The ROYAL LOUISE
is a faithful reconstruction of a British miniature frigate. This historical ship build 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 Kings of Britain and Prussia and the Tsar of Russia celebrated their triumph in London and exchanged elaborate presents. The Prussian King received a small, fully rigged ship to sail on the lakes of Berlin.
The British King William IV - on the throne since 1830 - decided to build a new and better ship for the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III to replace the ship from 1814. William IV, himself an officer of the Royal Navy, gave orders to the Royal Dockyard at Woolwich to build a new ship in the form of a miniature frigate.
On May 1st 1832 the ship was 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 sailed the miniature frigate to Potsdam. In a festive ceremony the ship was handed over to the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III.
To protect the valuable ship during the winter, a boat house, the Fregattenschuppen, was built on the Pfaueninsel. The architect was 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 received a pompous, ninety centimeters tall vase from the Königlich Preussische Porzellan Manufaktur. 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 royal collection which catalogues the artworks of Queen Elizabeth II.
See: Urn | Royal Collection Trust
A new home port, the Matrosenstation, was 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 was named Kongsnæs, which in Norwegian translates kings promontory.
During World War I the ROYAL LOUISE was 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 (VSaW) e.V. in Berlin, where she served 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) take the ROYAL LOUISE over and she is moved to Kiel on the Baltic Coast and misused for Nazi propaganda purposes. She was placed ashore as a memorial to German marine history.
After World War II the Allied Command in Germany announced 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 (VSaW) provides mooring for the ship. Since then, the ROYAL LOUISE once again 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.