Duchess Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was born on March 10, 1776 in Hanover, Germany, the daughter of Prince Charles of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Early in 1792, when Louise was 16, her uncle, hoping to strengthen the ties between his family and the Prussian royal family, carefully plotted a meeting between Louise and Crown Prince Frederick William III. The plan worked, and they married. The Prince became King when his father died in 1797 and Louisa became Queen of Prussia. The nation was charmed by the young Queen’s grace, beauty, and wit. Historians have commented that Queen Louise was Prussian nationalism personified.
In 1804, with Napoleon’s increasing violations of Prussian treaty rights, Louise (formerly ignorant of foreign policy) began to argue with King Frederick over his long-standing position of neutrality, pleading with him to break off all relations with the French Emperor. She took the initiative of contacting the Tsar of Russia and Emperor of Austria, both of whom, along with Frederick, signed the Potsdam Treaty on November 3, 1805—a treaty which allied these three nations against Napoleon. Napoleon termed Louise “My beautiful enemy” for her role in forming this alliance.
She tragically died young from an unknown disease at the age of 34. She also never had the opportunity to see Napoleon’s defeat in 1815.