Bad Homburg Palace was first built in the 12th century but most of it was demolished in 1660 by Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg. A new palace was built between 1680 and 1685. In 1818, Princess Elizabeth of Great Britain, daughter of King George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, married the future Frederick VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg and she is perhaps the best-known inhabitant. Her reconstructed living quarters are called “The English Wing” and that wing is one of the few open parts of the palace, due to other renovations.
Elizabeth was born on 22 May 1770 between 8 and 9 in the morning and she was christened on the 17th of June by the Archbishop of Canterbury. She is said to have been lively, intelligent and beautiful in her childhood. She was raised in royal isolation with her sisters and she did not marry until late in life. A few years after her marriage, Dr Beattie, the physician of the Duke of Clarence, wrote “Here I had the honour of being presented to the Princess Elizabeth, as Landgravine of Hesse Homburg. Under the latter title, this amiable Princess has done more for the happiness and prosperity of the inhabitants than all the combined events of the last century.”1
After the annexation by Prussia, it became a summer residence for the kings of Prussia. Empress Frederick, also known as Victoria, Princess Royal stayed at the palace several times.
The palace church houses the family crypt. The crypt is only open on certain days and unfortunately was closed when we visited. Elizabeth is also buried there. See some photos here.
The English wing can only be visited with a tour (which includes those awful slippers!) and a tour costs €5,00. When we arrived, we learned that the first hourly tour had been booked by a group so we were forced to wait another full hour. This seems like a rather ineffective system but we did end up with a nearly private tour. The tour guide was pretty good and was very knowledgeable. The shop is great and has plenty of books available. The gardens are very nice and the cafe had excellent coffee. Hopefully, more of the rooms will be opened to the public soon to make it worth everyone’s while.