Frederick William, Elector of Hesse

Frederick William I (20 August 1802 – 6 January 1875) was, between 1847 and 1866, the last Prince-elector of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel).

Frederick William
Elector of Hesse
PredecessorWilliam II
SuccessorElectorate abolished
Born(1802-08-20)20 August 1802
Hanau, Holy Roman Empire
Died6 January 1875(1875-01-06) (aged 72)
Prague, Austria-Hungary
SpouseGertrude Falkenstein, Princess of Hanau
HouseHouse of Hesse
FatherWilliam II
MotherPrincess Augusta of Prussia


He was born at Hanau, the son of Prince William, later William II, Elector of Hesse, and Princess Augusta of Prussia, daughter of Frederick William II of Prussia.

During the French occupation of Hesse-Kassel (1806–1813) he stayed with his mother in Berlin. The relationship with his father was bad, because of his father's affair with Emilie Ortlöpp.

Frederick was educated at Marburg and Leipzig. He became co-regent on 30 September 1831, and Prince-elector in 1847.[1] Under influence of his minister Hans Daniel Ludwig Friedrich Hassenpflug he conducted a reactionary policy, which made him very unpopular. He was forced to give in to the demands of the March Revolution, but reinstated Hassenpflug in 1850 after the revolution had been crushed.

In the Austro-Prussian War (1866) he chose the side of Austria. His capital Kassel was occupied by Prussia, and, as a consequence of his refusal to negotiate,[1] he was transferred as a prisoner to Stettin on 23 June. Hessen-Kassel was annexed by Prussia in the same year.

Frederick William never accepted the Prussian dominance over his territory. Even after the creation of the unified German Empire (1871), he tried to regain his throne. He died at Prague in 1875.

Because of his morganatic marriage, his sons were excluded from succession. He was succeeded, as titular Prince-elector of Hesse, by Prince Frederick William of Hesse, from the house of Hesse-Rumpenheim.


Coat of arms of the House of Hanau-Schaumburg, Frederick William`s morganatic descendants

Frederick William morganatically married on 26 June 1831 to Gertrude Falkenstein (Bonn, 18 May 1803 – Prague 9 July 1882), daughter of Johann Gottfried Falkenstein (son of Nicolaus Falkenstein and wife Margarethe Heyss) and wife Magdalena Schulz (daughter of Johann Ludwig Albert Schulz and wife Sophie Krupps).

Gertrude Falkenstein was the former wife (m. Graven-Rheindorf, 30 November 1822) of Lt Karl Michael Lehmann[2] (Bischofswerder, 16 June 1787 – Wandsbek, 1882), whom his father William II made her Her Illustrious Highness Countess of Schaumburg in (1831) and whom he made Princess (Fürstin) of Hanau and to Horowitz in (1853).

They had nine children, some born before marriage, who were also made princes (Prinzen) of Hanau, and granted the style of Serene Highness in 1862.[3] Subsequently, the Prince-elector divorced Gertrud.

  • Augusta Marie Gertrude (1829–1887), married 1849 Ferdinand Maximilian III Prince (Fürst) zu Isenburg-Büdingen in Wächtersbach (1824–1903).
  • Alexandrine (1830–1871), married 1851 Prince Felix zu Hohenlohe-Oehringen (1818–1900)
  • Friedrich Wilhelm (1832–1889), married morganatically twice: 1856 Auguste Birnbaum; and in 1875, Ludowika Gloede; their children were Counts von Schaumburg, but post-1918 descendants bear the title Prince/ss von Hanau.[3]
  • Moritz (1834–1889), married morganatically 1875 Anne von Lossberg; no children
  • Wilhelm (1836–1902), married 1stly 1868 (divorced 1870) Princess Elisabeth, daughter of George William, Prince of Schaumburg-Lippe; 2ndly 1890 Countess Elisabeth zur Lippe-Weissenfeld (1868–1952); no children
  • Maria (1839–1917), married 1857 (divorced 1872) Prince William of Hesse-Philippsthal-Barchfeld (1831–1890): she and her children were granted the titles HSH Prince/ss of Ardeck after her divorce.[3]
  • Karl (1840–1905), married 1882 Countess Hermine Grote; no children.
  • Heinrich (1842–1917), married morganatically Martha Riegel
  • Philipp (1844–1914), married morganatically Albertine Hubatschek-Stauber; countly descendants, but post-monarchy bear the princely Hanau title.[3]



Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Frederick William I. (Hesse)" . New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
  2. ^ "Austro-Hungarian Army – Otto Freiherr von Scholley".
  3. ^ a b c d Almanach de Gotha (Gotha: Justus Perthes, 1942), pages 431–432
  4. ^ Hessen-Kassel (1846). Kurfürstlich Hessisches Hof- und Staatshandbuch: 1846. Waisenhaus. p. 11.
  5. ^ Liste der Ritter des Königlich Preußischen Hohen Ordens vom Schwarzen Adler (1851), "Von Seiner Majestät dem Könige Friedrich Wilhelm IV. ernannte Ritter" p. 18
  6. ^ "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Ferdinand Veldekens (1858). Le livre d'or de l'ordre de Léopold et de la croix de fer. lelong. p. 199.
  8. ^ Bille-Hansen, A. C.; Holck, Harald, eds. (1875) [1st pub.:1801]. Statshaandbog for Kongeriget Danmark for Aaret 1875 [State Manual of the Kingdom of Denmark for the Year 1875] (PDF). Kongelig Dansk Hof- og Statskalender (in Danish). Copenhagen: J.H. Schultz A.-S. Universitetsbogtrykkeri. pp. 3–4. Retrieved 17 December 2020 – via da:DIS Danmark.
Frederick William, Elector of Hesse
Cadet branch of the House of Hesse
Born: 20 August 1802 Died: 6 January 1875
Regnal titles
Preceded by
William II
Elector of Hesse
Monarchy abolished
Electorate annexed by Prussia
Political offices
Preceded by
William II
as Elector of Hesse
Head of State of Hesse-Kassel
Succeeded by
William I of Prussia
as German Emperor
Titles in pretence
Loss of title
Elector of Hesse
Succeeded by
Frederick William II