Monday, June 15, 2015

Sophia, the Electress of Hanover

Princess Sophia of the Palatinate was the younger sister of both the famous Prince Rupert of the Rhine and of Princess Louise of the Rhine, who became a Catholic and a Benedictine nun. They were the children of the beautiful Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I. Sophia was declared heir to the British throne when quite an old lady. Several other claimants, including the son and grandsons of James II, were passed over because they were Catholic. To quote from The Never-ending Book:
Born to Frederick V, Elector Palatine, and Elizabeth Stuart, in 1630, Sophia grew up in the Dutch Republic, where her family had sought refuge after the sequestration of their Electorate during the Thirty Years' War. Sophia's brother Charles Louis was restored to the Palatinate as part of the Peace of Westphalia. Sophia married Ernest Augustus of Brunswick-Lüneburg in 1658. Despite his jealous temper and frequent absences, Sophia loved him, and bore him seven children who survived to adulthood. Initially a landless cadet, Ernest Augustus succeeded in having the House of Hanover raised to electoral dignity in 1692. Therefore, Sophia became Electress of Hanover, the title by which she is best remembered. A patron of the arts, Sophia commissioned the palace and gardens of Herrenhausen and sponsored philosophers, such as Gottfried Leibniz and John Toland. (Read more.)

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