Amalia of Solms-Braunfels

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Amalia of Solms-Braunfels
Gerrit van Honthorst - Amalia van Solms.jpg
Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, portrait by Gerrit van Honthorst
Spouse(s) Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange
Noble family House of Solms-Braunfels
Father John Albert I of Solms-Braunfels
Mother Agnes of Sayn-Wittgenstein
Born (1602-08-31)31 August 1602
Braunfels Castle in Braunfels
Died 8 September 1675(1675-09-08) (aged 73)
the Hague

Amalia of Solms-Braunfels (31 August 1602, Braunfels – 8 September 1675), was a regent of Orange. She was the wife of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. She was the daughter of count John Albert I of Solms-Braunfels and countess Agnes of Sayn-Wittgenstein.

Biography[edit]

Childhood[edit]

Amalia of Solms-Braunfels spent her childhood at the parental castle at Braunfels. She became part of the train of Elizabeth, wife of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, the "Winter King" of Bohemia. After imperial forces defeated Frederick V, she fled with the pregnant queen to the west. Shelter was denied to them because the emperor forbade it. Elizabeth went into labour during their flight and Amalia helped her with her delivery.

The end of their journey was The Hague, where stadtholder Maurice of Nassau gave them asylum in 1621. They often appeared at his court, where Maurice's younger half-brother Frederick Henry became infatuated with Amalia in 1622. She refused to become his lover and held out for marriage.

Marriage and Children[edit]

When Maurice of Nassau died, he made his half-brother Frederick Henry promise to wed. Frederick married Amalia on 4 April 1625.

Their marriage produced five children who lived to adulthood, and four who died young:

Family portrait by Gerrit van Honthorst, 1647

Wife to the Stadtholder[edit]

When Frederick Henry became stadtholder after the death of his half-brother Prince Maurice, his influence grew substantially, as did Amalia's. Together Frederick Henry and Amalia succeeded in expanding court life in The Hague. They had several palaces built, including Huis ten Bosch. Amalia was a great collector of art and amassed many jewels, which were inherited by her four surviving daughters. She was described as intelligent, arrogant and ambitious, not beautiful but with a fresh and appealing appearance.

Portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1632

Amalia was the prime mover of several royal marriages, including that of her son William II to Mary, Princess Royal of England and Scotland (daughter of King Charles I of England) and of their daughters with several German princes.

She had a large influence upon policy; she acted as the political advisor of Frederick, and after he became sick in 1640, she openly participated in politics and received foreign diplomats. Her influence is regarded to have contributed to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. As a recognition, King Philip IV of Spain granted her the area around Turnhout in 1649.

Regency[edit]

After the death of her son William II she became the main guardian of her grandson William III (Prince William III of Orange and later also King William III of England).

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]