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Ludwigslust Palace, Schloßfreiheit, 19288 Ludwigslust, Germania

Image result for Frederick Francis III, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-SchwerinFriedrich Franz III (19 March 1851 – 10 April 1897) was the penultimate Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

He was born in Schloss Ludwigslust the son of Friedrich Franz II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and his first wife Princess Augusta of Reuss-Köstritz. He succeeded his father as Grand Duke on 15 April 1883.

From an early age Friedrich Franz suffered from asthma and severe breathing difficulties. He could not live in the north of Europe and lived instead on the shores of the Mediterranean, where the mild climate agreed with him. His homosexuality was an open secret.[1]

Friedrich Franz's death in Cannes on 10 April 1897 is shrouded in mystery, as he was originally reported to have committed suicide by throwing himself off a parapet of a bridge.[2] According to the official account of his death, however, he was in his garden when he experienced breathing difficulties and staggered around before falling over a low wall.[3] He was succeeded by his son Friedrich Franz IV, who would be the last Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

Friedrich Franz married Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia in Saint Petersburg on 24 January 1879. They had three children:

  • Duchess Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (24 December 1879 — 28 December 1952) she married King Christian X of Denmark on 26 April 1898. They have two sons.
  • Frederick Francis IV, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg (9 April 1882 — 17 November 1945) he married Princess Alexandra of Hanover on 7 June 1904. They have five children.
  • Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (20 September 1886 — 6 May 1954) she married Wilhelm, German Crown Prince on 6 June 1905. They have had six children.

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    1. Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller, Mann für Mann, pages 253
    2. "The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Shown to Have Committed Suicide" (PDF). New York Times. 1897-04-13. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
    3. "The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg Schwerin Did Not Commit Suicide" (PDF). New York Times. 1897-04-15. Retrieved 2007-10-23.