Sophia of Hanover

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Sophia of the Palatinate (commonly referred to as Sophia of Hanover; 14 October 1630 – 8 June 1714) was heiress to the crowns of England and Ireland and later of the crown of Great Britain. Sophia was declared heir presumptive by the Act of Settlement 1701. Dying before she could become Queen, Sophia, a granddaughter of James VI of Scotland and I of England, passed her claim to the thrones onto her eldest son, George Louis, Elector of Hanover, who ascended them as George I on 1 August 1714 OS.

Born to Frederick V, Elector Palatine, and Elizabeth of Bohemia in 1630, Sophia grew up in the Dutch Republic, where her family had sought refuge after the sequestration of their Electorate during the Thirty Years' War. Sophia's brother Charles Louis was, as part of the Peace of Munster, restored to the Palatinate. There, Sophia married, in 1658, Ernest Augustus of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Despite his jealous tempers and frequent absences, Sophia loved him, and bore him seven children to survive to adulthood. Initially a landless cadet, Ernest Augustus succeeded in having the House of Hanover raised to electoral dignity in 1692. Therefore, Sophia became Electress of Hanover, the title by which she is best-remembered. A patroness of the arts, Sophia commissioned the palace and gardens of Herrenhausen and sponsored philosophers, such as Gottfried Leibniz and John Toland.

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Early life

A daughter of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, and Elizabeth of Scotland, collectively referred to as the "Winter King and Queen of Bohemia", for their short rule in that country, Sophia was born in The Wassenaer Hof, The Hague, Dutch Republic, where her parents fled into exile after the Battle of White Mountain.[2] At birth, Sophia was granted an annuity of 40 thalers by the Estates of Friesland. Sophia was courted by her first cousin, Charles II Stuart, but she rebuffed his advances as she thought he was using her in order to get money from her mother's supporter, Lord William Craven. (cf Dirk Van der Cruysse: Sophie de Hanovre, Memoires et Lettres de Voyage, Fayard Paris, 1990; also Sophia of Hanover: From Winter Princess to Heiress of Great Britain, J.N. Duggan, Peter Owen, London 2010)

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