Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sophia of Hanover

Sophia of Hanover – the electress consort of Brunswick-Lüneburg from 1692 to 1698. This rather arcane title explains merely her position in nobility of the era, being the wife of one of the elector-princes of the Holy Roman Empire. A rather complex collection of German states, the Holy Roman Empire was overseen by an emperor who, while dynastic in succession in practice, was still legally subject to a group of princes who met to 'elect' the emperor. Thus the title. Sophia's significance is that during the reign of Queen Anne in Britain, it was left to parlaiments to determine her successor. The Act of Settlement 1701 declared Sophia to be the next in line to the crown of England. It was never determined who would succeed Anne in Scotland. Sophia never became Queen, having died a few weeks before her first cousin once removed, Anne. Instead, Sophia's son became George I of Great Britain, furthering the connections between English and German monarchy.