Peter Karl Christoph von Keith.jpgPeter Karl Christoph von Keith ( May 24 , 1711 † December 27 , 1756) was a close confidant of Frederick the Prussian Crown Prince Frederick (later King Frederick the Great). He came from a branch of the Scottish clan Keith, which had come to Pomerania via Sweden. There is speculation that Frederick had interest in a homosexual relationship with Christoph, however the matter would never be settled with absolute certainty. Christoph frequently provided the Crown Prince with information regarding the Crown Prince's standing with Frederick William.

Keith had befriended the crown prince as the page of King Frederick William I. The king considered Keith's influence on Frederick to be pernicious and therefore transferred him as a lieutenant to the infantry regiment (No. 31) of Colonel Friedrich Wilhelm von Dossow in Wesel. On the page position moved a younger brother of Keith's. Despite the transfer, Keith continued to maintain contact with Frederick, who in 1730 gave him a helping role in the planned escape to England. After their failure, Frederick warned him with a note that read: "Sauvez Vous – Tout est decouvert" (Bring yourself to safety – Everything is revealed). Keith then fled to The Hague. He saved himself from his pursuers with the help of the English envoy Chesterfield. On 18 August 1730, he was able to travel from Scheveningen to England in a fishing boat. From there he went with Admiral Norris at the suggestion of King George II, who wanted to take the lead from an expected extradition request from his intimate enemy Frederick William, to Portugal, where he became a major of the cavalry. Later he lived in London. In Wesel, meanwhile, he had been hanged in effigie because of his involvement in Frederick's escape plans and as a deserter.[1] After Frederick 's accession to the throne, Keith returned to Prussia in 1740 and married Adriane von Knyphausen, the daughter of the former minister Friedrich Ernst zu Innhausen und Knyphausen. Frederick appointed him stable master and lieutenant colonel, as well as an honorary member in 1744 and curator of the Academy of Sciences in 1747, but kept him away from himself. Keith found himself not sufficiently rewarded by this and by an annual salary of 1200 thalers. A later suggestion from the English side to send Keith as an envoy to London was rejected by Frederick because of his diplomatic inexperience.[2] Also Keith's younger brother was involved in the escape project in Steinsfurt in 1730. In Mannheim he was to secretly order postal horses. However, out of need of conscience, he threw himself at the king's feet after the joint Sunday service on 6 August 1730 in Mannheim and revealed to him what had really happened in Steinsfurt and what Frederick had instructed him to do.[3] Frederick William I renounced punishment and transferred him as a fusilier to the leibkompanie of the infantry regiment of the Moselle, for which Keith thanked in a letter to the king of 1 November 1730. Of this brother neither the full name nor his further fate are handed down.

My published books:

See my published books