Elisabeth Christine Ulrike from Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel

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Elisabeth, Princess of Prussia, painted by Johann Georg Ziesenis the Elder J. , 1765

Elisabeth Christine Ulrike von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (born November 9, 1746 in Wolfenbüttel , † February 18, 1840 in Stettin ) was thewife of the Prussian heir to the throne Friedrich Wilhelm from 1765 until her divorce in 1769.


Elisabeth was the daughter of Duke Karl I of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel and Philippine Charlotte of Prussia , the younger sister of Frederick the Great . King Friedrich ordered that his niece Elisabeth, who was considered particularly witty and beautiful, should marry her maternal and paternal cousin, the later King Friedrich Wilhelm II. According to the king's ideas, she should guide the love life of the heir to the throne in an orderly manner provide for an heir to the throne. The marriage took place on July 14, 1765 in the Charlottenburg Palace Chapel. According to Lehndorff , she had an interesting appearance and a charming and cheerful disposition. Your conversation was adorable.


However, Friedrich's expectations were not fulfilled. She could neither dissuade her husband from his debauchery, nor did she give birth to the hoped-for heir to the throne. The Crown Prince's fondness for French actresses and dancers was well known. His beautiful, confident wife, on the other hand, disliked tall men. Count Lehndorff noted in his diary: "Really, everyone who is in their favor are disgusting little tots".

The birth of a princess on May 6th, 1767 was a great disappointment. The king gave her a breakfast service worth 40,000 thalers for the event. Count Lehndorff noted in his diary: "I am convinced she would have preferred 3,000 thalers in cash". At that time she had a relationship with a musician named Müller. Her daughter sometimes called her "little garbage collectors". The musician was sent away without causing a stir.

The following year the scandals increased. At first the king treated her indulgently and hoped for her recovery and wanted to forget everything that had happened. As Friedrich Wilhelm von Thulemeyer noted, however, she became pregnant by a musician named Pietro and wanted to flee with him. In January 1769 a letter from her to Pietro was intercepted with the following content: “My dear Pietro, come to Berlin […]. I can not live without you. You have to kidnap me from here [...]. I would rather eat dry bread than live longer with my fat booby. ”Pietro was arrested and taken to Magdeburg, where he is said to have been beheaded. Elisabeth has meanwhile ended her pregnancy with drugs. The divorce was carried out in April within a few days. The Crown Prince himself, in agreement with the King, pushed for a divorce in order to rule out any claims of illegitimate descendants to the throne. The Braunschweigischer Hof agreed. She left for Stettin within two days . Frederick the Great forced his nephew to remarry just three months after the official separation.

The king summed up in his memoirs:

“The husband, young and immoral, devoted to a dissolute life, practiced infidelity with his wife every day; the princess, who was in the prime of her beauty, found herself grossly offended by the little consideration that was shown to her charms. Her vivacity and the good opinion she had of herself made her take revenge for the injustice that was done to her. She soon succumbed to debauchery hardly inferior to that of her husband; the disaster broke out and became public. "


The fortification of Stettin, by Merian

Elisabeth was brought to the Szczecin Palace as a state prisoner . At first she was only allowed to have a few companions. Their situation soon improved. From 1774 she had a former office building in Jasenitz . After her former husband took office in 1786, she was given greater personal freedom. In 1806 Szczecin was occupied by the French. “Lisbeth von Stettin” was allowed to buy the so-called pedagogue mill and set it up as a modest summer palace (Landhaus Friedrichsgnade). She never saw her siblings or daughter again. Friedrich Wilhelm IV was the only one who visited them.

Princess Elisabeth was 93 years old. When she died, all the city bells rang. She found her final resting place in a mausoleum in her beloved park. She had it built because she didn't want to be buried with the "old guys in Braunschweig". When the park passed into private hands, it was reburied in the castle church in Stettin on the night of July 19, 1849 and, according to information from the Welfenhaus, transferred to the cathedral in Krakow in the 20th century .

The daughter Friederike arose from her marriage to Friedrich Wilhelm II. She was raised alternately by her paternal grandmother, Luise Amalie , and Friederike Luise , her father's second wife, and married Duke Friedrich August von York in 1791 .


Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f Count Lehndorff: The diaries of Count Lehndorff . Ed .: Wieland Giebel. Berlin Story, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-86368-034-3 , pp. 513 ff .
  2. ^ Commemorative writings van Gijsbert Jan van Hardenbroek , Volume 3: 1781–1782. Edited by FJL Krämer. Müller, Amsterdam 1910, OCLC 310500332 , p. 226.
  3. ^ Commemorative writings van Gijsbert Jan van Hardenbroek , Volume 1: 1747–1780. Edited by FJL Krämer. Müller, Amsterdam, 1901, OCLC 310500311 , 331-332.
  4. ^ Commemorative writings van Gijsbert Jan van Hardenbroek , Volume 1: 1747–1780. Edited by FJL Krämer. Müller, Amsterdam, 1901, OCLC 310500311 , p. 330.
  5. ^ Elisabeth Christine Ulrike from Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel. Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation (SPSG), archived from the original on June 12, 2007 ; accessed on June 9, 2020 .
  6. ^ Elisabeth Christine Ulrike from Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel. In: Prussian Chronicle of the Berlin-Brandenburg Radio . May 21, 2008, accessed June 9, 2020 .
  7. Luise F. Pusch : Women from the court of the Welfs. In: FemBio.org . May 27, 2006, accessed June 9, 2020 .
  8. ^ Ferdinand SpehrElisabeth Christine Ulrike . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 6, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1877, p. 37 f.
  9. ^ Elisabeth (1746–1840) Crown Princess of Prussia, Duchess v. Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel. In: welfen.de. December 3, 2013, accessed June 9, 2020 .