Sophia Celle
The Electoral Princess of Hanover, The Hereditary Princess of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Sophia Celle
Sophia Dorothea of Brunswick and Luneburg (15 September 1666 – 13 November 1726) was the wife and cousin of George Louis, Elector of Hanover, later George I of Great Britain, and mother of George II through an arranged marriage of state, instigated by the machinations of Duchess Sophia of Hanover. She is best remembered for her affair with Philip Christoph von Königsmarck that led to her being imprisoned in Castle of Ahlden for the last thirty years of her life.
Biography
Sophia Dorothea of Celle's personal information overview.
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Sophia Dorothea of Celle
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1726
    Age 59
    Died on November 13, 1726.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1726
    Age 59
    Sophia Dorothea fell ill in August 1726 and took to her bed, which she never left again.
    More Details Hide Details Before dying, Sophia Dorothea wrote a letter to her husband, cursing him from beyond the grave. She died of liver failure and gall bladder occlusion due to 60 stones. Sophia Dorothea was 60 years old and had spent 33 of those years imprisoned. George would not allow mourning in Hanover or London. 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, presumably shortly after receiving his deceased wife's final letter. 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. Attribution
  • TWENTIES
  • 1692
    Age 25
    In 1692, the early letters were shown to the newly-appointed Elector Ernest Augustus (Sophia Dorothea's father-in-law).
    More Details Hide Details Since a scandal might have threatened his new status, the elector sent Königsmarck to fight with the Hanoverian army against France. Other soldiers were given leave to visit Hanover, but he was not. Königsmarck deserted his post one night, and rode for six days to Hanover. The day after arriving, he called on Field Marshal Heinrich, confessed his breach of duty, and begged for leave to stay in Hanover. This was granted, though Heinrich suggested that the affair be ended or that Königsmarck leave the country. Ernest Augustus exiled Königsmarck. George Louis criticised his wife over her affair, and she criticised him for his. The argument escalated to the point that George Louis threw himself on Sophia Dorothea and started tearing out her hair and strangling her, leaving purple bruise marks. He was pulled off her by her attendants.
  • 1690
    Age 23
    In 1690, he left to join the German mercenaries serving in the Morean War (formerly commanded by his uncle).
    More Details Hide Details On his return, the relationship between him and Sophia Dorothea intensified. They began sending each other love letters which suggest that their relationship was consummated.
  • 1688
    Age 21
    On 1 March 1688 he reminded her of their previous acquaintance, which they then renewed.
    More Details Hide Details George Louis' younger brothers loved the count and brought him to Sophia Dorothea's salon in the evening to cheer her up. For the two years he stayed in Hanover, there was no reason to believe their relationship was anything but platonic.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1682
    Age 15
    On 22 November 1682, in Celle, Sophia Dorothea married her cousin, George Louis.
    More Details Hide Details 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 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."
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1676
    Age 9
    George William eventually married his daughter's mother officially in 1676 (they had been married morganatically previously).
    More Details Hide Details 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. 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. 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.
  • 1666
    Born
    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.
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