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|Sophia Dorothea of Celle|
|Electoral Princess of Hanover|
Sophia Dorothea with her children
|Born||15 September 1666|
|Died||13 November 1726 60) (aged|
George Louis, Electoral Prince of Hanover
(m. 1682;div. 1694)
|Father||George William, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg|
|Mother||Éléonore Desmier d'Olbreuse|
Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick-Lüneburg-Celle (15 September 1666 – 13 November 1726) was the repudiated wife of future King George I of Great Britain, and mother of George II. The union with her first cousin was an arranged marriage of state, instigated by the machinations of his mother, Electress Sophia of Hanover. She is best remembered for her alleged affair with Philip Christoph von Königsmarck that led to her being imprisoned in the Castle of Ahlden for the last thirty years of her life.
George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698 until his death in 1727.
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 (O.S.) until his death in 1760.
A marriage of state is a diplomatic marriage or union between two members of different nation-states or internally, between two power blocs, usually in authoritarian societies and is a practice which dates back into pre-history, as far back as early Grecian cultures in western society, and of similar antiquity in other civilizations. The fable of Helen of Troy may be the best known pre-historic tale reporting an incidence of surrendering a female member of a ruling line to gain peace or shore up alliances of state between nation-states headed by small oligarchies or acknowledged royalty.
Sophia Dorothea was born on 15 September 1666, the only child of George William, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg by his long-term mistress, Eleonore d'Esmier d'Olbreuse (1639–1722), Countess of Williamsburg, a Huguenot lady, the daughter of Alexander II d'Esmiers, Marquess of Olbreuse. George William eventually married Eleonore officially in 1676 (they had been married morganatically previously).
George William German: Georg Wilhelm was Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. He ruled first over the Principality of Calenberg, a subdivision of the duchy, then over the Lüneburg subdivision. In 1689, he occupied the Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg and passed it on to his successors. George William was the father of Sophia Dorothea of Celle, wife of George I of Great Britain.
There was some talk of marriage between Sophia Dorothea and the (then) future king of Denmark, but the reigning queen was talked out of it by Sophia of Hanover (her future mother-in-law). Another engagement, to the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, was broken off after Duchess Sophia convinced her brother-in-law of the advantage of having Sophia Dorothea marry her cousin. This occurred on the day the engagement between Sophia Dorothea and the Duke was to be announced.
Sophia of Hanover was the Electress of Hanover from 1692 to 1698. As a granddaughter of James I, she became heir presumptive to the crowns of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Ireland under the Act of Settlement 1701. After the Acts of Union 1707, she became heir presumptive to the unified throne of the Kingdom of Great Britain. She died less than two months before she would have become queen succeeding her first cousin once removed, Queen Anne, and her claim to the throne passed on to her eldest son, George Louis, Elector of Hanover, who ascended as George I on 1 August 1714.
When told of the change in plans and her new future husband, Sophia Dorothea shouted that "I will not marry the pig snout!" (a name by which he was known in Hanover), and threw against the wall a miniature of George Louis brought for her by Duchess Sophia.[ citation needed ] Forced by her father, she fainted into her mother's arms on her first meeting with her future mother-in-law. She fainted again when presented to George Louis.
Hanover or Hannover is the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony. Its 535,061 (2017) inhabitants make it the thirteenth-largest city of Germany, as well as the third-largest city of Northern Germany after Hamburg and Bremen. The city lies at the confluence of the River Leine and its tributary Ihme, in the south of the North German Plain, and is the largest city of the Hannover–Braunschweig–Göttingen–Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region. It is the fifth-largest city in the Low German dialect area after Hamburg, Dortmund, Essen, and Bremen.
On 22 November 1682, in Celle, Sophia Dorothea married her cousin, George Louis. In 1705 he would inherit the Principality of Lüneburg after the death of his father-in-law and uncle, George William, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and in 1714 the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland and became King George I of Great Britain through his mother, Duchess Sophia, a granddaughter of James VI and I.
The Principality of Lüneburg was a territorial division of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg within the Holy Roman Empire, immediately subordinate to the emperor. It existed from 1269 until 1705 and its territory lay within the modern-day state of Lower Saxony in Germany. The principality was named after its first capital, Lüneburg, which was ruled jointly by all Brunswick-Lüneburg lines until 1637. From 1378, the seat of the principality was in Celle. It lost its independence in 1705 when it was annexed by the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg, but retained its vote in the Reichstag as Brunswick-Celle.
The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called simply Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 31 December 1800. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". After the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.
The Kingdom of Ireland was a client state of England and then of Great Britain that existed from 1542 until 1800. It was ruled by the monarchs of England and then of Great Britain in personal union with their other realms. The kingdom was administered from Dublin Castle nominally by the King or Queen, who appointed a viceroy to rule in their stead. It had its own legislature, peerage, legal system, and state church.
The marriage of George Louis and Sophia Dorothea was an unhappy one. His immediate family, especially his mother Duchess Sophia, hated and despised Sophia Dorothea.
The desire for the marriage was almost purely financial, as Duchess Sophia wrote to her niece Elizabeth Charlotte, "One hundred thousand thalers a year is a goodly sum to pocket, without speaking of a pretty wife, who will find a match in my son George Louis, the most pigheaded, stubborn boy who ever lived, who has round his brains such a thick crust that I defy any man or woman ever to discover what is in them. He does not care much for the match itself, but one hundred thousand thalers a year have tempted him as they would have tempted anybody else".
The thaler was a silver coin used throughout Europe for almost four hundred years. Its name lives on in the many currencies called dollar and the Samoan tālā, and, until recently, also in the Slovenian tolar.
These feelings of contempt were shared by George Louis himself, who was oddly formal to his wife. Sophia Dorothea was frequently scolded for her lack of etiquette, and the two had loud and bitter arguments. Things seemed better after the birth of their first two children:
But George Louis acquired a mistress, Melusine von der Schulenburg, and started pointedly neglecting his wife. His parents asked him to be more circumspect with his mistress, fearful that a disruption in the marriage would disrupt the payment of the 100,000 thalers.
George Louis and Sophia Dorothea became estranged—George preferred the company of his mistress, Melusine von der Schulenburg, and Sophia Dorothea, meanwhile, had her own romance with the Swedish Count Philip Christoph von Königsmarck. Threatened with the scandal of an elopement, the Hanoverian court, including George's brothers and mother, urged the lovers to desist, but to no avail. According to diplomatic sources from Hanover's enemies, in July 1694 the Swedish count was killed, possibly with the connivance of George, and his body thrown into the river Leine weighted with stones. The murder was claimed to have been committed by four of Ernest Augustus's courtiers, one of whom (Don Nicolò Montalbano) was paid the enormous sum of 150,000 thalers, which was about one hundred times the annual salary of the highest paid minister.Later rumours supposed that Königsmarck was hacked to pieces and buried beneath the Hanover palace floorboards. However, sources in Hanover itself, including Sophia, denied any knowledge of Königsmarck's whereabouts.
George's marriage to Sophia Dorothea was dissolved, not on the grounds that either of them had committed adultery, but on the grounds that Sophia Dorothea had abandoned her husband. With the agreement of her father, George had Sophia Dorothea imprisoned in Ahlden House in her native Celle, where she stayed until she died more than thirty years later. She was denied access to her children and father, forbidden to remarry and only allowed to walk unaccompanied within the mansion courtyard. She was, however, endowed with an income, establishment, and servants, and was allowed to ride in a carriage outside her castle, albeit under supervision.She remained under house arrest until her death more than thirty years later. Sophia Dorothea is sometimes referred to as the "princess of Ahlden".
Sophia Dorothea fell ill in August 1726. She died aged 60 on 13 November 1726 of liver failure and gall bladder occlusion.[ citation needed ]
George placed an announcement in The London Gazette to the effect that the "Duchess of Ahlden" had died,but would not allow the wearing of mourning in London or Hanover. He was furious when he heard that his daughter's court in Berlin wore black. Sophia Dorothea's body was put into a casket and deposited in the castle's cellar. It was quietly moved to Celle in May 1727 to be buried beside her parents in the Stadtkirche . George I died four weeks later while visiting Hanover.
Sophia Dorothea's affair and its tragic outcome is the basis of the 1948 British film Saraband for Dead Lovers . She is played by Joan Greenwood.
The House of Hanover, whose members are known as Hanoverians, is a German royal house that ruled Hanover, Great Britain, and Ireland at various times during the 17th through 20th centuries. The house originated in 1635 as a cadet branch of the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg, growing in prestige until Hanover became an Electorate in 1692. George I became the first Hanoverian monarch of Great Britain and Ireland in 1714. At Victoria's death in 1901, the throne of the United Kingdom passed to her eldest son Edward VII, a member of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The last reigning members of the House lost the Duchy of Brunswick in 1918 when Germany became a republic.
The Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg, or more properly the Duchy of Brunswick and Lüneburg, was a historical duchy that existed from the late Middle Ages to the Early Modern era within the Holy Roman Empire. The duchy was located in what is now northwestern Germany. Its name came from the two largest cities in the territory: Brunswick and Lüneburg.
Philip Christoph von Königsmarck, also spelled Philipp, was a German count and soldier. He was allegedly the lover of Sophia Dorothea, Princess of Celle, the wife of Duke George Louis of Brunswick and Lüneburg, the heir presumptive of the Principality of Calenberg, later to become Elector of Hanover and King of Great Britain.
Ehrengard Melusine von der Schulenburg, Duchess of Kendal, Duchess of Munster was a long-time mistress to King George I of Great Britain.
Sophia Dorothea of Hanover was a Queen consort in Prussia as spouse of Frederick William I. She was the sister of George II, King of Great Britain and the mother of Frederick II, King of Prussia.
Sophia Charlotte of Hanover was the first Queen consort in Prussia as wife of King Frederick I. She was the only daughter of Elector Ernest Augustus of Brunswick-Lüneburg and his wife Sophia of the Palatinate. Her eldest brother George Louis succeeded to the British throne in 1714 as King George I.
Ahlden House is a stately home at Ahlden on the Lüneburg Heath in Lower Saxony, Germany. It was built in 1549, originally as a water castle on the river Aller, which has since changed its course. Nowadays the three-winged mansion is a private residence and is used as an arts auction house.
George, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, ruled as Prince of Calenberg from 1635.
Christian Louis was Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. A member of the House of Welf, from 1641 until 1648 he ruled the Principality of Calenberg, a subdivision of the duchy, and, from 1648 until his death, the Principality of Lüneburg.
Sophia Charlotte von Kielmansegg, Countess of Darlington and Countess of Leinster was a German-born British courtier and a half-sister of George I of Great Britain.
Éléonore Marie Desmier d'Olbreuse was the wife of George William, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. She was Countess of Wilhelmsburg from 1674 and Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg from 1676. She was the mother of Sophia Dorothea of Celle, who was the wife of George I. Thus she is the maternal grandmother of George II
Duke Maximilian William of Brunswick-Lüneburg, often called Max, was a member of the House of Hanover who served as an Imperial Field Marshal.
The following is the Jacobite line of succession to the English and Scottish thrones as of the death of Anne, Queen of Great Britain, on 1 August 1714. It reflects the laws current in England and Scotland immediately before the Act of Settlement 1701, which disqualified Catholics from the throne.
Countess Maria Aurora von Königsmarck was a Swedish and German noblewoman of Brandenburg extraction and mistress of Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland.
Clara Elisabeth, Countess von Platen - Hallermund was a German noblewoman, most notable as the mistress of Ernest Augustus and for her involvement in the Königsmarck Affair.
The Castle of Olbreuse is situated in Usseau, Deux-Sèvres, in western France. It is thought to have been built in the eleventh century but documentation for this supposition is lacking.
Carl Johann von Königsmarck was a Swedish count of Brandenburgian extraction and a soldier.