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Ludwika Karolina Radziwiłł

Polish-lithuanian noble
The basics
Date of birth Königsberg, East Prussia, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Date of death Mar 25, 1695 Brzeg, Brzeg County, Opole Voivodeship, Poland
Mother: Anna Maria Radziwiłł
Children: Countess Palatine Elisabeth Auguste Sofie of Neuburg
Spouse: Charles III Philip, Elector Palatine Ludwig von Brandenburg
Father: Bogusław Radziwiłł
Authority VIAF id
The details

Princess Ludwika Karolina Radziwiłł (Lithuanian: Liudvika Karolina Radvilaitė) (27 February 1667 – 25 March 1695) was a magnate Princess of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and an active reformer.


Ludwika Karolina Radziwiłł was born in Königsberg in the Duchy of Prussia. A member of the Radziwiłł family, she was the last agnatic-line member of the most prominent Calvinists of Lithuania, and a descendant of the Gediminids and Jagiellons. Radziwiłł inherited Dubingiai, Slutsk and many other lands from her father Prince Bogusław Radziwiłł. Her mother was an heiress in her own right and brought much wealth including the duchies of Kėdainiai and Biržai. Ludwika Karolina Radziwiłł's death in Brieg in 1695 marks the end of the Biržai-Dubingiai Radziwiłł family line. She was the last Radziwiłł to own Biržai Castle and Dubingiai Castle with their lands.

A tile with the emblem and initials of Ludwika Karolina, Biržai Castle.

Her father, Prince Bogusław Radziwiłł was the son of Janusz Radziwill (1579–1620) and Elisabeth Sophie of Brandenburg, and along with his cousin (and future father-in-law) Janusz Radziwiłł (1612–55) played a dramatic and treacherous role in The Deluge, or Swedish invasion of Poland. Following the Swedish retreat and Polish resurgence, Bogusław Radziwiłł chose exile in Brandenburg-Prussia, with his mother's family. His wife and Ludwika Karolina's mother, Anna Maria Radziwiłł, the only child and heiress of Janusz Radziwiłł died shortly after giving birth to Ludwika Karolina. Bogusław followed less than two years later, leaving the infant Radziwiłł orphaned and very wealthy. Her guardianship was entrusted to her father's cousin and host (and her future father-in-law) Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg.

Radziwiłł spent most of her life in Berlin and Königsberg, but paid much attention to her lands in the grand duchy. Like her father, she funded the printing of books in the Lithuanian language, and supported education and Calvinist parishes. She established scholarships for Lithuanian students of theology in the universities of Königsberg, Frankfurt (Oder), and Berlin. Radziwiłł financed the issue of the catechism and primer in the Lithuanian language, Pradzia pamoksla del mazu Weykialu…, which was printed in Königsberg in 1680. It was the second primer intended for schools following the Catechism by Martynas Mažvydas.

Radziwiłł was sued by King John III Sobieski for the alleged breach of the prenuptial agreement with his son, Jakub Ludwik Sobieski, with the intention to seize her estates. The case was lost, since it was proven that the agreement was falsified; its conclusion date was later than Radziwiłł's actual marriage date.

Radziwiłł first married Margrave Louis of Brandenburg, the youngest son of Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg and Countess Louise Henriette of Nassau, at the age of thirteen. After Louis's untimely early death, Radziwiłł married Charles III Philip, Elector Palatine. Her heirs were born of this second marriage. Of their four children, only the youngest daughter, Countess Palatine Elizabeth Augusta Sophie of Neuburg survived childhood. Her descendants include Kings of Bavaria and a number of other royal and princely families, including Duchess Amalie in Bavaria, who married Duke Wilhelm Karl of Urach, who, after Lithuania was declared independent in 1918, would be invited by the Council of Lithuania to be King Mindaugas II of Lithuania, and was mother of the latter's children and descendants.

Marriages and Issue

  • On January 7, 1681, Ludwika Karolina Radziwiłł married Margrave Louis of Brandenburg. He died suddenly the morning of April 7, 1687 amid rumors of poison. This marriage was childless.
  • Radziwiłł remarried in Berlin on August 10, 1688 to the future Charles III Philip, Elector Palatine, brother-in-law of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor. The couple had four children, of whom only one survived childhood.
  1. Leopoldine Eleonore Josephine (b. Brieg, 27 December 1689 - d. 8 March 1693).
  2. Maria Anna (b. 7 December 1690 - d. 1692).
  3. Elisabeth Auguste Sophie (b. Brieg, 17 March 1693 - d. Mannheim, 30 January 1728), married on 1717 to her kinsman, the Count Palatine Johann Karl of Sulzbach.
  4. a son (b. and d. Brieg, 22 March 1695).


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