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Benedicta Henrietta of the Palatinate

German princess
The basics
About
Date of birth Paris
Date of death Aug 12, 1730 Asnières-sur-Seine
Family
Mother: Anne Gonzaga
Father: Edward Count Palatine of Simmern
Spouse: John Frederick Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Children: Duchess Charlotte of Brunswick-Lüneburg Wilhelmine Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg
The details
Biography

Princess Palatine Benedicta Henrietta (Benedicta Henrietta Philippina; 14 March 1652 – 12 August 1730) was a German princess, the third and youngest daughter of Prince Palatine Edward and his French wife, the political hostess Anna Gonzaga. Benedicta became the Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg, or of Hanover, by her marriage to Duke John Frederick. She was an ancestor of Louis XVI of France and Philippe Égalité, as well as several European monarchs of the 21st century.

Early life

Born in Paris to the landless Prince Palatine Edward, Bénédicte Henriette's paternal grandparents were Frederick V, Elector Palatine and Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen. Her maternal grandparents were Charles I, Duke of Mantua and Montferrat and his French wife Catherine de Guise, daughter of Charles de Lorraine-Guise, Duke of Mayenne. She was the youngest of three daughters.

Bénédicte was reared by Louise de La Fayette, a courtier-turned-nun known as Sister Louise-Angélique.

Marriage and later life

She was married at the age of sixteen to a distant cousin, John Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, who was the same age as her father, and childless. They were married on 30 November 1668. The union, which had been arranged by the French diplomatist Gourville produced four daughters.

John Frederick died in 1679 without a male heir, and the duchy of Brunswick was inherited by his Protestant younger brother, Ernest Augustus, the husband of Benedicta Henrietta's paternal aunt, Sophia of Hanover, and father of George I of Great Britain. After her husband's death, Benedicta returned to her native France and resided there with her sister, the princess of Condé.

She corresponded with Gottfried Leibniz. Benedicta died the age of 78, at Asnieres, her late sister's residence near Paris, on 12 August 1730.

Issue

  • Anna Sophie of Brunswick-Lüneburg (10 February 1670 – 24 March 1672), died in infancy;
  • Charlotte Felizitas of Brunswick-Lüneburg (8 March 1671 – 29 September 1710), married Rinaldo d'Este, Duke of Modena and had issue;
  • Henriette Maria of Brunswick-Lüneburg (9 March 1672 – 4 September 1757), never married;
  • Wilhelmine Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg (21 April 1673 – 10 April 1742), married Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor and had issue.

Ancestry

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 14 March 1652 – 30 November 1668 Her Serene Highness Countess Palatine Benedicta of Simmern
  • 30 November 1668 – 18 December 1679 Her Serene Highness The Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg
  • 18 December 1679 – 12 August 1730 Her Serene Highness The Dowager Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg
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