Author Topic: Princess Elisa Radziwill  (Read 80779 times)

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Offline Paola

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Princess Elisa Radziwill
« on: April 18, 2006, 09:32:46 AM »
Iam searching for more information about Princess Elisa Radziwill, the youthful love of Kaiser William I. Any portraits or books about her?

Agneschen

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Re: Princess Elisa Radziwill
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2006, 06:48:22 AM »

She was Kaiser Wilhelm's great love. I remember reading that, as an old man, he said the thought of her had always been with him.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 01:16:42 PM by Svetabel »

Offline Paola

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Re: Princess Elisa Radziwill
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2006, 10:08:57 AM »
Thanks Agneschen for this lovely portrait. She was beautiful. It was a pity William wasn't allowed to marry the love of his life I read that before his marriage to Princess Augusta of Saxe Weimar, William went to Elisa and told her "I will never be able to love anyone else. I love only you! Augusta knows it...the whole world knows it". Many years later, when he was dying, he asked his daughter Louise to fetch a miniature portrait of his long dead love(he had it, all his lifelong on his desk), and place it in his hands just before his last breath.

Offline Yseult

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Re: Princess Elisa Radziwill
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2006, 04:55:52 PM »
Oh, it was a great love story...

The heir of the Prussian throne was the elder brother of Wilhelm, Friedrich Wilhelm, later Friedrich Wilhelm IV, but he had not children with his wife Elisabeth Ludovika of Bavaria...So, Wilhelm was the presumptive heir of his brother. King Friedrich Wilhelm III (father of the two brothers) was very fond of the relationship between Wilhelm and the polish Elise, but it was certain that Elise´s ancestors had bought their tittle from the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, so Elise was not deemed noble enough to marry a future King of Prussia...

The father of Wilhelm tried to persuade the Tsar Alexander I of Russia to adopt Elise, but the Tsar disliked the idea.


Offline royalboy202

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Re: Princess Elisa Radziwill
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2006, 06:01:46 PM »
What was the date her birth and who were her parents?

Offline crazy_wing

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Re: Princess Elisa Radziwill
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2006, 06:30:25 PM »
Elisa Radziwill
Born: October 28, 1803 in Berlin
Died: September 27, 1834 in Bad Freienwalde

Father: Anton Radziwill, a Polish prince
Mother: Luise Friederike of Prussia

As you can see, Elisa is only half royal.  Her mother defied traditions by marrying a non-royal.  Radziwill is a very distinguished family but unfortunately not royal.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by crazy_wing »

Offline Yseult

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Re: Princess Elisa Radziwill
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2006, 10:49:17 PM »
You´re right, crazy_wing, but from the point of wiew of the Prussian court, Elise had the lower rank inherited from the father, not the higher rank of her mother. It is so clear if you think that the only way out that they found was an adoption of the polish princess for the tsar Alexander I. Later, they discussed also if an adoption of Elise for her uncle prince Augustus of Prussia could arrange the situation, but they believed that adoption does not change the blood.

I believe that Queen Louise, the charismatic mother of Wilhelm, was not fond of Anton Radziwill and the lack of fondness to the father, overshadowed the beautiful Elise. And, in adeed, the fact was that Elise was so vulnerable because she had not pure blood royal in her veins. The issue remember me all the gossip at the vienese court about Elisabeth of Bavaria, because a grand-mother of Sissi was merely a princess Arenberg...higher aristocracy but not royalty.

Offline crazy_wing

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Re: Princess Elisa Radziwill
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2006, 03:27:00 AM »
I think had the Tsar took part in it and adopted Eliza, the story would have been very different.  The Prussian could not refuse what Tsar Alexander I insists because the Tsar ranked higher than King of Prussia and was also the saver of Prussia from Napoleonic forces.  But then, I think the adoption idea is rather bizarre.

Agneschen

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Re: Princess Elisa Radziwill
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2006, 04:26:50 AM »
I remember reading that religion was also a problem. The Radziwills were catholic. Had the Tsar adopted Elise, she would have had to convert first to orthodoxy & then to protestantism to marry Wilhelm. This was thought too much.

anabel

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Re: Princess Elisa Radziwill
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2006, 08:23:00 AM »
Quote
Many years later, when he was dying, he asked his daughter Louise to fetch a miniature portrait of his long dead love(he had it, all his lifelong on his desk), and place it in his hands just before his last breath.

I have heard this story too, but in another version. It says that it actually was his wife Auguste who put the miniature of Elisa in his hands. :-?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by anabel »

Offline Marc

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Re: Princess Elisa Radziwill
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2006, 08:23:40 PM »

Offline Marc

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Re: Princess Elisa Radziwill
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2006, 08:25:15 PM »
And colour version of Princess Elisa...

Offline Marc

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Re: Princess Elisa Radziwill
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2006, 08:25:46 PM »

Offline Marc

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Re: Princess Elisa Radziwill
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2006, 08:27:23 PM »
And one of her mother Princess Louise of Prussia...

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Princess Elisa Radziwill
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2006, 08:57:47 PM »
Elisa was the fifth of eight children of prince Anton Radziwill and Luise of Prussia . She received a very good upbringing and was very musically and artistically talented. Because Elisa often visited her mother's home, she and William had known each other since they were very small children. The first hints of romance came when the two danced together at a ball in 1815. At the time William was 18 and Elisa 12--shades of Fritz & Vicky and later on Nicholas & Alexandra. On 27 January 1821 they performed together in a family tableaux and Elisa, which had the title part, aroused general admiration--being described as the most beautiful lady of the Prussian Court, calling her an "angel" and the "white rose".

The drama of their romance played out over the course of several years--from roughly 1820 to 1826. Wilhelm stood after his brother Friedrich William in the succession to the throne and was required to make a suitable marriage. Elisa's parents and Friedrich William III tried to prove the equality of the Radziwills to other royal houses but it was insufficient.  

When this avenue failed, Friedrich William III, in 1824, turned to Alexander I of Russia (William's sister Charlotte was Alexander's sister-in-law) with the request to adopt Elisa. This the Tsar rejected however. The second adoption plan by Elisa's uncle, August of Prussia, failed likewise, because the responsible commission found that adoption does not change "the blood" . There were also several political and royal factions allied against the marriage. Heavy pressure was brought to bear on William to give up the idea of marrying Elisa. Finally the king was forced to recognize the impossibility of the match and in 1826 demanded from Wilhelm the renouncement of the idea. William obeyed. The two would occasionally still encounter each other, however. Elisa became engaged to Friedrich of Schwarzenberg but it was later broken off. William last saw Elisa in 1829. In 1831, Elisa was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent most of her remaining years in more suitable climates. She died in 1834 and her coffin was moved in 1838 to a newly-built family mausoleum to lie next to her father. Wilhelm never forgot her though, and much like his grandson and namesake William II, kept a portrait of his lost love on his desk the remainder of his life.

Their history was made in to a movie in 1938 with Lida Baarova in the role of Elisa. With the outbreak of WWII in 1939 the film was forbidden, since a relationship between a Prussian prince and a Polish princess did not appeal to the Nazi regime.

You'd think this doomed romance might have made William more sympathetic to his granddaughter Moretta's wish to marry 'down' with Alexander Battenberg. Perhaps it worked in the opposite direction though--having renounced his own true love for duty and politics, he expected no less from his granddaughter.

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