Royal History: Empress Frederick Dies

Victoria, Princess Royal of Great Britain, Empress Friedrich of Germany.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Cronberg, August 5, 1901 - A dispatch to the New York Times reports the passing of Dowager Empress Frederick at 6:15 pm. Her death came as a surprise. At 4 pm, a medical bulletin from her doctors revealed that there was "no change in the patient's condition."

Kaiser Wilhelm II and his siblings, except for Prince Henry, were with her in the sick room. Empress Augusta Victoria was also around. The Emperor arrived at Homburg at 3 in the morning. He was accompanied by the Empress, and Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm to Schloss Friedrichshof, where  they arrived 5 am.

The Empress Dowager's English chaplain, Dr. Waller, was summoned to her bedside. Members of her family were with her when the Empress "passed away quietly," together with Profs. Renvers and Spielhagen.

The Empress' death it was told was caused by dropsy and the breast cancer that had so stricken her since 1899. However, the Empress was hailed for her "remarkable vitality," retaining her consciousness to the end.

Immediately after her death was proclaimed, the flag on her castle was lowered to a half-mast. By 8 pm, Kaiser Wilhelm led members of Empress Friedrich's household into the death chamber "to take a last farewell of their mistress."

--> Church bells tolled following announcement of her death. "Visitors to the castle began inscribing their names in a book placed for the purpose in the hall."

The Kaiser then summoned soldiers to the castle and is now patrolled by hussars and royal police.

The Kaiser, the Empress and the Crown Prince returned to Homburg shortly after nightfall. It is not yet known whether or not the Empress Dowager will lie in state.

A few days before her death, Empress Friedrich already new that her end was imminent." She had said farewell to most of her servants, asking their wishes when she would be gone. It is understood that she arranged for the future of nearly every one of them."

Her brother, King Edward VII, will be immediately informed of the Empress' passing.

The Empress Frederick was born Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa, Princess Royal of Great Britain, on Nov. 21, 1840. She is the eldest daughter and child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Until the birth of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), in 1841, Victoria was the country's heiress presumptive. Her parents closely supervised her education and unlike her brother, she grew up as a precocious and intelligent girl.

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