Sophia Dorothea of Hanover was born on March 26, 1687, in Hanover, Germany. She was the only daughter of King George I of Great Britain and his wife, Sophia Dorothea of Celle.
Sophia Dorothea was raised by her paternal grandmother, Sophia of Hanover, after her mother’s imprisonment and subsequent divorce.
She was educated by her Huguenot teacher, Madame de Sacetot.
In 1706, Sophia Dorothea of Hanover married her cousin, Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia. The couple had met as children when Frederick William spent time in Hanover under the care of their grandmother.
Despite Sophia Dorothea’s initial dislike of Frederick William, they were married after he chose her over two other potential brides. Her bridal paraphernalia was referred to as the greatest of any German Princess yet.
Sophia Dorothea of Hanover was described as tall and graceful, with big blue eyes. She was interested in art, science, literature, and fashion, while Frederick William was known for his rough manners and military interests.
The couple had several children, including Frederick the Great, but their marriage was strained due to their differing interests and personalities.
In 1713, Frederick William’s father, Frederick I, died, and he became the King of Prussia. Sophia Dorothea of Hanover became the Queen of Prussia, and during the war with Sweden, she accompanied her husband during the campaign of 1715.
However, she soon returned to Berlin to give birth to her daughter. Sophia Dorothea of Hanover was admired for her gracious manners, but she was also known for her haughtiness, pride, and ambition.
When Frederick William died in 1740, Sophia Dorothea became a Queen Dowager. She had a good relationship with her son, Frederick the Great, who was known for his devotion to her.
Sophia Dorothea lost no importance as a queen dowager and foreign envoys considered attending her audience chamber and receptions as even more important than that of the queen.
Sophia Dorothea saw her son for the last time after his first campaign in January 1757 during the Seven Years’ War. Her health rapidly declined after his departure, and she died on June 28, 1757.
Sophia Dorothea of Hanover was a Queen in Prussia and the mother of Frederick the Great. Despite the strain in her marriage to Frederick William, she was admired for her gracious manners and known for her ambition.
Sophia Dorothea had a good relationship with her son, Frederick the Great, and was honoured as the first lady of his court until she died in 1757.
*Feature Image: Antoine Pesne, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons