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Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Louise Auguste Wilhelmine Amalie (March 10, 1776 - July 19, 1810), Queen of Prussia, was born in Hanover, where her father, Prince Charles of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, was field marshal of the household brigade. Her mother was a princess of Hesse-Darmstadt.

In 1793 Louise met at Frankfurt the crown prince of Prussia, afterwards King Frederick William III, who was so fascinated by her beauty, and by the nobleness of her character, that he asked her to become his wife. They were married on December 24 of the same year. As queen of Prussia she commanded universal respect and affection, and nothing in Prussian history is more pathetic than the dignity and unflinching courage with which she bore the sufferings inflicted on her and her family during the war between Prussia and France.

After the battle of Jena she went with her husband to Königsberg, and when the battles of Eylau and Friedland had placed Prussia absolutely at the mercy of France, she made a personal appeal to Napoleon at his headquarters in Tilsit, but without success. Early in 1808 she accompanied the king from Memel to Konigsberg, whence, towards the end of the year, she visited St Petersburg, returning to Berlin on December 23 1809.

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 beloved. On the 19th of July 1810 she died in her husband's arms, while visiting her father in Strelitz. She was buried in the garden of the palace at Charlottenburg, where a mausoleum, containing a fine recumbent statue by Rauch, was built over her grave. In 1840 her husband was buried by her side.

The Louise Foundation (Luisenstift) for the education of girls was established in her honour, and in 1814 Frederick William III instituted the Order of Louise (Luisenorden). In 1880 a statue of Queen Louise was erected in the Thiergarten at Berlin.

See F Adami, Luise, Konigin von Preussen (7th ed., 1875); E Engel, Königin Luise (1876); A Kluckhohn, Luise, Konigin von Preussen (1876); Mommsen and Treitschke, Königin Luise (1876); in English, Hudson, Life and Times of Louisa, Queen of Prussia (1874); G Horn, Das Buch von der Königin Luise (Berlin, 1883); A Lonke, Königin Luise von Preussen (Leipzig, 1903); H von Petersdorff, Königin Luise, Frauenleben, Bd. i. (Bielefeld, 1903, 2nd ed., 1904).