Elizabeth of Bohemi

Elizabeth of Bohemia
Elizabeth of Bohemia
British Royalty
House of Stuart

James VI/I
Children include
   Henry, Prince of Wales
   Elizabeth Stuart
   Charles I
   Robert Stuart, Duke of Kintyre
Charles I
   Charles II
   James II/VII
   Henry, Duke of Gloucester
   Mary, Princess Royal
   Henrietta Anne Stuart
Charles II
James II/VII
   Mary II
   James Francis Edward Stuart
Charles Edward Stuart
Henry Benedict Stuart
Mary II
William III
William, Duke of Gloucester

Elisabeth, Electress Palatine and Queen of Bohemia (August 19, 1596February 13, 1662), born Princess Elizabeth Stuart of Scotland, was born as the eldest daughter to King James VI of Scotland and his Queen consort Anne of Denmark. She was thus sister to Charles I of England. With the demise of the Stuart dynasty in 1714, her direct descendants, the Hanoverian rulers, succeeded to the British throne.


At the time of Elizabeth's birth, her father was still the King of Scotland only; a few years later, he succeeded Elizabeth I as - additionally - King of England and Ireland, making his daughter an even more attractive bride. Young Elizabeth received her first name as namesake of the old queen.

Part of the intent of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was to put the nine year old Elizabeth onto the throne of England (and, presumably, Scotland) as a Catholic monarch, after assassinating her father and the Protestant English aristocracy. At the time of the plot she was staying at Coombe Abbey in Warwickshire, from where the conspirators planned to kidnap her.

In 1613, she married Frederick V, then Elector of the Palatinate, and took up her place in the court at Heidelberg. In 1619, Frederick was offered and accepted the crown of Bohemia, but his rule was brief, and Elizabeth became known as the "Winter Queen". She was also sometimes called "Queen of Hearts" because of her popularity.

Driven into exile, the couple took up residence in The Hague, and Frederick died in 1632. Elizabeth remained in Holland even after her son, Charles I Louis, regained his father's electorship in 1648. Following the Restoration of the British monarchy, she travelled to London to visit her nephew, King Charles II, and died while there. Her daughter was known later as Sophia of Hanover. Her grandson became George I of the United Kingdom, thus making all her direct descendants heir to the British throne.


  1. Frederick Henry (16141629)—(drowned)
  2. Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine (16171680)
  3. Elisabeth of Bohemia, Princess Palatine (16181680)
  4. Rupert, Duke of Cumberland (16191682)
  5. Maurice (16201654)—(drowned)
  6. Louise Hollandine (16221709)
  7. Louis (16241625)
  8. Edward, Count Palatine of Simmern (16251663)
  9. Henrietta Maria (16261651)
  10. John Philip Frederick (16271650)
  11. Charlotte (16281631)
  12. Sophia, Electress of Hanover (16301714)
  13. Gustav Adolf (16321641)


As a matrilineal descendant of Elisabeth of Luxembourg and ultimately a matrilineal relative of Nicholas II of Russia, she and all her female-line descendants are members of mitochondrial haplogroup T.

The Winter Queen in books

In WG Sebald's novel Vertigo (1990), a woman appears whom the narrator, travelling through Heidelberg by train in 1987, recognizes instantly "without a shadow of a doubt" as Elizabeth when she enters his carriage.

Books about the Winter Queen include:

  • Jessica Gorst-Williams, Elizabeth, the Winter Queen, 1977, ISBN 020072472X
  • Josephine Ross, The Winter Queen : The Story of Elizabeth Stuart, 1979, ISBN 0312882327 - ISBN 0297776037
  • Carola Oman, The Winter Queen : Elisabeth of Bohemia, 2000, ISBN 1842120573
  • Jane Stevenson, The Winter Queen : A Novel, 2002, ISBN 0618149120 - ISBN 0618382674
  • Frances Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, 1972, devotes its early chapters to describing her 1613 wedding and the reputation she and her husband had in Europe at the time.

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