Browse Exhibits (2 total)

The Stadtholders' Wives

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Publication in EMLO of the correspondences of the wives of six seventeenth-century stadtholders provides access for the very first time to a corpus of c. 3,600 letters which offers an unprecedented opportunity to analyze female power and influence in the political circles of the Dutch Republic at the Orange and Stuart courts in The Hague and their regional counterpart the Frisian court in Leeuwarden.

This section of the exhibition sets out biographical information for these six influential women, each of whom played a significant role in a number of different spheres.

Amalia von Solms-Braunfels and Stadtholder Frederik Hendrik van Oranje-Nassau with their three youngest daughters Albertina Agnes, Henrietta Catharina and Maria

Amalia von Solms-Braunfels and Stadtholder Frederik Hendrik van Oranje-Nassau with their three youngest daughters Albertina Agnes, Henrietta Catharina and Maria, by Gerard van Honthorst, 1647

The Stadtholders' Wives' Letters

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This exhibition draws together a selection made by Ineke Huysman of the different types of letter sent and received by six of the Dutch and Frisian stadtholders' wives in the years between 1605 and 1726.

Two very different letters written by the famous Dutch poet and diplomat Constantijn Huygens may be viewed side by side. They illustrate particularly well the long career of this royal servant and they were sent respectively, forty-six years apart, to Amalia von Solms-Braunfels and to Mary Stuart, the future Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland. We find in the exhibition a letter sent to grandpensionary Johan de Witt in which the unexpectedly and newly widowed Albertine Agnes works to secure the position of her seven-year-old son. Another letter included in the display highlights the importance of the role played by Stadtholder Frederik Hendrik as father-in-law to Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange. On show also is the letter written by Stadtholder Hendrik Casimir to his mother Sophia Hedwig just before his untimely death from wounds received in action and this may be compared in turn with a fascinating letter of reassurance sent by Stadtholder Johan Willem Friso from another battlefield sixty-nine years later to his mother Henriette Amalia.

Letter from Johan de Knuyt to Amalia von Solms-Braunfels, 8 June 1635

Letter from Johan de Knuyt to Amalia von Solms-Braunfels, 8 June 1635