Princess Philippine Charlotte of Prussia

Philippine Charlotte of Prussia
Duchess consort of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Born (1716-03-13)13 March 1716
Stadtschloss, Berlin
Died 17 February 1801(1801-02-17) (aged 84)
Spouse Charles I of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Issue Charles II, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Prince Georg Franz
Sophie, Margravine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Prince Christian Ludwig
Anna, Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Prince Frederick Augustus
Prince Albrecht Heinrich
Princess Louise
Prince Wilhelm Adolf
Elisabeth Christine, Crown Princess of Prussia
Princess Friederike
Augusta Dorothea, Abbess of Gandersheim
Prince Maximilian Julius Leopold
Full name
Philippine Charlotte
House House of Hohenzollern (by birth)
House of Brunswick-Bevern
(by marriage)
Father Frederick William I of Prussia
Mother Sophia Dorothea of Hanover

Princess Philippine Charlotte of Prussia (German: Philippine Charlotte von Preußen) (13 March 1716, in Berlin – 17 February 1801, in Brunswick) was a Duchess consort of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel by marriage to Charles I of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and a known intellectual in contemporary Germany.


Philippine Charlotte was the fourth child and third daughter of Frederick William I of Prussia and his spouse Sophia Dorothea of Hanover.

On 2 July 1733 in Berlin, Princess Philippine Charlotte married Duke Charles of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, eldest son of Ferdinand Albert II, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Charles inherited the dukedom on his father's death in 1735, making her Duchess consort.

The double marriage alliance between Prussia and Brunswick by her marriage to Charles I, and that of her brother Frederick to Charles' sister Elisabeth Christine, led to a permanent alliance of the most important North German Protestant houses Prussia and Brunswick.[1] The family ties of the two dynasties resulted the alliance of Brunswick and Prussia in the Seven Years' War, and the career of Philippines sons in the Prussian service.[2]

Prussian royalty
House of Hohenzollern
Frederick William I
Prince Frederick Louis
Wilhelmine, Margravine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Prince Friedrich William
Princess Charlotte Albertine
Frederick II
Friederike Luise, Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Philippine Charlotte, Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Prince Ludwig Karl Wilhelm
Sophia Dorothea, Margravine of Brandenburg-Schwedt
Louisa Ulrika, Queen of Sweden
Prince Augustus William
Anna Amalie, Princess-Abbess of Quedlinburg
Prince Henry
Prince Augustus Ferdinand

Philippine Charlotte was described as subtle, highly educated and a child of the enlightenment.[3] She worked independently of an extract of the philosophical writings of Christian von Wolff in French.[4] The Duchess pursued, partly because of the influence of the ducal adviser Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Jerusalem, the German intellectual life very closely. She appreciated the poet Salomon Gessner and maintained a personal relationship Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock.[5] The dramatist Lessing were also among her circle.[6]

As Duchess consort, Philippine Charlotte's court life focused on the circle of conversation she held before and after dinner in her state apartments in the Grauer Hof, to which she attracted scholars and men of letters with positions at court.[7] The Brunswick court attended a few opera performances and public balls a year in accordance with court etiquette, but the large expenditure of her spouse soon made it necessary to have a more economic court life.[8]

She raised her son Charles in reverence of her brother, Frederick of Prussia, gave him a humanist education with Abbé Jerusalem among his tutors, and sent him on a Grand Tour with the archaeologist Winckelmann as his companion.[9]

In 1773, Charles I was obliged to make his son regent, and in 1780, he died, and was succeeded by her son.

The Swedish Princess Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte described her, as well as her family, at the time of a visit in August, 1799:

Our cousin, the Duke, arrived immediately the next morning. [...] After he left us, I visited the Dowager Duchess, the aunt of my consort. She is an agreeable, highly educated and well respected lady, but by now so old that she has almost lost her memory.[10]

Philippine Charlotte left to the Wolfenbüttel Library her own collection of 4,000 volumes.




  1. Harm Klueting, Wolfgang Schmale: Das Reich und seine Territorialstaaten im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert. LIT Verlag, Berlin-Hamburg-Münster 2004, S. 60.
  2. Harm Klueting, Wolfgang Schmale: Das Reich und seine Territorialstaaten im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert. LIT Verlag, Berlin-Hamburg-Münster 2004, S. 60.
  3. Fraser, Flora: The Unruly Queen: The Life of Queen Caroline
  4. Friedrich Cramer: Zur geschichte Friedrich Wilhelms I. und Friedrichs II., Könige von Preussen. Schreck, 1835, S. 77.
  5. Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, Horst Gronemeyer, Helmut Riege, Rainer Schmidt: Hamburger Klopstock-Ausgabe. Walter de Gruyter, 1988, S. 258.
  6. Fraser, Flora: The Unruly Queen: The Life of Queen Caroline
  7. Fraser, Flora: The Unruly Queen: The Life of Queen Caroline
  8. Fraser, Flora: The Unruly Queen: The Life of Queen Caroline
  9. Fraser, Flora: The Unruly Queen: The Life of Queen Caroline
  10. none, Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta (1927) [1797-1799]. af Klercker, Cecilia, ed. Hedvig Elisabeth Charlottas dagbok [The diary of Hedvig Elizabeth Charlotte] (in Swedish). VI 1797-1799. Translated by Cecilia af Klercker. Stockholm: P.A. Norstedt & Söners förlag. pp. 219–220. OCLC 14111333. (search for all versions on WorldCat)

Media related to Princess Philippine Charlotte of Prussia at Wikimedia Commons

German nobility
Preceded by
Duchess Antoinette of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Duchess consort of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Title next held by
Princess Augusta of Great Britain
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