Friederike of Mecklenburg

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Princess Friederike of Prussia. Johann Tischbein , 1796

Friederike, Duchess of Mecklenburg [-Strelitz] (* March 2, 1778 in the Old Palace in Hanover ; † June 29, 1841 there ; full name: Friederike Luise Karoline Sophie Charlotte Alexandrine ) was by birth Duchess of Mecklenburg , by marriage Princess of Prussia , Princess of Solms-Braunfels and Queen of Hanover .


Origin and childhood

Friederike was the youngest daughter of Duke Karl II (1741–1816), who had ruled the Mecklenburg-Strelitz region since 1794 , and of his first wife, Friederike Caroline Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt (1752–1782). She was a niece of the British Queen Charlotte , wife of George III . The later famous Prussian Queen Luise was her older sister.

In 1784, after the death of his first wife, Charles II married her younger sister Charlotte. This marriage ended in December 1785 with the death of Charlotte after the birth of their only child, Karl . Since the widower was unable to provide his daughters with the necessary education and care, he decided to ask the children's grandmother, Princess Maria Luise , known as "Princess George", the widow of Prince Georg Wilhelm of Hesse -Darmstadt lived in Darmstadt . Karl entrusted her with his daughters Therese , Luise and Friederike. The life in the care of the grandmother and the teacher Salomé de Gélieu employed by her turned out to be a stroke of luck.

Friederike von Prussia, portrait bust by Johann Gottfried Schadow (1795)

First marriage

At the beginning of March 1793, the princesses Luise and Friederike met the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm II “by chance” in the theater in Frankfurt am Main . He was immediately enchanted by her charm. He made sure that his two oldest sons got to know the princesses: Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm (1770-1840) and Prince Friedrich Ludwig (1773-1796). The bride's father soon negotiated two marriage contracts with Friedrich Wilhelm. The engagement of the two couples was celebrated on April 24, 1793 in Darmstadt. In December, the sisters began their trip to Berlin . There the wedding of Luise with Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm took place on December 24th and two days later the wedding of Friederike with Friedrich Ludwig, called Louis, took place.

The marriage was unhappy at first, as Louis was more interested in his mistresses than in his young wife. In return, his uncle Louis Ferdinand boasted of a relationship with Friederike. In 1795, the king appointed Prince Louis as chief of Dragoon Regiment No. 1, whose staff was stationed in Schwedt. But in 1796 Friedrich Ludwig fell ill with diphtheria , to which he succumbed shortly afterwards. Friederike moved to Schönhausen Palace near Berlin with her three small children .

In 1797 her English cousin, Duke Adolph Friedrich von Cambridge (1774–1850), the seventh son of King George III. from Great Britain and his wife Charlotte for Friederike's hand and they became unofficially engaged. Adolph Friedrich asked his father for permission to marry; however, under pressure from his mother, Friederike's aunt, he was refused. This ended the informal engagement for Friederike.

Second marriage

In 1798 Friederike became pregnant and confided in Prince Friedrich Wilhelm zu Solms-Braunfels (1770-1814). He recognized paternity and asked for her hand, which was granted - avoiding an otherwise inevitable scandal. The marriage took place on December 10, 1798. The couple left Berlin in 1799 and were forced to move to Ansbach . The daughter, born in February 1799, only survived a few months.

Prince Solms, disappointed and bitter about the outcome of the matter, resumed his previous life as an officer and also gave himself up to alcohol. In 1805 he quit military service for "health reasons" and thus lost his income. Friederike had to support her family from her own resources, the annual pension from her brother-in-law, King Friedrich Wilhelm III. Her husband's brother, Wilhelm Christian Carl zu Solms-Braunfels (1759–1837), advised her to divorce. But she refused.

In May 1813, Duke Ernst August von Cumberland (1771-1851), fifth son of the King of Great Britain and older brother of Friederike's former admirer Adolph Friedrich, came to Neustrelitz to pay his uncle Karl a visit. There he met his cousin Friederike. Duke Karl let his daughter know that he was in favor of a divorce from Prince zu Solms and a marriage to the English prince. The next few months gave Friederike time to rethink her situation. When Ernst August came to Neustrelitz for a few days after the victory of the Allies in the Battle of Leipzig , he was warmly welcomed. Some time later Friederike asked the Prussian king for permission to divorce her marriage to Solms. All parties agreed, including Prince zu Solms-Braunfels himself. His sudden death from a stroke ended the precarious situation on April 13, 1814.

Queen Friederike of Hanover

Third marriage

In August 1814 the engagement between Duke Ernst August von Cumberland and Friederike was officially announced. After the British Parliament had given its approval to the royal prince's marriage, the wedding took place on May 29, 1815.

On June 20, 1837, Friederike's brother-in-law Wilhelm IV , King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover, died. Since he - like his brother George IV before - had no offspring, his niece Victoria followed him  - the only child of the late brother Eduard August, Duke of Kent and Strathearn , the fourth son of George III.  - to the throne of the United Kingdom. However, Victoria could not become Queen of Hanover, as the Salic Law of Succession applied there, which only permitted a female heir to the throne if there was no longer a male heir. Instead of Victoria, Friederike's husband became Ernst August I, King of Hanover and Duke of Braunschweig-Lüneburg.

After a short illness, Queen Friederike died on June 29, 1841 in Hanover. The king commissioned court architect Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves to build a mausoleum for his wife and himself - the later Guelph mausoleum in the mountain garden of Herrenhausen .


Adolf Friedrich II of Mecklenburg [-Strelitz]
* October 19, 1658; † May 12, 1708
⚭ June 10, 1705
Karl (Ludwig Friedrich) zu Mecklenburg
* February 23, 1708; † June 4, 1752
⚭ February 5, 1735
Emilie von Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen
* March 13, 1681; † November 1, 1751
Charles II of Mecklenburg [-Strelitz]
* October 10, 1741; † November 6, 1816
⚭ September 18, 1768
Ernst Friedrich I of Saxony-Hildburghausen
* August 21, 1681; † March 9, 1724
⚭ February 4, 1704
Elisabeth Albertine of Saxony-Hildburghausen
* August 3, 1713; † June 29, 1761
Sophia Albertine von Erbach
* July 30, 1683; † September 4, 1742
Friederike zu Mecklenburg [-Strelitz]
* March 2, 1778; † June 29, 1841
Ludwig VIII Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt
* April 5, 1691; † October 17, 1768
⚭ April 5, 1717
Georg Wilhelm of Hessen-Darmstadt
* July 11, 1722; † June 21, 1782
⚭ March 16, 1748
Charlotte Christine Magdalene Johanna von Hanau-Lichtenberg
* May 2, 1700; † July 1, 1726
Friederike Caroline Luise of Hessen-Darmstadt
* August 20, 1752; † May 22, 1782
Christian Karl Reinhard von Leiningen-Dagsburg
* July 7, 1695; † November 17, 1766
⚭ November 27, 1726
Maria Luise Albertine zu Leiningen-Dagsburg-Falkenburg
* March 16, 1729; † March 11, 1818
Katharina Polyxena von Solms-Rödelheim
* 1702; † March 21, 1765


The group of princesses by the sculptor Schadow (1795): Friederike (right) and her sister Luise as young princesses of Prussia

From the first marriage with Prince Friedrich Ludwig of Prussia, called Louis:

From the second marriage with Prince Friedrich Wilhelm zu Solms-Braunfels :

From the third marriage to Duke Ernst August von Cumberland, King of Hanover:


Queen Friederike, posthumous portrait by Louis Ammy Blanc (1842)

After Friederike's death, Ernst August von Hanover gave royal orders to redesign a central square near the Leineschloss and to rename it Friederikenplatz .

The following were also named after Friederike:


  • Uta Ditsche: Everyone wants them. Friederike von Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1778-1841). Verlag Pustet, Regensburg 2004. ISBN 3-7917-1909-2
  • Bettina Hennig: Friederike. Princess of hearts. Goldmann Verlag, Munich 2015. ISBN 978-3-442-48022-7 .
  • Klaus Kühnel: The most gallant lioness of the century or my lost face. Princess Friederike of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1778–1841) . Trafo Verlag, Berlin (2004). ISBN 3-89626-141-X .
  • Jean Lulvès : Two daughters of the city of Hanover on German royal thrones. Luise of Prussia and Friederike of Hanover. Meyer, Hanover / Berlin, 1910.
  • Carolin Philipps: Friederike of Prussia. The passionate sister of the queen. Piper, Munich 2007. ISBN 3-492-05126-X .
  • Claudia von Gélieu ; Christian von Gélieu: The educator of Queen Luise. Salomé de Gélieu . Regensburg 2007. ISBN 978-3-7917-2043-2 .
  • Carsten Peter Thiede; Eckhard G. Franz: Years with Luise von Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Archive for local history and archeology, vol. 43, Darmstadt 1985.
  • Elisabeth E. Kwan; Anna E. Röhring: Women at the court of the Guelphs. Munich 2008. ISBN 978-3-492-25043-6 .
  • Merete van Taack: Friederike - the more gallant sister of Queen Luise. In the shine and shadow of the courtyards. Düsseldorf 1987. ISBN 3-7700-0727-1 .

Web links

Commons : Friederike von Mecklenburg-Strelitz  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Dieter Lange: The mausoleum in the mountain garden , in: Günther Kokkelink , Harold Hammer-Schenk (ed.): Laves and Hannover. Lower Saxony architecture in the nineteenth century , ed. by Harold Hammer-Schenk and Günther Kokkelink (revised new edition of the publication Vom Schloss zum Bahnhof ... ), Ed. Libri Artis Schäfer, 1989, ISBN 3-88746-236-X (582 pages), pp. 186-188
predecessor Office Successor
Adelheid of Saxe-Meiningen Queen of Hanover
Marie of Saxe-Altenburg