Tuesday, 7 April 2009

At the end of the road: The seven Louises

Princess Luise of Prussia died on 23 March this year, aged 91. Many will remember her from the Danish documentary series A Royal Family (2003), where she was the oldest royal interviewed.
Her death marks the end of an era in two ways: The Princess was the last surviving member of the Prussian royal house to be born before the end of the German monarchies in 1918 and she was also the last in a line of seven generations of mothers and daughters who were all given variations of the name Louise.
The first was the legendary Queen Luise of Prussia (1776-1810, née Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz), consort of King Friedrich Wilhelm III and best remembered as one of Napoléon I’s staunchest adversaries.
Her youngest daughter, Princess Luise of Prussia (1808-1870) married Prince Frederik of the Netherlands and their daughter Louise (1828-1871) became the consort of King Carl XV of Sweden and Norway. Their only daughter Louise (1851-1926) married King Frederik VIII of Denmark and was the mother of eight children.
The eldest daughter among them, Louise (1875-1906), married Prince Friedrich of Schaumburg-Lippe and showed some creativity in naming her eldest daughter Marie Louise (1897-1938). She married back into the Prussian royal house when she entered into matrimony with Prince Friedrich Sigismund of Prussia in 1916. Princess Luise (1917-2009) was their only daughter and had no daughter herself to carry on the Luise tradition.
Her Royal Highness Princess Luise Viktoria Margarete Antoinette Sieglinde Alexandrine Thyra Stephanie of Prussia was born in Berlin on 23 August 1917. In 1942 she married Hans Reinhold (1917-2002). They had one son, Manfred Reinhold, who was born in 1943, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1949 and the Princess never remarried.
In 1945 the Princess and her son had to flee westwards to escape the advancing Red Army. Eventually she was given an apartment at Bückeburg Castle, the ancestral seat of her mother’s family, where she lived for the rest of her life and where she died two weeks ago. Princess Luise’s last resting place will be in the park of Glienicke Palace on the outskirts of Berlin, which was the country house of her branch of the Prussian royal house from 1824 to 1918.


The picture shows a replica in Berlin’s Friedrichswerderkirche of Christian David Rauch’s statue of Queen Luise of Prussia on her tomb in the mausoleum in Charlottenburg Palace Park in Berlin.

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