Friederike of Prussia, Duchess of Anhalt-Dessau
Princess Friederike Luise Wilhelmine Amalie of Prussia was the wife of the future Leopold IV Friedrich, Duke of Anhalt. She was born in Berlin, Kingdom of Prussia, now in the German state of Brandenburg, on September 30, 1796 to Prince Ludwig Karl of Prussia and Duchess Friederike of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and had two older siblings:
- Prince Friedrich of Prussia (1794-1863) – married Princess Luise of Anhalt-Bernburg, had issue
- Prince Karl of Prussia (1795-1798) – died in childhood
Friederike’s father died when she was just three months old. His father King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia provided the family with an income and a residence at Schönhausen Palace outside of Berlin. Two years later, in December 1798, Friederike’s mother remarried to Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Solms-Braunfels, with whom she was already expecting a child. From this marriage Friederike had six half-siblings:
- Princess Caroline of Solms-Braunfels (born and died 1799)
- Prince Wilhelm of Solms-Braunfels (1801–1868), married Countess Maria Anna Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau, had nine children
- Princess Sophie of Solms-Braunfels (born and died 1803)
- Princess Auguste Luise of Solms-Braunfels (1804–1865), married Prince Albert of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, had four children
- Prince Friedrich of Solms-Braunfels (1807–1867), married Baroness Louise of Landsberg-Velen, had one child
- Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels (1812–1875), married (1) morganatically Louise Beyrich, had three children (2) Princess Sophie of Loewenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg, had five children
The family moved once again, in 1815. Having been widowed the previous year, Friederike’s mother married a third time. This time, her husband was her first cousin, Prince Ernst August of the United Kingdom, Duke of Cumberland. The family lived in Hanover, and Friederike gained one more half-sibling:
- King Georg V of Hanover (1819-1878) – married Princess Marie of Saxe-Altenburg, had issue
In Berlin on April 18, 1818, Friederike married Leopold IV Friedrich, Duke of Anhalt-Dessau. The marriage had been arranged by the Prussian court, and they had been formally engaged since May 1816. In addition to two stillborn sons, Friederike and Leopold had four children:
- Princess Auguste (1819-1822) – died in childhood
- Princess Agnes (1824-1897) – married Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg, had issue
- Friedrich I, Duke of Anhalt (1831-1904) – married Princess Antoinette of Saxe-Altenburg, had issue
- Princess Maria Anna (1837-1906) – married Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia, had issue
Having become Duchess of Anhalt-Dessau at the time of her marriage, Friederike also became Duchess of Anhalt-Köthen in November 1847 when that duchy was inherited by her husband.
Friederike, the Duchess of Anhalt-Dessau and Duchess of Anhalt-Köthen, died in Dessau, Duchy of Anhalt, now in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany on January 1, 1850, and was buried in the Marienkirche (link in German) in Dessau. When the church was destroyed by bombing during World War II, the Duchess’s remains were moved to the Berenhorst crypt in the Historical Cemetery in Dessau.
Three years after her death, the Dessau and Köthen duchies were joined as one – the Duchy of Anhalt-Dessau-Köthen, and in 1863, were merged with the last remaining Anhalt duchy – Anhalt-Bernburg – becoming the unified Duchy of Anhalt, with her husband becoming the first reigning Duke.