Maria Amalia of Courland

Princess Maria Anna Amalia of Courland (12 June 1653 – 16 June 1711) was Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel through her marriage to Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel. She was the child of Jacob Kettler, Duke of Courland and Semigallia and Margravine Louise Charlotte of Brandenburg. Her eldest son was King Frederick I of Sweden. One of her daughters is the most recent common ancestor of all currently reigning monarchs in Europe.

Maria Anna Amalia of Courland
Maria Amalia, 1653-1711 (Johan N Cramer) - Nationalmuseum - 14692.tif
Landgravine consort of Hesse-Kassel
Tenure21 May 1673 – 16 June 1711
Born(1653-06-12)12 June 1653
Died16 June 1711(1711-06-16) (aged 58)
(m. 1673)
IssueFrederick I of Sweden
Sophie Charlotte, Duchess of Mecklenburg
William VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
Marie Luise, Princess of Orange
George Charles
FatherJacob of Courland
MotherLouise Charlotte of Brandenburg


Maria Amalia was the daughter of Jacob Kettler, Duke of Courland and Semigallia (1610–1681) and his wife, Princess Louise Charlotte of Brandenburg (1617–1676).

During the Northern Wars, from 1658 to 1660 Maria Amalia and her family were kept as prisoners by the invading Swedes in Riga and later in Ivangorod.

She was first engaged to her first cousin William VII, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (1651–1670), but he died during his Grand Tour. She was then engaged to William's younger brother and heir, Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (1654–1730), whom she married on 21 May 1673 in Kassel.

As landgravine, she participated in the creation of the Karlsaue Park in Kassel. The marmor fountain in the park contains a medallion by the Roman sculptor Pierre Etienne Monnot depicting Maria Amalia. In 1699, together with her son Maximilian, she bought Sensenstein Castle. She was described as modest, affable and pious.

Maria Amalia died in 1711 and was buried in the Martinskirche of Kassel. The village of Mariendorf in Hesse, Germany was named in her memory.


Frederick I of Sweden, Maria Amalia's eldest surviving son

Maria Amalia and her husband Charles had seventeen children, nine of whom survived to adulthood. Their eldest surviving son, Frederick I succeeded his father as Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, while also becoming King of Sweden; their second-eldest surviving son William VIII also became landgrave after his brother's death

  • George Charles (1691–1755)
  • Eleonore (1694)
  • Wilhelmine Charlotte (1695–1722)
  • Child (1696)


References and sourcesEdit

  • Christian Röth: Geschichte von Hessen p. 305
  • Ulrich Schoenborn (2010), Mit Herz und Verstand: Biographie und Lebenswelt der Töchter Herzog Jakobs von Kurland in Hessen-Homburg, Herford und Hessen-Kassel, Hamburg: Kovač, ISBN 978-3-8300-4667-7
Maria Amalia of Courland
Born: 12 June 1653 Died: 16 June 1711
Royal titles
Title last held by
Hedwig Sophie of Brandenburg
Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel
21 May 1673 – 16 June 1711
Title next held by
Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden