Eleonore d'Olbreuse

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Eleonore d'Olbreuse, Duchess of Braunschweig-Lüneburg (around 1660)

Eleonore d'Olbreuse , full French name Éléonore Desmier d'Olbreuse (born January 3, 1639 in the castle of Olbreuse near La Rochelle , † February 5, 1722 in Celle ), was a daughter of Alexander II Desmier, Marquis d'Olbreuse, and the Jacquette born Poussard de Vandré. She received the title Frau von Harburg in 1665 , became Countess of Harburg and Wilhelmsburg in 1674 and from 1676 was also Duchess of Braunschweig-Lüneburg-Celle .


Eleonore came from a Huguenot family of the landed gentry in the Poitou . In 1661 she came to the Paris court as the maid of honor of Marie de La Tour d'Auvergne , Duchess of Thouars , whose son Henri Charles married Emilie von Hessen-Kassel in 1648 . In the winter of 1664 Emilie visited her relatives in Kassel, where she was accompanied by Eleonore. This was courted by many men because of its beauty.

In Kassel, Eleonore met Georg Wilhelm von Braunschweig . She was first raised to his mistress and "Frau von Harburg". As part of the so-called “bridal exchange”, Georg Wilhelm had renounced the marriage and transferred the succession to his brother Ernst August , as he had married Sophie von der Pfalz, who had previously been engaged to Georg Wilhelm . Therefore only a morganatic marriage was possible for him. Eleanor, however, wanted full recognition as an equal duchess. Georg Wilhelm bequeathed all of his private fortune to her and undertook to look after her impoverished father as befits his status.

In 1666, Eleonore gave birth to the only child in the union, Sophie Dorothea . This was legitimized in 1674 by an act of grace by Emperor Leopold I and Eleonore was raised to the rank of "Countess of Harburg and Wilhelmsburg". The allodial rule Harburg - Wilhelmsburg was created especially for them . Two years later, in 1676, the official marriage to Georg Wilhelm took place. Georg Wilhelm's younger brother Ernst August demonstratively stayed away from this second wedding .

Eleonore's daughter Sophie Dorothea

The marriage was almost civil and was very happy. Eleanor had three more miscarriages but did not give birth to any more children. Since she had no official obligations in the first few years of marriage, she was able to look after her daughter, who was very similar to her, more than other women of her class.

Eleonore founded a Reformed congregation in Celle and maintained it from her own resources. Her older sister Angélique († 1688) married Heinrich V. von Reuss -Untergreiz in 1678 . The younger sister Marie became the wife of Olivier von Beaulieu-Marconnay (1660-1751) from the Huguenot family Beaulieu-Marconnay , who held the royal Hanoverian hereditary court office of the chief hunter.

After Georg Wilhelm's brother Ernst August had inherited the Principality of Calenberg in 1679 , Eleonore's daughter Sophie Dorothea was married to Ernst August's son Georg Ludwig in 1682 in order to unite all of the Lüneburg territories. Eleonore lived to see the catastrophic course of this marriage, the divorce and the imprisonment of her daughter in Ahlden .

After her husband's death in 1705, she moved into Lüneburg Castle as a widow's residence. Her daughter Sophie Dorothea asked her divorced husband one last time, in vain, that he release her from Ahlden and allow her to live with her mother in complete seclusion.

Eleanor spent the last years of her life looking after her daughter and unsuccessfully obtaining her release. She even turned to King Louis XIV , who had once driven her and her Huguenot family from France, but was involved in the family as the brother-in-law of a niece of Sophie Dorothea's mother-in-law. He was not averse to accepting her and her daughter, but Eleanor did not want to meet the condition of converting to Catholicism.

Eleonore died in 1722 and was buried in the royal crypt in the town church of St. Mary in Celle.


  • Andreas Flick: "The Celler Hof is completely frayed". Huguenots and French Catholics at court and in the military, Duke Georg Wilhelm of Braunschweig-Lüneburg . In: Huguenots . 72nd year, No. 3, 2008, ISSN  0340-3718 , pp. 87–120 ( PDF ; 2.2 MB).
  • Charles Prosper Maurice Horric de Beaucaire: Une mésalliance dans la maison de Brunswick, 1665-1725, Éléonore Desmier d'Olbreuze, duchesse de Zell . H. Oudin, Paris 1884 ( online ).
  • Elisabeth E. Kwan and Anna E. Röhrig: Women from the court of the Guelphs. MatrixMedia, Göttingen 2006, pp. 115-126, ISBN 3-932313-17-8 , pp. 53-63.
  • Thea Leitner : Scandal at court. The fate of women at European royal courts . 7th edition. Piper, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-492-22009-6 , pp. 13-15, 48, 66-68.
  • Luise Marelle: Eleonore d'Olbreuse, Duchess of Braunschweig-Lüneburg-Celle. The grandmother of Europe . Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 1936.
  • Pierre-Henri Mitard: Éléonore Desmier d'Olbreuse. 'La Grand'Mère de l'Europe' (1639-1722) In: Bulletin de la Société Historique et Scientifique des Deux-Sèvres. Deuxième série . Volume 23, No. 1. Niort, 1990, ISSN  0751-5294 , pp. 35-38.
  • Johann Ferdinand Neigebaur: Eleonore d'Olbreuse, the ancestor of the royal houses of England, Hanover and Prussia . 1856, ( PDF ; 12.8 MB).
  • Dorothea Nolde : Eléonore Desmier d'Olbreuse (1639–1722) at the Celler Hof as a diplomatic, religious and cultural mediator . In: Dorothea Nolde, Claudia Opitz (Hrsg.): Cross-border family relationships. Actors and Media of Cultural Transfer in the Early Modern Era . 1st edition. Böhlau, Cologne [ua] 2008, ISBN 978-3-412-20100-5 , pp. 107-120 ( excerpt )
  • Michael Sikora : Dynasty and Willingness. Duke Georg Wilhelm von Celle, Eleonore d'Olbreuse and the rules of the game of the royal estate . In: Heiko Laß (Hrsg.): Court and media in the field of tension between dynastic tradition and political innovation between 1648 and 1714 (= Rudolstadt research on residential culture, volume 4). Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-422-06862-9 , pp. 19-30.
  • Renate du Vinage: An excellent woman. The fate of Eleonore d'Olbreuse, the last Duchess of Braunschweig-Lüneburg-Celle . 2nd Edition. Otto Meissners, Berlin 2010, ISBN 3-87527-107-6 .

Web links

Commons : Éléonore d'Olbreuse  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Renate du Vinage: An excellent woman. The fate of Eleonore d'Olbreuse, the last Duchess of Braunschweig-Lüneburg-Celle . 2nd Edition. Otto Meissners, Berlin 2010, pp. 41, 43
  2. T. Leitner: Scandal at court , p. 13.
  3. T. Leitner: Scandal at court , p. 66.
  4. NN : The princely crypt and the grave slabs of the dukes of Braunschweig-Lüneburg in the city church of St. Marien Celle , with photos by Dietrich Klatt, Friedrich Kremzow and Ralf Pfeiffer illustrated leaflet , in DIN A5 format (4 pages, above, above) . D.) designed by Heide Kremzow, based on: Dietrich Klatt: Kleiner Kunstführer Schnell & Steiner No. 1986 , 2008