Hedwig Sophie of Brandenburg

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Hedwig Sophie,
regent of Hessen-Kassel

Hedwig Sophie von Brandenburg (born July 14, 1623 in Berlin ; † June 26, 1683 in Schmalkalden ) was the wife of Landgrave Wilhelm VI. von Hessen-Kassel (* 1629; † 1663) and after his death regent of Hessen-Kassel until 1677.


Hedwig Sophie was born as the daughter of Elector Georg Wilhelm von Brandenburg and Elisabeth Charlotte von der Pfalz . From her marriage to Wilhelm VI. emerged:


After the early death of her husband in 1663, she reigned in Hesse-Kassel, first for her eldest son, Landgrave Wilhelm VII, then after his death in 1670 for his younger brother, Landgrave Karl, until 1677. She tried her husband's cautious foreign policy to continue and avoid alliances that could have drawn Hessen-Kassel into a dispute. Neutrality could be maintained until 1673. Nevertheless, due to France's latent expansion policy , Hessen-Kassel was also in constant danger of being drawn into the armed conflicts. Hedwig Sophie was able to obtain higher tax payments from the estates , which made it possible to replenish the troops, which had been reduced to a minimum after the Thirty Years War . After 1673 she participated in an alliance under her brother, Elector Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg. At the same time there was an imperial war against France, in which the Landgraviate also participated with a contingent.

In the final phase of her reign she tried to delay the point in time when her son Karl took over the government himself. This led to considerable tension between the two. Ultimately, however, she handed over the government to him on August 8, 1677.

Witch hunt

A well-known victim of the witch trials under her reign was Katharina Lips from Betziesdorf , who was subjected to horrific torture in Marburg in 1672 and 1673 .


  • Hans Philippi, Die Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel 1648–1806 = Publications of the Historical Commission for Hesse 46 = Kleine Schriften 8, Marburg 2007.

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