The eldest daughter of Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia and the sister of Frederick the Great, Wilhelmine was groomed by her Hanoverian mother for marriage into the British royal family. But the plans were thwarted by her father, who – partly for political reasons, partly out of loathing for his wife’s British relatives – married her off instead to a minor royal and distant relative, Friedrich von Brandenburg-Bayreuth, the future margrave of the insignificant Franconian micro-state of the same name. Despite its unpromising start, the marriage was a happy one, and with her aspirations to enter the glittering world of the London court thwarted, the intelligent and educated Wilhelmine decided instead to bring worldly sophistication to Bayreuth, embarking on an extravagant building programme whose fruits still grace the town today. Wagner’s Festspielhaus may have superb acoustics, but it’s notoriously spartan; Wilhelmine’s opera house, on the other hand, is a Baroque gem.

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