British Royals

Has the body of George I’s wife’s lover finally been found?

Sophia Dorothea of Celle would have been Queen of Great Britain as the wife of George I and the mother of the future George II.  However, this most unhappy match ended in scandal. It was doomed from the beginning with Sophia Dorothea exclaiming, “I will not marry the pig snout!”, when told of the plans for her marriage.

After the births of their two children, the future George II and Sophia Dorothea’s namesake, later Queen in Prussia,  Sophia began to be neglected by George, who took a lover by name of Melusine von der Schulenburg. In turn, Sophia began to re-acquaint herself with the Swedish Count Philip Christoph von Königsmarck. They had first met in Celle when he was 16, where it had been an innocent flirt. By 1690 they were sending each other love letters.

Her father-in-law exiled von Königsmarck but that would not be the end of it. Sophia Dorothea had been confronted about her affair, leaving her with bruises. Then von Königsmarck conveniently disappeared in 1694. It is presumed he was killed trying to help Sophia Dorothea escape. Sophia Dorothea would spent the rest of her life imprisoned in Ahlden Castle, after her divorce from the future George I. Her husband would succeed Queen Anne in 1714.

Von Königsmarck’s body was never found. Until now perhaps. Parts of a human skeleton were found during construction works in a part of the Leineschloss. The remains were taken to the police who determined they were quite old.

Professor Michael Klintschar says: “How old, however, we can not say. Only that the bones are not from the relevant law enforcement time frame of 50 years.”

Further analysis of the bones will be undertaken by Friedhelm Wulf, an archaeologist. He will bring them to the Georg Albrecht University of Göttingen, where they will be studied using modern methods such as DNA analysis.