Antoni Radziwiłł

Antoni Radziwiłł

Infobox Szlachcic
name=Antoni Henryk Radziwiłł

caption=1890 portrait by Jan Jaroszyński
CoA=Trąby (var. Radziwiłł)
father=Michał Hieronim Radziwiłł
mother=Helena Przeździecka
consorts=Louise of Prussia
children=Fryderyk Wilhelm Radziwiłł
Ferdynant Fryderyk Radziwiłł
Eliza Fryderyka Radziwiłł
Bogusław Fryderyk Radziwiłł
Augusta Wilhelmina Radziwiłł
born=June 13, 1775
death=April 7, 1833

Prince Antoni Henryk Radziwiłł (13 June 1775 – 7 April 1833) was a Polish-Lithuanian and Prussian noble, aristocrat, musician and politician. Initially a hereditary Duke of Nieśwież (modern Nyasvizh, Belarus) and Ołyka (modern Olyka, Ukraine), with time he also became a Reichsfürst of the Holy Roman Empire. Between 1815 and 1831 he was also the "Duke-Governor" ( _pl. książę-namiestnik, _de. Statthalter) of the Grand Duchy of Poznań, an autonomous province of the Kingdom of Prussia created out of Polish lands taken in the Partitions of Poland.


Antoni Radziwiłł was born on June 13, 1775 in Vilnius to Michał Hieronim Radziwiłł and Helena nee Przeździecka. In 1796 he married Princess Louise of Prussia, the second daughter of Prince August Ferdinand of Prussia and hence a niece of king of Prussia Frederick the Great. His new family convinced him that he should be a mediator between the Poles under Partitions and the Prussian authorities in Berlin. During Napoleon's campaign in Poland in 1806 he tried to incite a Polish uprising against the French army and tried to convince Prince Józef Poniatowski to abandon his French allies and join the cause of Russia and Prussia. He failed on both occasions.'In 1815 he was sent to Poznań as the Duke-Governor of Grand Duchy of Poznań. Struggling between his Polish subjects and the Prussian authorities, Radziwiłł found himself with little power. He unsuccessfully tried to oppose the Germanisation campaign started by the Prussians. Shortly after the outbreak of the November Uprising he was deprived of all the powers, the Grand Duchy was abolished and its autonomy was cancelled. It was directly incorporated into Prussia and renamed Province of Posen. Antoni Henryk Radziwiłł returned to his palace in Berlin, where he died on April 7, 1833. He was buried in the Poznań Cathedral. His children with Louise were germanised and never returned to Poznań, however, as owners of the manor Nieborów near Warsaw and huge family estates in today's Belarus they paid frequent visits to other parts of Poland.

Antoni Radziwiłł is better known for his art patronage than for his ill-fated political career. His palaces in Berlin (later Bismarck's and Hitler's Chancellery of the Reich), Poznań and Antonin near Ostrów Wielkopolski were known for great concerts performed by one of the most notable musicians of his times. Apart from the guitar, cello and opera concertos performed by Radziwiłł himself, among his guests were Niccolò Paganini (concert in Poznań on May 19, 1829), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Frédéric Chopin and Ludwig van Beethoven. Chopin wrote his "Introduction" and "Polonaise Op. 3" for cello and piano especially for Radziwiłł. He also performed a concert in his palace in Poznań on October 2, 1828. Ludwig van Beethoven dedicated his "Ouverture Op. 115" ("Zur Namensfeier") to him, while Goethe participated in his efforts to write the music for his Faust. He was also a notable sponsor of Polish theatres and his wife opened the first public school for girls in Poznań in 1830.

Awarded on September 6, 1793 with the Order of the White Eagle and on December 1, 1815 with the Order of the Black Eagle, Prussia's highest decoration.

ee also

* Trąby Coat of Arms
* Radziwiłł


* Witold Jakóbczyk, "Przetrwać na Wartą 1815-1914", "Dzieje narodu i państwa polskiego", vol. III-55, Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza, Warszawa 1989

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