Wilhelmine Gräfin von Lichtenau

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Wilhelmine Gräfin von Lichtenau (Enke verh. Rietz)

Also Known As: ""Die schöne Wilhelmine""
Birthplace: Dessau, Anhalt-Dessau, Deutschland (HRR)
Death: June 09, 1820 (66)
Berlin, Brandenburg, Deutschland, DB
Place of Burial: Hedwigskirche, werd in 1943 leeg geruimt om als opvangkelder te dienen
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Johann Elias Enke and Maria Suzanne Enke
Wife of Johann Friedrich Rietz and Franz Ignaz Holbein von Holbeinsberg
Partner of King Frederick William II of Prussia
Mother of Marianne Diderica Friederike Wilhelmine von der Marck, Gräfin; Alexander Friedrich Wilhelm Moritz (Alexander) von der Marck, Graf; Ulrika Sophie Wilhelmine Van Berckholz, and Christiane Sophie Frederica Von Lutzenburg

Occupation: Mistress and friend of Fredrik Vilhelm II
Managed by: Douglas John Nimmo
Last Updated:

About Wilhelmine Gräfin von Lichtenau


Wilhelmine, Gräfin von Lichtenau, born as Wilhelmine Enke, also spelled Encke, (29 December 1753 in Potsdam – 9 June 1820 in Berlin), was the official mistress of King Frederick William II of Prussia from 1769 until 1797 and was elevated by him into the nobility. She is regarded as politically active and influential in the policy of Prussia during his reign.


Her father, Johann Elias Enke, was a chamber musician in service of King Frederick II of Prussia. Wilhelmine met Crown Prince Fredrick William in 1764. The king preferred that the crown prince maintain a relationship with her rather than have changing relationships with foreign women, and in 1769 she became the crown prince's official mistress. The couple had five children, of whom only two survived to adulthood. In 1782, Fredrick William arranged for her to marry his councillor and chamberlain Johann Friedrich Rietz (1755–1809), but the relationship between Wilhelmine and Fredrick William continued.

It is debated whether Wilhelmine co-operated with Johann Rudolph von Bischoffswerder and Johann Christoph von Wöllner to keep the monarch under control. Wilhelmine was given the title Countess von Lichtenau in 1794, but that was not made public until 1796.

After Frederick William died in 1797, Wilhelmine was exiled and her property confiscated, although she was granted a pension (1800). In 1802 to 1806, she was married to the dramatic Franz Ignaz Holbein, known as "Fontano" and 26 years her junior, in Breslau (now in Poland and renamed Wroclaw). In 1811, Napoleon allowed her to return to Berlin.


Wilhelmine, known popularly as “Beautiful Wilhelmine”, is closely associated with the Marmorpalais in Potsdam. As Friedrich Wilhelm II’s official mistress, she had great influence on the interior decoration of the palace. Following plans by Michael Philipp Boumann, an early classicist style townhouse called Lichtenau Palace was erected for her at the edge of Potsdam's Neuer Garten, at a site on today's Behlertstrasse.

Kinder : Marianne Diederike (Gravin Van Der Marck) Van Hohenzollern, Ulrika Sophie Wilhelmine Van Berckholz, Christiane Sophie Frederica Von Lutzenburg, Friedrich Wilhelm Moritz Alexander Van Der Marck, Marianna Dieterike Friederike Wilhelmine Van Der Mark

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Wilhelmine Gräfin von Lichtenau's Timeline

December 19, 1753
Dessau, Anhalt-Dessau, Deutschland (HRR)
February 20, 1770
Potsdam, Brandenburg, Deutschland(HRR)
January 4, 1779
June 9, 1820
Age 66
Berlin, Brandenburg, Deutschland, DB
June 9, 1820
Age 66
Hedwigskirche, werd in 1943 leeg geruimt om als opvangkelder te dienen