Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg, Princess of Wenden, Schwerin and Ratzeburg, Countess of Schwerin, Lady of the Lands of Rostock and Stargard, born Princess of Anhalt
Princess Elisabeth of Anhalt was born on 7 September 1857 at the Wörlitz Palace, near Dessau, the daughter of the then Hereditary Prince Friedrich of Anhalt and his wife the Hereditary Princess Antoinette.
Princess of Anhalt
Princess Elisabeth was christened into the Lutheran faith with the names Elisabeth
Marie Friederike Amalie Agnes at the Wörlitz Church on 1 October 1857. The date also
marked the 63rd birthday of her grandfather Duke Leopold IV of Anhalt who was named
as a godparent along with his daughter the Duchess Agnes of Saxe-
Being the eldest daughter in her family, Princess Elisabeth also had two elder brothers; the future Hereditary Prince Leopold; born 1855 and the future Duke Friedrich II; born 1856. Her younger siblings were the future Duke Eduard; born 1861, Prince Aribert; born 1864 and Alexandra the future Princess of Schwarzburg; born 1868.
Princess Elisabeth was educated by the hereditary princely family court’s tutor Dr Wilhelm Hofäus and governess Mathilde von Zeschau. She spent her childhood at the Hereditary Princely Palais in Anhalt’s capital Dessau, the summer months were spent at the Wörlitz Palace. In 1871 Princess Elisabeth’s father succeeded to the throne as Duke Friedrich I of Anhalt and in 1874 the family moved into the main Residence Palace in Dessau.
Hereditary Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg
In early 1876 Princess Elisabeth met the Hereditary Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich of
The new Hereditary Grand Duchess Elisabeth arrived in Neustrelitz on 7 July setting up home with her husband in the Carolinenpalais in Neustrelitz. The couple also maintained a summer residence at the Prillwitz Hunting Palace where the Hereditary Grand Duchess Elisabeth became closely involved with the local community and showed her charitable nature by gifting an organ to the local church.
Beginning with Duchess Marie in 1878, the hereditary grand ducal couple would go onto have four children. A second daughter Duchess Jutta, born 1880, was followed by two sons, Hereditary Prince Adolf Friedrich, born 1882 and Duke Carl Borwin, born 1888.
In her public role the Hereditary Grand Duchess Elisabeth participated in events
Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg
The year 1904 got off to a sad start for Hereditary Grand Duchess Elisabeth with
the death of her father Duke Friedrich I of Anhalt on 24 January. Just four months
later she became the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-
Just as in 1904, Grand Duchess Elisabeth would suffer another series of bereavements four years later. In August 1908 her youngest child Duke Carl Borwin died unexpectedly while two months later she was mourning her mother the Dowager Duchess Antoinette of Anhalt. Grand Duchess Elisabeth used the tragedy of losing her youngest child to aid others as in 1910 in memory of her son she established the Duke Carl Borwin Memorial Home in Neustrelitz primarily to provide a home to orphans and other children in need.
In 1914 the Grand Duchess Elisabeth was widowed with the death of her husband Grand
Duke Adolf Friedrich V. However as her son the new Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich VI
was unmarried she remained the first lady of Mecklenburg-
The year 1918 would turn out to be another difficult one for Grand Duchess Elisabeth. In February she was mourning the loss of her son Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich VI. This was soon followed by the death of her brother Duke Friedrich II of Anhalt in April then by her next brother Duke Eduard of Anhalt in September.
Following the end of the monarchy in November 1918 the Grand Duchess Elisabeth remained in Neustrelitz moving into the Park House which she had inherited from her son. The main Neustrelitz Palace was among the properties expropriated by the new republican government who Grand Duchess Elisabeth pursued compensation claims against. Although initially settled, due to the unforeseen hyper inflation in Germany the compensation quickly devalued necessitating her to pursue further claims.
Grand Duchess Elisabeth spent the rest of her life in Neustrelitz where she would
from time to time receive visits from her daughters and grandchildren and spend her
time gardening and reading. Although she no longer held an official role in the state,
Grand Duchess Elisabeth remained active in Mecklenburg-
Grand Duchess Elisabeth died on 20 July 1933 in Neustrelitz. Her funeral was held on 25 July in Neustrelitz, after which she was interned in the family crypt in the Church of St John in Mirow alongside her husband.