Amalia of Solms-Braunfels

Last updated
Amalia of Solms-Braunfels
Van Dyck - Amalie zu Solms-Braunfels - 1631-32.jpg
Portrait by Anthony Van Dyck
Princess consort of Orange
Reign 1625–1647
Born(1602-08-31)31 August 1602
Braunfels Castle in Braunfels
Died 8 September 1675(1675-09-08) (aged 73)
the Hague
Spouse Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange
Issue William II, Prince of Orange
Louise Henriette, Duchess of Prussia
Henriette Amalia of Nassau
Elisabeth of Nassau
Isabella Charlotte of Nassau
Albertine Agnes, Countess of Nassau-Dietz
Henriette Catherine, Princess of Anhalt-Dessau
Henry Louis of Nassau
Maria, Countess Palatine of Simmern-Kaiserslautern
House Solms-Braunfels
Father John Albert I, Count of Solms-Braunfels
Mother Countess Agnes of Sayn-Wittgenstein

Amalia of Solms-Braunfels (31 August 1602, Braunfels – 8 September 1675, The Hague), was Princess consort of Orange by marriage to Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. She acted as the political adviser of her spouse during his reign, and acted as his de facto deputy and regent during his infirmity from 1640–47. She also served as chair of the regency council during the minority of her grandson William III, Prince of Orange from 1650 until 1672. She was the daughter of count John Albert I of Solms-Braunfels and countess Agnes of Sayn-Wittgenstein.

Braunfels Place in Hesse, Germany

Braunfels is a town in the Lahn-Dill-Kreis in Hesse, Germany. It is located on the German Timber-Frame Road.

The Hague City and municipality in South Holland, Netherlands

The Hague is a city on the western coast of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of South Holland. It is also the seat of government of the Netherlands.

Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange Prince of Orange and Stadtholder of Holland

Frederick Henry, or Frederik Hendrik in Dutch, was the sovereign Prince of Orange and stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel from 1625 to 1647.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, born into the House of Solms, a ruling family with Imperial immediacy, spent her childhood at the parental castle at Braunfels.

Solms-Braunfels county in Hesse, Germany

Solms-Braunfels was a County with Imperial immediacy in what is today the federal Land of Hesse in Germany.

Imperial immediacy was a privileged constitutional and political status rooted in German feudal law under which the Imperial estates of the Holy Roman Empire such as Imperial cities, prince-bishoprics and secular principalities, and individuals such as the Imperial knights, were declared free from the authority of any local lord and placed under the direct authority of the Emperor, and later of the institutions of the Empire such as the Diet, the Imperial Chamber of Justice and the Aulic Council.

She became part of the court of Elizabeth, wife of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, the "Winter King" of Bohemia. After imperial forces defeated Frederick V, she fled from Prague with the pregnant queen to the west. Shelter was denied to them along the way because the emperor forbade it as Frederick had been placed under an Imperial ban. Elizabeth went into labour during their flight and Amalia helped her with her delivery of Prince Maurice at Küstrin castle.

The end of their journey was The Hague, where stadtholder Maurice of Nassau, uncle of the elector gave them asylum in 1621. They often appeared at his court, where Maurice's younger half-brother Frederick Henry became infatuated with Amalia in 1622. She refused to become his lover and held out for marriage.

Stadtholder title used in parts of Europe

In the Low Countries, stadtholder was an office of steward, designated a medieval official and then a national leader. The stadtholder was the replacement of the duke or earl of a province during the Burgundian and Habsburg period.

Mistress (lover) Female who is in an extra-marital sexual relationship

A mistress is a relatively long-term female lover and companion who is not married to her partner, especially when her partner is married to someone else.

When Maurice of Nassau died, he made his half-brother Frederick Henry promise to wed. Frederick married Amalia on 4 April 1625.

Wife to the Stadtholder

Family portrait by Gerrit van Honthorst, 1647 Gerrit van Honthorst - Frederik Hendrik met familie.jpg
Family portrait by Gerrit van Honthorst, 1647
Portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1632 Amalia van Solms.jpg
Portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1632

When Frederick Henry became stadtholder after the death of his half-brother Prince Maurice, his influence grew substantially, as did Amalia's. Together Frederick Henry and Amalia succeeded in expanding court life in The Hague. They had several palaces built, including Huis ten Bosch. Amalia was a great collector of art and amassed many jewels, which were inherited by her four surviving daughters. She was described as intelligent, arrogant and ambitious, not beautiful but with a fresh and appealing appearance.

Amalia was the prime mover of several royal marriages, including that of her son William II to Mary, Princess Royal of England and Scotland (daughter of King Charles I of England) and of their daughters with several German princes.

Charles I of England 17th-century monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Charles I was the monarch over the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649.

The relationship between Amalia and Frederik Hendrik was described as happy, and Amalia is acknowledged to have acted as his political adviser. [1] From 1640 until his death in 1647, Frederik Hendrik's health (he suffered from gout and probably also from a form of Alzheimer's) made it increasingly difficult for him to participate in politics, and during these seven years, Amalia therefore effectively functioned as regent and stadtholder, maintaining diplomatic contacts and making political decisions on his behalf. [2] Her de facto political position was acknowledged and diplomats, aware of this, tried to influence her decisions by costly presents. [1] It was reportedly Amalia who was behind Frederik Hendrik's participation in the negotiations which was eventually to result in the Peace of Münster of 1648. [2] As a recognition, King Philip IV of Spain granted her the seigniory and castle of Turnhout in 1649.

In 1647, her spouse died and was succeeded as stadtholder and prince of orange by their son William II, Prince of Orange.

Regency

After the death of her son William II in 1650, her grandson William III (Prince William III of Orange and later also King William III of England) became prince of Orange. A regency council was appointed during her minority, and Amalia and her former daughter-in-law Mary Stuart fought over guardianship and thereby chairmanship of the regency council; the High Court of Holland and Zeeland finally granted both Mary and Amalia shared guardianship, and thereby shared part in the regency council of Orange. [2]

Amalia was supported against Mary by her son-in-law, the Elector of Brandenburg, and she was on good terms with the Grand Pensionary Johan de Witt, a relationship which did not change with the Act of Exclusion of 1654, barring the prince from all ancestral offices. When Mary died in 1660, Amalia in practice took sole control of the regency of her grandson. [2] She maintained good relations to De Witt even by the passing of the 1667 Eternal Edict, which abolished the office of stadholder entirely. [1] During this time she lived in the Oude Hof on the Noordeinde, maintaining her court and diplomatic contacts with royalty. [2]

In 1672, her grandson was declared adult and his regency council thereby dismissed. Amalia retired and witnessed him becoming stadholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel and captain-general of the Union.

Tributes

A wine from wine estate Solms-Delta in Franschhoek (South Africa) is named after Amalia of Solms-Braunfels. The wine honours the role played by her in Dutch political life. Her grandson, William III, King of England, provided refuge and support to thousands of French Huguenots after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Some 180 of these refugees, fleeing religious persecution, were relocated to the Cape and granted farms in Franschhoek. Here they laid the foundations of the modern South African wine industry.

Issue

Ancestry

Related Research Articles

William II, Prince of Orange Prince of Orange and Stadtholder of Holland

William II was sovereign Prince of Orange and stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands from 14 March 1647 until his death three years later. His only child, William III, reigned as King of England, Ireland, and Scotland.

Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange Dutch princess

Mary, Princess Royal was Princess of Orange and Countess of Nassau by marriage to Prince William II, and co-regent for her son during his minority as Sovereign Prince of Orange from 1651 to 1660.

Henry Casimir II, Prince of Nassau-Dietz Stadholder of Friesland and Groningen

Henry Casimir II of Nassau-Dietz was Stadtholder of Friesland and Groningen from 1664 till 1696.

Nieuwe Kerk (Delft) church in Delft

The Nieuwe Kerk is a Protestant church in the city of Delft in the Netherlands. The building is located on Delft Market Square (Markt), opposite to the City Hall. In 1584, William the Silent was entombed here in a mausoleum designed by Hendrick and Pieter de Keyser. Since then members of the House of Orange-Nassau have been entombed in the royal crypt. The latest are Queen Juliana and her husband Prince Bernhard in 2004. The private royal family crypt is not open to the public. The church tower, designed by Pierre Cuypers and completed in 1872, is the second highest in the Netherlands, after the Domtoren in Utrecht.

Honselersdijk Town in Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Honselersdijk is a town in the Dutch province of South Holland. It is home to the historic Huis Honselaarsdijk, former palatial estate of the Dutch Princes of Orange. Huis Honselaarsdijk was one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture and grounds in the history of The Netherlands. Today, only part of the outbuildings remain, and these are referred to locally as "De Nederhof".

Countess Albertine Agnes of Nassau Regent of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe (1664–1679)

Albertine Agnes of Nassau, was regent of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe during the minority of her son Henry Casimir II, Count of Nassau-Dietz. She was the sixth child and fifth daughter of stadtholder Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange and Amalia of Solms-Braunfels.

Countess Louise Henriette of Nassau Electress Consort of Brandenbyrg

Louise Henrietta of Nassau was a Countess of Nassau, granddaughter of William I, Prince of Orange, "William the Silent", and an Electress of Brandenburg.

Frederick Nassau de Zuylestein Illegitimate son of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange

Frederick of Nassau, Lord of Zuylestein (1624–1672) was an illegitimate son of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, by Margaretha Catharina Bruyns,

William Frederick, Prince of Nassau-Dietz Count of Nassau-Dietz, Stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe

William Frederick, Count of Nassau-Dietz, Stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe.

Margaretha van Mechelen Dutch noble

Margaretha van Mechelen was a noblewomen of the Southern Netherlands and the mistress of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, with whom she had 3 sons:

Huis Honselaarsdijk

Huis Honselaarsdijk is a former palace and country residence of the Dutch Stadtholders and princes of Orange which lies about 2.6 km southwest of the border of The Hague, the Netherlands. It was one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in The Netherlands. Today, only part of the outbuildings remain and are known locally as De Nederhof.

Ernest Casimir I, Count of Nassau-Dietz Count of Nassau-Dietz and Stadtholder of Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe

Ernst Casimir I of Nassau-Dietz was count of Nassau-Dietz and Stadtholder of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe.

Countess Henriette Catherine of Nassau Countess of Nassau

Henriette Catherine of Nassau was princess consort of Anhalt-Dessau by marriage to John George II, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau, and regent of Anhalt-Dessau from 1693 to 1698 during the minority of her son Leopold I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau.

Princess Henriëtte Amalia of Anhalt-Dessau Regent of Nassau-Dietz (1666-1726)

Henriëtte Amalia Maria von Anhalt-Dessau was the daughter of John George II, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau, and Henriëtte Catharina of Nassau and the granddaughter of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange.

Countess Elisabeth of Nassau-Dillenburg was a daughter of William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg and Juliana of Stolberg and was one of the sisters of William the Silent.

Mauritia Eleonora of Portugal Princess of Portugal and through marriage countess of Nassau-Siegen

Mauritia Eleonora of Portugal also called Mauritia Eleonora of Crato and by the nickname Mauke was the ninth of ten children of Manuel of Portugal (1568-1638), son of the Portuguese prior and self-proclaimed Portuguese king António of Crato, and Countess Emilia of Nassau (1569-1629), the youngest daughter of William of Orange.

Frederick, Burgrave of Dohna was a German nobleman, an officer in Dutch service and a governor of the Principality of Orange. He later also rendered services to the Electorate of Brandenburg. Near the end of his life, he chose Switzerland, where he was highly regarded, as his adopted country.

Maria of Orange-Nassau (1642–1688)

Maria of Nassau or Maria of Orange-Nassau was a Dutch princess of the house of Orange and by marriage pfalzgräfin or countess of Simmern-Kaiserslautern.

References

  1. 1 2 3 djr (18 January 2018). "Digitaal Vrouwenlexicon van Nederland". resources.huygens.knaw.nl.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 djr (18 January 2018). "Digitaal Vrouwenlexicon van Nederland". resources.huygens.knaw.nl. Retrieved September 16, 2014.

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Amalia of Solms-Braunfels at Wikimedia Commons