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Finally, in December 1809, the family returned to the capital. The citizens presented Luise with a magnificent carriage. Amid the jubilation of the crowds the procession reached the Palace where Luise's whole family was waiting for her. She threw herself sobbing in her father's arms. She was home again! The next day the whole family attended a Thanksgiving service at the cathedral. On Christmas evening a festive performance was given at the opera "Iphigenia in Aulis", by Glueck. When the Queen appeared in the Royal box, a shout of "Hurrah!" rang through the house. Court life began again. New Year's, 1810, was celebrated with all the pomp of court function. But Luise's heart was not in it. Too many of her countrymen had suffered. Thousands had lost a loved one, and more had come home maimed in body and wounded in soul. Yet, she pulled herself together and when she entered the Rittersaal of the Palace, all eyes were fixed upon her. She was very simply dressed in a velvet robe of violet and a string of pearls around her neck. But a close observer noticed, that her great blue eyes were dimmed in their brilliance.

Charlottenburg Palace had suffered during the occupation. Many works of art had been spirited away to Paris; one of them a portrait of Luise. She toured the Palace grounds and inspected every corner. The gardens were unkempt, the lawns rough and shaggy. In the spring, the King moved to Potsdam. The Queen accompanied him, even though her little Luise, age 2, was down with pleurisy and she hated to leave her. So, she divided her time between the King and the sick child. Every day she drove into Berlin and then back to her husband. Luise caught a chill and was attacked by fever and a cough. She had to take to her bed for several days. But a few days later she felt better. But the future did not look rosy. Napoleon continued to press energetically for complete payments of the war debts. The King kept hoping for better terms. Frederick William sent an envoy for an audience with the French Emperor. He was told "If the King of Prussia cannot pay, he can hand over his domains to me." He had his eyes fixed on Silesia. The King tried to borrow the money and failed. Suddenly the King thought of a solution. He proposed that 25000 citizens of Prussia should contribute 4000 Thalers apiece, partly in cash, partly in state bonds. This sum was to be declared as a national debt and be the basis for a national bank. In this fashion, the indemnity to Napoleon could be liquidated. Hardenberg would be appointed on Luise's urging, and he would take care of it all.

All throughout her time in exile, Luise had longed for her native Mecklenburg. It was decided that she would visit her father at Strelitz. Now that state affairs were in Hardenberg's capable hands, it did not seem so difficult to leave the King for a short while. Luise joyfully announced her coming to her father , "I am coming---on Monday, I am coming. I am to stay Monday and Tuesday alone and then the King will come and remain over Thursday and Friday. On Saturday he wishes to go to Rheinsberg; I will stay Sunday with you and on Monday he will take me back. Hallelujah!"


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