Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine

Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine

Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine
Spouse(s) Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel
Marie Luise von Degenfeld
Elisabeth Hollander von Bernau
Noble family Wittelsbach
Father Frederick V, Elector Palatine
Mother Elizabeth of Bohemia
Born (1617-12-22)22 December 1617
Died 28 August 1680(1680-08-28) (aged 62)
near Edingen

Charles Louis, (German: Karl I. Ludwig), Elector Palatine KG (22 December 1617 28 August 1680) was the second son of German elector Frederick V of the Palatinate, the "Winter King" of Bohemia, and his wife, Elizabeth of England.

English politics

Charles Louis with his teacher Volrad von Plesse, painting by Jan Lievens, 1631.

After the death of his older brother, Henry Frederick, in 1629, and of his father in 1632, Charles Louis inherited his exiled father's possessions in the Electorate of the Palatinate. Along with his younger brother Rupert, he spent much of the 1630s at the court of his maternal uncle, Charles I of England, hoping to enlist English support for his cause. The young Elector Palatine was largely unsuccessful in this, and became gradually estranged from the King, who feared that Charles Louis might become a focus for opposition forces in England. Indeed, in the English crisis leading up to the outbreak of the English Civil War, Charles Louis had considerable sympathy for the parliamentary leaders, especially the Earl of Essex, feeling them more likely to come to the aid of the Palatinate on the continent. The Prince Palatine supported the execution of Strafford. Although Charles Louis was involved in the early stages of the Civil War with his uncle, he was mistrusted for his parliamentary sympathies, and soon returned to his mother in The Hague. There he distanced himself from the royalist cause in the Civil War, fearing that Charles would sell him out for Spanish support.

Engraving of Charles I Louis

In 1644, Charles Louis returned to England at the invitation of Parliament. He took up residence in the Palace of Whitehall and took the Solemn League and Covenant, even though his brothers, Rupert and Maurice, were Royalist generals. Contemporaries (including King Charles) and some in subsequent generations believed that Charles Louis' motive in visiting Roundhead London was that he hoped that Parliament would enthrone him in place of his uncle. Charles Louis' endorsement of the Parliamentary party was a cause of enmity between uncle and nephew, and when a captive Charles I met his nephew once again in 1647, the elder Charles accused the Prince of angling for the English throne. Charles Louis was still in England in October 1648 when the Peace of Westphalia restored the Lower Palatinate to him (the Upper Palatinate, to his great disappointment, remained under the Elector of Bavaria). He remained in England long enough to see the execution of his uncle in January 1649, which appears to have come as a shock. The two had not reconciled prior to the King's death - Charles refused to see his nephew before his execution.


After this unhappy dénouement to Charles Louis's participation in English politics, he at last returned to the now devastated Electorate of the Palatinate in the autumn of 1649. Over the more than thirty years of his reign there, he strove with some success to rebuild his shattered territory. In foreign affairs, he pursued a pro-French course, marrying his daughter Elizabeth Charlotte to Philip I, Duke of Orléans, Louis XIV's brother, in 1671. After his restoration, his relations with his relatives continued to deteriorate - his British relations never forgave him for his course in the Civil War, while his mother and siblings resented his parsimony.

The most notable facet of his reign was probably his unilateral divorce of his wife, Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel, and subsequent bigamous marriage to Marie Luise von Degenfeld. This second wife was given the unique title of Raugravine (Raugräfin, countess of uninhabited or uncultivated lands), and their children were known as the Raugraves.



Lover Unknown
  1. Ludwig von Seltz (1643 1660)
Wife 1 Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel, 20 November 1627 16 March 1686, Kassel
Married 22 February 1650 Kassel
  1. Charles II, Elector Palatine (31 March 1651 26 May 1685)
  2. Elizabeth Charlotte, Princess Palatine (27 May 1652 8 December 1722, Heidelberg)
  3. Friedrich (12 May 1653 13 May 1653)
Wife 2 Marie Luise von Degenfeld, 28 November 1634 18 March 1677, Strasbourg
Morganatically Married 6 January 1658 Schwetzingen
  1. Karl Ludwig von der Pfalz (15 October 1658 12 August 1688)
  2. Karoline von der Pfalz (19 November 1659 28 June 1696), married Meinhardt Schomberg, 3rd Duke of Schomberg
  3. Louise von der Pfalz (25 January 1661 6 February 1733)
  4. Ludwig von der Pfalz (19 February 1662 7 April 1662)
  5. Amalie Elisabeth von der Pfalz (1 April 1663 13 July 1709)
  6. George Ludwig von der Pfalz (30 March 1664 20 July 1665)
  7. Frederike von der Pfalz (7 July 1665 7 August 1674)
  8. Friedrich Wilhelm von der Pfalz (25 November 1666 29 July 1667)
  9. Karl Eduard von der Pfalz (19 May 1668 2 January 1690)
  10. Sophie von der Pfalz (19 July 1669 28 November 1669)
  11. Karl Moritz von der Pfalz (9 January 1671 13 June 1702)
  12. Karl August von der Pfalz (19 October 1672 20 September 1691)
  13. Karl Kasimir von der Pfalz (1 May 1675 28 April 1691)
Wife 3 Elisabeth Hollander von Bernau, 1659 - 8 March 1702 Schaffhausen
Morganatically Married 11 December 1679 Schloss Friedrichsburg
  1. Charles Louis von der Pfalz (born 17 April 1681, Schaffhausen)
Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine
Cadet branch of the House of Wittelsbach
Born: 22 September 1617 Died: 28 August 1680
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Frederick V
Elector Palatine
1648 (1632)-1680
Succeeded by
Charles II


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