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The Wedding and the Outbreak of the Anglo-Spanish War
Queen Sophia Dorothea of Prussia had longed to wed her two eldest children to the children of her brother George, Prince of Wales. The perfect opportunity presented itself in Spring 1726. Amidst the growing tensions in Continental Europe following the signing of the Treaty of Hanover. This put Prussia, France and Britain in an unlikely alliance to counter the Spanish-Austrian established following the Treaty of Vienna.
Sophia persuaded her reluctant husband Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia to meet with her father and brother in Hanover to discuss a Royal engagement for their children. With the help of ministers Robert Walpole and Lord Charles Townshend George I of Great Britain agreed to the engagement and Frederick Louis of Hanover, and Wilhelmine von Hohenzollern. The engagement of Friedrich von Hohenzollern to Amelia of Hanover was also discussed and ultimately agreed upon in theory as both were still in their minority. Friedrich Wilhelm did not like the fact that he had not had complete control of the arrangements.
Frederick of Hanover ultimately married Wilhelmine on the 4th of August 1726 in Hanover. The wedding was met with mixed feelings from the rest of Europe. France was unsure about the arrangement despite the current alliance with Britain as they felt with this arrangement Britain was gaining strength on the continent. Vienna felt that their influence over Prussia was slowly slipping away, though Friedrich Wilhelm was a stout supporter of the Hapburgs. Spain looked at the marriage as another encroachment of the British on their own interests, and pressured even harder for a marriage between the young Maria Theresa and Carlos of Spain.
At the wedding Friedrich and Amelia met for the first time. Amelia took a liking to the Kronprinz's educated and philosophical manner along with his company. Friedrich appreciated her progressive and charitable personality. He also took a liking to her due to the close relationship he had with his mother.
Soon after the wedding of Frederick and Wilhemine, it was discovered that the Princess had become pregnant much to the joy of George I of Britain, and to her own family. Frederick would soon form a close relationship with his brother in law Friedrich who was being groomed to rule upon his father's death.
Upon the death of George I in June 1727, George II assumed the throne making Frederick the Prince of Wales. Due to Wilhemine's pregnancy, Frederick remained in Hanover along with his sister Amelia who had become attached to her sister-in-law.
In 1727 war broke out between Great Britain and Spain. The conflict almost sparked a greater continental war as Spain demanded that their Austrian ally join the war. Austria was in an awkward position as they were not in position to fight a larger war and they hoped for rapprochement with Britain. Emperor Charles VI was hoping to restore ties with Britain and was not keen on the royal marriage that Spain demanded with Maria Theresa favoring Francis Stephen of Lorraine. France was also reluctant to go to war against Spain as they had felt that Britain was their greatest threat at the moment. Prussia was put in a delicate situation as it was now tied to Britain by a royal marriage and by a betrothal while Friedrich Wilhelm had very close ties with Austria.
Eugene, Prince of Savoy taking advantage of the cooling of relations between France and Britain approached Prussia and Britain promising to not get involved in the war. With Prussia's help relations between Austria and Great Britain improved significantly. Eugene, believing he had found a way to counter France once and for all, promoted Anglo-Austrian relations and also unofficially gave Austria's blessing to a possible marriage between Kronprinz Friedrich and Amelia. With Vienna's blessing Friedrich and Amelia were formally engaged. Friedrich was OK with the idea of marrying his cousin. However, he had grown tired of what he saw as Austrian interference in Prussian affairs though he was careful of speaking about this matter with his father as they already had a distant if not outright poor relationship.
In early 1728 as the Anglo-Spanish war was coming to a close and relations between Vienna, Berlin, and London were at an all time high, Friedrich and Amelia would wed marking the second union of the house of Hohenzollern and the House of Hanover. The second marriage would be followed by the Anglo-Austrian Alliance of 1729 and the Anglo-Prussian Alliance of 1730. The collapse of the Hanover pact and Austro-Spanish alliance would eventually lead to the development of Bourbon pact in 1731 a military alliance between France and Spain.
Events 1730 and 1770
Following the death of King August II of Poland (also Friedrich August I of Saxony) in 1733, a succession crisis ensued as both his son August III and Stanislaw I. August was proclaimed King of Poland through an election backed by the Holy Roman Empire ,and Russia however Stanislaw was backed by France who hoped to weaken the position of their long time rival Austria.
Throughout early 1733 France had amassed a large force along their Northern and Eastern border, While the Austrians and Russians prepared to invade Poland to ensure August's succession to the throne. War eventually broke out after Austrian and Russian troops marched into Poland following the election of Stanislaw in September 1733.
Russian troops quickly occupied Warsaw and eventually forced the newly elected king to flee to Danzig. As the Eastern allies marched into Poland France invaded the Rhineland quickly overwhelming imperial forces in Lorraine and Kehl across the Rhine. A joint French-Savoyard force marched into Milan displacing the Austrian forces stationed there. By the winter of 1733 the Imperial forces had occupied a large amount of the Commonwealth. However, French troops were making gains in the Rhineland and In Italy.
Vienna called on Berlin and London to respect the alliances they had with Austria. after much debate Berlin agreed to join the war sending 20,000 troops under the leadership of the young Frederick. London scared of the French advancing on Hannover eventually joined the war in early 1734 sparking a major crisis as most of European powers were now involved in the war. By the summer of 1734 Spain joined the war as well to support their French allies and to try and to reclaim land in Italy they had lost in the war of the Spanish succession.
With Prussian support Stanislaw was forced to withdraw from Danzig and flee to France leaving the city under Prussian occupation who then went on to occupy the rest of West Prussia against the wishes of their Saxon allies. In secret Anne of Russia and Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia reached an agreement with the Austrians to fully recognize Russian influence in Poland, and Prussia asserting control over Royal Prussia, upon August discovering this agreement it was feared that the allied war effort would break down but Frederick Wilhelm agreed to settle for influence over the region after intensive negotiations in Vienna. The young Frederick saw this as a sign of weakness and further interference on the part of the Austrians in Prussia's affairs.