Friedrich III of Germany (Hohenzollern)

Friedrich III of Germany
Friedrich III of Germany
German Royalty
House of Hohenzollern

Wilhelm I (1861-1888)
   Friedrich III
   Princess Louise
Friedrich III (1888)
   Wilhelm II
   Princess Charlotte
   Prince Heinrich
   Prince Sigismund
   Princess Viktoria
   Prince Waldemar
   Princess Sophie
   Princess Margarete
   Prince Waldemar
   Prince Sigismund
   Prince Heinrich Viktor
Wilhelm II (1888-1918)
   Crown Prince Wilhelm
   Prince Eitel Friederich
   Prince Adalbert
   Prince August Wilhelm
   Prince Oskar
   Prince Joachim
   Princess Viktoria Luise
   Prince Wilhelm
   Prince Louis Ferdinand
   Prince Hubertus
   Prince Friedrich
   Princess Alexandrine
   Princess Cecilie
   Princess Victoria Marina
   Prince Wilhem Victor
   Prince Alexander Ferdinand
   Prince Oskar
   Prince Burchard
   Princess Herzeleide-Ina-Marie
   Prince Wilhelm
   Prince Karl
Great Grandchildren
   Prince Friedrich Wilhelm
   Prince Michael
   Princess Marie-Cécile
   Princess Kira
   Prince Louis Ferdinand
   Prince Christian-Sigismund
   Princess Xenia
   Princess Anastasia Victoria
   Princess Marie Christine
   Prince Frederick Nicholas
   Prince William Andrew
   Princess Victoria Marina
   Prince Rupert
   Princess Antonia
Great-Great Grandchildren
   Prince Georg Friedrich
   Princess Cornelie-Cécile

Friedrich III (October 18, 1831June 15, 1888), was a German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, who ruled for three months until his death in 1888.

Early Life

He was born the son of Prince Wilhelm of Prussia and Augusta of Saxe-Weimar. His father was a younger brother of King Frederick William IV of Prussia.

In 1858 Friedrich married Princess Victoria (Vicky) of Great Britain and Ireland, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The couple had eight children during their marriage: Wilhelm in 1859, Charlotte in 1860, Henry in 1862, Sigismund in 1864, Victoria in 1866, Waldemar in 1868, Sophie in 1870 and Margarete in 1872. The rigorously educated Vicky, also known as the Princess Royal, influenced her husband towards her own liberal views.

Crown Prince

In 1861, Friedrich's father became King Wilhelm I of Prussia, and Friedrich himself became Crown Prince. As such, he formed a partnership with General Leonhard von Blumenthal, his Chief of Staff, through whom he was able to commanded victorious armies in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 (where his timely arrival was crucial to the Prussian victory at Sadowa) and in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.

When the German states united as a single German Empire in 1871, Friedrich became heir to the new German monarchy with his father as Kaiser. Never liked by the powerful German Chancellor Bismarck, who distrusted his wife's liberalism, Friedrich was always kept out of any real position of power throughout his father's life.

Imperial Styles of
Kaiser Friedrich III of Germany
Reference style His Imperial Majesty
Spoken style Your Imperial Majesty
Alternative style Sir
Styles of
König Friedrich III of Prussia
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir

Illness and Brief Reign

By the time his father died in 1888, Friedrich had incurable cancer of the larynx, which had been misdiagnosed by the English doctor Morell Mackenzie (later knighted by Queen Victoria). As a result of the misdiagnosis, surgery that might have cured the cancer was cancelled in 1887. When the error was caught, it was too late to operate. Later swelling by the tumor caused the prince to begin to suffocate, and so on February 9, 1888, a tracheotomy was performed and a silver tube was put into the prince's wind pipe. As a result of this operation, Friedrich was unable to speak for the remainder of his life, and communicated through writing.

He was already in this state when his father died, leaving Friedrich a very ill emperor, though only 56 years old. Friedrich ruled for only 99 days before his own death, and was succeeded by his son Wilhelm II.


Many people, then and now, have considered Friedrich's death particularly tragic, not only for himself but for the German nation. History will never know whether he would have moved Germany towards a more liberal democratic course, perhaps towards a constitutional monarchy such as that presided over by his mother-in-law Queen Victoria -- nor whether he would have succeeded had he lived long enough to try. But Wilhelm II, his son and successor, hewed more to the militaristic and authoritarian ways of his father Wilhelm I, a course that would lead directly to World War I and the end of monarchy in Germany.


Name Birth Death Notes
Kaiser Wilhelm II 27 January 1859 4 June 1941 married 1881, Augusta Viktoria; had issue
Princess Charlotte 24 July 1860 1 October 1919 married 1878, Bernhard III, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen; had issue
Prince Heinrich 14 August 1862 20 April 1929 married 1888, Princess Irene; had issue
Prince Sigismund 15 September 1864 18 June 1866 died aged 1; no issue
Princess Viktoria 12 April 1866 13 November 1929 married 1890, Prince Adolf of Schaumburg-Lippe; had issue
Prince Waldemar 10 February 1868 27 March 1879 died aged 11; no issue
Princess Sophie 14 June 1870 13 January 1932 married 1889, Constantine I of Greece; had issue
Princess Margarete 22 April 1872 22 January 1954 married 1893, Karl von Hesse-Kassel; had issue

Preceded by:
Wilhelm I
King of Prussia
9 March 1888 - 15 June 1888
Succeeded by:
Wilhelm II
German Emperor
9 March 1888 - 15 June 1888


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