Monday, January 9, 2012

The Winter Princesses

Daughters of Princess Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia

The Mother:

Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia
Elizabeth was the daughter of King James I and Anne of Denmark. She was thus a granddaughter of Mary, Queen of Scots. This beautiful and accomplished princess became known in history as the "Winter Queen" because of her short tenure as Queen of Bohemia. She was a rather fascinating character based from what I had gathered about her so far. Her four daughters are also quite interesting characters.

The Daughters:

Elizabeth was the eldest daughter of the Winter Queen, and reputedly one of  Europe's greatest beauties. Serious-minded and with profound intellectual attainments, she was one of the most learned women of her day. She was fluent in six languages, and was called "the Greek" because of her knowledge in classical languages. She developed a close friendship with writer and philosopher Rene Descartes, to whom she established and maintained a philosophical correspondence. Elisabeth never married despite plans to marry her off to a Polish king. A committed Protestant, she became the abbess of Herford Abbey in Germany.

Louise Hollandine
Louise, the second daughter, was born shortly after her parents' escape to Holland.  She was a very talented artist and painter. She painted many portraits of her and her family, all of them could be mistaken for the work of a professional artist. She studied under the tutelage of Gerard van Honthorst, but she can be considered an "amateur". Like her sister Elisabeth, she was inclined towards intellectual pursuits, but in contrast to her sister, Louise possessed a passionate nature. She converted to Catholicism, much to the dismay of her devoutly Protestant family, and fled to France.

Henrietta Maria
Henrietta Maria was described as gentle and sweet-tempered. She was a "homemaker" sort of princess. She had a great talent in embroidery, preserve-making, and confectionery, and was at her happiest when she was at the kitchen. She was the only blonde daughter in the family, and her sister Sophia considered her the beauty of the family. She married Prince Sigmund of Siebenbergen in Transylvania when she was 24. She had an extremely happy married life, but unfortunately, she died five months after the wedding. She was buried in her wedding gown and pearls.

Sophia, Electress of Hanover
Sophia, the best known of the Elizabeth's daughters, was the youngest daughter of the family. She was a well-educated woman, very accomplished, strong-willed, and possessed a sharp tongue. When she was 28, she married Ernest Augustus, Elector of Brunswick-Luneberg, and had several children. One of them was the future King George I of Britain.


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