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Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth

Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Queen consort of Poland
Grand Duchess consort of Lithuania
Tenure 1697–1727
Spouse Augustus II of Poland
Issue
Augustus III of Poland
House House of Wettin
House of Hohenzollern
Father Christian Ernst, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Mother Sofie Luise of Württemberg
Born (1671-12-19)19 December 1671
Bayreuth
Died 4 September 1727(1727-09-04) (aged 55)
Pretzsch an der Elbe
Burial St. Nicholas Evangelical Church,
Pretzsch an der Elbe[1]
Religion Lutheranism

Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth (19 December 1671 – 4 September 1727) was Electress of Saxony from 1694 to 1727 (her death) and titular Queen of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1697 to 1727 as the wife of Augustus II the Strong. Not once throughout the whole of her thirty-year queenship did she set foot in Poland, instead living in Saxony in self-imposed exile. Born a German margravine, she was called Sachsens Betsäule, "Saxony's pillar of prayer", by her Protestant subjects for her refusal to convert to Catholicism and her loyalty to the Protestant faith. Despite her and her mother-in-law, Anna Sophie of Denmark's allegiance to Lutheranism, her husband and son, later Augustus III, both became Catholics.

Life

She was the firstborn child of Christian Ernst, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, and his second wife, Sophie Louise, daughter of Eberhard III, Duke of Württemberg. She was named for her father, Christian, and her mother's father, Eberhard. As the daughter of the Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, she was margravine by birth. She had five younger siblings, only two of whom survived infancy. She remained close to her relatives in Bayreuth and continued to visit them after her marriage.

She married Frederick Augustus, Duke of Saxony, the younger brother of the elector, John George IV, on 20 January 1693 at age 21. The marriage was purely political and highly unhappy. Three years later, on 17 October 1696, their son Frederick Augustus was born in Dresden. He was brought up by his paternal grandmother, Anna Sophie of Denmark. Because Christiane Eberhardine and her mother-in-law got on well, she visited her son frequently.

Christiane Eberhardine's husband converted to Catholicism to become king of Poland, but she remained faithful to her Protestant beliefs and was not present at her husband's coronation, and was never crowned queen of Poland. Her Protestant countrymen named her "The Pillar of Saxony."

Christiane Eberhardine lived in retirement in her castle at Pretzsch an der Elbe or at Hartenfels Castle in Torgau, and was only seen occasionally at festivities in Dresden. In her voluntary exile she concentrated on cultural activities and took interest in the faith of orphaned children. She was also active in the field of economics; in 1697 she took over operation of the glass factory in Pretzsch, founded by Constantin Fremel.

A lonely woman, Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth died at the age of 55 and was buried on 6 September in the parish church of Pretzsch. Neither her husband nor her son were present at the funeral.

In commemoration of her death, Johann Sebastian Bach composed the cantata Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl, BWV 198, to a text of Johann Christoph Gottsched, first performed on 15 October 1727 in the Paulinerkirche, the church of the University of Leipzig.

Ancestry

References

Sources

  • Watanabe-O'Kelly, Helen. "Enlightenment, Emancipation, and the Queen Consort." Enlightenment and Emancipation. Ed. Susan Manning and Peter France. Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell UP, 2006. 119-25. Print.

Further reading

  • Stichart, Franz Otto: Galerie der sächsischen Fürstinnen; biogr. Skizzen sämtlicher Ahnfrauen des kgl. Hauses Sachsen, Leipzig 1857
  • Blanckmeister, Franz: Kurfürstin Christiane Eberhardine von Sachsen: eine ev. Bekennerin, Barmen 1892
  • Meyer, Johannes: Frauengestalten und Frauenwalten im Hause Wettin, Bautzen 1912
  • Haake, Paul: Christiane Eberhardine und August der Starke: eine Ehetragödie, Dresden 1930
  • Lauckner, Martin: Eine alte Unterschrift von zarter Hand, in: Sächs. Heimat, Hamburg, Jg. 1981
  • Czok, Karl: August der Starke und Kursachsen, Leipzig 1987. Aufgeklärter Absolutismus und kirchlich-religiöse Toleranzpolitik bei August dem Starken, In: Sachsen und die Wettiner. Chancen und Realitäten (Sondernummer der Dresdner Hefte); Dresden 1990
  • Fellmann, Walter: Prinzessinnen. Glanz, Einsamkeit und Skandale am sächsischen Hof, Leipzig 1996
Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Royal titles
Preceded by
Marie Casimire Louise de la Grange d'Arquien
Queen consort of Poland
Grand Duchess consort of Lithuania

1697–1706
Succeeded by
Katarzyna Opalińska
Preceded by
Katarzyna Opalińska
Queen consort of Poland
Grand Duchess consort of Lithuania

1709–1727
Preceded by
Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach
Electress consort of Saxony
1694–1727
Succeeded by
Maria Josepha of Austria
es:Cristiana Eberardina de Brandeburgo-Bayreuth
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