Princess Charlotte of Prussia
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Princess Charlotte of Prussia (Viktoria Elisabeth Auguste Charlotte), Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen (24 July 1860 Potsdam, Germany – 1 October 1919 Baden-Baden, Germany) was the second child born to Prince Friedrich of Prussia and Princess Victoria. Through her mother, Charlotte was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
At an early age Charlotte displayed a nervous and agitated personality, frequently biting her nails and tearing at her clothes. Queen Victoria once wrote to her daughter, “tell Charlotte I was appalled to hear of her biting her things. Grandmamma does not like naughty girls”. Charlotte was punished for this by having her pockets sewn up or being made to stand with her hands tied behind her back in the corner. However, these measures did little good as she soon went back to her old ways. This, in addition to her indifference to her studies, saddened her mother. She was well loved by her paternal grandparents King Wilhelm I and Queen Augusta, and she grew close to her older brother Wilhelm II.
In 1876, Charlotte became engaged to her second cousin Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Meiningen, and they were married in Berlin on 18 February 1878. The couple had one daughter, Feodora, who was born on 12 May 1879 (the first great-grandchild of Queen Victoria). Following Feodora's birth, Charlotte retreated from family life in favor of the society life in Berlin. Feodora fell under the care of nannies and other servants when not visiting her maternal grandmother in Berlin or at her country estate, Friedrichshof. Charlotte subscribed to the conservative political views of her elder brother and Chancellor Bismarck, leading to further discord with her mother, who favored liberal policy. Charlotte and Feodora always had a difficult relationship, and were more or less estranged for long periods after Feodora's marriage to Prince Henry XXX of Reuss in 1898. Charlotte declared that Henry had given her daughter venereal disease, Feodora was angry at her mother's spreading of lies about them, and Charlotte threatened to bar her from her house 'for ever'. In 1914, Prince Bernhard inherited his father's dukedom to become Duke Bernhard III of Saxe-Meiningen. Although now elevated to the rank of duchess, her tenure was to be short, as Bernhard abdicated at the end of World War I. By this time, Charlotte, a chain smoker long plagued by ill health, was dying, finally succumbing to her illnesses on 1 October 1919 at the age of fifty-nine.
Recent medical research
Recent medical tests performed on her remains and those of her daughter Feodora, who committed suicide in 1945 after a lifetime of ill-health, have revealed that both probably suffered from porphyria, a genetic disorder that is thought to have affected Charlotte's great-great-grandfather George III of the United Kingdom.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
- 24 July 1860 – 18 February 1878: Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Prussia
- 18 February 1878 – 25 June 1914: Her Royal Highness The Hereditary Princess of Saxe-Meiningen
- 25 June 1914 – 1 October 1919: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen
- The London Gazette: . 19 June 1911. Retrieved 8 August 2010.
- Massie, Robert and Jeffrey Finestone. The Last Courts of Europe.
- Packard, Jerrold M. Victoria's Daughters.
- Rohl, John. Purple Secret: Genes, 'Madness', and the Royal Houses of Europe.
- Van der Kiste, John. Charlotte and Feodora: A troubled mother-daughter relationship in imperial Germany.
- Van der Kiste, John. Kaiser Wilhelm II.
- preussen.de. Prinzessin Charlotte von Preußen
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Princess Charlotte of PrussiaBorn: 24 July 1860 Died: 1 October 1919
Title last held byFeodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
|Duchess consort of Saxe-Meiningen
25 June 1914 – 10 November 1918
|Titles in pretence|
|None||— TITULAR —
Duchess consort of Saxe-Meiningen
10 November 1918 – 1 October 1919
Reason for succession failure:
Duchy abolished in 1918
Title next held byKlara-Maria of Korff genannt Schmising-Kerssenbrock