The Gay Lives of Frederick the Great and William Iii

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The Gay Lives of Frederick the Great and William III

Frederick the Great of Prussia and William III of the Dutch Republic were two well known great leaders of Europe. They lived decades apart, William from 1650 to 1702, and Frederick from 1712 to 1786, yet had uncannily similar lives, in many aspects. These leaders, because of a somewhat controversial past, have lost many important clues about what their lives were really like. Nonetheless, it is known for sure that both were knowledgeable, great military leaders, champions of justice, and very likely homosexual. One of the few dissimilarities between Frederick and William was the religion they were raised on, which of course was to influence the rest of their lives, particularly in philosophy. At a young age, William was sent to a Calvinist school which emphasized the Calvinist values like modesty and theory like predestination. Although his views were far from conservative, he did tend to dress more simply, and kept a very cool and reserved appearance. William also was born a week after his father's death, leaving him without a strong figure to emulate. If this had any effect on William, it was not apparent, for he firmly believed that he was destined for great things, and his diplomacy became one of his strongest skills. All of William's security in his childhood did not exist for Frederick. Frederick endured a horrible abusive childhood with his tyrannical father. Frederick was very well educated and a lover of all things French- art, philosophy and literature. He was a true dandy- he dressed ostentatiously, and did very fashionable things. He also had a very close male friend- Hans Hermann Von Katte who was about 8 years older. They ran away together, but what exactly their relationship was is unclear. Frederick was careful to destroy any evidence so as to escape his father's wrath. But it didn't work, Frederick's father had the two arrested, and very cruelly had Von Katte beheaded in front



Cited: Crompton, Louis. "Frederick the Great." Homosexuality & Civilization. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2003. 505-12. Print. Dynes, Wayne R., Warren Johansson, William A. Percy, and Stephen Donaldson. "Frederick II (The Great) of Prussia (1712-1786)." Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. New York: Garland Pub., 1990. 428-29. Print. Strachey, Lytton. "Voltaire and Frederick the Great." Books and Characters, French & English,. New York: Harcourt, Brace and, 1922. 167-99. Print. Waller, Maureen, David Onnekink, and Jason McElligot. "William III." BBC - Homepage. BBC. Web. 15 Dec. 2011. .

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