Thursday, June 17, 2010

Queen Sophie Day !

Princess Sophie of Württemberg, Queen of the Netherlands (17 June 1818 – 3 June 1877) was the first wife of King William III of the Netherlands. She was born in Stuttgart, her parents were King William I of Württemberg and Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna of Russia, the fourth eldest daughter of Tsar Paul I. Sophie and William were first cousins as their mothers were sisters. She married the later King William III in 1839.

The marriage was not a success. Intellectually, Queen Sophie was far superior to her husband. Moreover, William III had several extramarital relations. She let it be publicly known that she found him inferior and unsuitable to be king and that she would do it better as a regent. Queen Sophie tried to separate from him, but this was refused; the state interest had to prevail. From 1855 the couple lived separately. She corresponded with several European scholars and maintained warm ties with Emperor Napoleon III and Queen Victoria. She protected and stimulated the arts, supported several charities, including animal protection. After her death she was buried in her wedding dress, because, in her own view, her life had ended on the day she married.

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