Princess Maria Anna of Anhalt-Dessau

Princess Maria Anna
Princess Frederick Charles of Prussia
Born (1837-09-14)14 September 1837
Died 12 May 1906(1906-05-12) (aged 68)
Spouse Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia
Issue Marie, Princess Henry of the Netherlands
Elisabeth Anna, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Oldenburg
Louise Margaret, Duchess of Connaught and Strathearn
Prince Friedrich Leopold
Full name
Maria Anna
House Ascania
Father Leopold IV, Duke of Anhalt
Mother Frederica Wilhelmina of Prussia

Princess Maria Anna of Anhalt-Dessau (14 September 1837, Dessau – 12 May 1906, Friedrichroda) was a princess from the House of Ascania. She was the third child of Leopold IV, Duke of Anhalt and Frederica Wilhelmina of Prussia.


Maria Anna's paternal grandparents were Frederick, Hereditary Prince of Anhalt-Dessau and Landgravine Amalie of Hesse-Homburg. Her maternal grandparents were Prince Louis Charles of Prussia (brother of King Frederick William III of Prussia) and Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Maria Anna was a younger sister of Frederick I, Duke of Anhalt and Agnes, Duchess of Saxe-Altenburg.

Marriage and issue

On 29 November 1854 she married her second cousin Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia. He was a grandson of Frederick William III of Prussia by his father Prince Charles of Prussia. They had five children:

Princess Marie Elisabeth Luise Friederike of Prussia 1855 1888 married twice (1) Prince Henry of the Netherlands (1820–1879); (2) Prince Albert of Saxe-Altenburg
Princess Elisabeth Anna of Prussia 1857 1895 married Frederick Augustus II, Grand Duke of Oldenburg
Princess Anna Victoria Charlotte Augusta Adelheid of Prussia 1858 1858
Princess Luise Margarete Alexandra Victoria Agnes of Prussia 1860 1917 married Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Prince Joachim Carl Wilhelm Friedrich Leopold of Prussia 1865 1931 married Princess Louise Sophie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg

Their marriage was unhappy. After the birth of their fourth daughter, Prince Frederick Charles reportedly beat his wife for not producing a son. According to one source, it was only by the entreaties of Emperor Wilhelm I that a separation never occurred.[1]

Maria Anna was considered by contemporaries to be one of the loveliest women of her generation.[2] She possessed a remarkable talent for music and painting, and often advised young girls when they first entered society. Maria Anna was almost completely deaf, which according to her friend Princess Catherine Radziwill, "caused her to show extreme timidity and embarrassment whenever she found herself in company".[3] Radziwill went on to say however that "when [Maria Anna] was alone with you, and not disturbed by the noise of many conversations around her, she became quite charming, and really witty".[3]

Later life

Her husband Prince Frederick Charles died on 15 June 1885. After his death, Maria Anna left Berlin for Italy, staying mainly in Naples, Rome, and Florence.[4] Rumors soon emerged that Maria Anna contracted a morganatic marriage to Capt. von Wagenheim, one of her equerries.[1]

In 1889, their only son Prince Frederick married Princess Louise Sophie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, a sister of Empress Augusta Viktoria. Maria Anna died on 12 May 1906 in Friedrichroda.



  1. 1 2 "Frederick Charles's Widow", The New York Times, London, 23 May 1886
  2. Radziwill, pp. 102-03.
  3. 1 2 Radziwill, p. 103.
  4. "Frederick Charles' Only Son", The New York Times, London, 14 September 1885



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