Wife of King George I: Sophia Dorothea of Celle

Sophia Dorothea of Celle was born on the 15th September 1666, to parents George William, the Duke of Brunswick, Luneburg and his mistress, an exiled French Protestant aristocrat; Eleanore d’Esmier d’Olbreuse.  She in fact, was an illegitimate love child.

In 1674 her mother Eleanore became the Duchess of Wilhelmsburg, Sophia became legitimised, and in 1676 her parents were married.

George and Sophia were both insulted by the match, but this marriage wasn’t about their wishes, their feelings, for they were pawns in the creation of uniting adjoining realms.

On the 22nd November 1682, Sophia Dorothea married her cousin, George Louis in the Chapel of Celle Castle, under protest.  You would have thought this should have been a time of joy, but for them it was the opposite.

Sophia Dorothea was often reprimanded for her lack of etiquette she showed at court, by her mother-in-law.

There was little love shown to each other, but the marriage did produce two offspring; George August (1683) who would become George II and Sophia Dorothea (1686).

George Louis neglected his new wife, and took a mistress; Melusina von Schulenburg.

An unhappy Sophia, had an affair with Phillip von Konigsmarch, a Swedish count in 1690.  George Louis questioned his wife over the alleged affair in 1692, and she pointed out, he had a mistress.  George attacked his wife in response, and her attendants had to pull the pair apart, before George strangled her.

Sophia and Konigsmarck made plans to elope, but their plans were thwarted by Countess Platen, mistress to Ernst Augustus, Sophia’s father-in-law.

Ernst Augustus ordered the arrest of Konigsmarck, to avoid a scandal.  One guard was injured and Konigsmarck was killed.  His body was hidden, under the floor of Leine Palace, covered in quicklime.  Sophia was placed under house arrest.

George Louis divorced Sophia Dorothea on the grounds of malicious desertion, and she was sent to Ahlden Castle.  She lost her right to see or have any contact with her children.

From April to September of 1700, she was moved from Ahlden to Celle during a French invasion of the Brunswick duchies, then returned to Ahlden Castle.

Sophia Dorothea died on the 13th November 1726, and was interred in the family crypt in the Old Church of Celle in May 1727.

Sophia Dorothea had inherited her mother’s estate; Eleanore d’Esmier d’Olbreuse upon her death in 1722, and left it to her children.

George destroyed the will, and appropriated the property for himself, and ordered all personal effects belonging to Sophia Dorothea to be burnt after her death.

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