The six royal women of the German Walhalla Memorial

By Gerhard Huber - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Walhalla Memorial is a hall of fame that honours distinguished people in German(-speaking) history. It is named for the Valhalla of the Norse Paganism and was begun in 1807 by the future King Ludwig I of Bavaria. The grand hall sits above the Danube River in Donaustauf. With over 2,000 years of history and over 200 busts and plaques, new additions are still being made.

There are six royal women pictured inside the Walhalla Memorial. If there was no known image of the subject at the time, they only received a plaque. If there was a known image, a bust was made.

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

elisabeth hungary
(public domain)

Born on 7 July 1207 as the daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary and Gertrude of Merania, she married Louis IV, Landgrave of Thuringia at the age of 14. They had three children together before Louis’ untimely death in 1227. Her brother-in-law became the regent of her minor son and Elizabeth left the court and moved to Marburg. She had a hospital built there for the poor and sick with the money from her dowry and she helped care for the patients herself. After her death in 1231 at the age of 24, miracles were reported at her grave. She was canonized by Pope Gregory IX on 24 May 1235.

Elisabeth’s plaque – By DALIBRI – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Matilda of Ringelheim

matilda ringelheim
(public domain)

Born circa 892, Matilda of Ringelheim married Henry the Fowler, future Duke of Saxony and King of East Francia, in 909. They went on to have five children together before his death in 936. He was buried in Quedlinburg where Matilda founded a convent later that same year. Quedlinburg Abbey became an important religious settlement and its abbesses, including her own granddaughter also named Matilda, enjoyed great prestige. The elder Matilda led the convent for 30 years before she passed it on to her granddaughter. She died after a long illness on 14 March 968 and she was also buried in Quedlinburg. She was known to have been extremely pious and charitable and she was canonised on an unknown date, possibly by acclamation.

matilda ringelheim
By Michael J. Zirbes (Mijozi) – Own work, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons


(public domain)

Theudelinde was born circa 570 as the daughter of Garibald I, Duke of Bavaria and Walderada. She was Queen of the Lombards twice as the wife of consecutive rulers Autari and Agilulf. She also acted as regent during the minority of her son Adaloald. She managed to convince her first husband to convert to Christianity and her son with Agilulf was allowed to be baptised a Catholic.

She died in 628.

By Bärwinkel,Klaus – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Countess Amalie Elisabeth of Hanau-Münzenberg

(public domain)

Born on 29 January 1602 as the daughter of Philip Louis II, Count of Hanau-Münzenberg and Countess Catharina Belgica of Nassau, Amalie Elisabeth married the future William V, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel in 1619. He was often away on campaign and Amalie Elisabeth acted as regent of Hesse-Kassel. After her husband’s death in 1637, she also acted as regent for their son during a particularly volatile situation. She had significant influence over the eventual Peace of Westphalia.

She died on 8 August 1651.

By Reinhard Dietrich – Own work, CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Catherine II of Russia

(public domain)

Born Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst on 2 May 1729, she married the future Emperor Peter III of Russia in 1745. Shortly after his accession, she seized power from him and ruled in her own right for 34 years.

catherine walhalla
By Marie Čcheidzeová – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Maria Theresa, Holy Roman Empress

(public domain)

Born on 13 May 1717 as the eldest surviving child of Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor and Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, she ruled the Habsburg lands in her own right and became Holy Roman Empress by right of her husband Francis of Lorraine, who was elected in 1745.


maria theresa walhalla
By Marie Čcheidzeová – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

About Moniek Bloks 2225 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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