- Landgravine Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel
Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel Princess consort of Orange A portrait of Marie Louise, c. 1710. Painted by Louis Volders. Spouse John William Friso, Prince of Orange Issue Amalia, Hereditary Princess of Baden-Durlach
William IV, Prince of Orange
Full name German: Marie Luise
Dutch: Maria Louise
House House of Hesse-Kassel (by birth)
House of Orange-Nassau (by marriage)
Father Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel Mother Princess Maria Amalia of Courland Born 7 February 1688
Died 9 April 1765(aged 77)
Landgravine Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel (7 February 1688 – 9 April 1765) was a daughter of Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel and Maria Amalia of Courland. By her marriage to John William Friso, Prince of Orange, she became Princess consort of Orange, a title last held by Mary II of England. Like her husband, she was an ancestor of all currently ruling monachs in Europe.
Marie Louise is notable for having served as Regent for two periods in Dutch history: during the reigns of her young son, William IV, Prince of Orange, and of her young grandson, William V, Prince of Orange. She was often fondly referred to as Marijke Meu (Aunt Mary) by her Dutch subjects.
Marie Louise was one of seventeen children born to Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, by his wife and cousin, Maria Amalia of Courland. Two of her siblings included King Frederick I of Sweden and William VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel.
Marie Louise's paternal grandparents were William VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, and Hedwig Sophia of Brandenburg. Her maternal grandparents were Jacob Kettler, Duke of Courland, and Louise Charlotte of Brandenburg.
Marriage and children
On April 26, 1709, Marie Louise was married to John William Friso, Prince of Orange. He was the eldest surviving son of Henry Casimir II, Prince of Nassau-Dietz, and Henriëtte Amalia of Anhalt-Dessau; he had inherited his title in 1702 from the childless William III, Prince of Orange, due to his descent from both William the Silent and Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange.
The events behind their betrothal began after John William was almost killed by cannon fire and roundshot on two different occasions. His mother, Henriette Amalia, perhaps realizing how vulnerable her son was, quickly began looking for a suitable bride to ensure an heir. In the end, the choice came down to two German princesses. She apparently informed him that he should think of the choice as between two chairs, and that he should choose the most comfortable of the two. John duly traveled to Hesse-Kassel and became engaged to the 20-year old Marie Louise within a week. He did not even bother meeting the other candidate. The main factor in this decision was probably that Marie Louise's father was a trusted general under the well-respected Duke of Marlborough. In addition, marriage to a daughter of the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel would also have served to strengthen John William's place among the other ruling houses.
Marie Louise was not considered attractive, as her features were heavy and her face was dominated by a large nose. She was however very charming, and greeted those of all ranks with natural friendliness and sincere concern for their well being. They had two children before his untimely death by drowning on 14 July 1711, the youngest of whom was born after his death. William Charles Henry Friso's birth was met with great relief by the Frisans, and he automatically inherited the title Prince of Orange.
Name Birth Death Notes Princess Anna Charlotte Amalia 1710 1777 married Frederick, Hereditary Prince of Baden-Durlach; had issue, including Charles Frederick, Grand Duke of Baden William IV, Prince of Orange 1711 1751 married Anne, Princess Royal; had issue, including William V, Prince of Orange
Since her husband died while she was pregnant, her son William immediately became Prince of Orange upon his birth six weeks later. Marie Louise served as Regent for her son from 1711 until he reached his majority in 1731. This regency was granted despite her inexperience with the affairs of her adopted country. Although she did not have any experience, Marie Louise successfully withstood a series of natural disasters, which included a sequence of bad harvests and severe winters from 1712 to 1716. At the time of her marriage, Marie Louise quickly earned the affection of the Dutch population. She was known as a woman of intelligence and sensitivity, and was often fondly referred to as Marijke Meu. She also dealt with a major problem concerning shipworms - parasites that upon arriving on ships from the Far East, proceeded to devour wooden sections of the vital, protective dykes. These damages threatened to collapse the entire dyke system, which would have destroyed vast amounts of land used for farming in the Dutch province of Friesland. The money needed to prevent such an occurrence from happening was hard to raise however; tax obligations to the Hague from this province were seldom realistically reviewed. In order to end the looming starvation, Marie Louise traveled to the Hague and pleaded in person before the States-General for help. She apparently spoke so eloquently that she returned home with not only a remittance on taxation, but also with a sizable detachment of soldiers to help repair the dykes.
After a 1736 visit, Marie Louise maintained a correspondence, in "abominable French," with religious and social reformer Nicolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf. A deeply religious woman, she provided sanctuary to persecuted Protestants fleeing the Catholic Habsburgs. Despite her son's objections, Marie Louise allowed a group of Moravians to settle in the barony of IJsselstein, of which she was baroness.
From 1759 until her death in 1765, Marie Louise also served as Regent for her young grandson William V, Prince of Orange, after the previous Regent (his mother and Marie Louise's daughter-in-law, Anne) died. Marie Louise was succeeded as Regent by Duke Louis Ernest of Brunswick-Lüneburg.
Traits and relationship with children
After her husband died, Marie Louise found herself a 23-year old widow residing in a foreign country. She became inherently pessimistic and agonized over the affairs of her children. This pessimistic trait passed onto her daughter Amalia as well, causing her to be melancholy and withdrawn her whole life. Her son William inherited her heavy Germanic looks, rather than "the finely etched ascetic looks which his father had shared with William III". William was sickly as a child, and was rigidly disciplined and educated by Marie Louise with great care in the city of Leeuwarden.
Marie Louise had a good relationship with her son, so that by the time of his coming of age in 1729, she was invited to take equal part in the celebrations. In his youth, she sent him daily letters reminding him to do such things as brush his teeth and get plenty of sleep; he duly responded to each letter patiently.
Marie Louise was described to be frugal, especially in comparison to the excesses of her mother-in-law Henriette Amalia. Due to this frugality, she was able to give large sums to various charitable causes. On one occasion, a nobleman offered her lavish hospitality; she replied by asking if he did not feel guilty at using money he could have donated to the poor.
Marie Louise's son William married Anne, Princess Royal, eldest daughter of George II of Great Britain, on 25 March 1734 at St. James' Palace in London. Upon return of the wedding party to the Netherlands, William had written his mother, warning her that Anne was allowed precedence over Marie Louise because she was a king's daughter. This warning was hardly needed, as Marie Louise had eagerly exited Prinsenhof as soon as her son came of age, opting to live in an elegant but unpretentious house in Herlingen. She had long displayed her disinterest in royal technicalities and the royal lifestyle. She welcomed her son and his new wife upon their arrival, but then returned to her quiet house, taking no part in their ceremonious entry.
Ancestors of Landgravine Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel 16. Maurice, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel 8. William V, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel 17. Agnes of Solms-Laubach 4. William VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel 18. Philip Louis II, Count of Hanau-Münzenberg 9. Amalie Elisabeth of Hanau-Münzenberg 19. Catherine-Belgica of Orange-Nassau 2. Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel 20. John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg 10. George William, Elector of Brandenburg 21. Anna of Prussia 5. Hedwig Sophie of Brandenburg 22. Frederick IV, Elector Palatine 11. Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate 23. Louise Juliana of Nassau 1. Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel 24. Gotthard Kettler, Duke of Courland 12. Wilhelm Kettler, Duke of Courland 25. Anna of Mecklenburg 6. Jacob Kettler, Duke of Courland 26. Albert Frederick, Duke of Prussia 13. Duchess Sophie of Prussia 27. Marie Eleonore of Cleves 3. Maria Amalia of Courland 28. John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg (= 20) 14. George William, Elector of Brandenburg (= 10) 29. Anna of Prussia (= 21) 7. Louise Charlotte of Brandenburg 30. Frederick IV, Elector Palatine (= 22) 15. Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate (= 11) 31. Louise Juliana of Nassau (= 23)
- ^ a b c Lundy, Darryl. "The Peerage: Marie Luise von Hessen-Kassel". http://thepeerage.com/p10127.htm#i101262. Retrieved 16 December 2009.
- ^ a b Van Loon, pp. 123-24.
- ^ a b Baker-Smith, p. 32.
- ^ Rowen, p. 150.
- ^ Baker-Smith, p. 33.
- ^ a b Rowen, p. 151.
- ^ a b Baker-Smith, p. 34.
- ^ a b c d Baker-Smith, p. 37.
- ^ Rowen, pp. 150-151.
- ^ a b Van Eijnatten, p. 50.
- ^ Baker-Smith, p. 36.
- ^ Van Loon, p. 122.
- ^ Baker-Smith, pp. 36-37.
- ^ Baker-Smith, p. 51.
Landgravine Marie Louise of Hesse-KasselHouse of Hesse-KasselCadet branch of the House of HesseBorn: 7 February 1688 Died: 9 April 1765
- Baker-Smith, Veronica P. M. (1995). A Life of Anne of Hanover, Princess Royal. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 9004101985.
- Rowen, Herbert H. (1990). The Princes of Orange: The Stadholders in the Dutch Republic. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521396530.
- van Eijnatten, Joris (2003). Liberty and concord in the United Provinces: religious toleration and the public in the eighteenth-century Netherlands. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 09208607.
- van Loon, Hendrik Willem (1913). The fall of the Dutch republic. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Royal titles VacantTitle last held byMary II of England Princess consort of Orange
VacantTitle next held byPrincess Anne of Great Britain Princesses of OrangeMáxima Zorreguieta Cerruti (2002–)
Sophie of Württemberg (1840–49) · Anna Pavlovna of Russia (1816–40) · Wilhelmine of Prussia (1806–15) · Wilhelmina of Prussia (1767–1806) · Anne, Princess Royal (1734–51) · Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel (1709–11) · Mary II of England (1677–94) · Mary, Princess Royal (1647–50) · Amalia of Solms-Braunfels (1625–47) · Éléonore de Bourbon (1606–18) · Louise de Coligny (1583–84) · Charlotte of Bourbon (1575–82) · Anna of Saxony (1561–71) · Anna van Egmont (1551–58) Anna of Lorraine (1540–44)
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