Adelheid of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, Emich Charles of Leiningen, German Emperor Wilhelm II, Princess Feodora of Leiningen, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Princess Feodora of Leiningen (Anna Feodora Auguste Charlotte Wilhelmine; December 7, 1807 – September 23, 1872) was the only daughter of Emich Charles, Prince of Leiningen (1763–1814), and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (1786–1861). Feodora and her older brother Charles, 3rd Prince of Leiningen, were maternal half-siblings to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. She is a matrilineal ancestress (through women only) of Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and of Felipe VI of Spain.
Her mother was widowed in 1814 and on May 29, 1818, her mother remarried to Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. The following year, when the duchess’s pregnancy was reaching full term, the household moved so that the new potential heir to the British throne could be born in Britain.
Feodora enjoyed a very close relationship with her younger half-sister Victoria, who was devoted to her, although Victoria resented the fact that Feodora was one of only a few other children with whom she was allowed regular interaction. Despite their closeness, Feodora was eager to leave their residence at Kensington Palace permanently, as her “only happy time was driving out” with Victoria and her governess Baroness Louise Lehzen, when she could “speak and look as she liked”.
Marriage and later years
In early 1828, Feodora married Ernst I, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1794–1860), at Kensington Palace. The match was arranged by Queen Adelaide of Great Britain, as Prince Ernst I was her first cousin. Prior to that, she had only met him twice. After their honeymoon, she returned to the German Confederation, where she lived until her death in 1872.
The prince had no domain, however, as the principality had been mediatised to Württemberg in 1806. The couple lived in a large and uncomfortable castle, Schloss Langenburg.
Feodora maintained a lifelong correspondence with her half-sister Victoria and was granted an allowance of £300 (equivalent to £27,652 in 2019) whenever she could visit Britain. She was a member of the royal party at Victoria’s coronation in 1838.
Feodora’s youngest daughter, Feodora, the Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen, died in early 1872 of scarlet fever. Feodora died later that year on September23, 1872. On hearing of Feodora’s death, Victoria wrote:
“Can I write it? My own darling, only sister, my dear excellent, noble Feodore is no more! She is at rest & in peace since 2 this morning. What a fearful loss! Darling precious sister, whom I hoped so to go & see! The kind Empress Augusta telegraphed the news to me in a most feeling manner, & I got the telegram just after I came back from Abergeldie, where I had gone to see the preparations for Bertie’s welcome. This was to have been & is still a day of rejoicing for all the good Balmoral people, on account of dear Bertie’s first return after his illness, & I am here in sorrow & grief, unable to join in the welcome. God’s will be done, but the loss to me is too dreadful! I stand so alone now, no near & dear one nearer my own age, or older, to whom I could look up to, left! All, all gone! How good & wise, beloved Feodore was, so devoted to me, so truly pious & religious. She is gone to that world she was so fit for & entered it, just sleeping away. What a blessed end! but what a loss to those who are left! She was my last near relative on an equality with me, the last link with my childhood & youth.”
— Queen Victoria in her journal (23 September 1872)
Feodora and Ernest had six children (three sons and three daughters):
Charles Ludwig II, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (October 25, 1829 – May 16, 1907), succeeded his father on April 12, 1860, but abdicated his rights on April 21, to marry unequally. He married Maria Grathwohl on February 22, 1861. They had three children. His male issue was created Prince of Weikersheim on 18 July 1911 by Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria.
Princess Elise of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (November 8, 1830 – February 27, 1850) died at the age of 19.
Hermann, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (August 31, 1832 – March 9, 1913) married Princess Leopoldine of Baden on September 24, 1862. They had three children.
Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (December 11, 1833 – December 31, 1891) married Lady Laura Seymour on January 24, 1861. They had four children.
Princess Adelheid of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (July 20, 1835 – January 25, 1900) married Frederick VIII, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg on September 11, 1856. They had five children.
Princess Adelheid of Hohenlohe-Langenburg was Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein by marriage, a niece of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, first cousin of King Edward VII, and the mother-in-law of German Emperor Wilhelm II through her daughter, Princess Augusta Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg (October 22, 1858 – April 11, 1921) whom she married on February 27, 1881. They had seven children.
Wilhelm II of Germany was also Queen Victoria’s eldest grandchild.
Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (July 7, 1839 – February 10, 1872) married Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen on October 23, 1858. They had three sons.