Sophia Charlotte of Hanover, First Queen of Prussia

Sophia Charlotte of Hanover, artist unknown (source)

Sophia Charlotte of Hanover, artist unknown (source)

Sophia Charlotte of Hanover, born October 30, 1668, became Queen consort of Prussia because of her marriage to Frederick I. She was the daughter of Ernst August, Elector of Hanover, and his wife Sophia of the Palatinate, and the sister of the future King George I of Great Britain. When she was young, there were hopes that she would marry into the French royal family as wife of the Dauphin. Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria was chosen instead and his father Louis XIV was suggested as a possible alternative. This plan failed to materialize as well and a marriage was arranged with Frederick in 1688. Sophia became Electress of Brandenburg and in 1701 when Brandenburg-Prussia became a kingdom she became the first Queen of Prussia.

Frederick I of Prussia, artist unknown (source)

Frederick I of Prussia, artist unknown (source)

Frederick supposedly loved Sophia very much to the point of not making use of his official mistress. In spite of this, she lived independently from him, at least from 1696 when she had the Charlottenburg Palace constructed, where he visited her by invitation only.

At the Palace, Sophia entertained philosophers, scientists and musicians. She spoke four languages, her native German, as well as French, Italian and English, sang and played the cembalo, built an opera theater, and inspired at least one musician. Arcangelo Corelli dedicated his Op. 5 sonatas for violin to her. Sophia must have been a well-rounded person intellectually, She is remembered for her correspondence with the mathematician Gottfried Leibniz (very impressive) and was the inspiration for the Prussian Academy of Sciences.

Sophia and Frederick had two sons, one who died in infancy and another who became Frederick William I of Prussia. She died at the age of 36 of  pneumonia.

Wax portrait of Sophia c. 1700 by Johann Wilhelm von Kolm (source)

Wax portrait of Sophia c. 1700 by Johann Wilhelm von Kolm (source)

Find out what else happened on October 30 in Women’s History.

Source: Sophia Charlotte of Hanover at Wikipedia

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