Amalia of Solms-Braunfels

Amalia of Solms-Braunfels

Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, portrait by Gerrit van Honthorst
Princess consort of Orange
Tenure 1625-1647
Born (1602-08-31)31 August 1602
Braunfels Castle in Braunfels
Died 8 September 1675(1675-09-08) (aged 73)
the Hague
Spouse Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange
Issue William II, Prince of Orange
Louise Henriette, Duchess of Prussia
Henriette Amalia of Nassau
Elisabeth of Nassau
Isabella Charlotte of Nassau
Albertine Agnes, Countess of Nassau-Dietz
Henriette Catherine, Princess of Anhalt-Dessau
Henry Louis of Nassau
Maria, Countess Palatine of Simmern-Kaiserslautern
Father John Albert I, Count of Solms-Braunfels
Mother Countess Agnes of Sayn-Wittgenstein

Amalia of Solms-Braunfels (31 August 1602, Braunfels 8 September 1675, The Hague), was a regent of Orange-Nassau. She was the wife of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, and the daughter of count John Albert I of Solms-Braunfels and countess Agnes of Sayn-Wittgenstein.


Early years: Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, born into the House of Solms, a ruling family with Imperial immediacy, spent her childhood at the parental castle at Braunfels. She became part of the train of Elizabeth, wife of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, the "Winter King" of Bohemia. After imperial forces defeated Frederick V, she fled from Prague with the pregnant queen to the west. Shelter was denied to them along the way because the emperor forbade it as Frederick had been placed under an Imperial ban. Elizabeth went into labour during their flight and Amalia helped her with her delivery of Prince Maurice at Küstrin castle

The end of their journey was The Hague, where stadtholder Maurice of Nassau, uncle of the elector gave them asylum in 1621. They often appeared at his court, where Maurice's younger half-brother Frederick Henry became infatuated with Amalia in 1622. She refused to become his lover and held out for marriage.

Marriage and Children

When Maurice of Nassau died, he made his half-brother Frederick Henry promise to wed. Frederick married Amalia on 4 April 1625.

Their marriage produced five children who lived to adulthood, and four who died young:

Family portrait by Gerrit van Honthorst, 1647

Wife to the Stadtholder

When Frederick Henry became stadtholder after the death of his half-brother Prince Maurice, his influence grew substantially, as did Amalia's. Together Frederick Henry and Amalia succeeded in expanding court life in The Hague. They had several palaces built, including Huis ten Bosch. Amalia was a great collector of art and amassed many jewels, which were inherited by her four surviving daughters. She was described as intelligent, arrogant and ambitious, not beautiful but with a fresh and appealing appearance.

Portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1632

Amalia was the prime mover of several royal marriages, including that of her son William II to Mary, Princess Royal of England and Scotland (daughter of King Charles I of England) and of their daughters with several German princes.

She had a large influence upon policy; she acted as the political advisor of Frederick, and after he became sick in 1640, she openly participated in politics and received foreign diplomats. Her influence is regarded to have contributed to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. As a recognition, King Philip IV of Spain granted her the area around Turnhout in 1649.


After the death of her son William II in 1650 she became the main guardian of her grandson William III (Prince William III of Orange and later also King William III of England). She kept this position until 1672.



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