Saturday 9 August 2014

Augustus William: The Prince Who Died of a Broken Heart

Prince Augustus William of Prussia (Berlin, Prussia, 9th August 1722 - Oranienburg, Prussia, 12th June 1758)

Augustus William of Prussia by G von Bern
Augustus William of Prussia by G von Bern
As a lass, I was fascinated by the very concept of Prussia. Something about the word itself seemed impossibly exotic, a land of mystery and, for some reason, snow everywhere. I can't vouch for snow and exoticism but we are in Prussia today to meet Augustus William, a prince of the House of Hohenzollern.

As son of Frederick William I of Prussia and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover, Augustus could count amongst his siblings our old friend and seasoned schemer, Louise Ulrika, and Frederick the Great.

Unlike his sister, Augustus did not hanker after absolutist power and was content to live a life away from the throne. Aged twenty, he married Luise of Brunswick-Wolfenb├╝ttel, the sister of Frederick the Great's wife, and the couple were parents to four children, all but one of whom survived to adulthood. In fact, though Augustus never ruled in his own right, when his brother died leaving no heirs, Augustus' son came to the throne as Frederick William II of Prussia. 

Augustus won the ire of Frederick thanks to a disastrous showing at the Battle of Kolin during the Seven Years War, at which Augustus unwisely chose to retreat. The furious Frederick suffered his first defeat in this battle and he and his brother never fully reconciled. In fact, when Augustus died twelve months later of a brain tumour the rumour spread that the unhappy prince had actually died of a broken heart.

Life in the Georgian Court, true tales of 18th century royalty, is available at the links below.

Pen and Sword
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)

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