Eleonora Catherine of Zweibrücken and the French lute player

(public domain)

Eleonora Catherine of the Palatinate-Zweibrücken was born on 17 May 1626. She was a cousin of Christina of Sweden, and her brother was Christina’s eventual successor, Charles X. Her mother was Catherine of Sweden and her father was John Casimir, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken. She grew up in Sweden with Christina; they were only seven months apart in age.

She married Landgrave Frederick of Hesse-Eschwege on 6 September 1646, however, shortly after the wedding Eleonora went down on her knees to her husband and confessed that she was pregnant by a French lute player. His name was Beschon. Frederick’s exact reaction is not recorded, but he decided to hide the pregnancy. It soon came out however and created quite the scandal. Beschon wrote Eleonora a letter with some composed music. This letter is archived, but I have been unable to locate it, perhaps it has not been digitised yet. 1 Let’s hope someone can uncover it and show it to the world!

The child was born six months after her wedding to Frederick on 21 March 1647. The child was a girl, and she was named Margarete. She didn’t live long, and she died on 19 October 1647. Eleonora’s marriage was off to a bad start, and it never got better. They had five children, four daughters and a son. One daughter and the son died young. Frederick died in 1655. One of her daughters, Juliana, was sent to the Swedish to be raised a prospective Queen consort, but that marriage never materialised. Eleonora lived in Osterholz for most of her life. She visited the Swedish court from time to time.

Eleonora died on 3 March 1692 in Osterholz. She is buried in the Market Church in Eschwege.

  1. Riksarkivet RA/720810.011

About Moniek Bloks 2762 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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