Once upon a time, there was (as almost in world history) a king.
In this case, who interests me isn’t him, a powerful man and later in history, the first Emperor of Germany. It’s her, his wife. Katharina Pawlowna. It isn’t the story between two loved one’s but the story behind a place.
She lived a life as a high born woman, as the Grand Duchess of Russia exactly. And as almost in past centuries (and still today), a woman’s fate was to get married. Not only one man wished to marry the desirable Katharina Pawlowna. Well, it probably wasn’t the desire of love for her, but the desire of power.
However, she was promised to a Bavarian prince, wanted by Napoleon but in the end married to Wilhelm I., king and later in history Emperor of Germany in 19th century.
Katharina was in her twenties. Wilhelm was about 18 years old.
He wasn’t faithful to her and Katharina who knew about his affair with
the Italian nobles Blanche de la Flèche, followed them one night.
She was thin dressed; the reason she got the flu and the reason she died.
I imagine her life to be full of sorrow. Of course, I don’t know her. I haven’t even read a book about her but still all wealth and money won’t make you happy if almost every decision is made by someone else. If you are the prisoner of your own life. I say prisoner because how can one call someone free, if there is no freedom of making own choices? Life changing choices as getting married!
I imagine Katharina as a character, who Tolstoi could had created; a woman imprisoned in a failing marriage like Anna Karenina. Or like Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire; married to a cheating man she doesn’t love. (Mostly known through the movie „the Dutchess“). They were married to powerful men, represented royalty and power themselves but lived a life which was damned by rules and force.
Now here’s the romantic ending of Katharina, the eternity Wilhelm gave his “beloved” wife. He devoted her a beautiful grave chapel. It is placed on top of a hill, surrounded by vineyards in South Germany, in Stuttgart Baden-Württemberg.
However, it is beautiful. Her life may was damned but her presence will be forever. Today, Katharina’s monument is a place for people to watch sunsets with their beloved one’s. Her monument should be a proof of love. She may had not lived happily ever after but her name won’t be forgotten.
© Malis Journal