lørdag 25. desember 2010

Christina of Saxony, Queen of Denmark, Norway and Sweden

As I am Norwegian myself, I thought to present to you one of our queens, Christina of Saxony, or Christine av Sachsen as she is known as in Scandinavia. As she was also born on Christmas Day I thought it would be a nice fit to present her on this day as well.

Humiliated by her husband’s relationship to her lady-in-waiting Edel Jernskjæg, which went as far as the King travelling to Denmark with his mistress, leaving his wife behind, Queen Christina showed herself as a strong and forceful woman who would not let the capital, Stockholm, go when a rebellion broke out in Sweden against Denmark and the Kalmar union in 1501.

Christina was born on the 25th of December, 1461 to Ernest, the Elector of Saxony and his wife Elisabeth of Bavaria (not to be confused with the Empress of Austria nor the Queen of Belgium). When she was sixteen she was betrothed to the son of Christian I of Denmark and Norway, John (or Hans as he is known as in Scandinavia). A year later, she travelled to Copenhagen and married on the 6th of September. John became King of Denmark in 1481 and King of Norway in 1483. Christina was crowned together with her husband. Together they went on to have five children, but only two of the children, Christian II and Elisabeth, reached adulthood.

Christina was a devout Catholic and was offended when two of her brothers fought for Reformation. Her brothers, Frederick and John, were actually two of the most important supporters Martin Luther had in the beginning. Charity was important to her, and she was a patroness of religious art and the writing of psalms and religious poetry.

What Christine is most known for is being the queen who refused to surrender Stockholm to the rebellions of the Kalmar union. She barred herself and a 1000 men inside the walls of the castle “Tre Kronor”, meaning “Three Crowns”. However, after eight months she had to give in after the Danish soldiers had been reduced from 1000 men to 70 by sickness (a plague had broken out) and starvation. There were rumours that the queen herself was dead! When she surrendered her position, she turned herself over to lady Ingeborg Tott, who met her at the castle and followed her to a convent. However, before she surrendered, she said she was only willing to do so if she herself and the people with her were allowed to go back to Denmark. The promise was made, but broken by Sten Sture the Elder who took her as a prisoner and held her at Vadstena Abbey until the peace negotiations with her husband was completed in 1503, after which she was released and returned to Denmark. After nearly three years she was finally home in Denmark, where her husband and his mistress had, in the meantime, enjoyed themselves. The king had also sent their daughter Elisabeth to Brandenburg to marry Joachim 1 Nestor, the Elector of Brandenburg.

The Queen decided to separate from her husband and had her own court at Næsbyhoved. She went to Germany in 1504 on a pilgrimage and she also visited her daughter while there. In 1513 she was widowed and her son Christian became king. She lived her life quietly at her small court, and died on the 8th of December 1521, at the age of 59. She was buried beside her husband.

Source: http://www.nb.no/utlevering/contentview.jsf?&urn=URN:NBN:no-nb_digibok_2007112600088#&struct=DIV76 ”Norges dronninger gjennom tusen år” by Nils Petter Thuesen, 1991.

torsdag 16. desember 2010

Cecilia Renata of Austria, Queen of Poland

A woman loved by both the people and her husband, she had a strong political influence over her husband the King, until the day he realised that her family, the Habsburgs, would not give him assistance in waging a war against Sweden.

Cecilia Renata was born on the 16th of July, 1611 in Graz as the 6th child and third daughter (although the firstborn daughter, Christine, died as an infant) to Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor and his wife Maria Anna of Bavaria.

Her father sent a proposal of marriage between her and the Polish king, Wladyslaw IV, which arrived in Warsaw sometime in the spring, 1636. The dowry of the archduchess was to be 100, 000 zloty, and also that the emperor would pay the dowry for the king’s father’s two wives. Additionally the son of Wladislaw and Cecilia Renata was to obtain duchy of Opole and Racibórz in Silesia. However before everything was confirmed and signed, Ferdinand II died, and Cecilia’s brother, Ferdinand III, backed away from giving the Silesian duchy to the son of Wladislaw. Finally, on the 9th of August she was married in Vienna by proxy, and then in Warsaw by person on September 13, 1637 at the age of 26. She was crowned on the same day at St. John’s Cathedral in Warsaw which angered the nobility of Poland as Krakow was the city of coronations.

Cecilia proved to be a clever and energetic woman, and she really liked it at the Polish court where she was very popular among the nobles. One woman wrote in her memoirs that the new queen was a very polite woman, and that she would ask other women to sit with her even though she was queen. She became good friends with her sister-in law, Anna Catherine, who would go on to marry Phillip William, Elector Palatine. Cecilia also stayed in touch with her brothers whom she shared a loving relationship to.

There was one thorn in her side at the Polish court, however, and that was her husband’s mistress, Hedwig Luszkowska. Since the king would not remove her, she had to find a clever way to do it, and what better than to marry her off? So the mistress was out of the way, and on the 1st of April 1640 she gave birth to her first child and heir, Sigismund Casimir. Unfortunately he died only two years after his mother, aged only seven. When he was two years old however, Cecilia gave birth to a girl on the 8th of January, Maria Anna Isabella. But also this child would not reach adulthood, and died only a year later, giving Cecilia and Wladyslaw no living heirs.

Cecilia was politically active, and advocated a Habsburg and pro-Catholic point of view and allied herself with the pro-Habsburg faction of Chancellor Jerzy Ossoliński and pro-Catholic Albrycht Stanislaw Radziwill. She had much to say about the royal nominations for important official positions, and her influence over her husband was so strong that his childhood friend, Adam Kazanowski, no longer exerted any political influence over the king. This changed however when the king realised that he would get no assistance from her brother, and so her power waned and he started to disregard her advices.

Cecilia Renata died on the 24th of March 1644 in Vilnius (she was Grand Duchess of Lithuania after all) at the age of 32. The cause of death is stated to have been an infection. She was mourned by Waldyslaw, and also left a good impression on the public. She is buried at Wawel Cathedral in Krakow besides her husband. I have actually been inside this church and seen her tomb.

søndag 14. november 2010

Maria Theresa of Savoy

by Jean-Baptiste-André Gautier d'Agoty, 1775

She could have been a Queen of France had she not died, and she was the first of her generation to give birth to the next royal child, humiliating Marie Antoinette herself. Though Marie Thérèse of Savoy was not a liked figure at the French court, she was still a very important lady at court.
Maria Theresa was born as Marie Thérèse the 31st of January in 1756, a daughter of Prince Victor Amadeus of Savoy and his wife, Infanta Maria Antoinetta of Spain, thus making Marie Thérèse the granddaughter of Phillip V of Spain. Her father’s father, Charles Emmanuel III was also the King of Sardinia.
Marie Thérèse was married by proxy to Charles Philippe, the Count of Artois, and she arrived in France where her official wedding took place the 16th of November 1773 when she was seventeen years old. Her newlywed husband was the grandson of the King, thus making her a “petite-fille de France”, a granddaughter of France. 

Marie Thérèse’s wedding was not the only Franco-Savoyard wedding made: some years earlier her sister had married Charles Phillipe’s brother, and a year later, her sister-in-law, Maria Clotilde, married her brother.
Marie Thérèse gave birth to her first child, a son, only a year after her wedding. This son, Louis Antoine, would later marry Queen Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI’s daughter, Madame Royale Marie Thérèse who shared her name with her mother-in-law. If you have seen the movie, Marie-Antoinette by Sofia Coppola which starred Kirsten Dunst in the title role, you will remember the young Queen to be very anxious of being the first to have a royal child of the next generation. This did not happen, as Marie Thérèse was the first to give birth. 

A year after giving birth to her son, a daughter, Sophie, followed. Unfortunately, she died at the age of six. In 1778 she gave birth to another son, Charles Ferdinand, and another daughter followed five years later, but also she died, only six months old thus leaving Marie Thérèse with two sons growing into adulthood, and no daughters.

Marie Thérèse was not considered to be a beauty at the court of Versailles, and she was also one of the most disliked figures, though she avoided much abuse as Marie Antoinette was the most disliked person in the French court. According to the Austrian ambassador, Marie Thérèse was very silent and interested in absolutely nothing, which is probably why she was disliked as we all know that the French court was anything but boring and silent, and therefore such people were not well-liked (party pooper much??)

Marie Thérèse died at the age of 49 the 2nd of June 1805 in Gratz, Austria. Why Austria? Why, because of the French Revolution of course. She lived in exile there, even though she had escaped back home to Savoy at first. As she died before her husband became King of France, she died as Countess of Artois and not Queen of France. 

torsdag 28. oktober 2010

Blanche of Lancaster

(photo from a tapestry)

The woman to whom "The Book of the Duchess" by Geoffrey Chaucer is dedicated to, Blanche of Lancaster,  was the first and beloved wife of John of Gaunt (yes, he who later married his mistress Katherine Swynford from whom the Tudors claimed the throne). Even though she was deeply loved by her husband, and the mother of the future Henry IV, Blanche is not the woman we hear about the most when it comes to John of Gaunt, as his mistress (and later wife) tends to overshadow her (as the mighty Tudors descended from Katherine and John’s issue).

Blanche was born at Bolingbroke Castle on the 25th of March in 1345. Her parents were Henry of Grostmont, the 1st Duke of Lancaster, and Isabel de Beaumont. She is described as to have been beautiful, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and she was a calm and peaceful person.

She was married to her third cousin, John of Gaunt on the 19th of May 1359, when she was fourteen years old. He was the third son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainhault. It was a very happy and loving marriage, and Blanche quickly became pregnant and gave birth to the couple’s first child, Philippa, only five days after Blanche herself had turned fifteen. She gave birth to five more children, but out of the six, only half survived infancy.

In 1361, Blanche’s father died without male issue, and the title of Duke of Lancaster became extinct. Together with her sister Maud, Blanche was the co-heiress to the Duchy of Lancaster. A year later her sister died, and the title of Duke of Lancaster was later bestowed on Blanche’s husband.

When the bubonic plague struck in 1369, Blanche was one of its victims, and she died at the age of only 24, the 12th of September at the same castle as she was born.
Her funeral at St. Paul's Cathedral in London was preceded with a magnificent cortege attended by most of the nobility and clergy. Her husband had Geoffrey Chaucer, then a young squire and mostly unknown writer of court poetry, commissioned to write The Book of the Duchess, in her honour. In short, the poem tells the story of the poet’s dream. Wandering through a wood, the poet discovers a knight clothed in black (John of Gaunt), and inquires of the knight’s sorrow. Throughout the poem, pieces of the knight’s story become more and more apparent, until the cause of the mourning (the death of Blanche) is plainly stated and the dream abruptly ends. It is a very long poem, consisting of nearly 9000 words! Blanche was honoured indeed.
What is interesting while studying the poem is that it seems that at least one of its aims was to make John see that his grief for his late wife had become excessive, and so Chaucer tried to make him overcome it.
When John of Gaunt died 25 years after his first wife, he was buried next to her, and the two of them are buried in an unknown place somewhere in St. Paul’s Cathedral.

onsdag 20. oktober 2010

Anne Seymour, Duchess of Somerset

Born Anne Stanhope cirka 1497 to Sir Edward Stanhope of Sudbury and Elizabeth Bourchier, Anne was through her mother a direct descendant of Thomas of Woodstock, the youngest son of King Edward III of England and his wife, Queen Philippa of Hainault. Anne’s father had been married once before, so Anne had two older half-brothers – Richard Stanhope and Sir Michael Stanhope. The latter was selected for the governorship of Hull, was knighted, and made Shelford Priory his residence.

In 1511 Anne came as a maid of honour to Queen Catherine, and in 1529 Edward Seymour (the brother of Queen Jane, yes) noticed her and fell in love with her. They were married in 1535 (Anne being his second wife, his first, Catherine, had led an affair with his father, woah!)
As Jane became queen a year after Anne married her brother, Edward was elevated to Viscount Beauchamp, and shortly thereafter elevated again to earl, becoming the first Earl of Hertford. Ten years later, in 1547, he was elevated to Duke of Somerset, thus making Anne Duchess of Somerset.

Anne gave birth to ten children, among them Edward Seymour who married Lady Catherine Grey (younger sister of Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days Queen). When Elizabeth I became queen she had the two lovers impersonated, as they had married without her consent, and the fact that they had two sons was a minor threat to Elizabeth’s reign as Catherine had a claim to the throne, through her grandmother, Mary, who was the daughter of Henry VII. Anne supported her daughter-in-law's claims to the throne as that meant that her grandson could become King of England.

The Duchess of Somerset was described as being a “violent woman", a "devilish woman & 'monstrous' in her pride”. Lady Hertford constantly made scenes in public, and she was spitefully unforgiving, haughty, grasping and bad tempered. She was universally disliked by those in the Royal Court. She has also been held responsible for the fate of her husband Edward, having urged him to adopt the policies which ruined him. 
When Henry VIII died, Anne’s husband became Lord Protector, and she felt she was the first lady of the realm, ahead of the widowed queen Catherine Parr whom she had never been on good terms with.  There was even a quarrel over some jewels, which Anne meant were hers out of right! Anne considered that the Dowager Queen forfeited her rights of precedence when she married so far beneath her station (Thomas Seymour, Edward’s brother, thus making the two women sisters-in-law). Anne refused to bear Catherine's train, and even physically tried to push her out of her place at the head of their entrances and exits at court. Anne was quoted as having said of Catherine, "If master admiral teaches his wife no better manners, I am she that will". Catherine, in her turn, privately referred to Anne as"that Hell". Catherine Parr won the battle by invoking the Act of Succession which clearly stated that Katherine had precedence over all ladies in the realm; in point of fact, as regards precedence, Anne came after the Princesses Mary and Elizabeth, and Anne of Cleves. 

Anne married, as her second husband, a lesser noble Francis Newdigate, who had been Steward to her late husband. Little is known of their life together.
Anne Seymour died at the advanced age of 90, the 16th of April, 1587.

onsdag 6. oktober 2010

Leonora Christina Ulfeldt

Born as a king’s daughter, but deprived of the title “princess”, Leonora Christina was married to a traitorous and somewhat stupid man (stupid in the sense of not to know when to stop scheming, kind of like Lady Jane Grey’s father?) who had her, though unintentionally, imprisoned for twenty-one years in rough conditions while he himself “enjoyed” the life as an exile abroad. The one good outcome of this was, however, the memoirs that Countess Leonora Christina left us of her conditions and the outside world.

Leonora Christine was born 8th of July 1621 as the third child to King Christian IV of Denmark-Norway and his wife Kirsten Munk whom he was married to morganatic (which is a type of marriage which can be contracted in certain countries, usually between people of unequal social rank, which prevents the passage of the husband's titles and privileges to the wife and any children born of the marriage). This meant that Leonora was not a princess, but she shared her mother’s title of Countess of Schleswig-Holstein. Nonetheless, she grew up with her parents in Copenhagen's royal palace on familiar terms with her three elder half-brothers — including the future King Frederick III. Nine years after she was born, she was betrothed to Corfitz Ulfeldt, son of a former Chancellor of Denmark. The same year her father divorced her mother, claiming that his wife had cheated on him, but Leonora seems to have retained her father’s favour still, and he took great interest that she and her sisters should not only learn traditional female pursuits as handicrafts, singing and dancing; they were also to learn how to read and to write, maths, play instruments, to draw and languages such as Danish, German and French, and also religion. Leonora Christina proved early to be a very quick learner, skilled in both academic and practical skills.

At the age of fiftheen, in 1636, she married her thirty year old husband, but despite the age difference Leonora seems to have been fond of him, and was a loyal and obedient wife to him, even refusing to speak ill of him after his death (which could have ensured her freedom). She had ten children by him.
Leonora and her husband travelled much, and Corfitz held lordships of Egeskov, Hirschholm Urup, Gradlitz and Hermanitz. In 1641 he was made a count by the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III. During most of the 1640s her husband's power and stature grew and she was, in many ways, the first lady of the Danish court that had no queen. 

When Leonora’s half brother Frederick ascended to the throne in 1648, her own and her husband’s position was threatened by the resentment of her husband's dominance by Frederick III and, especially, by his queen, Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg, who now became Leonora Christina's relentless enemy. Leonora Christina was active and outgoing, and easily outshined the queen.
Leonora Christina was stripped of her title as countess, and a woman named Dina Vinhofvers was engaged to testify that the couple Ulfeldt had planned to kill the new king.This false accusation was however revealed, and Dina Vinhofvers was executed.
For Leonora and her husband, this was a clear message that their time at the Danish court was now over. In 1651 they fled to Sweden, where Corfitz, thanks to his diplomatic experience and loans to the state coffers, got a position at court.
In 1657 Denmark declared war on Sweden. Ulfeldt become a trusted advisor to the Swedish King Karl X Gustav, which is naturally viewed as treason in Denmark.
After some time, problems arose between King Charles X Gustav and the Ulfeldts, and Corfitzen Ulfeldt was taken to court, accused of having collaborated with the Danes. This forced Leonora and her husband to flee back to Denmark, begging the king of mercy, but instead of granting it to them, he imprisoned them. The imprisonment lasted for a year and a half, eventually forcing the couple to take an oath of allegiance to the king.
Stupidly enough, Corfitz challenged the Danish king as soon as he was released and schemed to put the Elector of Brandenburg on the throne of Denmark-Norway, but Frederick III received information about this, and Corfitz was sentenced to death in absentia (as he was not in Denmark at that time, and thus was never able to return to the country without being killed).

Leonora was at the time in England to solicit repayment from King Charles II of money her husband had loaned him during his exile. The King repaid his debt by welcoming the Countess (his cousin) to his table, then having her arrested as she boarded a ship to leave England, whereupon he turned her over to Denmark in 1663. 

For the next twenty-two years she remained in the custody of the Danish state, incarcerated without charge or trial in Copenhagen Castle's infamous Blue Tower. She lived under meagre and humiliating conditions for the daughter of a king, and was for years deprived of almost all comforts. During these years she perforce showed great ingenuity. She wrote that her cell was small, filthy, foul, infested with fleas, and that the rats were so numerous and hungry that they ate her night candle as it burned. She learned to piece together pages for writing from the wrappers on the sugar that she was given, and to make ink for her fowl's quill by capturing the candle's smoke on a spoon. Slowly she adjusted to her plight, ceased longing for revenge or death, and developed a mordant humour.
She only received less harsh treatment and more amenities following the death of Frederick III early in 1670. The new king, Christian V, sent his ministers to beget his mother's consent to free the prisoner. But, if Leonora Christina's account is to be believed, the Queen Dowager (her enemy) refused that she should be released.
Eventually the King had Leonora Christina moved to more spacious quarters in the tower, installed a stove against the cold of Copenhagen winters, and commanded that her window be opened. She was now allowed pen and paper, and it was at this time that she began to write in earnest, intending that her children might one day read her words.

Queen Dowager Sophie Amalie died in February 1685, and on the morning of 19th of May 1685 Leonora Christina was informed that she was to be released, and at 10 o'clock that night, Leonora left the Blue Tower forever under cover of darkness and a veil, denying even a glimpse of her face to the curious crowd that filled the courtyard (the Queen and her ladies watched from the palace balcony). For them Leonora Christina had already entered into legend — a royal adventuress who had been first regaled then held captive by the kings of England, Sweden and Denmark. She was sixty-three years old, and had spent twenty-one years, nine months and eleven days in the Tower. She lived her last years quietly on the grounds ofMaribo Monastery, where she occupied her time editing her prison notebooks. She died the 16th of March, 1698, seventy-seven years old.

During her imprisonment and for the twelve years she lived afterwards, she composed the book that made her famous, Jammersminde (A Memory of Lament), but it was not published before 1869. Today it is regarded as a classic of 17th century Danish literature, as it explores her prison years in detailed and vivid prose, recounting her crises, confrontations, humiliations, self-discipline, growing religious faith and serenity, together with fascinating descriptions of hardships she endured or overcame.
I know this was a very long text, but Leonora Christina was such a fascinating and strong, admirable woman and I could not cut this text any shorter.

torsdag 30. september 2010

Isabella de' Medici

(Isabella painted in the 1560s by Alessando Allori)

Isabella de’ Medici was born in Florence the 31st of August in 1576 to the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de’ Medici and his Spanish wife, Eleonora di Toledo. Unfortunately for her, her parents married her to an ill-tempered man who eventually had her killed when he found out that she was having an affair with his cousin.

Isabella was a great beauty and she was also very charming, which of course led to her being courted by several men. She was also very clever and well-educated and could talk many different languages, sing and write verses and play instruments. She was so devoted to her studies that she even had her Poggio Imperiale mansion in Florence transformed into a haven of authentic literary and artistic works. You can say that Isabella was what we today call an "it-girl". Unfortunately for this beauty, her family’s position forced her to marry for economical and political reasons, and Isabella was betrothed at the age of eleven to a very violent man, Paolo Giordano Orsini, who happened to be Duke of Bracciano. They married in 1558 when Isabella was sixteen. Her father Cosimo negotiated a marriage contract which ensured that Isabella could continue to live in Florence instead of with her husband; that meant Isabella had far more freedom and control over her own affairs than other women of her era. When her mother died in 1562, Isabella acted as first lady of Florence for a time, displaying the de' Medici aptitude for politics.
Interestingly enough, Isabella did not have her first child until 1571 (she suffered several miscarriages), when she gave birth to her daughter Francesca Eleonora . A year after she birthed an heir, Virginio.
When her husband went away for a while in 1576, Isabella travelled back from Rome (where the two of them lived with their two children) to Florence together with Paolo’s cousin, Trolio Orsini. Paolo had given his cousin instructions to take care of his wife and watch her while he was gone. However, Trolio and Isabella were very much alike and got on very well, so well that they allegedly became lovers. At the age of 34, Isabella was still beautiful, so resisting her was not that easy. 

It is not known how her husband came to know of her affair, but when he heard about it he ordered his wife to come to Cerreto Guidi’s mansion.
It was here, on the 16th July 1576, that after having dined, the two of them went together to the bedroom, and as soon as Paolo was certain that they were completely alone with Isabella, and that he would not be seen, he lowered the oxbow which was hanging by a rope which had been looped through a hole that had been made in the ceiling earlier on. Then, with the help of several hit men, he drew the rope around her neck and brutally strangled his wife. Her lifeless corpse was then left to hang freely above the bed. Isabella’s powerful father had died at that time, so it was no problem for Paolo to strangle Isabella as her brother, Francesco de’ Medici, the newly appointed Grand Duke of Tuscany, chose not to take any action. This being because he too was also guilty of committing adultery. He was having an affair with an attractive Venetian woman called Bianca Cappello, and he knew that if his wife ever found out she would most probably kill him.

Isabella’s cousin and good friend, Eleonora di Toledo (yes, she shared her name with her aunt) had also been killed by her husband (Isabella’s brother) for her infidelity only six days earlier. I will write about her some other day.

It is said that Isabella’s restless ghost appears periodically in some of the places where she lived, including the Odescalchi Castle on Lake Bracciano, near Rome.

If you want to know more about this ill-fated woman, there is a biography written by Caroline P. Murphy called Isabella de’ Medici. I have not had the pleasure of reading this myself though.

Source: http://tuscany.travel/en/locations/florence/isabella-de-medici/

mandag 27. september 2010

Sophia of Hanover

(Sophia dressed as an Indian, painted by her sister Elizabeth)

As the eldest, surviving child of Elizabeth of Bohemia (daughter of James I) to be a protestant, Sophia of Hanover was the nearest heir to the British throne, and thus was made heiress presumptive for the purpose of cutting off any claim by the Catholic James Francis Edward Stuart (half-brother to sisters and queens, Mary and Anne). Sophia was actually the youngest of all her siblings, but they had all died when the succession to the throne of Britain was in jeopardy, Sophia herself being 71 years old at the time when an act settled by the parliament in 1701 said that in the default of legitimate issue from Anne or William III, the crowns were to settle upon "the most excellent Princess Sophia, electress and duchess-dowager of Hanover" and "the heirs of her body, being Protestant". The fact that Mary and William died without issue, and not one of Queen Anne’s eighteen babies lived through infancy, led England into the lack of a Protestant heir. It was out of the question to have a Catholic monarch on the throne ever again.

Sophia was born in The Wassenaer Hof, at The Hague in the Dutch Republic the 14 October 1630. Her parents, Elizabeth of Bohemia and Frederick V, the Elector Palatine, had fled from Bohemia after the sequestration of their Electorate during the Thirty Years' War (which is too long and complicated to sum up here). Sophia was the youngest child, and as her older siblings, she was taught classic and modern languages, art and literature.

She was first courted by her cousin, King Charles II, but this came to nothing, and in 1658, at the age of 28, she married Ernest August at Heidelberg, and it proved to be a love match. In 1692 Ernest August became the first Elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg, making Sophia Electress of Hanover. When her husband died in 1698, she was devastated and grieved her husband deeply.

Sophia was a devoted mother, and she and her husband had seven children who survived infancy, among them George who would later become George I of Great Britain, becoming the heir presumptive to the throne when his mother died.

In 1676 Sophia befriended Gottfried Leibniz, a German mathematician and philosopher. Letters between them proves Sophia to have been a woman of exceptional intellectual ability and curiosity. She was also well-read in the works of René Descartes and Baruch Spinoza.

Sophia died at the advanced age of 83, the 8th of June, 1714 of a stroke, just seven weeks before Queen Anne died. If she had lived for just a little longer, she would have been the next monarch of Britain, but it passed to her son George instead. 

(Btw, thanks to Signe for the beautiful header! I do not have photoshop or any other softwares, so my recent header was made in paint and looked rather... amateurish!)

fredag 24. september 2010

A new blog about royal and noble women!

I do not know how you managed to stumble upon this very fresh historical blog, but I am very glad you did. If you are into history and women then this is the blog for you. I will feature historical women, both well-known and those you are less familiar with. What I can guarrantee is that this will be an interesting and informative blog that will enlighten you and expand your horizons when it comes to historical women.

Queen Anne of Great Britain while she was still young and beautiful