The ROYAL LOUISE
is a faithful reconstruction of a British miniature frigate. This historical ship built in 1832 was a present of the British King William IV to the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III. It was named after the Prussian Queen Louise, the late wife of Friedrich Wilhelm III. The new ROYAL LOUISE was built in Berlin-Köpenick between 1996 and 1998 and sails today on the lakes formed by the river Havel. She is moored at the Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee (VSaW) in Berlin and is available to club members and guests.
The non-profit club Royal Louise Yacht- und Schifffahrtsverein zu Potsdam e.V.,
also called Royal Louise e.V., sails and maintains the British miniature frigate ROYAL LOUISE. The ship has become a landmark in the historic landscape of lakes, castles and gardens in Berlin and Potsdam, which are part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
The history of the ROYAL LOUISE
After their victory over Napoleon the monarchs of Britain, Prussia, Russia and Austria celebrate their triumph in London and exchange elaborate presents. The Prussian King receives a small, fully rigged ship to sail on the lakes of Berlin.
The British King William IV - on the throne since 1830 - decides to build a new and better ship for the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III to replace the ship of 1814. William IV, himself an officer of the Royal Navy, gives orders to the Royal Dockyard at Woolwich to build a new ship in the form of a miniature frigate.
On May 1st the ship is launched and named ROYAL LOUISE in honour to the late Prussian Queen Louise who had died in 1810. In June of the same year high ranking officers of the Royal Navy sail the miniature frigate to Potsdam. In a festive ceremony the ship is handed over to the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III.
To protect the valuable ship during the winter, a boat house, the Fregattenschuppen, is built on the Pfaueninsel. The architect is Albert Dietrich Schadow, Prussian "Hofbauconducteur" and a member of the building commission for Berlin Palace. This Fregattenschuppen is still used today for ROYAL LOUISE in winter.
In return, King William IV receives a pompous, ninety centimetres tall vase from the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur in Berlin. It is presently kept in the White Drawing Room of Windsor Castle.
More details of the decoration and the history of the vase can be seen in the database of the Royal Collection which catalogues the antiques of Queen Elizabeth II.
See: Urn | Royal Collection Trust
A new home port, the Matrosenstation, is constructed for the ROYAL LOUISE on the shores of the lake Jungfernsee in Potsdam, near the Glienicker Brücke.
Under Kaiser Wilhelm II new buildings are constructed for the Matrosenstation, designed in traditional Norwegian style. The ensemble is named Kongsnæs, which in Norwegian translates "king´s promontory".
During World War I the ROYAL LOUISE is stored in the winter boat house, the Fregattenschuppen, on the Pfaueninsel.
In the Weimar Republic the estates of the Prussian royal dynasty are dissolved. The ROYAL LOUISE remains the property of the former German Emperor Wilhelm II. The ship is handed over to the sailing club Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee in Berlin, where she serves as a sail training ship for young sailors.
With maintenance fees no longer affordable the unrigged ship is handed over to the Prussian State Institute of Fishing in Sacrow near Berlin.
The Reichsmarine (German Navy) takes the ROYAL LOUISE over, and she is moved to Kiel on the Baltic Coast and misused for Nazi propaganda purposes. She is placed ashore as a memorial to German marine history.
After World War II the Allied Command in Germany announces that all military memorials must be removed. The ship, already in very poor condition, is scrapped.
A new ROYAL LOUISE is planned and built at a shipyard in Berlin-Köpenick, supported by a government funded employment creation scheme. The ship is completed in 1998.
The new ROYAL LOUISE is ready to sail and used by a private enterprise. However in 2003 the company declares insolvency.
The non-profit club Royal Louise Yacht- und Schifffahrtsverein zu Potsdam e.V., called Royal Louise e.V., is founded to acquire the ship and save it from impending decay. The Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee provides mooring for the ship. Since then, the ROYAL LOUISE sails on the Havel between Spandau and the Jungfernsee.
The British miniature frigate is again a part of the "Prussian Arcadia" with its lakes, castles and gardens, which belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage.