The corn­flower is a sym­bol of Prus­sia. It was the favou­ri­te flower of the Prus­si­an Queen Loui­se (1776–1810), the cons­ort of King Fre­de­rick Wil­liam III (1770–1840).

Königin Luise
(5) Queen Loui­se of Prus­sia (J. Gras­si, 1802)

The regal cou­ple enjoy­ed gre­at favour among their sub­jects, lea­ding almost the life of com­mon­ers in con­trast to the cus­toms at the court of the pre­de­ces­sor, Fre­de­rick Wil­liam II, who had num­e­rous affairs and was hea­vi­ly in debt when he died. Their sum­mer resi­dence, Schloß Paretz, 20 km away from Potsdam’s city cent­re, offers an impres­si­on of the pri­va­te life of the roy­al couple.

Friedrich Wilhelm III. mit seiner Familie
(6) Fre­de­rick Wil­liam III and his fami­ly (H.A. Däh­ling, 1806)

Despi­te the fact that, with his neu­tra­li­ty poli­cy, Fre­de­rick Wil­liam III tried to stay out of the major Euro­pean con­flict of his times, the fight against domi­na­ti­on by France under Napo­le­on, Prus­sia took a body blow in 1806 in the batt­le near Jena and Auer­stedt. French tro­ops advan­ced on Ber­lin, sto­le the qua­dri­ga from the Bran­den­burg Gate and forced the roy­al cou­ple to with­draw to Königs­berg. As Königs­berg too came under thre­at, the roy­al fami­ly fled to Memel, in the extre­me north-eastern cor­ner of Prussia.

Landkarte 1910
Sta­ti­ons of the flight on a map from Ber­lin school atlas from 1910

Prus­sia was exclu­ded from the sub­se­quent peace talks bet­ween France and Rus­sia held in the Prus­si­an town of Til­sit, alt­hough its fate was also deci­ded the­re. Offi­ci­al talks were the­r­e­fo­re not possible.

In this situa­ti­on, Queen Loui­se arran­ged an encoun­ter with Napo­le­on, in which she pas­sio­na­te­ly made the case for her coun­try in the hopes of achie­ving less strin­gent peace terms. Even if her efforts pro­ved fruit­less, the endea­vours she made remain­ed unf­or­got­ten and are the basis for the myths sur­roun­ding her. Her ear­ly death at the age of only 34 – the flight took a con­sidera­ble toll on her health – was a con­tri­bu­to­ry fac­tor. She did not live to expe­ri­ence the libe­ra­ti­on of Prus­sia and Euro­pe from the yoke of Napo­le­on in 1815.

In memo­ry of Queen Loui­se and the era of the Prus­si­an kings and Ger­man emper­ors who besto­wed on Pots­dam the beau­ty we can enjoy today, I have cho­sen the corn­flower as both the name and the sym­bol for my holi­day apartment.

Text and sty­li­sed corn­flower © 2021 Ernst Eimer. Repro­duc­tion not per­mit­ted.
Images (5) and (6): public domain

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