Friedrichshof Palace was built between 1889 and 1893 by Empress Frederick, also known as Victoria, Princess Royal in honour of her late husband, Emperor Frederick III. The Empress spent a lot of her last years at the palace with her younger daughters and died there of cancer in 1901. She had lined the walls of every room with paintings of her family. The library was one of her favourite rooms and she had it filled with books that mentioned her husband. It soon became too small and a large portion of her books had to be stored elsewhere. Over the main portal, she had carved the words, “Frederici Memoriae (To the memory of Frederick).” Over time, the palace became a mecca for Victoria’s extended family.
By the time of her mother’s death, Victoria had been in bed for six weeks. The new King Edward VII came to see Victoria a few weeks after Queen Victoria’s funeral. One courtier described Victoria as, “though she had just been taken off the rack after undergoing torture.”1 During her last few months, a lot of the family came by the see the dying Empress. In June, she wrote to her daughter Sophie, “I have been terribly bad these last few days. The attacks of pain are so violent, the struggle for breath so dreadful, when in bed or lying down, most distressing… I managed to struggle throughout the day, I know not how…”2
When sentries asked to be moved so they would not hear the screaming from Victoria’s bedroom, the end was clearly approaching. According to her son, it was an excellent time for a holiday. To the very end, Victoria was given just enough morphine to ease the pain, at her own request. She began to dictate her final wishes to her chamberlain. Her son arrived home just in time and he was with her when she died in the early evening of 5 August 1901. She had already had her letters smuggled out of Germany to protect them from her son’s prying hands. The palace with its contents was inherited by her daughter Margaret.
Friedrichshof was renamed as Kronberg and currently serves as a five-star hotel. It still has part of the original furnishings and Victoria’s library is still present in the hotel. As it is a very exclusive hotel, you can not visit any parts of it if you are not a guest. We tried to have a drink on the terrace but despite a friendly reception, we were then ignored for 20 minutes so we decided to leave. We walked around a bit and you can certainly see why Victoria loved it so much there.