Author Topic: Eleonore Desmiers d´Olbreuse  (Read 5052 times)

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Offline Yseult

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Eleonore Desmiers d´Olbreuse
« on: June 19, 2006, 06:36:43 AM »
I´m sorry because I just have found this little portrait of Eleonore Desmiers d´Olbreuse:



But she is a common ancestor for seventeen european royal families!! She deserves the tittle of grand mother of european royalty until this day!!

Eleonore Desmiers d´Olbreuse was the daughter of Alexandre Desmiers, seigneur d´Olbreuse, a nobleman from Poitou, and his wife, Jacqueline ("Jacquette") Poussard de Vaudré. The family was huguenot. When Eleonore was a very young lady, she became lady-in-waiting for the duchess of Thouars, and she traveled to Kassel where the duchess son was about to marry.

At Kassel, Eleonore met two brothers: Georg Wilhelm and Johann Friedrich of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Eleonore must have been so beautiful and charming if we think that the two princes fell in love with her. She was reluctant to commit to one of them, but, at the end, she also fell in love with Georg Wilhelm.

This seems a fairy tale...a young french lady of huguenot extraction caught the eye of a german prince. And the german prince had promised to his elder brother, Ernst August, duke of Brünswick, never to marry. In fact, Ernst August and Georg Wilhelm had signed a convention when Ernst August reemplaced Georg Wilhelm as bridegroom for princess Sophie of the Palatinate. The convention eliminated marriage prospects for Georg Wilhelm and also the possibility of legitimate heirs with claims on Georg Wilhelm´states that could compete with those of Ernst August by his wife Sophie of the Palatinate.

But things changed when Georg Wilhelm fell deeply in love with Eleonore Desmiers d´Olbreuse. Being merely a mistress was unthinkable for her, so he needed to find a way to make her his wife!.

When duchess of Thouars died on 1665. Georg Wilhelm persuaded his sister-in-law Sophie of the Palatinate, electress of Hannover, to take Eleonore as a flamboyant lady-in-waiting. Sophie agreed, because she thinked of Eleonore as a "distraction" for an "infertile bachelor". So, Eleonore established at Celle with Ernst August and Sophie, and, a month later, she entered into a "marriage of conscience" with Georg Wilhelm. Eleonore was known as Mme of Harberg, after one of the two estates that her "husband before the God eyes" had provided for her. The couple was really very happy, until the day Eleonore became pregnant. When their daughter Sophia Dorothea was born on 1866, both her parents were distressed by her "illegitimacy". By the way, electress Sophie hated and despited the little daughter of Eleonore due to the fact that she worried that the signed convention might be overturned if Georg Wilhelm could reach the support of Holy Roman and German Emperor.


Offline Yseult

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Re: Eleonore Desmiers d´Olbreuse
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2006, 06:46:39 AM »
This is Sophie of the Palatinate, later electress of Hannover. She was engaged to Georg Wilhelm until the engagedment was broken and she married his elder brother Ernst August of Hannover...


palatine

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Re: Eleonore Desmiers d´Olbreuse
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2006, 09:08:47 PM »
Eleonore was a member of the minor Huguenot nobility, and a poor one.  She worked as a lady-in-waiting for a French noblewoman who resided in Holland, and it was there that she met George William, Duke of Celle.  They fell in love, but there were problems.  Her low birth meant that they could only be married morganatically, and, worse, he’d already promised never to marry in a binding family compact.  Eleonore became his mistress in exchange for a generous financial settlement.  They settled down in Celle, where their court was run on informal and Francophile lines.  To their sorrow, all of their children but Sophia Dorothea died in infancy; they spoiled her rotten as a result.  Eleonore wanted a good husband for her, preferably a French nobleman, and she egged George William on to make her dream come true.  He took advantage of the political situation to win concessions from his family and the Emperor.  He married Eleonore and had Sophia Dorothea legitimated.  He also gave her a large dowry.  

Eleonore didn’t like the lifestyle that prevailed at most German courts, so Sophia Dorothea was taught little about the traditions, formal etiquette, precedence, etc., that were in use at courts like Hanover.  Eleonore didn’t teach her about duty, dignity and discipline, but encouraged her to enjoy and assert herself.  Sophia Dorothea grew into a lovely young woman who liked to flirt and to exchange love letters with the help.  Her romantic peccadilloes were discovered, her parents stepped up their plans for her marriage, and her cousin George of Hanover was selected as her husband.  Eleonore was against this match, but George William insisted.  The couple had nothing in common and the marriage was an unhappy one.  George cheated on Sophia Dorothea, she flirted with other men, ugly scenes took place, and they became estranged.  She had an affair with Philip von Konigsmark, a gambler and wastrel.  Eleonore begged her to end it, but she refused, for Konigsmark had asked her to run away with him.  The idea of leaving the stuffy Hanoverian court behind for an untrammeled life with her lover was irresistible to Sophia Dorothea, even though such a flight would mean abandoning her two children and embarrassing her entire family.  The lovers didn’t know it, but their plans were no secret.  Konigsmark was murdered and Sophia Dorothea was imprisoned in the fortress of Ahlden in Celle.  A divorce was granted, and it was decided that Sophia Dorothea would spend the rest of her life at Ahlden in a sort of living death.

Eleonore begged George William to allow Sophia Dorothea back into their lives and to give her some measure of freedom, and grew estranged from him when he refused.  After George William's death, George of Hanover proved just as unrelenting a gaoler.  Eleonore spent the rest of her life fighting for her daughter’s freedom but found little sympathy from anyone and no success.  

The Electress Sophia despised Eleonore largely because she was a troublemaker.  Over the years, Eleonore did her best to estrange George William from Ernest Augustus, Sophia’s husband.  The brothers had been best friends but, thanks to Eleonore, their relationship deteriorated, which hurt them both.  Further, Eleonore held German manners and customs, even the food, in contempt and sometimes made nasty remarks about same.  This hurt and offended Sophia, who did not appreciate being sneered at by her brother-in-law's mistress.  Sophia was also less than amused by Eleonore's efforts to aggrandize herself through faux genealogies and so forth.  

Sophia was against the marriage of George and Sophia Dorothea because she knew that Eleonore’s family was third-rate, that Sophia Dorothea had been born out of wedlock, and that Sophia Dorothea had been badly brought up and had no idea how to go on at a formal court.  To her credit, Sophia tried to befriend and mentor Sophia Dorothea after her marriage, but she refused to listen to her advice.  She deplored Sophia Dorothea's affair and tried to persuade her to end it, but once more she refused to listen.  The final service she did for Sophia Dorothea, and it was no small one, was to raise her children and to love them as if they were her own.  

Eleonore did not understand that Sophia was powerless to have Sophia Dorothea released from Ahlden.  Over time, she seems to have convinced herself that Sophia was to blame for her daughter's horrible fate, but this was not the case.  George William, George and Ernest Augustus agreed to the lifelong imprisonment, and Sophia was not part of the discussion.  Once those three had made up their minds, that was it as far as Sophia was concerned.  She was far too wise to fight for what was clearly a lost cause.  All she could do was teach the younger Sophia Dorothea what she needed to know to avoid a similiar fate.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by palatine »