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For the brother of Emperor William II, see Prince Heinrich of Prussia (1862-1929).
For the brother of King Frederick William II of Prussia, see Prince Henry of Prussia .

Prince Henry of Prussia.

Frederick Henry Louis ( ) (18 January 1726 – 3 August 1802), commonly known as Henry (Heinrich), was a Prince of Prussiamarker. He also served as a general and statesman, and, in 1786, was suggested as a candidate for a monarch for the United States.


Born in Berlinmarker, Henry was the 13th child of King Frederick William I of Prussia and Princess Sophia Dorothea of Hanover. The younger brother of King Frederick II of Prussia, Henry's conflicts with "Frederick the Great" are almost legendary.

When he was only 14, Henry was appointed as Colonel of the 35th Infanterieregiment by Frederick after he became king in 1740, leading Henry to participate in the Silesian Wars. Henry lived in the shadow of his older brother "Frederick the Great", and he sometimes criticized the king's military strategies and foreign policies. In 1753 he published his memoirs under the pseudonym "Maréchal Gessler".
Princess Wilhemina of Hesse-Kassel
On 25 June 1752 Henry married Princess Wilhelmina of Hesse-Kassel in Charlottenburgmarker, but they had no children. Henry lived in Rheinsbergmarker after receiving it as a gift from his brother.

Henry successfully led Prussian armies as a general during the Seven Years' War (1756-1763), in which he never lost a battle. After the Prussian Army's initial success against one wing of the joint Russianmarker and Austrian Armies in the Battle of Kunersdorf, Henry urged his brother Frederick to stop attacking. The king, who had already sent a message of victory to Berlinmarker, pressed the attack. The day ended with a virtually destroyed Prussian army, a virtually defenseless Kingdom of Prussiamarker, and a complete victory by the Russo-Austrian force. Afterwards, Henry reorganized the routed Prussian forces. Frederick came to rely on his brother as commander of the Prussian forces in the east, Frederick's strategic flank. Henry later won his most famous victory at Frieburg in 1762.

After the Seven Years' War, Henry worked as a shrewd diplomat who helped plan the First Partition of Poland through trips to Stockholmmarker and St. Petersburgmarker. In the 1780s he made two diplomatic trips to France.

Henry attempted to secure a principality for himself and twice tried to become King of Poland, but was opposed by a displeased Frederick. The king frustrated Henry's attempt to become ruler of a kingdom Catherine II of Russia planned to create in Wallachia.

Proposal for King of United States

In 1786 either Nathaniel Gorham, then President of the Continental Congress, or Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, the Prussian general who served in the Continental Army, suggested to Alexander Hamilton that Henry should become President or King of the United Statesmarker, but the offer was revoked before the prince could make a reply.

After the death of Frederick in 1786, Henry hoped to become more influential in the Prussian government as the advisor of his nephew, the new King Frederick William II of Prussia. Although he was less influential than he hoped, Henry was more important during the last years of his life in advising King Frederick William III, who began his reign in 1797. Voltaire had seen in Frederick the embodiment of his "Philosopher King". Arguably, Henry was by deed the man Voltaire had hoped the "Age of Reason" would produce.

Henry died in Rheinsbergmarker.


Prince Henry of Prussia's ancestors in three generations
Prince Henry of Prussia Father:

Frederick William I of Prussia
Paternal Grandfather:

Frederick I of Prussia
Paternal Great-grandfather:

Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg
Paternal Great-grandmother:

Luise Henriette of Nassau
Paternal Grandmother:

Sophia Charlotte of Hanover
Paternal Great-grandfather:

Ernest Augustus, Elector of Hanover
Paternal Great-grandmother:

Sophia of Hanover

Sophia Dorothea of Hanover
Maternal Grandfather:

George I of Great Britain
Maternal Great-grandfather:

Ernest Augustus, Elector of Hanover
Maternal Great-grandmother:

Sophia of Hanover
Maternal Grandmother:

Sophia Dorothea of Celle
Maternal Great-grandfather:

George William, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Maternal Great-grandmother:

Eleonore d'Esmier d'Olbreuse


  1. "Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, William Marina. The Independent Institute. Did the Constitution Betray the Revolution?". Retrieved February 1, 2007.
  2. John Richard Alden. The History of the American Revolution. Da Capo Press, 1989. ISBN 0306803666
  3. Richard Krauel. "Prince Henry of Prussia and the Regency of the United States, 1786". The American Historical Review, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Oct., 1911), pp. 44-51

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