Louise Auguste Wilhelmine Amalie
Queen of Prussia
Louise Auguste Wilhelmine Amalie , was born March 10, 1776 , in Hanover , where her father, Duke Charles of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, was commandant. Early in 1792, when Louise was 16, her uncle, hoping to strengthen the ties between his family and the Prussian royal family, carefully plotted a meeting between Louise and Crown Prince of Prussia. In 1793 she met the crown prince at Frankfort , who was to become King Frederick William III. The prince was so fascinated by her beauty and by the nobleness of her character that he asked her to become his wife. On April 24 1793 , they were married.
The Prince became King when his father died in 1797, and, as the devoted wife, Louise saw it as her duty to support her husband in his work. The nation itself was charmed by the young Queen’s grace, beauty, and wit, which led to national pride and patriotism among the Prussian people.
While as queen of Prussia Louise commanded universal respect and affection, her life was certainly not without affliction. The war between Prussia and France was difficult for her and her family, yet she bore her trials and sufferings with patience and dignity.
Because of Napoleon’s increasing violations of Prussian treaty rights, Louise began to argue with King Frederick over his long-standing policy of neutrality, pleading with him to break off all relations with the French Emperor. She took the initiative of contacting the Czar of Russia and King of Austria, both of whom, along with Frederick , signed the Potsdam Treaty on November 3, 1805 –a treaty which formed an alliance among these three nations, against Napoleon. Napoleon termed Louise “My beautiful enemy” for her role in forming this alliance.
During the war Napoleon attempted to destroy the queen’s reputation, but the only effect of his charges in Prussia was to make her more deeply loved. Napoleon eventually gained the upper hand over his enemies in battle. In 1807, both Louise and the King were forced to meet with Napoleon in person at Tilsit in Russia to sign a peace treaty. The stipulations of the treaty for Prussia were humiliating, and Louise felt discouraged. However, recognizing that her country depended upon her for moral strength, Louise regained her sense of optimism. She spoke of preparing her eldest son for the throne, even as Napoleon gutted her country.
Louise died in her husband’s arms on July 17th, 1810 from an unidentified illness while visiting her father in Strelitz. Sadly, she did not live to see either Napoleon’s defeat in 1815, or the reestablishment of the Germanic Empire under Prussia just a few years later.
Queen Louise was not only characterized by great personal beauty united with dignity and grace of manner, but with much gentleness of character and active benevolence. Her visits of charity were extended to many homes of poverty and suffering. The Prussian order of Louise, the Louise School for Girls, and the Louise Governesses’ Seminary were instituted in her honor. In 1880, a statue of Queen Louise was erected in the Thiergarten at Berlin.
Source of Quotes: Woman: Her Position, Influence, and Achievement, published by The King-Richardson Company in 1903.