Prisoner's Gate at The Hague The Netherlands

The Gevangenpoort (Prisoner's Gate) is a former gate and medieval
prison on the Buitenhof in The Hague, Netherlands. It is situated next
to the 18th-century art gallery founded by William V, Prince of Orange in
1774 known as the Prince William V Gallery.

From 1420 until 1828, the prison was used for housing people who had
committed serious crimes while they awaited sentencing.

Its most famous prisoner was Cornelis de Witt, who was held on the charge
of plotting the murder of the stadtholder. He was lynched together with
his brother Johan on 20 August 1672 on the square in front of the building 
called groene zoodje after the grass mat used for the scaffold. When public
executions went out of fashion the area was used to build the "Witte Society",
a literature club that still exists today, but had to move when the street
was built in 1923.

In 1882, the Gevangenpoort became a prison museum. The "gate" function
was lost in 1923 when the houses adjoining the Hofvijver were taken down
to build the street that now allows busy traffic, including trams.

The pictures were taken in August 2022. The painting is from Wikipedia.

Do you want to know more? Check their website on this link

Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

20 September 1886 marks the birth of Duchess Cecilie of


Cecilie was a daughter of Frederick Francis III, Grand Duke of
Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Grand Duchess Anastasia
Mikhailovna of Russia.


 She spent most of her childhood in Schwerin, at the royal residences
of Ludwigslust Palace and the Gelbensande hunting lodge, only a few
kilometres from the Baltic Sea coast. 

Her father suffered badly from asthma and the wet damp cold climate of
Mecklenburg was not good for his health. As a result, Cecilie spent a large
amount of time with her family in Cannes in the south of France,
favoured at the time by European royalty, including some whom Cecilie
met such as Empress Eugénie and her future husband's
great-uncle, Edward VII.

During the winter visit of 1897, Cecilie's sister, Alexandrine, met her
future husband, Crown Prince Christian, later Christian X of Denmark,
shortly before the death of their father at the age of 46. After returning to
Schwerin, Cecilie spent time with her widowed mother in Denmark. 

The wedding of her sister took place in Cannes in April 1898. After the
death of her father, she traveled every summer, from 1898 to 1904,
visiting her relatives in Russia. 

Cecilie lived there in Mikhailovskoe on Kronstadt Bay, the country
home of her maternal grandfather, 
Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich of Russia.

Love and Marriage

During the wedding festivities of her brother Frederick Francis IV,
Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in Schwerin in June 1904,
the 17-year-old Duchess Cecilie got to know her future husband,
Wilhelm, German Crown Prince. 

Kaiser Wilhelm II had sent his eldest son to the festivities as his personal
representative. Taller than most women of her time at 182 centimetres
(over 5'11"), Cecilie was as tall as the German Crown Prince. Wilhelm
was struck by her great beauty, and her dark hair and eyes. 

On 4 September 1904, the young couple celebrated their engagement
at the Mecklenburg-Schwerin hunting lodge, Gelbensande. The Kaiser
as an engagement present had a wooden residence built nearby for the
couple. On 5 September the first official photos of the couple were taken.

A true royal wedding

The wedding of Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and
the German Crown Prince Wilhelm took place on 6 June 1905 in Berlin.
Arriving from Schwerin at Berlin's Lehrter Station, the future Crown
Princess was greeted on the platform with a gift of dark red roses. 

She was greeted at Bellevue Palace by the entire German Imperial Family
and later made a joyeuse entrée through the Brandenburg Gate to a gun
salute in the Tiergarten. Crowds lined the sides of the Unter den Linden
as she passed on the way to the Berlin Royal Palace. 

Kaiser Wilhelm II greeted her at the palace and conducted her to the
Knight's Hall where over fifty guests from different European royal
houses awaited the young bride including
Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia,
Archduke Franz Ferdinand, as well as representatives from
Denmark, Italy, Belgium, Portugal and the Netherlands.
On her wedding day, Kaiser Wilhelm II presented his
daughter-in-law with the Order of Louise.

The wedding ceremony took place in the Royal Chapel and
also the nearby Berlin Cathedral. The royal couple received as
wedding presents jewellery, silverware and porcelain. At the wish of the
bride, Richard Wagner's famous wedding march from Lohengrin
was played along with music from The Meistersinger from Nuremberg
conducted by Richard Strauss. On her wedding day, Duchess Cecilie of
Mecklenburg-Schwerin became Her Imperial and Royal Highness
The German Crown Princess and Crown Princess of Prussia. She
was expected to one day become German Empress and Queen of Prussia.

A Crown Princess

As German Crown Princess, Cecilie quickly became one of the most
beloved members of the German Imperial House. She was known for
her elegance and fashion consciousness. It was not long before her
fashion style was copied by many women throughout the German Empire.
After the end of the wedding festivities, the German Crown Princely
couple made their summer residence at the Marble Palace in Potsdam. 

Every year at the beginning of the court season in January, the couple
would return to the Crown Prince Palace in Berlin on Unter den Linden. 

Cecilie's first child was born on 4 July 1906 and given the traditional
Hohenzollern name of Wilhelm. At the time, the German monarchy
appeared to be very secure.

Nonetheless in private she had a fiery temper, not countenancing
contradiction. Although in public the marriage of the Crown Prince and
Princess appeared to be perfect, cracks quickly appeared due to the
Crown Prince's wandering eye and controlling behavior. 

Very early on, he began a series of affairs that strained the relationship
between husband and wife - on one occasion announcing to his wife his l
atest escapade, whereupon she thought of drowning herself.

In spite of her husband's unfaithfulness, however, Cecilie
had given birth to six children by 1917. They were:

* Prince Wilhelm of Prussia (1906–1940); married
Dorothea von Salviati, had issue.
* Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, Head of the House of
Hohenzollern (1907–1994); married Kira Kirillovna of Russia, had issue.
* Prince Hubertus of Prussia (1909–1950); married Baroness Maria von
Humboldt-Dachroeden, no issue; 
married Princess Magdalena Reuss of Köstritz, had issue.
* Prince Friedrich Georg of Prussia (1911–1966); married
Lady Brigid Guinness, had issue.
* Princess Alexandrine of Prussia (1915–1980), who had
Down's syndrome.
* Princess Cecilie of Prussia (1917–1975); married American architect
Clyde Kenneth Harris, had issue.

She herself developed a passionate relationship with Baron Otto
von Dungern (1873-1969), her husband's aide de camp - attempting,
once, to get into bed with Dungern. On discovering that Dungern was
also having an affair with another woman at court, she confessed to her
husband who told him to resign.


Cecilie's life back in Berlin was made up of a constant round of royal
duties attending military parades, gala state banquets, official ceremonies
and other courtly expectations including state visits to foreign courts,
including that of the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef in Vienna.

In May 1911, Cecilie with the Crown Prince visited the Russian Imperial
Court in St. Petersburg. The visit coincided with the birthday of the
Russian Tsar. 

A visit to London to King George V and Queen Mary at Buckingham
Palace followed in June 1911.  

Queen Mary was particularly fond of the imperial couple and maintained
contact with the German Crown Princess until her death in 1953. The 1911
visit to London was Cecilie's last as representative of the German Empire.


The political and economic situation in the last year of the war became
more and more hopeless. On 6 November 1918, the new German imperial
Chancellor, Prince Max of Baden, met with Minister Wilhelm Solf to
discuss the future of the German Empire. They were both of the opinion
that the monarchy could only survive with the removal of the Kaiser and
his son the Crown Prince and the setting up of a Regentship under the
nominal rule of the young son of Crown Princess Cecilie. Such idea quickly
disappeared with Friedrich Ebert becoming Chancellor and a republic
being declared a few days later. 

Both the Kaiser and the Crown Prince crossed the border to seek exile
in neutral Netherlands. The monarchy collapsed with the defeat of
Germany at the end of the war. Cecilie with her young children
was living in Potsdam during the revolutionary period. She had moved
from her new home of Cecilienhof with her children to join her
mother-in-law in the relative safety of the New Palace. It was here
that the Empress Auguste Viktoria informed her daughter-in-law,
"The revolution has broken out. The Kaiser has abdicated. The war is lost"

A new role

The former German Crown Princess was nothing but realistic about
the new political situation confronting her family and Germany.
The former Empress went into exile to join her husband.
The Crown Princess was quite prepared to do the same, but wanted
to stay in Germany with her children if at all possible. This she
was allowed to do and on 14 November she quietly left the
New Palace and returned to her private home Cecilienhof. As a result
of a change of circumstances, Cecilie reduced her household staff by 50%.

Her children's tutor also left her service and as a result her two eldest sons,
Princes Wilhelm and Louis Ferdinand, for the first time attended as
day students at a nearby school. 

Cecilie had considerable sympathy for the plight of the German people.
In reply to an address from the German Women's Union in Berlin,
the former Crown Princess stated, "I need no sympathy. I have the
beautiful situation that can befall any German woman, the education
of my children as good German citizens."

Wilhelm was only allowed to return to Germany from his enforced
exile in 1923. Before then visits to him were difficult. Fortunately
for the Hohenzollern family they still possessed considerable private
holdings in Germany due to a provisional agreement worked out between
the Hohenzollern family and the Prussian state in November 1920.

On the evening of 13 November 1923, Cecilie met her husband at Castle Oels.
The years of separation and the behavior of Wilhelm had made the marriage
now merely one in name only, but Cecilie was determined to keep things
together even at a distance. More and more she lived in Cecilienhof at
Potsdam, while her husband lived in Silesia. The couple would come
together when necessary for the sake of family unity for occasions
such as family weddings, confirmation of children, christenings
and funerals. 

In 1927, a final financial agreement was reached between the
Hohenzollerns and the Prussian state. Cecilie remained active
within several charity organizations such as the Queen Luise Fund,
Chair of the Fatherland's Women Union and the Ladies of the
Order of St. John, while keeping clear of any political involvement.
With the coming to power of the National Socialist Party of Adolf
Hitler in 1933, all such charitable organizations were dissolved.

Nazi Germany

During 1933–1945, Cecilie lived a private life at Cecilienhof in Potsdam.
Her eldest son, Prince Wilhelm forfeited his position as possible heir
when he married Dorothea von Salviati on 3 June 1933. This occurred as
she was not from a suitable royal family. Even though the royal house was
formally deposed, its strict house rules persisted. 

The former Crown Prince and Princess were more understanding of
their son than the exiled Kaiser. Cecilie was not perturbed and made
the best of the situation and was delighted when she became a grandmother
for the first time on 7 June 1934. 

In 1935, Cecilie's second son worked, after studying economics and
working for a time in the United States as a mechanic for Ford, with

Her third son, Hubertus, after spending a period of time farming
joined the military and then the air force to become a pilot. 

The youngest son Friedrich went into business. In May 1938,
Prince Louis Ferdinand married the Russian Grand Duchess Kira,
 daughter of the pretender to the Russian throne,
Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich, at Cecilienhof. 

It would be the last great family occasion before the outbreak of
war in September 1939.

World War II

A period of relative calm for Cecilie's family and for Germany came
to an end with the outbreak of World War II in September 1939. 

Cecilie's 24-year-old nephew, Prince Oskar, fell as a casualty five days
after the start of the invasion of Poland. More personal tragedy
occurred when Prince Wilhelm was mortally wounded in battle at
Valenciennes in France on 25 May 1940. He died on 26 May in a field
hospital at Nivelle. His funeral took place in the Church of Peace at Potsdam
on 28 May. 

Over 50,000 people lined the way to his final resting place in the
Antique Temple near the remains of his grandmother, former
Empress Auguste Viktoria. The huge turnout in respect for a Prince,
who had died a hero's death, from the former ruling dynasty, alarmed
and infuriated Adolf Hitler. 

As a result, no Prince from a former German dynasty was allowed
to serve at the front and in 1943 Hitler ordered that they all be
discharged from the armed forces.

In 1941, the former Kaiser Wilhelm II died. At the age of 55,
Cecilie's husband became Head of the House of Hohenzollern.
While under the monarchy this would have meant a great change
for Cecilie and her husband, the change was potentially dangerous
because of the leader of the Nazi German state. During this time, Cecilie
and her husband increasingly retreated to Castle Oels to live a quiet life,
far away from the dangers of Berlin. Even Potsdam, only 30 minutes
away by train from the capital was too close for comfort. With the war
going badly, Cecilie and her family left the advancing danger of the
Soviet army to return to Potsdam where they celebrated Christmas in
December 1944. 

It would be the last such occasion at her beloved home.
In February 1945, Cecilie left Cecilienhof for the last time.

Later years

Cecilie fled the Red Army in February 1945 to the sanatorium of
Dr. Paul Sotier (personal physician of Kaiser Wilhelm II) Fürstenhof
in Bad Kissingen in Bavaria. On 20 September 1946, she celebrated
her 60th birthday. She was joined on this occasion by her husband
and some of their children. 

Wilhelm had settled into a small house in Hechingen. Tragedy struck
again when yet another son, this time Prince Hubertus, died from
appendicitis on 8 April 1950. In early 1951, the health of the former
Crown Prince deteriorated and on 20 July he died. 

On 26 July, his funeral took place at Castle Hohenzollern where he
was buried in the ground near an urn containing the ashes of the
late Prince Hubertus. On the arm of her son, Prince Louis Ferdinand,
Cecilie bade a final farewell to her husband. She remained in
Bad Kissingen until 1952 when she moved to an apartment in the
Frauenkopf district of Stuttgart.

In 1952, Cecilie's memoirs, 'Remembrances' were published. In an
act of healing and friendship, the former Crown Princess Cecilie
was received by King George V's widow, Queen Mary, in May 1952
during a visit to England. Cecilie visited for the first time to attend the
christening of her granddaughter, Princess Victoria Marina of Prussia
the daughter of her son Prince Frederick. Tragedy once again struck
when Cecilie's sister, the Danish Queen Mother, Queen Alexandrine
died on 28 December of the same year. 

On 3 January 1953, Cecilie attended her funeral at Roskilde Cathedral
in Denmark. From this time on, the former German Crown Princess
never fully recovered. She managed to struggle on with the help of her
family until 6 May 1954 when she died on a visit to Bad Kissingen. 

It was the 72nd birthday of her late husband. On 12 May 1954, her
funeral took place and her remains were interred next to Crown
Prince Wilhelm in the grounds of Castle Hohenzollern.

Source pictures: Wikipedia