Frederick III, German Emperor
Frederick III was German Emperor and King of Prussia for ninety-nine days in 1888. He was the only son of Emperor Wilhelm I and was raised in his family’s tradition of military service. Frederick married Victoria, Princess Royal, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Liberals in both Germany and Britain hoped that as emperor, Frederick would move to liberalize the German Empire.
About Frederick III, German Emperor in brief
Frederick III was German Emperor and King of Prussia for ninety-nine days in 1888. He was the only son of Emperor Wilhelm I and was raised in his family’s tradition of military service. Frederick married Victoria, Princess Royal, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Liberals in both Germany and Britain hoped that as emperor, Frederick would move to liberalize the German Empire. Frederick was suffering from cancer of the larynx when he died, aged fifty-six, following unsuccessful medical treatments for his condition. His premature demise is considered a potential turning point in German history; and whether or not he would have made the Empire more liberal if he had lived longer is still discussed. The couple were great admirers of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband. They planned to rule as consorts, like Albert and Queen Victoria, and to reform what they saw as flaws in the executive branch that Bismarck had created for himself. The liberals sought a unified Germany and were constitutional monarchists who desired equal protection under the law. Overall, liberals desired a government who ruled by the concept of basic rights, safeguarding civil property and safeguarding the basic rights of the people. Frederick has been called ‘the romantic on the throne’ and ‘the most romantic man in the history of Germany’ The couple did not have a happy marriage, and as a result, Frederick grew up in a troubled household with memories of a lonely childhood. He also had a very good relationship with his uncle, King Frederick William IV, who was eight years his junior.
Frederick’s father, Prince William, was a younger brother of King FrederickWilliam IV and, having been raised in the military traditions of the Hohenzollerns, developed into a strict disciplinarian. William fell in love with his cousin Elisa Radziwill, a princess of the Polish nobility, but the court felt Elisa’s rank was not suitable for the bride of a Prussian prince and forced a more suitable match. Frederick and Victoria were well-matched; their shared liberal ideology led them to seek greater representation for commoners in the government. The office of Chancellor, responsible to the Emperor, would be replaced with a British-style cabinet, with ministers responsible for the Reichstag. The woman selected to be his wife, Princess Augusta of Saxe-Weimar, had been raised. in the more intellectual and artistic atmosphere of Weimar, which gave its citizens greater participation in politics and limited the powers of its rulers through a constitution; Augusta was well known across Europe for her liberal views. Frederick described the Imperial Constitution as ingeniously contrived chaos. He had a close relationship with Prince Albert and was one of his closest friends and confidants, as well as his sister, Louise, who was one year his junior and very close to him. Frederick died in 1887 at the age of fifty-five. His son and successor, Wilhelm II, was later abandoned by his son and heir to the throne.