1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Königsmark, Philipp Christoph, Count of

KÖNIGSMARK, PHILIPP CHRISTOPH, Count of (1665–1694), was a member of a noble Swedish family, and is chiefly known as the lover of Sophia Dorothea, wife of the English king George I. then electoral prince of Hanover. Born on the 14th of March 1665, Königsmark was a brother of the countess noticed above. After wandering and fighting in various parts of Europe he entered the service of Ernest Augustus, elector of Hanover. Here he made the acquaintance of Sophia Dorothea, and assisted her in one or two futile attempts to escape from Hanover. Regarded, rightly or wrongly, as the lover of the princess, he was seized, and disappeared from history, probably by assassination, on the 1st of July 1694. One authority states that George I. was accustomed to boast about this deed; but this statement is doubted, and the Hanoverian court resolutely opposed all efforts to clear up the mystery. It is not absolutely certain that Sophia Dorothea was guilty of a criminal intrigue with Königsmark, as it is probable that the letters which purport to have passed between the pair are forgeries. The question of her guilt or innocence, however, has been and still remains a fruitful and popular subject for romance and speculation.

See Briefwechsel des Grafen Königsmark und der Prinzessin Sophie Dorothea von Celle, edited by W. F. Palmblad (Leipzig, 1847); A. Köcher, “Die Prinzessin von Ahlden,” in the Historische Zeitschrift (Munich, 1882); and W. H. Wilkins, The Love of an Uncrowned Queen (London, 1900).