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Prinses_Marianne_van_Oranje-Nassau_smallPrincess Marianne of Orange-Nassau (1810-1883)

She was one of the most unconventional women of her times and social class. Princess of the Netherlands and Prussia, Wilhelmina Frederika Louise Charlotte Marianne, known in Poland as Marianna Orańska, belonged to the Orange-Nassau dynasty. She was born on the 9th of May 1810 in Berlin ? the city her parents fled to in 1795, after the war against France. She died on the 29th of May 1883 in Reinhartshausen, in Rheinland. She was a daughter of William I of Orange ? the first king of the united Netherlands ? and his first wife ?Frederica Louise Wilhelmine von Hohenzollern, also referred to as Wilhelmine of Prussia.

Marianne's mother, Wilhelmine of Prussia, was, as far as is known, an extremely modest woman, overshadowed by the family and responding to their needs. She died in 1837 and was buried in a medieval Nieuwe Kerk church in the Dutch town of Delft. In 1841 the widowed William I, who by then had abdicated, married a duchess called Henrietta d'Oultremont de Wegimont. He died in Berlin two years later.

The contemporary citizens of the Lower Silesia perceive Marianne of Orange-Nassau who once owned these lands, as an emancipated person, sometimes referred to as a feminist or even a promiscuous woman. One couldn't be further from the truth though. Indeed, according to known evidence, Marianne spent her life with two men beginning with her husband, Albert von Hohenzollern, whom she divorced due to his indiscretions (Marianne's and Albert's marriage resulted in four children, only two of whom outlived their parents), and then with Johannes van Rossum, her coachman and secretary. Thus, she was a faithful woman, however, she evoked a major scandal when her relationship with a man of a considerably lower social status produced a son. Unable to come to terms with his ex-daughter-in-laws misconduct, Albert's father ? Frederick William III ? administered infamy upon Marianne.

Marianne was a veritable European; both her ideas and her actions were far ahead of her times. She managed to live in four widespread places at the same time; in Holland, Rheinland, Italy and Lower Silesia.

Evidence of her unique character traits, unseen in women of her epoch, can be found in the form of investments she made in the Lower Silesia region: vast forestries on Stroński and Śnieliński lands, quarries, lime kilns, steelworks, but also income from local tax payments which she was very successful at executing.

The Princess was also famous for her charity work. She was nicknamed as Kind Lady, especially in the Lower Silesia region, where stories are still being told regarding interest she took in ordinary people's lives and the extent to which she cared for them.

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