Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein


Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein : biography

22 October 1858 – 11 April 1921

Augusta also had less than cordial relationships with some of Wilhelm’s sisters, especially the recently married Crown Princess Sophie of Greece. In 1890, when Sophie announced her intention to leave her Evangelical faith for Greek Orthodoxy, Dona summoned her and told her that if she did so, not only would Wilhelm find it unacceptable, being the head of the Evangelical State Church of Prussia’s older Provinces; she would be barred from Germany and her soul would end up in Hell. Sophie replied that it was her business whether or not she did. Augusta became hysterical and gave birth prematurely to her son, Prince Joachim, as a result of which she was protective of him for the rest of his life, believing that he was delicate. Evidently, so did Wilhelm; he wrote to his mother that if the baby died, Sophie would have murdered it.

In 1920, the shock of exile and abdication, combined with the breakdown of Joachim’s marriage and his subsequent suicide, proved too much for Augusta. She died in 1921, in House Doorn at Doorn in the Netherlands. The Weimar Republic allowed her remains to be transported back to Germany, where they still lie in the Temple of Antiquities, not far from the New Palace, Potsdam. Because he was not permitted to enter Germany, Wilhelm could only accompany his wife on her last journey as far as the German border.


Kaiserin Augusta gave birth to seven children by Wilhelm II:

  • William, German Crown Prince (1882–1951); married Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.
  • Prince Eitel Friedrich (1883–1942); married Duchess Sophia Charlotte of Oldenburg.
  • Prince Adalbert (1884–1948); married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen.
  • Prince August Wilhelm (1887–1949); married Princess Alexandra Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.
  • Prince Oskar (1888–1958); married Countess Ina Marie von Bassewitz.
  • Prince Joachim (1890–1920); married Princess Marie-Auguste of Anhalt.
  • Princess Victoria Louise (1892–1980); married Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick.

Historical view

History has not dealt kindly with Augusta, recording nothing special about her; she was not intellectual, did not play an instrument, and hero-worshipped her husband.

This view of Augusta is, however, one that is substantially based upon the point of view of late twentieth-century, often English-speaking historians, and also is reading her through the lens of twentieth-century political history. She is often compared unfavourably to Empress Elisabeth of Austria and her mother-in-law Victoria, Princess Royal, both of whom are read as symbols of cultural and political progress to the left. Augusta is read as a more conservative figure and, therefore, more negative imagery and narrative is directed towards her. Queen Victoria at least, believed she was "foolish".Dreadnought by Robert Massie. p. 37 She was extremely conscientious in carrying out the public relations duty, charitable, and welfare work that was an expected part of Royal duties. She was not as untalented as later commentators made out and had interests in and affinity for the arts. There was a genuine and widespread sense of loss and mourning amongst ordinary Germans when she died and her funeral was marked by much spontaneous public grieving, as well as the more formal rituals of the Prussian State.