Juliana of Hesse-Eschwege was supposed to be Queen of Sweden. She was brought up at the court of Sweden as the intended wife of the future Charles XI of Sweden, who was also her cousin as they were related through Catherine of Sweden. Unfortunately, no portrait of Juliana survives, most likely due to the fact that she never became Queen and ended up living as a simple baroness. So how did that happen?
Juliana lived under the guardianship of the Swedish Dowager Queen Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp. Her parents were Countess Palatine Eleonora Catherine of Zweibrücken and Frederick, Landgrave of Hesse-Eschwege.
Her mother had a bit of a scandal of her own and mostly avoided the Swedish court. We don’t know exactly how Juliana’s affair with Count Gustaf Lillie started, but it all started to unfold when Juliana went into labour in 1672 during a carriage ride in Stockholm with Hedwig Eleonora present. She gave birth to a son named Gustaf Gustafsson Lillie. The count was immediately exiled, and Juliana was sent to the country. The fate of the child is unknown.
The story doesn’t end here. The estate Juliana was sent to was run by a Dutch housekeeper named Marchand, who was the widow of a grocer, and she had a son, Johan Jakob, with him. This would be the second time Juliana became pregnant out-of-wedlock. Perhaps to prevent a second scandal, a marriage between the two was arranged. Johan was created Baron of Lilienburg, and they married on 22 February 1680 in Sweden.
The couple moved far away from the Swedish court to the Netherlands, where Johan was offered a government position in IJsselstein by Stadtholder William III, who was distantly related to Juliana. The couple had eight children, who were all baptised in the local Nicolas Church. Juliana died in IJsselstein in 1693, followed by Johan 1703. They are buried together in the Nicolas Church.1
Despite having the prospect of becoming Queen, Juliana apparently decided to follow her own path and judging by a number of children she had; she ended up in a happy marriage. Though we cannot say what her relationship with Charles XI might have been like, she decided for herself that it wasn’t for her.