DescriptionPrincess Sophie Dorothée Autograph Letter Signed. Sophie Dorothée, Herzogin zu Braunschweig ("Princess of Ahlden''). [A.K.A. Princess Sophia Dorothea of Celle]. Krown & Spellman retail: $500. Dated January 2, 1729. Measures approximately 13 x 8 inches. Text in German. Two page folio leaf, elaborately inscribed with ink flourishes along top front margin. With additional signed note measuring approximately 8 x 4.5 inches. Creased and folded with light toning and chipping along edges. Very good. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
Sophia Dorothea [Princess Sophia Dorothea of Celle] (1666-1726), electoral princess of Hanover, was born in the castle of Celle, Germany, on 15 September 1666 OS, the eldest child of Georg Wilhelm, duke of Brunswick-LŸneburg (1624-1705), ruler of the Celle portion of the duchy from 1665, and Eléonore Desmier d'Olbreuse (1639-1722), an exiled French protestant aristocrat...The marriage of Sophia Dorothea to Georg Ludwig [George I, of England] was designed to secure the succession of Ernst August and his heirs to Celle. The union of Celle and Hanover was a vital part of Ernst August's scheme to become an imperial elector. The marriage took place in Celle on 22 November 1682...Sophia Dorothea was introduced to Philipp Christoph, Count von Kšnigsmark (1665-1694), during 1689 soon after he had been granted a commission by Ernst August. The count was from a distinguished Swedish military family and has been contrasted as "ardent" and "poetic" alongside the "matter-of-fact" Georg Ludwig (Hatton, 54-5). The two began corresponding in July 1690 and were lovers by early 1692.
The relationship alarmed the Hanoverian court because of the couple's lack of discretion. They ignored warnings and began to prepare for an independent life away from Hanover... Sophia Dorothea was placed under guard but proved eager to accept the divorce arranged by Ernst August and Georg Wilhelm and consented to be named the guilty party without admitting to her adultery. The consistorial court of Hanover pronounced the divorce on 28 December 1694 and Sophia Dorothea was forbidden to remarry...Conscious that his divorce was a political and religious embarrassment in Great Britain, Georg Ludwig never explained the absence of his wife to British visitors. However, the story of Sophia Dorothea's relationship with Königsmark and her imprisonment at Ahlden circulated widely, most sensationally through the sixth volume of Duke Anton Ulrich's epic roman-ˆ-clef the Roman Octavia (1708), which emphasized the brutality of Georg Ludwig and the virtue of Sophia Dorothea. Opponents of the Hanoverian succession in Great Britain used the Königsmark story to allege that the future George II was not the son of Georg Ludwig. Conscious that his divorce was a political and religious embarrassment in Great Britain, Georg Ludwig never explained the absence of his wife to British visitors. However, the story of Sophia Dorothea's relationship with Königsmark and her imprisonment at Ahlden circulated widely, most sensationally through the sixth volume of Duke Anton Ulrich's epic roman-a-clef the Roman Octavia (1708), which emphasized the brutality of Georg Ludwig and the virtue of Sophia Dorothea. Opponents of the Hanoverian succession in Great Britain used the Königsmark story to allege that the future George II was not the son of Georg Ludwig...she died at Ahlden, possibly following a stroke or heart attack, on 13 November 1726 NS; George I intended that she should be buried in the castle grounds at Ahlden but the soil was too waterlogged and her remains were placed in a lead coffin...Variations on her life story continued to appear and she became a measure for the Hanoverian dynasty's immorality. When George IV began divorce proceedings against his wife, Caroline, in 1820, an attack on his conduct was published as Sophia, Princess of Zell, to George the First, on his Accession to the Throne of England. The discovery by historians of Sophia Dorothea's correspondence with Königsmark ended the myth that Sophia Dorothea had been falsely accused of adultery but did nothing to dispel the romantic allure of her story. This continued to be the basis for several historical novels in the twentieth century, most famously Saraband for Dead Lovers (1935) by Helen Simpson, filmed in 1948." [Oxford D.N.B.]
She never was wife of the Elector of Hanover, since they were divorced before, nor was she ever Queen of George I, King of England, for the same reason. Prinzessin von Ahlden was only a popular way to solve the problem, not a title, since Ahlden was her place of exile. She was born Herzogin zu Braunschweig
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