Princesses of Orange – Amalia of Solms-Braunfels

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Amalia of Solms-Braunfels was born as the daughter of John Albert I, Count of Solms-Braunfels and Countess Agnes of Sayn-Wittgenstein on 31 August 1602. She grew up at the Palatine Court at Heidelberg. When Frederick V and Elizabeth Stuart were elected as King and Queen of Bohemia, Amalia travelled with them to Prague as the new Queen’s lady-in-waiting. The Bohemian quest for the crown ended after a year, and Amalia joined them on their flight through Europe. They finally settled in the Hague.

It was in The Hague that Amalia met Frederick Henry of Orange, a younger son of William, Prince of Orange, from his fourth marriage to Louise de Coligny. At the time the Prince of Orange was Maurice, a son from William’s first marriage to Anna of Buren. However, Maurice was unmarried, and he pressured his younger brother to get married to secure the dynasty. Frederick Henry and Amalia had been involved since 1622, but she had refused to become his mistress. They finally married just before Maurice’s death in 1625. The courts of Elizabeth Stuart and Amalia of Solms-Braunfels were soon in competition. The women were often painted in a similar fashion as they would employ the same painter.

Amalia commissioned the building of Huis Ten Bosch, and its main Orange hall would eventually be completely dedicated to the life of Frederick Henry. Reportedly, Amalia and Frederick Henry had a happy marriage. Though Frederick Henry had fathered an illegitimate son before his marriage to Amalia, no illegitimate children were born during his marriage. He had nine children with his wife, though only five of them would live to adulthood. Amalia became quite ambitious in trying to arrange suitable marriages for her children, and she was successful, too. Her only son William married the eldest daughter of King Charles I of England, Mary, Princess Royal.  She forced her daughter Louise Henriette to marry Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, even though she was in love with Henri-Charles de la Tremoille, Prince of Talmant.

Amalia became more politically active as her husband began to suffer from gout and something that was most probably Alzheimer’s disease. He died in 1647 and was succeeded by their son William, now William II, Prince of Orange. William would die just three years later of smallpox. His only son, yet another William, was born a week after his death. His mother Mary initially retained custody of her son, but Amalia was not pleased with this at all. When Mary died in 1660, Amalia began to care for William. Amalia was known to be an intelligent woman, though she would continue to write her letters in phonetic German and French.

Amalia died on 8 September 1675, and she did not live to see her grandson William become King of England. She was buried in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft.

About Moniek Bloks 2701 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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