Queen Louise of Prussia

Louise Auguste Wilhelmine Amalie was born on 10 March 1776 in the city of Hanover. She was the daughter of Duke Charles of Mecklenburg and Princess Friederike of Hesse-Darmstadt. Louise’s father’s sister Charlotte was the Queen of England through her marriage with King George III. At the time of Louise’s birth, her father wasn’t yet the Duke of Mecklenburg but merely a General in the army. Louise lost her mother when she was only six years old, which affected her character as she grew up to be a very caring person. In her early years, she learned and became fluent in French. She generally liked reading, especially the popular pieces of literature of the time like the works of Shakespeare and Goethe.Louise was brought on a trip to Frankfurt to pay a family visit to Prussian King Frederick William II. During the visit, Louise met with the Crown Prince Frederick William. The Crown Prince made his decision to marry with Louise as soon as she met with her. After he made his intentions clear, the two got engaged on 24 April 1793 and they got married on 24 December 1793.

Louise’s first arrival in Prussian capital Berlin and her charming attitude fascinated everyone. She was very kind and merciful to common people and she was a true and majestic Princess among noble people. She had a pretty much perfect relationship with her husband and she was well-beloved by her father-in-law, the King. During her years as the Crown Princess, she did quite a lot of charity works in Berlin which increased her already high popularity. By the time her husband became King, which made Louise a Queen, she was a pretty famous figure among the entire European nobility.

After her husband’s succession as the new King of Prussia, the couple went on a trip towards the eastern parts of the Kingdom. This trip made Louise even more acquianted with the common people of the Kingdom. She was possibly the first Queen of Prussia to attract more attention than the King himself. No matter which social class or background from they are, everyone found Louise to be the perfect example of how a “mother of a nation” type of Queen should be like.

Louise’s character didn’t just consist of her kind and charming traits, however, as she was deeply interested in the matters of state as well. She was involved in internal politics of Prussia as she was interested in contemporary politics and politicans around Europe. Her husband, Frederick William III. , was a keen supporter of peace. He, therefore, chose his advisors and statesmen according to his own political agenda. These advisors often lacked the necessary skills to advise the King against his own ideas. Louise often showed up as one of the rather smarter advisors to her husband, the King. She often prevented pro-reform advices from statesmen and officers to be heard by the King as she thought the King wasn’t strong enough to dictate such radical changes in state matters. At the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars, Prussia remained neutral initially. Louise was an open supporter of war against the growing French menace. Not long after, the King felt pressured to declare war, so he ordered the mobilization of the army.

 

On 14 October 1806, Prussian army, accompanied by the King and the Queen, got decisively defeated by Napoleon’s army in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. After his victory, Napoleon marched into Berlin and occupied the city. The royal couple, Frederick William and Louise, fled to the easternmost city of their country, Memel. They met with Napoleon the following summer with the Tsar Alexander of Russia accompanying them as a negotiator to handle the talks for truce. Frederick William thought Louise’s presence during the peace talks would maybe persuade Napoleon to keep Prussia’s losses at a lower rate. And Louise, even though she despised Napoleon, agreed to meet with him only to save Prussia from a terrible fate. Prussia, at the end, lost half of its territories and was forced to pay a considerable amount of money to France.

In the following years, Louise stepped forward as a symbol of hope and nationalism for her people and her country. She started supporting reformists such as Gerhard von Scharnhorst, to restructure the army. She also spent a large sum of her time educating her children in state matters, especially after seeing what tragedies incompetent statesmen can cause. Having been away from court life for 3 years, Louise and the King returned to Berlin in 1809. Louise, however, became ill after the years she spent in the East. She died on 19 July 1810 on a visit to her father in Strelitz. Her untimely death left Prussia in a weaker spot in a time of need for reform and reorganization while the Napeoleonic Wars continued. After her death, even to this day, Louise has been praised for being a beacon of hope and strength in the dark days of her nation. She was arguably the most influential woman figure in Prussian history.

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