Elizabeth of Bohemia

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Elizabeth of Bohemia
Born 19 August 1596
Died 13 February 1662
Elizabeth of Bohemia

Elizabeth of Bohemia (born Elizabeth Stuart, August 19 1596 to February 13 1662) was a Scottish born Queen of Bohemia. As well as being Queen of Bohemia, she was also titled Electress of Palatine and Princess Elizabeth Stuart of Scotland Elizabeth was the oldest daughter of King James VI of Scotland (later, James I of England) and his wife, Anne of Denmark. Her brother was Charles I. She was Queen of Bohemia only for a few months so she is sometimes called "The Winter Queen".

Childhood[change | change source]

Elizabeth was born at Falkland Palace in Fife, Scotland.[1] Her father gave her the name Elizabeth to make Queen Elizabeth I of England happy. The Queen had no children. James wanted her to chose him to be King of England when she died. She later agreed and James VI became King James I of England (as well as Wales and Ireland) in 1603. Elizabeth Stuart now had a higher status. This meant meant that more important men would want to marry her.

The gunpowder plot[change | change source]

At this time, there was strong fighting between Catholics and Protestants in England. King James was Catholic but many Catholics did not like him because he gave the Protestants too much freedom to do what they wanted. In 1605, a group decided to try to blow up the English Parliament with gunpowder when King James was there. This is called The Gunpowder Plot. The group planned to kidnap Princess Elizabeth from Coombe Abbey, in Warwickshire. They wanted to make her the Queen. Because she was only nine years old, important Catholics would have the real power over her kingdoms. In the end, the group were found before they could kill King James.

Marriage[change | change source]

On February 14 1613, Elizabeth married Frederick V. He was the Elector of the Palatinate. She moved to his court at Heidelberg. Frederick was the leader of an important group of Protestant princes, called the Evangelical Union. James wanted Elizabeth to marry someone from this group so he could have a stronger friendship with them.

Queen of Bohemia[change | change source]

In 1619, Frederick was asked to become King of Bohemia. He and Elizabeth moved to Prague. There was also strong fighting between different religious groups there. After only a few months of being King, Frederick had to leave the country. Because she was queen for such a short time, Elizabeth is sometimes called ‘The Winter Queen’. She was also called ‘Queen of Hearts’ because many people liked her.

Exile and death[change | change source]

Elizabeth and Frederick lived in exile in The Hague. They could not return to Bohemia. Frederick died in 1632 and Elizabeth lived in Holland for most of the rest of her life. After her brother’s son, Charles, became King of England and Scotland, she went to London to see him. She died there in 1662, when she was 65 years old.

Children[change | change source]

She had thirteen children in total. Charles I Louis, became Elector of the Palatine in 1648. Her other children were: Frederick Henry von der Pfalz, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Princess Palatine, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Louise Marie of the Palatinate, Prince Maurice von Simmern, Edward, Count Palatine of Simmern and Sophia of Hanover. After the 1701 Act of Settlement, Electress Sophia and her children were made heirs to the English and Scottish thrones. This means that all Kings and Queens of Great Britain after George I are Elizabeth’s descendants.

Legacy[change | change source]

The Elizabeth River in Southeastern Virginia was named in honour of the princess. Cape Elizabeth a peninsula and, today, a town in the U.S. state of Maine was also named for her. John Smith explored and mapped New England. He gave names to places mainly based on the names used by Native Americans. When Smith showed his map to Charles I, he said that the king should feel free to change the "barbarous names" for "English" ones. The king made many such changes. Only four survive today. One of which is Cape Elizabeth.[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. Emery Walker, Historical Portraits 1600–1700, READ BOOKS, 2007
  2. Stewart, George R. (1967) [1945], Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States (Sentry edition (3rd) ed.), Houghton Mifflin, p. 38