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Elizabeth of Bohemia

Elizabeth of Bohemia (August 19, 1596February 13, 1662), born Lady Elizabeth Stuart, was daughter to King James VI of Scotland and his Queen consort Anne of Denmark. She was thus sister to Charles I of England. With the demise of the Stuart dynasty in 1714, her direct descendants, the Hanoverian rulers, succeeded to the British throne.

At the time of Elizabeth's birth, her father was still king of Scotland only; a few years later, he succeeded Elizabeth I as ruler of England and Wales also, making his daughter an even more attractive bride.

Part of the intent of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was to put Elizabeth onto the throne of England (and, presumably, Scotland) as a Catholic monarch, after assassinating her father and the Protestant English aristocracy. At the time of the plot she was staying at Coombe Abbey in Warwickshire, from where the conspirators planned to kidnap her.

In 1613, she married Frederick V of Bohemia, then Elector of the Palatinate, and took up her place in the court at Heidelberg. In 1619, Frederick was offered the crown of Bohemia, but his rule was brief, and Elizabeth became known as the "Winter Queen". She was also sometimes called "Queen of Hearts" because of her popularity.

Driven into exile, the couple took up residence in The Hague, and Frederick died in 1632. Elizabeth remained in Holland even after her son, Charles I Louis, regained his father's electorship in 1648. Following the Restoration of the British monarchy, she travelled to London to visit her nephew, King Charles II, and died while there. Her daughter was known later as Sophia of Hanover.

In WG Sebald's novel Vertigo (1990), a woman appears whom the narrator, travelling through Heidelberg by train in 1987, recognizes instantly "without a shadow of a doubt" as Elizabeth when she enters his carriage.


See Also


Royal Stuarts

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