Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth was born on 19 December 1671 as the daughter of Christian Ernst, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, and his second wife, Sophie Louise of Württemberg.
On 20 January 1693, she married Frederick Augustus, Duke of Saxony. He was a younger son and destined for a career in the military, but for Christiane Eberhardine it was a good match. However, her husband quickly grew bored with her, and she was shocked and hurt by his philandering ways. Life changed the following year when his elder brother died suddenly without heirs. He unexpectedly became Elector of Saxony and Christiane Eberhardine his Electress.1 On 17 October 1696, she gave birth to the couple’s only child, a son named Frederick Augustus after his father. Around the same time, Aurora von Königsmarck also gave birth to a son by Frederick Augustus.2
Her husband’s ambitions went quite far. In 1697, he secretly became a Catholic in order to put himself in the running as King of Poland. He delayed announcing this as long as possible because he knew his conversion would be taken badly in Saxony. He set off for Poland in June 1697 and would not return to Saxony for two years. He was elected King of Poland in September 1697. Christiane Eberhardine was not a Catholic, and Frederick Augustus had signed the Pact Conventa and had promised to prevail upon her to become a Catholic. Her father also became a key player in the negotiations, as he wished to see his daughter crowned without having to convert. Frederick Augustus was crowned without her by his side.3
Christiane Eberhardine refused to come to Poland if she could not practise her religion openly and she knew she was demanding the impossible. Her husband’s election as King of Poland meant that the couple often went months and even years without seeing each other. She did not travel with him and lived mostly in Hartenfels Castle and her dower house in Pretzsch.4 Perhaps she was to be envied for the life she led. She had the status, she had given birth to a son, and she had no fear of further pregnancies. She took several kinswomen into her household for their education. Her only problem was her lack of money.
Christiane Eberhardine died on 5 September 1727 never having set foot in Poland and never having been crowned Queen.
- Queenship in Europe, 1660-1815 – The Role of the Consort edited by Clarissa Campbell Orr p.255
- Queenship in Europe, 1660-1815 – The Role of the Consort edited by Clarissa Campbell Orr p.256
- Queenship in Europe, 1660-1815 – The Role of the Consort edited by Clarissa Campbell Orr p.258
- Queenship in Europe, 1660-1815 – The Role of the Consort edited by Clarissa Campbell Orr p.260