Frederick William 111 of Prussia, Portrait Plaque
King Frederick William III, (1770-1840), King of Prussia,1797-1840.
He ruled Prussia during the difficult times of the Napoleonic Wars and the end of the Holy Roman Empire. Steering a careful course between France and her enemies, after a major military defeat in 1806, he eventually and reluctantly joined the coalition against Napoleon in the Befreiungskriege. Following Napoleon's defeat, he was King of Prussia during the Congress of Vienna, which assembled to settle the political questions arising from the new, post-Napoleonic order in Europe.
His wife was the duchess Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1776 - 1810) was Queen of Prussia. The couple's marriage produced nine children, including the future monarchs Frederick William IV of Prussia and German Emperor Wilhelm I.
Her legacy became cemented after her extraordinary 1807 meeting with French Emperor Napoleon I at Tilsit she met with the emperor to plead unsuccessfully for favourable terms after Prussia's disastrous losses in the Napoleonic Wars. She was already well loved by her subjects, but her meeting with Napoleon led Louise to become revered as "the soul of national virtue". Her early death at the age of thirty-four "preserved her youth in the memory of posterity", and caused Napoleon to reportedly remark the king "has lost his best minister". The Order of Louise was founded by her grieving husband four years later as a female counterpart to the Iron Cross. In the 1920s conservative German women founded the Queen Louise League, and Louise herself would be used in Nazi propaganda as an example of the ideal German woman.
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