Princess Louise of Prussia (1808���1870)


Princess Louise Marie Elisabeth of Prussia (; 3 December 1838 – 23 April 1923) was
Grand Duchess of Baden Baden was a state of the Holy Roman Empire and later one of the German states along the frontier with France primarily consisting of territory along the right bank of the Rhine opposite Alsace and the Electorate of the Palatinate, Palatinate. Ma ...
from 1856 to 1907 as the wife of Grand Duke Frederick I. Princess Louise was the second child and only daughter of
Wilhelm I, German Emperor William I or Wilhelm I (german: Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig; 22 March 1797 – 9 March 1888) was King of Prussia The monarchs of Prussia were members of the House of Hohenzollern The House of Hohenzollern (, also , , german: Haus Hohenzoller ...
, and
Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach Princess Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (Augusta Marie Luise Katharina; 30 September 1811 – 7 January 1890) was the queen of Prussia and the first German empress as the consort of William I, German Emperor William I or Wilhelm I (german: Wi ...
. She was the younger sister of Frederick William ("Fritz"), the future German Emperor Frederick III, and aunt of
Emperor Wilhelm II en, Frederick William Victor Albert , house = Hohenzollern , father = Frederick III, German Emperor Frederick III (german: Friedrich Wilhelm Nikolaus Karl; 18 October 1831 – 15 June 1888) was German Emperor and King of Prussia betwe ...
. Louise was seven years younger than Frederick William and two years older than his wife,
Victoria, Princess Royal Victoria, Princess Royal (Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa; 21 November 1840 – 5 August 1901) was German Empress The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle wrote in September 1881 that the term "Reic ...

Victoria, Princess Royal

Princess of Prussia

Louise Marie Elisabeth was born on 3 December 1838 to
Prince Wilhelm of Prussia A prince is a Monarch, male ruler (ranked below a king, grand prince, and grand duke) or a male member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. ''Prince'' is also a title of nobility (often highest), often hereditary title, hereditary, in som ...
and his wife Princess Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. Louise was named after her grandmothers,
Louise, Queen of Prussia Duchess Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Luise Auguste Wilhelmine Amalie; 10 March 1776 – 19 July 1810) was Queen of Prussia as the wife of Frederick William III of Prussia, King Frederick William III. The couple's happy, though short-liv ...
and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia and was known as "Vivi" in her family. Her parents were a happy but tense couple, and Louise had only one other sibling, Prince Frederick William, who was seven years older. Upon her birth, Augusta declared that her duty in perpetuating the
Hohenzollern The House of Hohenzollern (, also , , german: Haus Hohenzollern, ro, Casa de Hohenzollern) is a German royal dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford ...
dynasty was complete. While Wilhelm showed some outward affection to his only son, he lavished attention on Louise, and often his unexpected visits to her schoolroom resulted in them playing together on the floor. Mother and daughter however were not close, with Augusta's presence filling Louise up with awe; one account states that when Augusta encountered her daughter, Louise "involuntarily drew herself up to her full height, and sat stiff and constrained as for her portrait, while she inwardly trembled lest her answers should prove incorrect". In the early 1850s, Louise was educated by Adèle de Pierre of
Neuchâtel , neighboring_municipalities= Auvernier Auvernier is a village in the district of Boudry (district), Boudry in the Cantons of Switzerland, canton of Neuchâtel (canton), Neuchâtel in Switzerland. The municipalities of Auvernier, Bôle and Co ...


Grand Duchess of Baden

Louise was betrothed to Frederick, Prince Regent of Baden, in 1854, and they married 20 September 1856 at
Neues Palais The New Palace (german: Neues Palais) is a palace situated on the western side of the Sanssouci Park, Sanssouci park in Potsdam, Germany. The building was begun in 1763, after the end of the Seven Years' War, under King ''Friedrich II'' (Frederic ...

Neues Palais
Potsdam Potsdam () is the capital and largest city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Brandenburg. It directly borders the German capital, Berlin, and is part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the Havel, Ri ...

. Frederick became regent because of the insanity of his brother
Louis II, Grand Duke of Baden Louis II, Grand Duke of Baden (15 August 1824 – 22 January 1858) was the son of Leopold I, Grand Duke of Baden and Sophie of Sweden, Sophie of Holstein-Gottorp, Princess of Sweden. Louis succeeded his father as Grand Duke of Baden on 24 April 1 ...
. Frederick himself was proclaimed Grand Duke when doctors declared that there was no chance of recovery. As the only daughter of the Prussian crown prince (and later emperor), their marriage caused Baden to gain a great deal of importance, and even more so once the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
was founded. Within a few weeks of their marriage, the new grand duchess was already pregnant with their first child, Hereditary Grand Duke Frederick. Louise was a happy wife and mother, writing to a friend that "since we last met, my life has become so much more beautiful, more precious, to me, my happiness is so much richer and deeper than before". Louise and Frederick disliked the stiffness of the
Karlsruhe Karlsruhe ( , , ; South Franconian South Franconian (german: Südfränkisch) is an Upper German dialect which is spoken in the northernmost part of Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ) is a States of Germany, state (''Land'') in s ...

court, and gladly escaped to their castle on the island of
Mainau Mainau also referred to as Mav(e)no(w), Maienowe (in 1242), Maienow (in 1357), Maienau, Mainowe (in 1394) and Mainaw (in 1580) is an island in Lake Constance (on the Southern shore of the Überlinger See near the city of Konstanz, Baden-Wür ...

. They were popular in Baden, and everyone spoke with affectionate pride of their grand duke and duchess in
Constance Constance may refer to: Places *Konstanz Konstanz (, , locally: ; also written as Constance in English) is a with approximately 83,000 inhabitants located at the western end of in the south of . The city houses the and was the residence o ...

, where the couple had a summer residence.

Later years

Louise was a great friend of
Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse Princess Alice of the United Kingdom (Alice Maud Mary; 25 April 1843 – 14 December 1878) was Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine This is a list of the Landgravine, Electress and Grand Duchess of Hesse, the consorts of the Landgrave of H ...

Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse
, her sister-in-law's younger sister; i.e., Alice was the sister of Victoria, Louise's brother Frederick William's wife, both sisters being daughters of Queen Victoria. The two often visited each other. In
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of En ...

Queen Victoria
's letters, she and Frederick were always referred to with pleasure or sympathy as ''good Fritz and Louise of Baden''. Though friends as young girls, Louise and her sister-in-law
Victoria, Princess Royal Victoria, Princess Royal (Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa; 21 November 1840 – 5 August 1901) was German Empress The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle wrote in September 1881 that the term "Reic ...

Victoria, Princess Royal
("Vicky") always had a "none-too-friendly rivalry", particularly when comparing their children: while Vicky's eldest son
Crown Prince Wilhelm Wilhelm, German Crown Prince of Prussia (Friedrich Wilhelm Victor August Ernst; 6 May 1882 – 20 July 1951) was the eldest child and heir of the last German Emperor The German emperor (german: Deutscher Kaiser ) was the official title of ...
was born with a deformed arm, Louise apparently could not resist bragging that her three children were healthier and bigger at the same age. Louise doted on her nephew however, and Vicky wrote to her mother that the grand duchess "spoilt him quite dreadfully". Often supporting him against his parents, her and Wilhelm's close relationship would carry on to his adulthood, and he would later write in his memoirs that Louise "possessed considerable political ability and a great gift for organisation, and she understood excellently how to put right men in the right place and how to employ their strength serviceably for the general benefit". He continued that his aunt "learned admirably to combine the Prussian element with the Baden character, and she developed into a model sovereign princess". Louise and Vicky's relations grew even more distant when the former wanted her son Crown Prince Frederick to marry Vicky's niece Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine; the princess instead married
Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia (''Сергей Александрович''; 11 May 1857 – 17 February 1905) was the fifth son and seventh child of Emperor of All Russia, Emperor Alexander II of Russia. He was an influential figure ...

Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia
, and Louise felt her family had been snubbed. However, Vicky's own son, Wilhelm had too been rejected by Elisabeth, which Louise seemed unaware of. The
Austro-Prussian War The Austro-Prussian War or Seven Weeks' War, known in Germany as ("German War") and by a variety of other names, was fought in 1866 between the Austrian Empire The Austrian Empire (german: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling ') was ...
caused a degree of friction between Baden and Prussia, as the former, despite their close familial connections to Berlin, chose to support the
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

ns. As the daughter of the Prussian king, Baden was not included in the list of states forced to pay excessive indemnities to Prussia. Her father's strongly anti-Catholic chancellor
Otto von Bismarck Otto, Prince of Bismarck, Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen, Duke of Lauenburg (german: Otto Fürst von Bismarck, Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen, Herzog zu Lauenburg ; 1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), born Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, was a c ...

Otto von Bismarck
disliked Baden however, as it was one of Germany's most important
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

states; he saw its religion as threatening the stability of the new German Empire. Suspicious of the grand duchess' influence on her father, he did his best to block her request for clemency on behalf of Alsace Catholics to the emperor.

Philanthropic activities

Because of her status as Grand Duchess, Louise was very involved in her duchy's charitable organizations, particularly issues concerning women. She helped found a welfare charity for women called the ''Baden Frauenverein'', which focused on providing hospitals and homes to children. With the support of the ''Women's Association'', Louise founded the first Badenese housewifery school in Karlsruhe, carrying on Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel the Elder's goal of women receiving special domestic training. Louise maintained a correspondence with Florence Nightingale, who believed the grand duchess' letters could have been written by "any administrator in the Crimean War". The grand duchess also had a lifelong friendship with Clara Barton, whom she met during the Franco-Prussian War. They organized military hospitals, and helped found sewing factories for women to aid the war effort; at Louise's suggestion, Barton was awarded the Iron Cross, Iron Cross of Merit after the war by recently crowned Emperor Wilhelm. Despite her old age, Louise was present to welcome back wounded German soldiers upon their return to Germany from France, French prison camps.


Within two years, four of Louise's closest family members died - her father, brother, younger son and mother. Vicky, now Dowager Empress Frederick, took sympathy on Louise and persuaded her mother to confer Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, First Class, on her. Frederick died on 28 September 1907, and their eldest son succeeded as Frederick II. That same year, their only daughter Victoria of Baden, Victoria succeeded as Queen consort of Sweden. Louise, now Dowager Grand Duchess of Baden, lived to see her duchy become absorbed into the new state of Germany under the German Revolution of 1918–19, Revolution of 1918-19 that took place at the end of World War I. At the time of the revolution, her daughter, Queen Victoria of Sweden, was visiting her. After the abdication of the German emperor, riots spread in Karlsruhe on 11 November. The son of a courtier led a group of soldiers up to the front of the palace, followed by a great crowd of people, where a few shots were fired.Heribert Jansson (in Swedish). Drottning Victoria (Queen Victoria). Hökerbergs Bokförlag. (1963) ISBN. Louise, as well as the rest of the family, left the palace the backway and left for the Zwingenberg palace in the Neckar valley. By permission of the new government, they were allowed to stay at the Langenstein Palace, which belonged to a Swedish count, Douglas. During these events, Louise was said to have kept her calm and never uttered a word of complaint. The government gave the order that the former Grand Ducal family was to be protected, and that Langenstein be excepted from housing the returning soldiers, because Louise's daughter, the Queen of Sweden, was in their company and Baden should not do anything to offend Sweden. In 1919, the family requested permission from the government to reside in Mainau, and was met with the answer that they were now private citizens and could do as they wished. The new republican government gave her permission to live out the rest of her life in retirement at Baden-Baden, where she died on 24 April 1923. She was the last surviving non-morganatic grandchild of Frederick William III of Prussia.


Louise and Frederick had three children:

Titles, styles and honours

* 3 December 1838 – 20 September 1856: Her Royal Highness Princess Louise of Prussia * 20 September 1856 – 28 September 1907: Her Royal Highness The Grand Duchess of Baden * 28 September 1907 – 23 April 1923: Her Royal Highness The Dowager Grand Duchess of Baden ;Decorations and awards
Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Königreich Preußen
' (1908), Genealogy p. 3

Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Großherzogtum Baden
' (1910), "Großherzogliches Haus", pp. 3-4
;Honorary military appointments * Honorary colonel of the 4th (Queen Augusta) Guards Grenadiers, Augusta Grenadier Guards



Further reading

* Van der Kiste, John, ''Daughter of Prussia: Louise, Grand Duchess of Baden, and her family'' (A&F, CreateSpace, 2017)

External links

{{DEFAULTSORT:Louise Of Prussia, Princess 1838 births 1923 deaths House of Hohenzollern Ladies of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert House of Zähringen People from Berlin Prussian princesses Grand Duchesses of Baden Dames of the Order of Saint Isabel Ladies of Justice of the Order of St John Daughters of emperors