James Louis Sobieski

James Louis Sobieski (full name in Polish: Jakub Ludwik Henryk Sobieski; 2 November 1667 – 19 December 1737) was a Polish nobleman, politician, diplomat, scholar, traveller and the son of King John III of Poland and Marie Casimire Louise de La Grange d'Arquien.

James Louis Sobieski
Prince of Oława
Gascar Jakub Ludwik Sobieski.jpg
Sobieski by Henri Gascar
Born(1667-11-02)2 November 1667
Paris, France
Died19 December 1737(1737-12-19) (aged 70)
Żółkiew Castle, Żółkiew, Poland
SpouseHedwig Elisabeth of Neuburg
Maria Carolina, Duchess of Bouillon
Maria Clementina, Jacobite consort
Full name
Jakub Ludwik Henryk Sobieski
FatherJohn III Sobieski
MotherMarie Casimire Louise
ReligionRoman Catholicism


Portrait of James Louis Sobieski with his father, c. 1680s by Jan Tricius

James Louis Sobieski was born on 2 November 1667 in Paris, France. He was named after his grandfather Jakub Sobieski, his godfather Louis XIV of France and his godmother Henrietta Maria of France. In 1683, the fifteen-year-old prince fought alongside his father against the Turks at the Battle of Vienna. James was a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

He was initially engaged to Ludwika Karolina Radziwiłł but the marriage never materialized. On 25 March 1691 James Louis married Hedwig Elisabeth Amelia of Neuburg (1673–1722), the daughter of the Elector Palatine Philip William. They had five daughters, two of whom would have progeny. As part of his wife's dowry, he received the Principality of Oława.

On the death of James Louis' father, John III, no fewer than eighteen candidates stood for the vacant Polish throne. Family rivalries prevented the election of James Louis Sobieski even though Austria supported his candidacy. James Louis Sobieski’s own mother, Marie Casimire, favored her son-in-law, Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria. The powerful King Louis XIV of France supported François Louis, Prince of Conti (1664–1709).

In the end, Frederick Augustus, Elector of Saxony, who renounced Lutheranism and converted to Catholicism in order to qualify, was crowned as Augustus II, King of Poland on 1 September 1697. It was the first time that a deceased monarch's son had not been elected to succeed him, the previous king's heir had been debarred from the throne by military force, and that a German became king (which went against a tradition of avoiding German hegemony).

Augustus II’s first act as king was to expel the prince of Conti from the country.

In 1704 James Louis Sobieski and his brother Alexander were seized by Augustus II’s troops and imprisoned. They remained in prison for two years before finally being released.

James Louis Sobieski died of a stroke on 19 December 1737 in Żółkiew, Poland and is buried there. His oldest surviving daughter Maria Karolina, inherited his vast land holdings which included 11 cities and 140 villages.


  1. Maria Leopoldyna (30 April 1693 – 12 July 1695).
  2. Maria Casimira (20 January 1695 – 18 May 1723), engaged to Charles XII of Sweden.
  3. Maria Karolina (15 November 1697 – 8 May 1740) married (1) Frederick Maurice de la Tour d'Auvergne (2) Charles Godefroy de La Tour d'Auvergne and had issue.
  4. Jan (21 October 1698 – July 1699).
  5. Maria Klementyna (18 July 1702 – 24 January 1735) married "The Old Pretender" and had issue.
  6. Maria Magdalena (born and died 3 August 1704).


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