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Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Duchess of Württemberg
Spouse Friedrich Wilhelm Karl of Württemberg
Issue
William I of Württemberg
Catherine, Queen of Westphalia
Princess Sophia Dorothea of Württemberg
Prince Paul of Württemberg
Full name
Augusta Caroline Friederika Louise
House House of Brunswick-Bevern (by birth)
House of Württemberg (by marriage)
Father Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick
Mother Augusta of Great Britain
Born 3 December 1764(1764-12-03)
Brunswick
Died 27 September 1788 (aged 23)
Lohde

Duchess Augusta Caroline Friederika Louise of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (Brunswick, 3 December 1764 – 27 September 1788 in Lohde)[1] was a German princess, and first wife of Frederick I of Württemberg. In the family, she was generally called "Zelmira".

Augusta was the eldest child of Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick and Princess Augusta of Great Britain. She was also the sister of Caroline of Brunswick, wife of George IV of the United Kingdom.

Contents

Marriage and children

On 15 October 1780 in Brunswick, at the age of 15, she married Prince and Duke Friedrich Wilhelm Karl of Württemberg, one of heirs-presumptive to the ducal throne of Wurtemberg, himself the eldest son of Duke Friedrich II Eugen of Württemberg.

Together they had four children :

Life during marriage

It is reported that the Duke leaned towards males, being at least bisexual. He had his coterie of young noblemen with him.

Soon the young Ducal couple settled to Finland and St.Petersburg. The young Duke's brother-in-law was the Russian Tsarevich-Grand Duke Paul Petrovich. Duke Frederick received the position of Governor over the Imperial territories in Finland. They settled to Viipuri, which was the seat of administration of eastern Finland.

Frederick was reportedly violent towards his wife, and during a visit from Finland to Russia (St.Petersburg) in December 1786, Augusta fled to the apartments of Empress Catherine II, mother-in-law of Frederick's sister Maria Feodorovna. Catherine offered Augusta asylum and wrote to Frederick requesting that he leave the Russian Court. When Maria Feodorovna protested at the treatment of her brother, Catherine wrote her a curt letter saying "It is not I who cover the Prince of Württemberg with opprobrium: on the contrary, it is I who try to bury abominations and it is my duty to suppress any further ones."

Augusta's father was less sympathetic, and refused his daughter's plea for divorce. In response, Catherine offered Augusta a place to live at one of her Imperial estates in Lohde, Koluvere castle [2], Kullamaa Parish to the south-west of Tallinn, Estonia.[3] She was put in the custody of former huntmaster Wilhelm von Pohlmann (9 April, 1727 – 22 January, 1796), who took advantage of his office and began an sexual relationship with her; it is unknown whether she willingly participated in this relationship or was forced. She soon became pregnant by him.[4]

On 27 September 1788, at the age of 23, Augusta went into premature labor with a stillborn child, followed by hemorrhaging. Fearful of both the illegitimate birth and his relationship to her being found out, von Pohlmann refused to send for a doctor or any other medical help, and Augusta died of blood loss. She was hurriedly buried in an unmarked grave in the church at Koluvere, and her death was announced to Catherine and her parents in a brief missive with the cause given as the breaking of a blood vessel. Sightings of her were reported for several years, but none proved to be true. The facts of her death only came to light many years later, when her eldest son had the matter investigated and her body was exhumed.[5] The castle and lands of Koluvere were afterwards granted to Count Frederik Vilhelm Buxhoevden.

In 1797, Frederick married Augusta's cousin Charlotte, Princess Royal, eldest daughter of George III of the United Kingdom.

Ancestry

References

  1. ^ "Genealogy Index: Welf 6". http://genealogy.euweb.cz/welf/welf6.html. Retrieved 2007-09-16.  
  2. ^ Koluvere (Lohde) castle, Kullamaa (Goldenbeck) parish, Estonia
  3. ^ Rounding, Virginina (2007). Catherine the Great. London: Arrow. pp. pp.419–421. ISBN 9780099462347.  
  4. ^ Sabine Thomsen. Die württembergischen Königinnen. Charlotte Mathilde, Katharina, Pauline, Olga, Charlotte – ihr Leben und Wirken [The Queens of Wuerttemberg: Charlotte Matilde, Katharina, Pauline, Olga, Charlotte -- Their Lives and Legacies]. Silberburg-Verlag, 2006.
  5. ^ Thomsen, ibid.

Elisabeth E. Kwan und Anna E. Röhring, Frauen vom Hof der Welfen, 2. Auflage, München, 2008

See also

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