Princess Victoria Louise in military attire...SKULL AND BONES HAT?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Victoria Louise of Prussia (Viktoria Luise Adelheid Mathilde Charlotte; 13 September 1892 – 11 December 1980) was the only daughter and the last child of German Emperor Wilhelm II and Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein. She was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria through her father.
Her 1913 marriage to Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover was the largest gathering of reigning monarchs in Germany since German unification in 1871, and one of the last great social events of European royalty before the First World War began fourteen months later.
Shortly after the wedding, she became the Duchess of Brunswickby marriage. Through her daughter Frederica, Princess Victoria Louise was the maternal grandmother of Queen Sophia of Spain(mother of Felipe VI, King of Spain) and the former King Constantine II of Greece.
Early life and education
Princess Victoria Louise Adelheid Mathilde Charlotte was born on 13 September 1892, the seventh child and only daughter of German Emperor Wilhelm II and Empress Augusta Victoria. "After six sons, God has given us our seventh child, a small but very strong little daughter," the empress wrote in her diary soon after the birth.
The young princess was christened on 22 October, and was named after her paternal great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, and her paternal great great grandmother, Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Known officially as Victoria Louise, she would be nicknamed "Sissy" by her family.
Historian Justin C. Vovk writes that Victoria Louise was intelligent like her paternal grandmother Empress Frederick, stately and dignified like her mother, but imperious and willful like her father. She enjoyed being the center of attention, and was her father's favourite.
According to her eldest brother Crown Prince Wilhelm, Victoria Louise was "the only one of us who succeeded in her childhood in gaining a snug place" in their father's heart. In 1902, her English governess, Anne Topham, observed in their first meeting that the nine-year-old princess was friendly, energetic, and always quarreling with her next eldest brother, Prince Joachim. Anne later noted that the "warlike" emperor "unbends to a considerable extent when in the bosom of his family," and is the "dominating force of his daughter's life. His ideas, his opinions on men and things are persistently quoted by her."
The family resided at Homburg Castle, and Victoria Louise and Joachim would often visit their cousins – the children of the Prussian princesses Margaret and Sophia – at nearby Kronberg Castle. In 1905, the princess studied music with concert pianist Sandra Drouker. For a period of one week in May 1911, Victoria Louise traveled to England aboard the Hohenzollern with her parents, where they visited their cousin King George V for the unveiling of a statue of Queen Victoria in front of Buckingham Palace. Her confirmation took place at Friedenskirche in Potsdam on 18 October 1909.
In 1912, Ernest Augustus, the wealthy heir to the title of Duke of Cumberland, came to the Berlin court to thank Emperor Wilhelm for having Crown Prince Wilhelm and Prince Eitel Friedrich attend the funeral of his brother, Prince George William.
While in Berlin, Ernest Augustus met Victoria Louise, and the two became smitten with each other. However, any discussions of marriage were prolonged for months due to political concerns; Ernest Augustus was also the heir to the Kingdom of Hanover, which had been annexed into the Kingdom of Prussia following the 1866 Austro-Prussian War.
The Prussian crown prince was displeased with the match and wished that Ernest Augustus abdicate his rights to Hanover; in a compromise, it was decided that in exchange, he would succeed to the smaller duchy of Brunswick, of which his father was the lawful heir. The family had been barred from the succession to Brunswick due to their claims towards the Hanoverian kingdom.They were engaged in Karlsruhe on 11 February 1913.
Their wedding, an extravagant affair, took place on 24 May 1913 in Berlin. It was hailed in the press as the end of the rift between the House of Hanover and House of Hohenzollern that had existed since the 1866 annexation.The Times described the union as akin to Romeo and Juliet, albeit with a happier ending. Despite the press' fixation on the union as a love match, it remains unclear if the match was one of love or politics; historian Eva Giloi believes that the marriage was more likely the result of Prussia's desire to end the rift, though in one of Victoria Louise's letters she described it as a "love match".
In a diplomatic gesture, Emperor Wilhelm invited almost all of his extended family. Also two imprisoned British spies Captain Stewart and Captain Trench, were pardoned and released by the Kaiser as a present to the United Kingdom.
The wedding became the largest gathering of reigning monarchs in Germany since German unification in 1871, and one of the last great social events of European royalty before World War I began fourteen months later. Attendees included Wilhelm's cousins King George V and Tsar Nicholas II, accompanied by their respective wives Queen Mary and Tsarina Alexandra. The wedding feast included 1,200 guests. Empress Augusta Victoria took the separation from her only daughter badly and wept.
Children and Pregnancies
The new duke and duchess of Brunswick moved to the capital of Brunswick and began their family with the birth of their eldest son, Prince Ernest Augustus IV, less than a year after their wedding. They would have four further children: Prince George William (b. 1915), Princess Frederica (b. 1917), Prince Christian Oscar (b. 1919), and Prince Welf Henry (b. 1923).
On 8 November 1918, Ernest Augustus II was forced to abdicate his throne along with the other German kings, grand dukes, dukes, and princes, and the duchy of Brunswick was subsequently abolished. The next year, he was deprived of his British titles (including Duke of Cumberland) under the Titles Deprivation Act 1917 as a result of his service in the German army during the war, and the younger Ernest Augustus's title as Prince of the United Kingdom was removed under the same Act.
Thus, when his father died in 1923, Ernest Augustus III did not succeed to his father's British title of Duke of Cumberland. For the next thirty years, Ernest Augustus would remain as head of the House of Hanover, living in retirement on his various estates.
World War II
World War II saw the rise of the Nazi Germany. Several of Victoria Louise's brothers joined the Nazi party, including former Crown Prince Wilhelm and Prince August Wilhelm. While Ernest Augustus never officially joined the party, he donated funds and was close to several leaders.
As a former British prince, Ernest Augustus as well as Victoria Louise desired a rapprochement between England and Germany. Ostensibly desiring to pursue an alliance with the UK, in the mid-1930s, Adolf Hitler took advantage of their sentiment by asking the couple to arrange a match between their daughter Princess Frederica and the Prince of Wales. The Duke and Duchess of Brunswick refused, believing that the age difference was too great.
In May 1941, her father fell ill from an intestinal blockage, and Victoria Louise traveled to Doorn to visit him, as did several of her brothers. Wilhelm recovered enough for them to depart, but soon relapsed. Victoria Louise returned in time to be at her father's bedside, along with nephew Louis Ferdinand and stepmother Hermine, when he died on 4 June 1941 of a pulmonary embolism. By the time of the war's ending in Europe in April 1945, Victoria Louise was living with her husband at Blankenburg Castle.
After the war, Victoria Louise spent much of her time supporting palace restoration projects, high-society parties, hunting, and the showing of horses. She also spent time helping with philanthropic causes, for instance supporting a holiday estate for low-income children.