A fortress and widow's residence

Kirchheim Palace

The orphanage, the "Paulinenpflege", in Kirchheim unter Teck. Image: Stadtmuseum Kirchheim
A HUGE HEART FOR THE POOR, SICK AND NEEDY

THE BENEFACTRESS

Philanthropy is part of a noble woman's duty. Many of Württemberg's duchesses were involved in charity and gave donations and grants. What for others of her rank was simply an unpleasant convention however, was a true passion for Henriette von Württemberg.

Portrait of Henriette von Württemberg, circa 1830. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Robert Bothner

Henriette von Württemberg, circa 1830.

HENRIETTE AS WIFE AND MOTHER

When Henriette von Württemberg moved to Kirchheim Palace with her husband and children in 1811, she left behind her a restless life characterized by relocations and enormous financial difficulties. Initially, she had her hands full providing for the needs of her family. In particular, caring for her ill husband, who died in 1817, would have occupied much of her time.

SOCIAL OUTREACH

During her 40-year widowhood, Henriette was deeply involved in the town of Kirchheim unter Teck. As early as 1817, she supported the newly opened vocational schools to teach poor children simple trades such as spinning. At the same time, she joined the newly founded welfare society, of which she became president in 1821. In this role, she organized social outreach within the town, even if it was simply funding the training and equipping of three young men joining the Kirchheim fire department.

Portrait of Duchess Henriette von Württemberg, circa 1838. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Joachim Feist

Henriette von Württemberg, circa 1838.

THE ORPHANAGE

The Paulinenpflege was an orphanage that Duchess Henriette financed and organized together with the town, the administrative center and a foundation board. It opened its doors in 1826. Henriette modeled the Paulinenpflege on the Stuttgart orphanage, which had been founded in 1820 by her daughter, Pauline, the third wife of King Wilhelm I.

A PRESCHOOL AND A HOSPITAL

Motivated by her extreme piety and royal sense of duty, she initiated or supported the founding of schools and care facilities, including, for example, a preschool, to which the present-day Teck kindergarten traces its roots. Her efforts also enabled the construction of one of the most modern hospitals of its time, inaugurated in 1840. She was permitted to use the name "Wilhelm's Hospital" in honor of her son-in-law, King Wilhelm I.

Wilhelm's Hospital in Kirchheim unter Teck. Image: Stadtarchiv Kirchheim

One of the most modern hospitals of its time.

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