Edward, Count Palatine of Simmern
5 October 1625|
The Hague, Netherlands
|Died||13 March 1663 37)(aged|
Luise Marie of the Palatinate|
Anne Henriette, Princess of Condé
Benedicta Henrietta, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg
|House||House of Palatine Simmern|
|Father||Frederick V, Elector Palatine|
|Religion||Protestant, converted to Catholicism|
Count Palatine Edward of Simmern (Prince Palatine Edward) 5 October 1625 – 10 March 1663, was the sixth son of Frederick V, Elector Palatine (of the House of Wittelsbach), the "Winter King" of Bohemia, by his consort, the English princess Elizabeth Stuart.
Edward was born in The Hague, where his parents lived in exile after his father lost the Battle of White Mountain and was driven from the thrones of both Bohemia and the Palatinate. His father, a Calvinist, died on 29 November 1632, when Edward was seven years old.
On 24 April 1645, Edward married in Paris a French princess of Italian extraction, Anna Gonzaga (1616–1684). Nine years older than Edward, she was a daughter of Carlo I, Duke of Mantua and Catherine de Lorraine-Guise-Mayenne, and had been spurned by her alleged previous husband, the fifth Duke of Guise. She had been raised in France, where her father held the dukedom of Nevers prior to inheriting the Italian duchy.
He was embarrassed financially, she by scandalous pursuit of a cousin who had repudiated her to wed another, and both by a connection forbidden by their warring faiths, thus they married in secret. But Edward's prompt conversion vindicated the couple at the French royal court, despite his mother's threats to disown any of her children who embraced the Catholic Church.
The couple took up residence in Paris, where they were referred to as the Prince and Princess Palatine, her inheritance and the king's generosity enabling them to live according to their rank as princes étrangers. Elizabeth soon resumed correspondence with her son. In 1649 he received England's Order of the Garter.
Edward and Anna Gonzaga were parents of three daughters:
- Luise Marie (23 July 1647 – 11 March 1679). Married Charles Theodore, Prince of Salm;
- Anne Henriette (23 July 1648 – 23 February 1723). Married Henri Jules, Prince of Condé, had issue;
- Benedicta Henrietta (14 March 1652 – 12 August 1730). Married John Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg.
Prince Edward died in Paris on 13 March 1663, aged 37.
If Edward had not converted to Catholicism, it is possible that the English throne would have been inherited by his descendants rather than those of his Protestant sister, Sophia, Electress of Hanover.