess was able to visit her daughter’s final resting place in the Royal Vault.  

 The cause of Victoria’s death is not known.  Frederica may have given birth prematurely, and, thus, there was no real chance for Victoria to survive.  Although Frederica was only 33 years old when she gave birth, there would be no further pregnancies.  The princess devoted herself to charitable works, especially involving poor women, infants, and blindness.

 It was in August 1881 that the Princess established the Princess Frederica’s Home for Mothers and Infants (also known as Princess Frederica’s Convalescent Home).  This was the first institution of its kind, which provided accommodation for “nine poor married women who require chance and rest after childbirth.”  The women were permitted to remain for three weeks, and there was no cost.  

The home was a “touching reminder of a great sorrow that befell a young princess. While still a happy mother rejoicing in a blooming and beautiful baby, surrounded by every comfort and luxury,” Princess Frederica was aware of the “trying times” for less fortunate women, burdened to “resume the daily tasks to which as yet their strength is unequal.”  It was noted that “when the little one died, whose birth had awakened this tender solicitude,” Princess Frederica turned her thoughts to the creation of a home for low-income new mothers, and “in due time her philanthropic plan was carried into execution.”

Princess Frederica’s endeavor led to the opening of similar institutions in England and in Vienna.   Perhaps because of her own father’s blindness, the princess became one of the vice patrons (the Queen was the patron) and benefactor of Royal Normal College and the Academy of Music for the Blind at Upper Norwood.   Alfons served as a member of the college’s General Council.   The annual Christmas concerts were “graced by the presence” of the princess, accompanied by her husband.  After a concert in December 1881, the Princess “touchingly alluded” to her father’s blindness,  as she offered “kindly words of congratulations and encouragement to the students.”

She also became a patron of the Mission to the French in London, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Training College for Teachers of the Deaf, and the Strolling Players’ Amateur Orchestral Society.    Frederica’s concern for the less fortunate was also seen in her patronage of a charity that helped the children who dwelled around Drury Lane.

At times, Frederica “ran into debt over ‘lush ideas,” in supporting her charities, and, on several occasions, asked Queen Victoria for “financial assistance.”  She remained a favorite of the Queen and was often at Windsor Castle, Balmoral, and Osborne, usually accompanied by her husband. 

In early 1882, Princess Frederica joined Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, the Duchess of Cambridge, and the Duchess of Teck as a patron of the Chelsea Hospital for Women.  Although the Court Circular did not report it, Princess Frederica and her husband left their Hampton Court Palace apartment in the spring of 1882 for an extended trip to the Continent and returned to England in early October 1883. It is entirely possible that the trip was due to ill-health, as there can be no other reason why Princess Frederica would not have been present for Prince Leopold’s wedding in April 1882.

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There were certainly many family events to attend.  In 1887, for example, the Princess was present in the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace for confirmation of Prince Francis of Teck, on March 24, 1887.    Francis was the second son of Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge and the Duke of Teck.   Later in the year, at Balmoral, on November 23, Frederica represented Empress Eugenie of France, one of the godmothers at the baptism of Princess Victoria Eugenie Julie Ena of Battenberg, the second child of Princess Beatrice and Prince Henry of Battenberg.

Winters were spent at Biarritz, where one could enjoy the temperature climate, and perhaps a game of golf.    Queen Victoria, then 68 years old, visited Biarritz in March 1889.  Accompanied by Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg, the queen arrived on March 7 by train from Cherbourg.  This was her first visit to this part of France.      Frederica and Alfons were waiting at the train station to welcome the Queen.  Victoria was in the central carriage on the train, and Princess Frederica boarded the car to have a “short conversation” with her cousin.  When they alighted, the Queen was carrying a bouquet given to her by Princess Frederica.  

This was a private visit for the Queen, having traveled incognito as the Countess of Balmoral, but incognito was lifted for one day, on March 27, when Victoria traveled by train to Irun, Spain, and then onto San Sebastian to meet with the Queen Regent Maria Cristina.  Queen Victoria was accompanied by Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg, and a small retinue.  It was first reported that Princess Frederica and her husband would also accompany the queen, but they remained behind at Biarritz.   There could be several reasons for this, but, on the Continent, Frederica’s marriage was treated as unequal, and her husband may have been excluded from the invitation.   It is possible, however, that Victoria may have expressed to Maria Cristina her fondness for Lily and her husband.

Following her return to her rented villa in Biarritz, Queen Victoria sent a telegram to Maria Cristina expressing her gratitude for the visit.  Queen Maria Cristina responded with a special invitation to Princess Frederica and her husband to join her for lunch the next day at San Sebastian.   The couple traveled to Spain by express train on March 28 and returned to Biarritz later that evening.  Maria Cristina, on meeting Frederica and her husband, could hardly have imagined or considered the role that they would play in arranging the engagement between Maria Cristina’s son, King Alfonso XIII, and Princess Beatrice’s only daughter, Princess Victoria Eugenie more than a decade later.

Princess Frederica and Baron Alfons von Pawel-Rammingen were at the train station on April 2 to take leave of the Queen and Princess Beatrice.   They stayed at Biarritz for several more weeks and were unable to attend the Duchess of Cambridge’s funeral on April 13.  The princess was represented at the funeral by her lady-in-waiting, the Hon. Mrs. Charles Eliot.

By late spring, the couple was back at court.   They attended the wedding on July 27 of Princess Louise of Wales, eldest daughter of the Prince and Princess of Wales, to the Duke of Fife.  In the procession into the chapel, the Princess and her husband followed Princess Beatrice and Prince Henry, and ahead of the Duke of Cambridge.

The close relationship between Frederica and Victoria, whom she called Aunt Victoria, never waned.  Each year, on her wedding anniversary, Frederica wrote to Victoria, thanking her for her help in allowing her marriage.

In 1891,  Frederica was reconciled with her widowed mother, Queen Marie, traveling to Gmunden to visit her mother and her younger sister, Marie.  Queen Marie "believed herself to be dying summoned Frederica to Gmunden,"   It was said that the reconciliation was largely affected by the then Prince of Wales (Edward VII) and the Russian Emperor Alexander III, whose wives were the older sisters of the Duchess of Cumberland, the wife of Frederica's brother, Ernst August.     There is no doubt that Frederica was a "universal favorite in England," at court, and in society.  But Baron von Pawel-Rammingen's status was never fully defined, even though he became a naturalized citizen in March 1880, and was made Knight Commander of the Order of Bath and Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.  He had also served as an honorary colonel of the 6th Battalion of the Essex Regiment.     As Alfons was never welcome at Gmunden, Frederica was forced to put on a brave face, whenever she went home to visit her family.   

The princess suffered at times from ill-health.  In early December 1893, she fell ill in Biarritz.  The New York Times reported that the Princess had “sudden hemorrhage and is dying.” Three days later the Court Circular published: “Yesterday’s bulletin regarding the Princess Frederica of Hanover states that she passed a quiet night and that a very slight improvement in her condition was noticeable.”    The cause of the Princess’s illness was not reported, and two weeks later was the announcement that “the general condition of the health of Princess Frederica of Hanover is so satisfactory that the physicians will issue no more bulletins.”

After a trip to Paris in October 1894, the princess and her husband traveled to San Sebastian “with the object of paying a visit to the Queen Regent of Spain,” Maria Cristina met her guests at the train station and invited them to lunch at the palace.  A military band played during the luncheon, and “concluded with the British National Anthem, in honour of the Royal visitor.”    It was a great honor for the princess and her husband to be openly and officially welcomed by the Queen Regent of Spain, as the Princess’s own family made no real effort to accept the Baron as a member of the family. 

By the mid-1890s, Frederica and her husband were spending more time on the Continent than in England, dividing their time between Bad Kissingen and Biarritz.   The extended trips to Kissingen were said to be for the “benefit of her health,” so it is was not a surprise that in 1897, Princess Frederica gave up her apartment in Hampton Court Palace, and, with her husband, moved to Biarritz, where they leased the Villa Mouriscot from Captain Edmund Wilson Hooke Bellairs, the Vice Consul for Great Britain, who had purchased the estate in 1874.  It was not until 1922 when Baron Alfons was able to purchase the villa from Bellair’s heirs.

The Villa, in the Bois de Boulogne, was located about three miles “from the fashionable watering-place,” and was built in the Basque style.   Although the princess and her husband would return to England for official events, Biarritz became their primary residence, and where they would host members of the Royal Family, including King Edward VII.  

Frederica was in Biarritz when she received word of Queen Victoria’s death.  She and her husband left immediately for London and were among the “distinguished visitors” arriving at Dover on January 24, 1901.  After staying several days in London, they traveled down to Osborne on January 31, to join King Edward VII and his guests, including the  German Emperor Wilhelm II and other royal family members.   She and her husband also went to Windsor Castle to visit the grave of their infant daughter in the Royal Vault at St. George’s Chapel.    

The Princess and Baron Alfons were present for Queen Victoria’s funeral and the Opening of Parliament by the new monarch.  They returned to France on February 22.   She continued to lend her name to charitable organizations, and undertook fund-raising for the Princess Frederica’s Home for Gentlewoman, although she regretted being unable to attend the actual events.  

On December 14, the London Gazette published “The Princess Frederica, Baroness von Pawel-Rammingen, has been pleased to appoint the following to be members of Her Royal Highness’s Household: Countess Bremer, Lady in Waiting, Charles J. Wood, Esq., Comptroller of the Household and Equerry and Atherton, Byrom, Esq. Equerry.”   

 Wood died in March 1902 at the age of 40.

The Coronation festivities for Edward VII brought the Pawel-Rammingens back to London in early June 1902.  Their London base was 28 Clivedon Place, Eaton Square, although there were excursions to the country to visit friends.  There were also visits to the opera and theater with the  Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Princess Augusta of Cambridge)  and the Duke and Duchess of Connaught.  It was announced that Princess and her husband would be a part of the Coronation procession as well.   

Several days before the Coronation was scheduled to take place on June 23, King Edward became ill and underwent immediate surgery for an abdominal abscess.  The Coronation was rescheduled for August 9.   Princess Frederica remained in London where she joined other members of the British royal family at intercessory church services for the recovering monarch.   There were also the obligatory charity visits, and, the Court Circular noted that the Princess, who lived for some years at Hampton Court Palace, made a promise to visit Kingston-upon-Thames in the summer of 1902.  The visit took place on July 5, where the Princess opened a sale of work at Emfield in aid of her branch of the Working Ladies Guild.

As a member of the British royal family, the Princess attended many of the events leading up to Edward VII’s Coronation at Westminster Abbey on August 9.  She and her husband took part in the official procession into the Abbey on the day of the Coronation, sitting in the same carriage with Princess Alexander (Alice) of Teck.   The Princess consented to become the Central London Ophthalmic Hospital patron even though she was returning to France on August 15.

It was at Villa Mouriscot where King Alfonso XIII became engaged to Princess Ena of Battenberg.   The young Spanish king had pursued the blonde, attractive Princess Ena for some time.  The problems of her status as a mere Princess of Battenberg and her religion (Anglican) were hurdles that could be overcome.   Queen Maria Cristina resisted Alfonso’s choice for eight months, but in January 1906, she wrote a long letter to Princess Beatrice, telling her of Alfonso’s love for Ena, and for assistance in approaching Edward VII.    After meeting with Edward at Windsor Castle, Beatrice and Ena departed for France, spending a few days in Paris before arriving in Biarritz on January 22.   

Ena and her mother were the guests of Princess Frederica at Villa Mouriscot.  The  European press was soon on the scent, and reporters from several companies began “infiltrating” the area, believing a big story was about to break.  Several days later, King Alfonso tried to travel incognito from Spain, but this proved impossible as he was greeted by crowds at each train station.   At San Sebastian, the king decided to abandon the train, and drive to Biarritz.  At the villa, he was greeted by Ena’s older brother, Prince Alexander of Battenberg.   

This was only the fifth meeting between the shy Princess and King Alfonso, but at the Villa Mouriscot, they could spend time alone together.   It was inevitable that King Alfonso would propose to Ena, as he was deeply in love with her.   The engagement was celebrated privately, and Alfonso would return to San Sebastian each night, only to be driven back the next morning.   There would be long walks and conversations.  They also carved their names in a tree and planted two fir trees in one of Frederica’s gardens.

Frederica’s cousin, Augusta, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, did not share Queen Victoria’s enthusiasm for morganatic marriages.  “So Ena is to become Spanish Queen! A Battenberg, good gracious,” Augusta wrote to her niece, the Princess of Wales (who was the issue of such a marriage.)  “Lily has all the grand affair on hand & it will be a nice expense to her,” adding “Did you see that ridiculous Photo of all of them, laughing, Beatrice leaning down like an Eagle, Lily grinning, no, too funny & not Royal!”

[Augusta’s view of morganatic marriages had not extended to her own family.  She supported her sister’s marriage to Prince Franz of Teck, and she was the only member of her family to approve of Frederica’s marriage.]

Offering their home, and their own connections with Princess Beatrice and Queen Maria Cristina, Frederica and Alfons played a pivotal role in the facilitating of the romance between King Alfonso and Princess Ena.  It should not be forgotten that Frederica represented Empress Eugenie at Ena’s baptism.     An invitation to the wedding was sent to Frederica and Alfons, and they joined Princess Beatrice and other members of the royal family in Madrid.  Princess Frederica and Alfons were in the same carriage as Princess Alice, daughter of the late Prince Leopold.  Alice expressed concern at the throwing of the bouquets at the carriage (which had been prohibited) and remarked to Frederica that the situation was dangerous.   They left the church in the first carriage, far ahead of the last carriage which carried the newlyweds, and were near the palace when a bomb was thrown into Alfonso and Ena’s carriage. 

In early January 1907, Queen Marie of Hanover underwent surgery but remained in grave condition.  Frederica left Biarritz by train and arrived at Gmunden before her mother’s death on January 9.  Although her husband would have provided comfort as Lily grieved her mother’s death, Alfons had to remain in Biarritz.   

 King Edward VII was fond of Biarritz and paid several visits to the seaside resort during his reign.  In March 1906, King Edward VII “drove in his motor-car to the Villa Mouriscot” to see his cousin, Frederica, now 58 years old.  He returned in 1908, and visited the Princess several times, as she was unwell, and “very weak,” but she was “improved in health” before the king returned to England.  

The King visited Frederica in early March 1910, four days before the Court Circular announced that Frederica left Biarritz to spend a few days in Paris before traveling to Austria, “where she will spend a few months.”  She returned to the Villa Mouriscot on April 9, after being gone only a month.  It is possible that she visited her brother, the Duke of Cumberland, at Gmunden, and the visit may have ended abruptly as the siblings were not close.

Frederica’s early return to Biarritz offered another opportunity for King Edward to pay another visit to the Villa Mouriscot, on April 26, several hours before he left for London.  This was the last time Frederica saw King Edward VII.   While in Biarritz, the king had collapsed, as he suffered from a severe case of bronchitis.  The King’s declining health was not reported in the press.  He returned to London in a weakened condition.   Lily was also not well, as noted by Court Circular on May 5.  Princess Henry of Battenberg had arrived at Biarritz from Madrid, where she had visited her daughter, Queen Ena, and planned to stay for a few days with Princess Frederica.  Princess Henry attended Ascension Day service at the English church, accompanied by Alfons as Princess Frederica was “slightly unwell,” and had been confined to her bed for several days.

King Edward VII died on May 6.  His funeral was held on May 21.  Princess Frederica remained at the Villa Mouriscot, perhaps still too ill to travel to England, and did not attend the king’s obsequies.    She continued to lend her name to charitable patronages, but travel was becoming difficult for Lily, now in her 60s.    She was represented by Atherton Byrom at the funeral of the Duke of Fife in February 1912.   Later that year, she donated £20 to the West Hackney Church Restoration Fund.   Other members of the Royal Family attended functions celebrating her charities including Princess Frederica’s Home for Aged Gentlewomen.  At Christmas, the King and Queen sent game to the Home.   Each year, on Queen Victoria’s death anniversary, a wreath was placed in the Royal Mausoleum on Frederica’s behalf.

Unable to attend the October 1913 wedding of Prince Arthur of Connaught and the Duchess of Fife, Princess Frederica did send a gift, an enamel top smelling-bottle. For several years before the first world war, Princess Frederica and Princess Christian gave their patronage to the Vente de Charité, which supported the Mission to French-speaking Foreigners in London and Great Britain.  

 Frederica was with her family in January 1913 when her nephew, Prince Ernst August, brought his fiancee, Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia, to Gmunden to meet the Hanoverian royal family.  The newly engaged couple was accompanied by the princess’s mother, Empress Auguste Viktoria.  The engagement between Prince Ernst August of Hanover (styled as “of Cumberland” in Britain) and Princess Viktoria Luise, only daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm, ended the feud between the Hanoverian and Prussian royal houses.   When the train pulled into the station, the young couple was welcomed by the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland, accompanied by Princess Frederica (without her husband), Princess Olga, Ernst August’s unmarried sister, and his two married sisters, Princesses Marie Louise and Alexandra and their husbands, Prince Max of Baden and Grand Duke Friedrich Franz IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.   

In her memoirs, Viktoria Luise wrote that she was not amused by the suggestion made by Princess Frederica, who encountered her “unexpectedly one day.”  A long conversation followed, but the young Princess was caught off guard when Frederica “suggested that I knew I also had to get married the English way.”  Viktoria Luise said she was “slightly shocked” by Frederica’s statement.  She quickly rushed to her fiancé and his father, and “both were beside themselves with irritation at the Princess’s meddling.”     Viktoria Luise said the Duke announced there would be no need for an English marriage, must to the relief of Princess Viktoria Luise and her mother, who “had recovered from the shock.”

The Duke then explained about the “English marriage,” which referred to the Royal Marriages Act.  He added that an English marriage would indicate that the Hanoverian royal family was connected to the British royal house.   He reassured the engaged couple (and the German Empress) that he “expressly ordered that consent would not be obtained in the usual form.”   He would send instead “a formal notification” of the marriage to King George V.  

Ever conscious of her own ties to the British royal family, Frederica was quite right to point out the “English marriage,” and she may have had further conversations with her brother regarding the situation.  She may have reminded him that his own marriage was approved by Queen Victoria.  She won the battle.  On March 17, 1913, King George V was “pleased to declare his Consent of Matrimony” for Ernst August’s marriage.    The wedding on May 24 was the last grand royal occasion before the outbreak of World War I.  

Biarritz was far from the French battlefields during the first world war, and Frederica and Alfons remained in their Villa throughout the war.     In the Titles Deprivation, her brother, Ernst August, lost his British peerages and ceased to be considered a member of the British royal family.   Frederica did not suffer this ignominy as she had been officially acknowledged as a member of the British royal family, even after the first world war.  

The final decade of Princess Frederica's life brought news of the deaths of the Duchess of Connaught and Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, and at both funerals, she was represented by Atherton Byron.   She was invited to Princess Mary’s wedding in 1923 to Lord Lascelles, and her wedding gift was lace.  A year later, a present of “old lace” was sent to the Duke of York and the Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.  A white ostrich feather fan was her gift to Lady Mary Cambridge (the granddaughter of Princess Mary Adelaide) when she married Lord Worcester in June 1923.

King George V and his family maintained contact with Princess Frederica.  In April 1924, the Prince of Wales had lunch with Lily at her home before attending a Rugby match between Cambridge and the Biarritz Olympic. One of her last royal events was Queen Alexandra’s funeral on November 25.  Princess Frederica was represented by Major Humphrey Daniell.

Princess Frederica of Hanover died “suddenly” at 4:00 a.m. on October 16 at Villa Mouriscot.  She was 78 years old.  The Times’ obituary described her as a “link with the old Royal Family.  Her funeral was held at Biarritz on October 21.  The British Ambassador Lord Crewe represented King George V and Queen Mary.  The King and Queen of Spain and the Queen Mother Spain, Princess Henry of Battenberg, and the Duke of Brunswick, Frederica’s nephew, all sent representatives to the funeral.  Her body was brought back to England, where a Committal Service at St. George’s Chapel was held on November 18.  The princess’s coffin was placed in the Royal Vault, near her infant daughter and her father.

Baron Alfons survived his wife by six years.  He died at Biarritz on November 20, 1932, at the age of 89.   A “charming and courteous gentleman,” Baron Alfons never recovered from the death of his wife.  Their marriage was one “of great happiness,” and their “romantic attachment lasted to the end.”   His remains were buried in the Sabaou cemetery at Biarritz, and not in the Royal Vault at St. George’s Chapel, where his wife and daughter were laid to rest.

Exile and her anathema toward Prussia gave Frederica a voice. She stood her ground against her mother and brother, and, unlike her younger sister, Marie (who died in 1904), Lily was not content to remain a spinster in Gmunden.   She had no desire for a grand marriage, as she fell in love with a minor nobleman. She also found an ally in Queen Victoria.   In return, Princess Frederica became an active member of the Royal Family.  She was devoted and thankful to Queen Victoria for her assistance in establishing a new life in Britain.  She took on numerous charities, and at least one of her charities is still extant.   The death of her only child, Victoria, in 1881, was painful, but she used that pain to help others.  She became the patron of the Church Extension Association, then in Kilburn.  On July 24, 1889, Princess Frederica officially opened the new school in the new suburb of Willesden.  The school was named in her honor.  In 2014, the Princess Frederica Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School celebrated its 125th anniversary. 

 If you liked this article, perhaps you can buy me a coffee   

part 1

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Princess Cecile of Greek and Denmark


Princess Cecilé of Greece and Denmark was born on June 22, 1911, at Tatoi, the third daughter of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg.  She was a great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and King Christian IX of Denmark.  

She married HRH Grand Duke Georg Donatus of Hesse and by the Rhine, who was her mother's first cousin, in Darmstadt on February 1, 1931.  They had four children:  Ludwig (October 25, 1931), Alexander (April 14, 1933), Johanna (September 13, 1936), and a stillborn child found in the remains of the air crash on November 16, 1937, at killed Cecile, Don, their two sons, his mother, Grand Duchess Eleonore, and several other people. 

Princess Johanna was adopted by Don's brother, Prince Ludwig, and his wife, the Hon. Margaret Geddes.  She died of meningitis on June 14, 1939.   

The family was en route to London to attend Prince Ludwig's wedding.  The two young princes were to be pages in the wedding.

Bridesmaids at the wedding of Lord Louis Mountbatten and the Hon. Edwina Ashley

All images  Marlene A Eilers Koenig collection

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The invitations are ready to go out


Victoria Romanovna Bettarini has shared with me photos of the official invitation to her wedding.  She is marrying HIH Grand Duke George of Russia.

The invitations have been made in Moscow "using old printing techniques and machines", which features the Imperial Family's pre-revolutionary coat of arms. 

The couple will be married on October 1 at St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg

Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine honor the late Queen Maria




Oplenac, 22 June 2021 – On the occasion of the 60th memorial service of HM Queen Maria, Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine visited Oplenac and laid a wreath and lit candles at her tomb.

Queen Maria was Queen Consort of King Alexander I and the mother of King Peter II. She was born as a Romanian Princess on January 9, 1900, and was known as Mignon. 

She won the hearts of Serbian people when she addressed them upon her arrival it was in fluent Serbian, and she was very much loved and respected for her humanitarian work. She was known as the Queen Mother to all people in Yugoslavia. After the assassination of HM King Alexander I in Marseilles on 9 October 1934, she continued to care for her sons. She was very active with the Red Cross during World War II, and sent a lot of humanitarian help to Yugoslavia, but always signed herself with the alias Maria K. Djordjevic. One of her most famous endowments is University Children Hospital – Tirsova in Belgrade.

She died in London on 22 June 1961 and was buried at the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore. It is a cemetery used by the British royal family. Consecrated on 23 October 1928 by the Bishop of Oxford, it is adjacent to the Royal Mausoleum, which was built in 1862 to house the tomb of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Crown Prince Alexander attended the funeral when he was 15 years old. 

Her Majesty’s remains were transferred to Serbia on 29 April 2013, and she was buried at the Royal Mausoleum in Oplenac next to King Alexander I during the State funeral on 26 May 2013.


Friday, June 18, 2021

Frederica of Hanover: A Passionate & Obstinate Princess

King Georg Vm Queen Marie, Crown Prince Ernst August,  Princess Friederike, and Princess Mary

The messenger arrived in London on the night of January 13, 1848,  having traveled four days from Hanover to bring word to Queen Victoria that the wife of her first cousin, the Crown Prince of Hanover, had given birth to her second child, a daughter.   The new princess, born on January 9,  was named Friederike Sophia Maria Henrietta Amelia Theresa, in honor of her paternal grandmother, Queen Friederike. She is better known by the English spelling of her name – Frederica – as she spent most of her life as a British, rather than a Hanoverian, princess.   

In 1714,  Georg Ludwig, Elector of Hanover, succeeded his kinswoman, Queen Anne, as King of Great Britain.  The two countries were joined in a personal union (Hanover became a kingdom in 1814), with one sovereign on both thrones, but the two countries were never united.  This changed in 1837 when William IV died.   His niece, Victoria, succeeded to the British throne, but due to Salic law (males only) in Hanover, William’s brother, Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, became King Ernst August of  Hanover.   

Ernst August, the fifth son of King George III and Queen Charlotte, accompanied by his wife, Frederica, and their only son, George, newly styled as  Crown Prince Georg, moved to Hanover.   Victoria’s accession to the British throne changed the dynamics of the succession, and the Hanoverians became a collateral branch in the line of succession.   In an attempt to keep the two thrones in the same line, Ernst August had hoped that his son would marry Queen Victoria.  It was not meant to be as she loved another first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and they were wed in February 1840.   Three years later Georg married Princess Marie of Saxe-Altenburg, eldest daughter of the Duke of Saxe-Altenburg.  Their first child, Ernst August, was born in September 1845, followed by Frederica, in 1848, and Marie, who was born in December 1849.

King Ernst August died on November 18, 1851, and his only son succeeded to the throne as   King Georg V of Hanover.  He also succeeded to his father’s British titles: Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale and Earl of Armagh.  

King George and his family returned to England for the baptism of Victoria and Albert's eighth child Prince Leopold, which took place on June 29, 1853, as the king was one of the young prince's godparents.   The King and Queen and their three young children arrived on the evening of June 17 at the Royal Dockyard at Woolwich from Ostend, Belgium.   It must have been exciting for the five-year-old Princess Frederica to travel by carriage to Ostend, where she and her family boarded a ship for the Channel crossing to England.

King Georg V

Queen Marie

The royal guests were welcomed at the dock by the king’s first cousin, the Duke of Cambridge.  Frederica and her older brother, Crown Prince Ernst August, got into the second carriage behind their parents and younger sister, Marie.    En route to London, the carriage procession stopped in Greenwich, where the royal party was met by the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, and the Hereditary Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Princess Augusta of Cambridge.)   

The carriage procession arrived at Hanover Legation at Grosvenor Place at 7:00 p.m.   King Georg and Queen Marie “retired for a few moments” before getting into another carriage to visit the Queen and Prince Albert.  The British sovereign and her husband had already received word of the Hanoverians’ arrival, and were already on the road toward the Legation, “hastening to their illustrious relatives.”

Victoria and Albert spent about thirty minutes with the king and queen at the Legation.  The Times does not record if King Georg introduced his three children to Victoria.   It was already late in the evening, and the three young royal children were more likely having baths and being put to bed.

Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, then only 19, wrote  in her diary of the various meetings with the “Hanoverians.”  On June 24, Princess Mary Adelaide accompanied Queen Marie and her children to the Zoological Gardens.  The following day a special dinner and entertainment were held at Gloucester House in honor of the Hanoverian children, whose playmates included several of Victoria’s children and Hereditary Prince Adolphus of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the son of Princess Augusta of Cambridge, who was six months younger than Princess Frederica.     

On June 25, the king and queen and their children visited the Parliament and Westminster Abbey before returning to the Legation, where the King received the Duke of Nemours and the Duke of Cambridge

The baptism took place on June 28 at the chapel in Buckingham Palace.  When the Archbishop of Canterbury asked for the names of the infant prince, King Georg announced in a “clear, sonorous voice,” Leopold George Duncan Albert.  The other godparents were Princess Mary Adelaide, the Princess of Prussia, and Prince Ernst of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.   The Hanover children were not present at the baptism, but they and their British and Mecklenburg cousins, “appeared before the banquet” and were presented to the guests.

After all the celebrations for the baptism and for dinners and balls in their honor, the King and Queen of Hanover and their children left for Hanover on July 4, returning to Woolwich to board a ship for Ostend.   More than twenty years would pass before Princess Frederica, determined to take control of her life, made the decision to move to England.

As the elder daughter of the King of Hanover, Frederica was not without suitors.  In April 1862, Queen Victoria wrote to her eldest daughter, Crown Princess Victoria of Prussia that she thought "the Hanoverian" would be a good match for her second son, Affie, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.  When the possibility of such a marriage was broached again two years later, Victoria changed her opinion of Princess Frederica.  In a letter to her daughter, Crown Princess Victoria of Prussia, the queen wrote:   "Affie's sudden predilection for the Princess of H has startled me!  That I would fear to be a doubtful thing."

Vicky concurred:  "It was quite a surprise to see that Affie seemed struck with the elder Princess of Hanover - which he certainly did. Whether or not she would do for him I cannot presume to give an opinion upon.  She is said to be grown into a fine girl and to be very good-natured -but I have never heard more.  I should not think the impression could be very deep - the visit lasted so short a time, but he certainly seemed pleased with her."

Queen Victoria was concerned with “Affie’s affairs,” but “Hanover is out of the question on the score of health alone – and good Sir James has positively declared this.  Three generations of blindness and double relationships which, if you will reflect on, you will see there are – viz. the late Queen was a first cousin to the late King of H. and the present Queen is her great-niece – and Fritz of Strelitz (also blind) is the first cousin of George of H. I have said to Affie positively it cannot be.”

Embed from Getty Images

[The late Queen was Princess Friederike (Frederica) of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, a  niece of Queen Charlotte, consort of George III.  Frederica had married her third husband, Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, and they had one son, Prince George of Cumberland, born three days after his first cousin, Victoria.  He lost sight in one eye in 1828, following an accident, and became totally blind in 1833.   Fritz was Grand Duke Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.  He was the nephew of Queen Frederica and married to Princess Augusta of Cambridge, a first cousin to King Georg of Hanover and Queen Victoria.   Fritz and Augusta were also first cousins, as their mothers were sisters.    Georg’s wife, Princess Marie of Saxe-Altenburg’s paternal grandmother, Charlotte, was the sister of Queen Frederica.   Queen Victoria wanted Prince Alfred to marry another Princess Marie of Saxe-Altenburg, whose father, Duke Georg, was Queen Marie of Hanover’s first cousin.  There is also a hint of irony here when one considers that one of Victoria’s sons was a hemophiliac, and two of her daughters carried the hemophiliac gene.  Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.]

Thus,  Frederica was “struck off the list” of candidates to marry Prince Alfred, although the Queen wrote to her daughter in June 1864: “He is still (I am sorry to say) leaning to Hanover.  However, I think reason will put it out of his head.”

In January 1866, Count Platen-Hallermund, representing Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck, arrived in Hanover to discuss a marriage between Princess Frederica and Prince Albrecht of Prussia.  But the marriage negotiations collapsed as the relationship between the Hanover Royal family and their Prussian cousins disintegrated rapidly after Prussia annexed Hanover, and King Georg V and his families were forced into exile.   

In August 1874, a German newspaper, the Magdeburg Gazette reported on a rumor that the Duke of Brunswick would marry Princess Frederica.   This seemed an unlikely arrangement as Duke Wilhelm, a grandson of Princess Augusta, sister of George III, who married the Duke of Brunswick, was in his late 60s.  He had never shown interest in marriage, although he was the father of several illegitimate children.   

The Duke of Brunswick’s relationship with Prussia was strained as Prussia refused to recognize Frederica’s brother, Ernst August, as the Duke’s heir because of his claim to the Hanover throne.  

There was also talk of a Danish marriage, but nothing came of this rumor or the report that the Prince of Orange, the heir to the Dutch throne, wanted to marry Frederica.  (Alexander had also been linked to Frederica's future sister-in-law, Princess Thyra of Denmark. He died unmarried in 1884.)

  Known as Lily to her family, Frederica was said to be  “passionate and outspoken,” especially after her father lost his throne, as she defended her family’s honor, and then sought emancipation from her family.  King Georg  (and the majority of other German sovereigns) sided with Austria in its war against Prussia in 1866.  Prussia was victorious,  and King Wilhelm I of Prussia and Chancellor Otto von Bismarck exacted revenge on the King by annexing Hanover as a part of Prussia.  King Georg V was now without a throne. He and his son, Crown Prince Ernst August, headed for their home in Austria, while Queen Marie and the two princesses remained in Hanover for another year.  Frederica saw her father once during that period when they met at her maternal grandfather’s palace in Altenburg.

The Prussians put immense pressure on the distaff members of the Hanover royal family to leave Schloss Marienburg, and in the summer of 1867, they joined Georg and Ernst August in Austria.   Frederica’s “experiences of defeat and exile” would shape her political views and her immense distrust of Prussia and von Bismarck.    She also found her voice, making it clear that she would not succumb to a “potential political marriage” with Prince Umberto of Italy.  

The Hanoverian royal family settled in Austria as King Georg purchased homes at Gmunden, near Lake Traunsee, and Penzing, near Vienna.  The family also owned a home in Paris.   But there would be financial issues for the king and queen and their three children, as Prussia had sequestered the Guelph Fund, which was the family’s largest part of their income.   He had also moved some of his to England before the war.

Queen Victoria’s relationship with her Hanoverian cousins was fraught with tension, especially after Georg lost his throne.   The Duke of Cambridge wrote to Victoria about providing assistance to their Hanoverian cousins, and Victoria “claimed she would do anything in her power” to save her dynasty, but she did not want the king to be “allowed to come to England,” even for a visit, and there was no question that the exiled king and his family would be permitted to live in England.

In the spring of 1876, the elderly Duchess of Cambridge invited King Georg and his family to visit her in England.  Queen Victoria was furious with her aunt for extending the invitation without asking her first.  But the Duchess was not the first member of the British royal family to show compassion for the Hanoverians.   In March, Prince Leopold, Victoria's youngest son, sought a warmer climate by traveling  to Cannes, stopping  in Paris for a few days to visit his godfather, King Georg V.  The Hanoverian royal family was happy to welcome the young British prince, and Leopold enjoyed meeting the king's two daughters, especially the younger Princess Marie, "who reminded him of his sister, Louise."  The question of marriage was not discussed, although one can assume that the king would have been delighted to see one of his daughters marry Queen Victoria's youngest son.

King Georg and his family arrived in London on May 16, and shortly after their arrival, they called upon the Duchess of Cambridge at her residence at St. James’s Palace. They stayed at Claridge’s Hotel, spent time in London’s cultural sights, visiting family in London and in the country.  The Duke of Connaught invited them for tea at Buckingham Palace, and they had dinner at Marlborough House with the Prince and Princess of Wales.  Several of Queen Victoria’s children called upon King and Queen at Claridge’s, but the Queen herself was at Balmoral, thus avoiding meeting her cousin.   

Queen Marie, accompanied by her son and her youngest daughter, left England on June 5.  Georg and Frederica remained in England for several more weeks.  This was a time when Frederica could attend social events,  become more acquainted with her British cousins, and, perhaps, finally find a husband.  They were invited to the Dowager Duchess of Cleveland’s garden party at Osterley Park, near Brentford, and left Claridge’s in an open carriage.  There was also a shopping excursion for the 28-year-old princess, attended by Countess Bremer, in London.  One evening, Georg and Frederica were invited to dine with Lady Poulett at her Hanover Square home, where a “select company” was invited to meet the king and his daughter.    Princess Frederica accepted an invitation to join the Prince and Princess of Wales at Ascot.

On their final day (June 17) in London, the king and his daughter hosted a luncheon at Claridge's, where the guests included the Duke of Connaught, the Duke of Cambridge, Princess Mary Adelaide, and the Duke of Teck.  After the luncheon, the King and Princess Frederica said their goodbyes to Mr. and Mrs. Claridge and were driven to Victoria Station in one of the Queen's carriages to start their journey back to Paris.   

One of the king’s attendants was his secretary, the Coburg-born  Baron Alfons von Pawel-Rammingen.

The young princess enjoyed her visit to England as she got to know better her Cambridge cousins and her aunt (who described Frederica as her favorite niece), and she was included in numerous invitations to the British royal family.   She was also keeping a secret from her family as she was in love with her father’s secretary.

Prince Leopold was visiting Italy and France when the Hanoverians came to England.   He, too, was harboring a secret.  He had fallen in love with the "tall woman, stately, rather than beautiful" Princess Frederica.   It did not matter to Leopold that Frederica was five years his senior.   He confided his feelings about Lily to his sister, Alice, the Grand Duchess of Hesse and By Rhine.  Leopold wanted to marry her, but Frederica asserted that she had more pressing concerns that included the political and financial issues facing her family.  

Although Victoria had sided with Hanover and not with Prussia, she didn’t approve of “Georg V’s political efforts to restore the king of Hanover by insurrectionary means.”

Financial arrangements for the Hanover royal family were included in the peace treaty between Hanover and Prussia.  It was seen as a generous offer on the part of the Prussians, as Georg would receive the interest on his income on the condition that he left the “administration of the funds and the total of his remaining property to the Prussian state.”  The King accepted this offer, but he made a fatal mistake when he used some of the  money to “finance separatist opposition to Bismarck’s confederation.”   A very angry Bismarck chose to freeze all of Georg’s assets in Hanover, and he used the money to fight insurrection in Hanover until the royal family renounced their rights to the kingdom.

Their financial security was again shaken when King Georg V died suddenly at his home on the Rue de Presbourg in Paris on June 12, 1878.  He was buried in the Royal Vault at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.

Georg’s son, Ernst August, did not take the title king of Hanover, choosing instead to be styled by his British ducal title, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale.  He did not renounce his claims to the Hanover throne, which was made clear in a letter he sent to the other European sovereigns announcing his father’s death. 

  Queen Victoria referred to Ernst August’s letter as “injudicious.”  She knew that Ernst August would not make a formal renunciation of his rights to the Hanover throne, and she believed that if he chose not to interfere with Prussian influence in Hanover, his fortune would be restored.   But the “ill-advised” (according to Queen Victoria) Duke of Cumberland did not hold back with his vitriolic statement about Prussia.   

In March, the Prince of Wales asked his elder sister, Victoria, and her husband, Crown Prince Friedrich of Prussia, to visit Frederica, who wanted to broach the matter of her family’s money.   Although Queen Marie and her younger daughter were content with their lives at Gmunden, Princess Frederica was determined to live her own life.   Her brother pressured her to accept the Prussian annuity, as he felt she should also contribute to the family’s finances.  Frederica was defiant, standing up to the Prussians in defense of her family.  Disappointed by her brother and mother, Frederica felt too confined by life in exile in Austria, especially after her brother’s marriage to Princess Thyra of Denmark in December 1878. 

Princess Thyra was the youngest daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark, and whose sisters, Alexandra and Dagmar were married respectively, to the heirs of the British and Russian thrones.  

Suffice to say that the Duke of Cumberland and Queen Marie were overbearing in their treatment of Frederica.  Princess Marie may have been content to remain at her mother’s beck and call, as she had no suitors.  Still keeping her love for Alfons close to her heart, Frederica began to consider her options to leave Gmunden.  She also had to face the wrath of the Prussians as she would not agree to new financial terms proposed by the Prussians.

Part II

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