Category: Persons

Interesting Women : Sophie Dorothea, Prinzessin von Ahlden

I read about AURORA von Königsmarck (1662-1728) (Ger., Eng.), and somewhere in the back of my balding head a little bell was ringing. AURORA is one of the many lovers of FRIEDRICH AUGUST I. of Saxony (1670-1733) (Ger., Eng.) (called “The Strong”, der Starke) ; she even became his official maitresse, and gave birth to the Saxonian duke’s (and as AUGUSTUS II. Polish-Lithuanian king’s) illegal son MORITZ (1696-1750) (Ger., Eng.), who later became Maréchal Général des Camps et Armées du Roi, Marshal General of France.
As I read AURORA seemingly felt real affection to the crowned Lothario, and she even could build a relationship with FRIEDRICH AUGUST’s conniving wife CHRISTIANE EBERHARDINE of Brandenburg-Bayreuth (1671-1727) (Ger., Eng.). AURORA tactfully choose to move to Goslar (whc) and give birth there (MORITZ was born on the 28th of October 1696), while CHRISTIANE brought the only legal son of her husband to the world on the 17th of October 1696 in Dresden. When AURORA came back to Dresden she already had been replaced as the rambling ruler’s favourite. She received a position as abbess of Quedlinburg Abbey (Ger., Eng.). She used her remaining life to take care for said abbey, and had to see about the family inheritance matter that resulted from her brother’s disappearance.
And with this brother we finally approach the Interesting Woman of this post, SOPHIE DOROTHEA von Braunschweig und Lüneburg (1666-1726) (Ger., Eng.).
SOPHIE was the only daughter of the duke of Braunschweig-Lüneburg, and – and this was something unusual for the time – she came from a loving family. Her parents were devoted to each other, loved her only daughter, there was a real family life. SOPHIE received a good education, was open-minded, teachable – she grew up in a carefree environment in Celle castle.
PHILIPP CHRISTOPH von Königsmarck (1665-1694) (Ger., Eng.), AURORA’s younger brother, spent his childhood at the court of Celle (Ger., Eng.), and knew SOPHIE since their childhood days. He went to Oxford to study, finally choose a military career. After wandering & fighting through Europe he returned to Hanover in 1688, serving as colonel in the house guard of duke ERNST AUGUST of Hanover-Lüneburg, as Oberst der Leibgarde. This duke had a son called GEORG LUDWIG (1660-1727) (Ger., Eng.), who later was known as GEORGE I. of Great Britain, and who was, since 1682, married to our lovely SOPHIE.
SOPHIE did not want this marriage, the whole thing was a political & dynastic arrangement. In the beginning it seemed to shape up reasonably well, dutifully the pair produced two heirs (son GEORG AUGUST (1683-1760), later GEORGE II. of Great Britain, husband of this Interesting Woman, and a daughter SOPHIE DOROTHEA (1687-1757)). But after the birth of the second child the couple drifted apart.
GEORG LUDWIG openly favoured his maitresse MELUSINE von der Schulenburg, while SOPHIE rediscovered her inclination towards PHILIPP CHRISTOPH. This seemingly went unnoticed since 1691, became a serious liason in spring 1692, and finally resulted in a stout martial row : After a heated dispute with her husband, in spring 1694, SOPHIE grabbed some things and went back to her parents, back to Celle.
They sent her back. For political reasons, they needed Hanover’s help in an actual war against Denmark, so her father – again – put the interest of the “state” over the interest of his only daughter.
In summer 1694 SOPHIE and PHILIPP plotted an escape, they wanted to flee either to Wolfenbüttel or to Saxony. But, of course, the plan was disclosed to the court : The traitor was CLARA ELISABETH von Platen (an ancestor of our AUGUST), who had tried to convince PHILIPP CHRISTOPH that it would be a good idea to marry her daughter : PHILIPP refused, and CLARA ELISABETH took her revenge.
PHILIPP vanished on the 2nd of July 1694, after he had met SOPHIE for a last time in the old Leineschloß (Ger., Eng.). This is all what is known for sure about his fate. It is very likely that he was murdered, either on command of ERNST AUGUST or his son GEORGE LUDWIG. SOPHIE would never know what happened to her lover. Some years ago bones were found in the Leine castle, but DNA testing could establish that these are not PHILIPP’s remains.
SOPHIE had to take all the blame. She was divorced from her husband, and kept in a small castle in Ahlden (Ger., Eng.), effectively in solitary confinement, for the rest of her life – from 1694 to 1726, 32 years.
She spent the first years in a kind of apathy, only later she tried actively to change, to better, her situation, with no result. Visitors were basically not allowed, with the exception of her mother. After the latter’s death in 1722 SOPHIE was alone. The military detachment consisted of forty men, their only task was to guard one woman. In the beginning she was only allowed to move inside the castle, later she was allowed, of course under heavy guard, to walk in the grounds. After some years even riding in a coach was allowed. It is possible that they all became a little … strange there, over the years.
In early 1726 she suffered a stroke. Without regular exercise and movement she had become fat, but eating was seemingly her last joy. She had feverish colds, colics, and finally she went to bed in August 1726, and would not get up again. She refused any food consumption, any medical help, effectively starving herself to death. She died on the 13th of November 1726 at the age of sixty.
The autopsy provided evidence of gallstones and a liver failure. GEORGE forbid any public display of mourning in Hanover and London, and was furious when he heard that the court in Berlin wore black. The guards had no instructions for a burial, so they put her corpse in a lead coffin, put the thing in the cellar, and waited for orders.
These came in January 1727, and said basically “Heck, bury her in the yard without any fuss !” This was not possible for some weeks because of heavy rain, so the casket came back into the cellar and was covered with sand.
In May 1727, clandestinely, in the night, SOPHIE DOROTHEA, princess of Ahlden, was buried in St. Marien (Ger.) in Celle.
What a life.

Advertisements

Unterirdisch

Just when one thought that things would settle in a new chaotic “normal”, when one thought that the upper end of the scale of (emphatic) embarrassment is reached, when one thought that the bottom of “niveau” (a French word American politicos do not know) is finally hit, on comes a new “Director of Communications”.
Don’t get me wrong, this person is the perfect pick. This “embodiment of a double-parked BMW” fits perfectly, it is the “spirit” of this administration personified. May he stay with us for a long time !
As you may remember, venerated reader, I am more interested in the foreign politics of the USA, which is represented actually by a man called TILLERSON (Ger., Eng.) – you know the one who sports this nice Russian medal President PUTIN pinned to his jacket in 2013. I had some doubts about him, but I think Mr TILLERSON is a good example for what is called “learning on the job”. And perhaps it was right from him to exclude journalists from his travels, perhaps he just needs time and a certain amount of non-disturbance to get into the matter – and the foreign politics of the USA surely is something that requires concentration.
Of course, if at least one thing works …
I read this piece via Reuters, and I want to cite what I find is important :

He [TILLERSON] was upset, however, by fierce internal criticism from Trump, as well as his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and White House aide Sebastian Gorka, over the decision [to keep to the “deal” with Iran], said another U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The secretary does not feel that White House staff members should be in a position to conduct hostile cross-(examinations) of Cabinet officials,” the official said.

BANNON & GORKA “conduct hostile cross-examinations” of the Secretary of State ?
If this is true, it is a reason for serious concern & apprehension.
One may wonder when the inevitable cabinet “reshuffle” will take place.
Perhaps the “Director of Communications” can better himself ?

Suebia, eh ?

I realised this morning that one can hear emptiness.
All the usual sounds that can be expected in a large appartement building located in a reasonable quiet neighbourhood, with some green around – even large trees -, and parking spaces over ground, balcony door open, through a bog-normal Wednesday late morning, like water rushing through pipes for whatever use, elevator doors clunking, car doors slamming, trees rushing in a lovely breeze, the occasional toddler yelling a bit – just stand there with eyes closed & listen … the place is empty.
Of course there may be scientific explanations that involve rugs, curtains and pictures on the wall, let’s not forget the lack of ameublement, but this is not what I mean.
It is not about silly sound waves behaving different, is not something missing, it is something else, something additional I can’t name.
To step in routinely like done for ages – “ages” may mean ten years and perhaps a bit more – comes to a halt when the usual choreography of moves stops because there is no more place to put the wallet and the keys – the shoe cabinet in the Diele (it is impossible to translate the name of this little anteroom with “hallway” or “vestibule” – it is a Diele or a Flur ) is gone.
Obviously something changed.
It is easy to say “And of course I am ready to move for this job”, it is easy to plan such a move, and have a look at the different pieces of stuff that surround one. It is a bit more challenging to search for and finally find a new appartement that “fits the bill” in all – or at least all serious – points. It can be a bit of a task to fill boxes with stuff – that seemingly has a life of its own, even after years of culling ; this usually leads to some introspection – and finally “the day” arrives : All is prepared, professionals move in, and within two hours the place is cleared, engines start, and something new begins. This can be a bit upsetting, worrying even.
DOn’t get me wrong, dear reader : This is not about an ending of sorts, a drama, it is about the aftermath of a new beginning.
It is only about a middle-aged man who switches off the hoover in a large empty room, closes his eyes, and listens.

Never Say Never

I am sorry, dear reader(s – ?), if I bore you stiff with this post, but the last shenanigans of the great Leader of the Movement … well, I feel the urge to say something about this. The Leader has left Europe some days ago and describes his travels as huge success, a “home run”, seemingly something sporty. In short, great – what else ?
A direct result of this voyage is that Ms MERKEL said that the days when we (Germany and Europe) could unconditionally rely on the USofA are over. Chancellor MERKEL is not known for hefty vocabulary, for fist slamming and all this brutish and silly behaviour. Her caution is sometimes taken for weakness, and the opposition, and even members of her own party, often scold her and demand stronger words. So foreign commenters and watchers may find her remark unimportant, neglectable.
In fact it is as close as the German Chancellor will go publicly to saying “Fuck off !”. And she means it.
MERKEL had the chance to watch the Leader and all his bagage closely on several occasions, in different settings. And the conclusion she draws is that what one could call the “old West” came to an end. It is not the person of the Leader, it is more, more fundamental.
The last bit of sympathy I harboured for Mr SPICER evaporated when I heard what he had to say about this : He prattled over the “personal” “relation” between MERKEL and the Leader, this would be soo good blabla – right beside the point, missing the target exactly either intentionally, or, even worse, by not understanding what she said. She said expressis verbis that the USA are an unreliable partner now. This is very remarkable, and, of course, will have consequences.
SPICER, and so the criminal gang he speaks for, do not understand that politics is not a personal game, these brainless scumbags do not understand that they represent a state.
In fact Europe, what ever it is & will be in future, is on its own, in all respects of international politics. It is a real chance. The East’s psychological warfare will not bite in the long run.
In a certain way what I called “the old West”, what remained after the crumbling of the Soviet Union, is brought to an end by the administration of the Leader. Remember, and take serious please, what the Super Advisor said : “The Leader is only a tool”.
The actual “President” is unfit, inept and unqualified for the job. An impeachment is possible, but becomes imho more & more improbable, especially because of the total moral bancerott of the Republican party. A biological solution is possible, when the leader becomes too bizarre and has to step back (“terminated” ?) because of “health issues”. But in a way the person, the individual “Trump” is unimportant – the nihilistic spirit is already out of the bottle.
Those who financed this Leader are already in command of what they understand to be a “state”, the path back to “greatness” is already trampled free, the clock is already in the process of being turned back to some kind of “1950”. And if some climate accord is revoked or not – this is just maquillage, or call it a “collateral damage”Of course this will be done with a great gesture & fanfare, isn’t it one of the Leader’s promises ?
At least one he keeps.
I already said it in a comment here, the Leader destroys the old Western order from within, and he will destroy the US civil society. Within months he not only weakened, but pulverised the former order, opening up chances upon chances for his Bruder im Geiste Vlad. The coming summer meetings will follow this blueprint.
I only hope that MERKELs message will be understood, the time for appeasement is over : The kindergarten does not want to play with the bully any more.
We don’t have to.