|Rotunda of the Royal Mausoleum of the House of Württemberg|
Rotenberg is the hill outside of Stuttgart on which sits the memorial to a beautiful but tragic love story that took place almost 200 years ago. Württemberg's second king, Wilhem I, had fallen in love with and married a lovely young Grand Duchess of Russia, daughter of Tsar Paul I. Katharina came to Württemberg and immediately took to her new role as consort, mother and patron of a number of lasting causes for the people of her adopted land.
|Steps leading up to the chapel|
It is said that she died of a broken heart. For his part, the king was completely stricken with guilt and grief. As a result, he chose the hill bearing the ruins of the castle seat of the House of Württemberg, which could be seen from his small palace of Rosenstein near Stuttgart on which to build a mausoleum for her. People have said that Queen Katharina had often admired the silhouette of the ruined castle from a distance. The king had the ruins dismantled and the present chapel was erected with a crypt for her marble tomb. He would be buried next to her 45 years later. With the chapel directly visible from Rosentein Palace, the king would be forever reminded of not only his beloved queen, but also of the guilt he bore in causing her early death.
It is said that during the funeral procession from Stuttgart all the way to Rotenberg chapel, the king was heard crying the entire way.
|The way to the chapel on the Rotenberg|
King Wilhelm I married once again, but despite the best attempts of his new consort, Queen Pauline, their marriage was never truly happy, and she spent much of her time trying to bring peace between the king and his heir, Crown Prince Karl. Toward the end, they lived apart. He left her nothing in his will and she died with very little.
As for his family life, King Wilhelm I was never really happy. The rifts between the king and his heir, as well as that between him and his own father were always problematic. Queen Paulina spent much time trying to bridge these differences. Yet, despite his unhappy private life, the king remained popular with his people.
Wilhelm is buried next to his beloved Katharina on the Rotenberg, and visitors can see the crypt and chapel today.
King of Württemberg Pavlovna
born the 27th of September 1781 Grand Duchess of Russia
[ascended the throne] 30th of October 1816 Queen of Württemberg
died the 25th of June 1864 born 10th of May 1788, died 9th of January 1819
|Village church of Rotenberg|
|Cycling to the village of Rotenberg, just behind the chapel|
|One set of many such steps wending through the vineyards. |
How to get to the Chapel on the Rotenberg: take the S1 local train to Untertürkheim from the Stuttgart main train station. The trip is about 15 minutes.