She was a glamorous figure of her days. A beautiful and fashionable young woman. She was probably the most famous and well-loved queen consort in German history. She was Queen Louise of Prussia, wife of King Frederick William II of Prussia. She influenced her contemporaries and modern Germany probably more than any other woman. Often called the “Queen of Hearts”, she impressed those around her with her beauty, charisma and cheerful, friendly nature. Her legacy was further cemented by her in famous meeting with Napoleon Bonaparte of France, and thus became the symbol of German national unity that eventually led to the creation of the German Empire. Queen Louise is a special woman, who left the bright footsteps in Klaipeda as well.
When the army of Napoleon had occupied the major part of Prussia, Klaipeda had left the only free city in the North East, so the Royal family came here from Tilsit in early 1807. They stayed here till January 1808 and the mean time Klaipeda was the provisional residence of Prussia Royals. Moreover, this city became the provisional capital of Prussia and fatal place, closely related with the history of all Europe. While living in Klaipeda, Queen Louise was greatly respected for her kindness, care of education and sincere help to those in need.
Princess Louise was born on March 10th, 1776 in Hanover. She was the fourth daughter and sixth child of Duke Charles of Mecklenburg and his wife Landgravine Friederike of Hesse-Darmstadt.
On the 13th of March 1793 in the Theatre of Frankfurt Louise and her sister Frederica were introduced to the King of Prussia Frederick William, who was searching for the brides for his sons. Frederick William had chosen Louise and on the Christmas Eve in 1793 Frederick William married Louise. It was the marriage based on the true love and it also became as a background for many legends and myths about the Queen. She was charming, modest and demanding for herself and others. Her continuous self-improvement made young girl to become the Queen, knowing her mission. All these features brought an honor to Louise.
For the first time in Prussian history, the queen emerged as a celebrated public personality in her own right, as she occupied a much more prominent role than her predecessors. But rather than taking this as an advantage to herself, she used her formidable intelligence and skill for her husband’s sole advantage. She wanted to stay informed of political developments at court, and from the very beginning of his reign the new king consulted Louise on matters of state. She charmed the nation with her grace, beauty and wit, which led to national pride and patriotism among the Prussian people. She also became a fashion icon, for instance starting a trend by wearing a neckerchief to keep from herself from getting ill.
In 1802 Queen Louise came to Klaipeda (Memel) for the first time. Here she met newly assigned Russian emperor Aleksandr I. On the June 7th, Royal couple left Tilsit and went to Klaipeda through Curonian split. Aleksandr I was truly impressed by the Queen Louise and their friendship lasted for years.
While being in Memel in 1807-1808, Royal family lived in spectacular house on the North bank of the river Dange. The house owner was merchant Frederick Ludwig Consetius. This house (now it is the Town Hall of Klaipeda on Danes street 17) was the provisional residence of Prussia Royals until January 15th, 1808.
The stay of the significant guests in town fostered development of merchant relations. At that time Klaipeda became the most important supply depot for the Prussian and Russian army forces, fighting for the Eastern Prussia. In the late 1808, the new City regulations were released and it changed the city administration system, recalled restrictions to live in town and fostered crafts and commerce.
The royal family contributed to the development and arrangement of the city, as well as supported people in need. The queen was impressed by the landscape of Dutchman hat (Olando kepurė – Lith.), Baltic sea and like to walk at Tauralaukis districts. Later on there was planted an oak, called by the queen’s name, and erected a little monument. In addition, “Borussia” monument was erected in the square in front of the town hall.
The queen died on th July 19th, 1810 in Hohenczric castle in Mecklenburg. She was just 34 years old and she left seven children, two of whom later on became kings of Prussia and daughter Charlotte became the Russian tsarina.
Queen’s Louise reputation as a loving and loyal supporter of her husband became crucial to her enduring legacy and the cult-like adulation for her that continues to the present day surrounded. Louise became the embodiment of ideal feminine attributes: beauty, grace, and charm, but she also successfully combined them with her dignity, gentleness of character, benevolence and piety. She was the idol of the German nation, and her popularity persisted to this day.