Katherine Hedwig of Sweden
Queen of the Dutch (more...)
Tenure 10 August 1585 - 18 May 1615
Spouse Maurice I of the Dutch
Issue Elisabeth Juliana

Maurice II, King of the Dutch
Catharina Cecilia
Anna Maria

House House of Vasa (by birth)

House of Orange-Nassau (by marriage)

Father Eric XIV
Mother Elizabeth of England
Born 12 August 1567
Tre Kronor Castle, Sweden
Died 18 May 1615 (aged 48)
The Hague, Netherlands
Religion Anglican, later Calvinism
 Katherine Hedwig (10 August 1567 - 18 May 1615) was the youngest child of Elizabeth of England and Eric XIV of Sweden. Her mother died in childbirth, causing her to be hated by her elder sister, Cecilia Renata. Her father was deposed when she was a year old and she was ransomed by her maternal uncle, Edward VI.

Early Life

Katherine was born in Sweden, her mother dying four days after her birth. Her ten year old sister, Cecilia would grow to resent Katherine for their mother's death and the two would never reconcile. When she was a year old she was imprisoned along with her elder siblings until they were brought to England by their uncle, Edward VI. She was raised alongside the Princesses Sophia , Cecily, Catherine, and Elizabeth. She was very close to Queen Isabella, as well as the older Princesses. Katherine was wild and adventurous, and was also very close to Temperance FitzRoy, much to the diapproval of Jane, Anne, Constance, and Philippa. However, Katherine maintained her friendship with the king's illegitimate daughter until she was married. She was one of the "Three Catherines"-she was often called "Kitty"-the other Catherines were Edward's daughter Catherine, the future Queen of Poland and Catherine FitzRoy.


After the French Wars of Religion ended, her uncle put his energies in Netherlands to support the Dutch Revolt. In 1585, two days before her 18th birthday, she married Maurice, Prince of Orange. Only a month later they were proclaimed King and Queen of the Dutch. This caused her sister, Cecilia, the new Duchess of Brittany, to become extremely jealous. When she was invited to the Netherlands to celebrate, she was extremely cool towards her sister and was not seen for the rest of the festvities. Katherine was hurt by this, despite never having a warm relationship with her sister. She was offended by her husband's womanizing ways and the two quarrled often. After bearing Maurice six children, she left court and took a lover. Her cousin Alexander I of England censured her and bid her to return to her husband. Maurice declined, preferring to be with his mistress. He recognized all six of his children to be legitimate heirs to the newly created Dutch throne.


Katherine Hedwig was poisoned by her husband's mistress in hopes that he would marry her. Maurice did not marry the mistress, however, the two remained partners for the rest of his life.

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