Frederic the Great
Wilhelm II had greatly admired his famous ancestor Frederick II the Great (1740-1786). Many objects at House Doorn refer to this monarch and his court, including paintings, snuffboxes and busts. In particular, the smoke chamber of House Doorn is dedicated to Frederick the Great and is a copy of one of the rooms at the Berliner Stadtschloss.
Friedrich Wilhelm III
Friedrich Wilhelm III (1770-1840) was the great-grandfather of Wilhelm II. He led several battles against Napoleon. In the collection at House Doorn there are several portraits of his wife Luise von Mecklenburg-Strelitz. She was a celebrity in her time: on the one hand because of her handsome appearance; on the other because of her courageous action against Emperor Napoleon I of France and her role in the peace negotiations at Tilsit. There, she negotiated personally with Napoleon following the Prussian defeat at the Battle of Jena in order to prevent their humiliation by the French. After her premature death she became a symbol of all the virtues that a good Prussian wife should possess, provoking a ‘Luisecultus’ or ‘Luise-culture’, which would continue into the Interbellum period.
Wilhelm I (1797-1888) was the grandfather of Wilhelm II. Under Emperor Wilhelm I, who became King of Prussia in 1861, Germany became a Nation State. This was due to the dynamic leadership of the Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck who, in 1871, was the principal designer of the German Empire. Wilhelm I had conservative views on the role of the Emperor and continuously had conflicts with his son, the more liberal Friedrich III (the father of Wilhelm II). These conflicts between the conservative and more liberal factions of the court influenced the education and ideas of Wilhelm II.
Friedrich III (1831-1888) was the father of Wilhelm II. He was married to Victoria, Princess Royal and daughter of Queen Victoria of England. After his father died in 1888, Friedrich Wilhelm I was crowned Emperor. However, he died in the same year from throat cancer and his son Wilhelm II became Emperor. 1888 is therefore commonly called the ‘Three Emperor Year’.