Elisabeth of Bohemia

Portrait of Elisabeth of Bohemia, Alexander Palace

Elisabeth of Bohemia (aka Elisabeth of the Palatinate, Princess Elisabeth of Herford), née Elisabeth Simmern van Pallandt 

*December 26, 1618 (Heidelberg, Germany)
†February 11, 1680 (Herford, Germany)

Elisabeth of Bohemia, Princess Palatine and Abbess of Herford, best known for her significant and influential letter exchange with the philosopher René Descartes and her vast network comprising the intellectuals of the seventeenth century in Europe was born as first child of  Elizabeth Stuart, princess of England and Frederick V of the Palatinate. Born into a royal family with powerful affiliations to many Protestant countries all over Europe, the dramatic change of the family fortune – the loss of the Kingdom of Bohemia and of the Palatinate –  and the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War brought Elisabeth and her family as exiles to The Hague. There, Elisabeth profited of the vibrating cultural climate. After the restitution of the Palatinate and as the Abbess of Herford, Elisabeth became an influential political figure, famous for her tolerance and support of persecuted religious groups, such as the Labadists and Quakers. Throughout her life, Elisabeth engaged in a widespread learned correspondence with many intellectuals of her age, including philosophers, politicians, religious leaders and family members.

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