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Frederick William II
Landgrave of Hesse
Born (1820-11-26)26 November 1820
Died 14 October 1884(1884-10-14) (aged 63)
Spouse Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna of Russia (m. 184444)
Princess Anna of Prussia (m. 1853)
Issue Prince William
Frederick William III, Landgrave of Hesse
Elisabeth, Hereditary Princess of Anhalt
Alexander Frederick, Landgrave of Hesse
Frederick Charles, Landgrave of Hesse
Princess Marie-Polyxene
Sybille, Baroness Friedrich of Vincke
House Hesse-Kassel
Father Prince William of Hesse-Kassel
Mother Princess Louise Charlotte of Denmark

Frederick William George Adolphus, Landgrave of Hesse (German language: Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Adolf von Hessen-Kassel; 25 November 1820 – 14 October 1884) was the only son of Wilhelm I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel-Rumpenheim and Princess Louise Charlotte of Denmark.[1]

Early life and marriages

Prince Frederick William's childhood home, Prince William's Palace at Sankt Annæ Plads in Copenhagen.

Prince Frederick William of Hesse-Kassel was born in Copenhagen on 26 November 1820.[2] He moved to Denmark with his family at the age of three, and grew up there. He attended the university in Bonn, and then began a military career. In 1843 he was third in line for the Danish throne after the King's son and brother, Prince Ferdinand.[3] His siblings included Louise of Hesse-Kassel, future Queen of Denmark, Princess Marie Luise Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel and Princess Auguste Sophie Friederike of Hesse-Kassel.

Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna of Russia

Another image of Alexandra Nikolaevna

On 28 January 1844, Frederick married Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna of Russia at St Petersburg. Frederick had come to St Petersburg as a prospective bridegroom for her sister Olga, but fell in love with Alexandra instead on the first evening he spent with the family. Although Olga was the elder daughter and also found Frederick to be an engaging young man, she stepped aside in favour of her sister, and even chaperoned the couple when they wanted to spend time together. The emperor and empress then gave their permission for Alexandra and Frederick to be married.

Alexandra became acutely ill with tuberculosis shortly before her wedding, and this complicated the pregnancy which soon followed. She was never well enough to travel to Hesse and take up her new position with her husband. They stayed in St. Petersburg, where her health rapidly declined. She went into labor prematurely, three months before the child was due, and gave birth to a son, Wilhelm. The infant died shortly after he was born, and Alexandra died later the same day. Her parents were devastated and their grief would last until the end of their lives. She was buried at the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg. The son was buried in Rumpenheim, now a borough of Offenbach am Main, Germany.[4]

In 1849 Frederick William joined HMS Cleopatra to train as a midshipman. The Cleopatra was reassigned to Singapore to take the place of HMS Maeander.[5] She arrived in Singapore from Devonport via Rio de Janeiro under Captain Massie on 14 September 1849 and left with HMS Reynard for Labuan and China on 10 October. The Singapore paper mistakenly described the Prince as the son of the Danish king but the king had no sons, he was an heir to the throne.[6][7]

Princess Anna of Prussia

On 26 May 1853, Frederick married Alexandra's first cousin, Princess Anna of Prussia (1836–1918), at Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin. Although they had six children together, Frederick and Anna were never emotionally close, and it is speculated that one reason was because Fritz was unable to overcome his grief for his first wife.


His first wife was Alexandra Nikolaevna of Russia (1825–1844), daughter of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia and Charlotte of Prussia.[1] Alexandra died in childbirth, delivering a son who was born three months prematurely, and who died on the day of his birth:

  • Prince Wilhelm (1844–1844)

His second wife was Princess Anna of Prussia (1836–1918), the youngest daughter of Prince Charles of Prussia and Princess Marie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.[1] They had six children:

  • Prince Frederick William III of Hesse (1854–1888); never married; died at sea on a voyage from Batavia to Singapore.
  • Princess Elisabeth Alexandra Charlotte of Hesse (1861–1955); married Leopold, Hereditary Prince of Anhalt in June 1884 and had issue.[8]
  • Prince Alexander Frederick of Hesse (1863–1945); married Baroness Gisela Stockhorner von Starheim.
  • Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse, King of Finland (1868–1940); married Princess Margaret of Prussia and had issue.
  • Princess Marie-Polyxene of Hesse (1872–1882).
  • Princess Sybille Marguerite of Hesse (1877–1925); married Friedrich Alexander Henry Robert Carl Albert, Baron von Vincke (divorced 1923).

Elector of Hesse

He is important dynastically as a candidate for both the headship of the Hesse-Kassel dynasty (through his father) and for the Danish throne (through his mother). When Frederick William, deposed Elector of Hesse died in 1875, his sons were excluded from succession, because of his morganatic marriage. Therefore, Prince Frederick William succeeded the latter as titular Elector of Hesse.

Frederick William died on 14 October 1884 at Hamburg.[1]

Honours and awards

Friedrich Wilhelm received the following awards:[9][10]

German decorations
Foreign decorations




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Deaths of note". The Ipswich Journal. 21 October 1884. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  2. Thorsøe 1891, p. 339.
  3. "Russia and Denmark". Waterford Chronicle. 2 December 1843. p. 8. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  4. "From the London Gazette - Friday 30 August". London Standard. 31 August 1844. p. 1. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  5. Reports & C, The Straits Times, 28 August 1849, Page 9
  6. "Shipping News". 6 November 1849. p. 3. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  7. The Straits Times, 16 October 1849, Page 3
  8. "Untitled". Western Daily Press. 18 February 1884. p. 3. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  9. Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Großherzogs Hessen (1879), Genealogy p. 5
  10. Bille-Hansen, A. C.; Holck, Harald, eds (1883) (in da). Statshaandbog for Kongeriget Danmark for Aaret 1883. Kongelig Dansk Hof- og Statskalender. Copenhagen: J.H. Schultz A.-S. Universitetsbogtrykkeri. pp. 3–4. Retrieved 30 April 2020. 
  11. "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. "Sveriges Statskalender" (in sv). 1881. p. 377. Retrieved 2018-01-06. 


External links

Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Frederick William I
Elector of Hesse
Succeeded by
Frederick William III

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