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Sophie of Württemberg
Queen consort of the Netherlands; Grand Duchess consort of Luxembourg; Duchess consort of Limburg
Portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1861)
Tenure 7 March 1849 – 3 June 1877
Spouse William III
Issue
William, Prince of Orange
Prince Maurice
Alexander, Prince of Orange
Father William I of Württemberg
Mother Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna of Russia
Born 17 June 1818(1818-06-17)
Kingdom of Württemberg Stuttgart
Died 3 June 1877 (aged 58)
Netherlands The Hague
Burial Nieuwe Kerk, Delft

Princess Sophia Frederika Mathilde of Württemberg (German: Sophia Frederika Mathilde Prinzessin von Württemberg; 17 June 1818 – 3 June 1877) was Queen of the Netherlands as the first wife of King William III of the Netherlands.

Contents

Biography

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. Shortly after Sophie’s birth, her mother died, and she was cared for by her aunt, Catharina of Württemberg.

She was a cousin of the future Alexander II of Russia, George V of Hanover and Victoria of the United Kingdom.

Prior to her marriage, King Otto of Greece and Duke William of Brunswick were possible suitors for Princess Sophie. The engagement with the first came to nothing because Princess Sophie's father had no confidence in the newly established Greek monarchy.

Chance prevented a proposal by the second candidate because it was rumored that Princess Sophie was already betrothed.

She married the Prince of Orange (later King William III) in Stuttgart on 18 June 1839. The couple returned to the Netherlands and established themselves at Noordeinde Palace and had three children:

The marriage was not a success. King William's mother, whom he completely relied on, was totally against the marriage and treated her daughter-in-law and niece with disdain. 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 spent much of her time in Stuttgart, with her own family. Queen Sophie died at Huis ten Bosch Palace in the Hague. She was buried in her wedding dress, because, in her own view, her life had ended on the day she married.

Queen Sophie 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 and construction of public parks.

She was the 540th Dame of the Royal Order of Queen Maria Luisa.

She died in The Hague.

Ancestry

Titles, styles, honours and arms

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Titles and styles

External links

Sophie of Württemberg
Born: 17 June 1818 Died: 3 June 1877
Dutch royalty
Preceded by
Anna Pavlovna of Russia
Queen consort of the Netherlands
7 March 1849 - 3 June 1877
Vacant
Title next held by
Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont

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