Countess Palatine Dorothea Sophie of Neuburg

Dorothea Sophie of Neuburg

Dorothea by an unknown artist
Duchess of Parma
Tenure 7 December 1696 26 May 1727
Born (1670-07-05)5 July 1670
Neuburg Palace, Neuburg
Died 15 September 1748(1748-09-15) (aged 78)
Parma, Duchy of Parma
Burial Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata
Spouse Odoardo, Hereditary Prince of Parma
Francesco, Duke of Parma
Full name
Dorothea Sophie
House House of Farnese
House of Wittelsbach
Father Philip William, Elector Palatine
Mother Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt

Dorothea Sophie of Neuburg (Dorothea Sophie; 5 July 1670 15 September 1748) was princess of Neuburg by birth and later Duchess of Parma from 1695 to 1727. She was the sixth daughter of the Elector of the Palatinate, Philip William of Neuburg, and Landgravine Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt. Three of her sisters were Queen of Spain, Queen of Portugal and Empress of the Holy Roman Empire. She was regent of the duchy of Parma from 1731 to 1735.


Born at the Neuburg Palace, Dorothea was the fourteenth of seventeen children and her parent's sixth daughter. Her older sisters included a Holy Roman Empress (wife of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor), a Queen of Portugal (wife of Peter II of Portugal), a Queen of Spain (wife of Charles II of Spain) and a Crown Princess of Poland (daughter in law of John III Sobieski). Her brothers included Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine and Charles III Philip, Elector Palatine, both her father's successors and Francis Louis of Neuburg, Grand Master of the Teutonic Order.

Dorothea Sophie was blonde, with blue eyes and tall. She was also known for being arrogant, ambitious, authoritarian and without sense of humour.

On 17 September 1690, she married Odoardo Farnese, Hereditary Prince of Parma, heir to the throne of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza. The festivities for their wedding were the most splendid that had ever taken place in Parma. In their three years of marriage, they had two children, a son who died in infancy and a daughter, Elisabeth, future Queen of Spain.

Her husband died on 6 September 1693, only a month after the death of their son. On 7 December 1696, Dorothea married Odoardo's half-brother, Francesco Farnese, who had become Duke of Parma when his father died in 1694.

This marriage was decided by Francesco himself, because he didn't want to give up Dorothea's dowry should she marry someone else. Nevertheless, this marriage remained childless.

Francesco died in 1727 and, when his only remaining brother Antonio also died childless in 1731, the Duchy of Parma went to Dorothea's eldest grandchild, the 16-year-old son of Elisabeth Farnese, Charles III of Spain. Dorothea ruled as regent until 1735, when the Duchy was ceded to Austria after the War of the Polish Succession. She died in Parma in 1748 and was buried at the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata.


  1. Alessandro Ignazio Farnese (6 December 1691 - 5 August 1693) died in infancy.
  2. Elisabeth Farnese (25 October 1692 - 11 July 1766) married Philip V of Spain and had issue.


Media related to Dorothea Sophie of Neuburg at Wikimedia Commons

See also

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