She was called Liselotte, but baptised ELISABETH CHARLOTTE (Ger., Eng.), daughter of Kurfürst (Ger., Eng.) KARL I. LUDWIG von der Pfalz (Ger., Eng.) and CHARLOTTE von Hessen- Kassel (Ger., Eng.), on the day of her birth, the 27th of May 1652 in Heidelberg. *
The marriage of her parents stood not under a good star and 1658 they split. KARL married MARIE LUISE von Degenfeld (Ger., Eng.) without having had a formal divorce: As his own bishop, head of his own church, he annulled the first marriage, based on a juridical expertise given by a member of his own Heidelbergian university. He elevated MARIE LUISE in rank and made her a Raugräfin, a unique title and position. The relationship was lucky and they seemingly lived well with each other. But LISELOTTE and her stepmother did not fit together and so KARL sent his daughter to his sister SOPHIE (Ger., Eng.) in Hannover. LISELOTTE spent some formative years there in the relative free surrounding of this court. She learned to know her grandmother ELISABETH STUART (Ger., Eng.), the winter queen, who lived in the Haag as widow: LISELOTTE was named after her and the grandmother felt strong affection to her grandchild until she died 1662.
1671, with nineteen, she was married to duke PHILIPP I. of Orleans (Ger., Eng.), the brother of LOUIS XIV., le Roi Soleil (Ger., Eng.). It was PHILIPP’s second marriage and despite his open homosexuality the couple had four children and after some happy years lived more or less separated lives. LISELOTTE did not like the favouritism her husband established and openly criticised this. Her outspokenness, sometimes bordering to ruthlessness and a general lack of diplomacy did not help her at the court in Versailles, in the long run. The king liked her spontaneity, her openness, took her with him for hunting, both shared an interest in antiques. The relation became cooler when LOUIS ordered 1679 the marriage of MARIE LOUISE (Ger., Eng.), one of LIESELOTTE’s stepdaughters, with the disabled king CHARLES II. of Spain (Ger., Eng.). Furthermore the raising influence of LOUIS’ last maitresse Madame de MAINTENON (Ger., Eng.) lead to a growing alienation between brother and sister-in-law. LISELOTTE and MAINTENON hated each other from the heart.
But LISELOTTE survives them all. And after LOUIS’ death 1715 her surviving son PHILIPP II. of Orleans le Regent (Ger., Eng.) became the regent for the next regular king LOUIS XV. (Ger., Eng.) until he comes of age – this is the one with la Pompadour. Her son being prince regent made LISELOTTE the first lady of the state until her death on the 8th of December 1722.
LISELOTTE was a very productive writer of letters, and around five thousand of them are still extant, it’s estimated that she wrote circa sixty thousand throughout her life. Her openness, her ability to watch and understand , her personal feelings, it’s all in the letters – she writes especially to her half-sisters, the Raugräfinen, her aunt in Hannover and her first gouvernante, and other family members. But LEIBNIZ (Ger., Eng.) was also part of her written conversation. Her letters give an interesting and intime insight into the life and ways of one of the most important courts of Europe in the late 17th and early 18th century. Her directness, bluntness and humanity evidently show a person in full, an interesting woman.
* Only wiki-links in this text.