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The Imprisoned Princess (Hardback)

The Scandalous Life of Sophia Dorothea of Celle

P&S History Social History Women of History 18th Century 17th Century Royal History

By Catherine Curzon
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 200
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781473872639
Published: 24th February 2020

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When Sophia Dorothea of Celle married her first cousin, the future King George I, she was an unhappy bride. Filled with dreams of romance and privilege, she hated the groom she called “pig snout” and wept at news of her engagement.

In the austere court of Hanover, the vibrant young princess found herself ignored and unwanted. Bewildered by dusty protocol and regarded as a necessary evil by her husband, Sophia Dorothea grew lonely as he gallivanted with his mistress under her nose.

When Sophia Dorothea plunged headlong into a passionate and dangerous affair with Count Phillip Christoph von Königsmarck, the stage was set for disaster. This dashing soldier was as celebrated for his looks as his bravery, and when he and Sophia Dorothea fell in love, they were dicing with death. Watched by a scheming and manipulative countess who had ambitions of her own, it was only a matter of time before scandal gripped the House of Hanover and tore the marriage of the heir to the British throne and his unhappy wife apart.

Divorced and disgraced, Sophia Dorothea was locked away in a gilded cage for 30 years, whilst her lover faced an even darker fate.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sophia Dorothea of Celle would have been Queen of Great Britain if she had not divorced the future King George I of Great Britain, but it was not to be.

Born from an initially morganatic marriage, she married her first cousin, then Electoral Prince of Hanover, the son of Sophia of Hanover, in order to unite their lines and more importantly their riches. It was an unhappy match from the start with her famously declaring, "I will not marry the pig snout!” But marry they did, and they also managed to produce two children - the future King George II and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover, later Queen in Prussia. Both then took lovers, which spiralled quickly out of control, leading to a divorce and Sophia Dorothea's imprisonment at Ahlden for the rest of her life.

The Imprisoned Princess by Catherine Curzon delves into her life and even the drama leading up to her birth in a very engaging way. The book well-researched with a ton of references but it still reads like a dream, and you will not want to put it down. Even if you know how it ends, you keep hoping for a different outcome for Sophia Dorothea. I think she would have made a fabulous Queen and it's quite tragic that she never got see her children again.

NetGalley, Moniek Bloks

I enjoyed reading this book, the history in the book was really interesting and I enjoyed what I read. I look forward to more from the author.

NetGalley, Kay McLeer

The Imprisoned Princess: The Scandalous Life of Sophia Dorothea of Celle was a well-written, well-researched and an overall interesting read. Throughout the whole of this book you are presented with information that is both relevant and engaging to read.

Ultimately this biography was probably a difficult one to write due to the fact that Sophia spent the best part of her life imprisoned. However, Catherine Curzon wrote a brilliant and entertaining book on such an important woman in history.

Overall, it was such a fascinating read and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in this period of history.

Read the full review here

Where There's Ink There's Paper

Fascinating book.
This is a really compelling and readable biography.
Marriages of convenience, affairs, murder, betrayal. Being a princess is not always happily ever after.
Readable and enjoyable

NetGalley, Emma Cannon

I am always astonished by court life. Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses'. Life isnt always what it seems to be from the outside. Just because they are royalty does not mean their life is any easier than ours.

NetGalley, Cynthia Guerra

This month's collection of Pen and Sword histories is peppered with tales of high society women with larger than llife characters. Here's the first: Princess Sophia Dorothea of Cell, first wife of the future George 1st. It reads like a forerunner to a Georgette Heyer novel, a true bodice ripper of a story that could have graced the pages of 1950s magazines such as TitBits and Reveille. Amazing!

Books Monthly

Video review on Ghost Reader YouTube

Ghost Reader, YouTube

The lives of the ruling nobility of Europe can make for interesting subjects for biography. The life of Sophia Dorothea is no exception and in the book, Imprisoned Princess: The Scandalous Life of Sophia Dorothea of Celle by Catherine Curzon shines a light on her interesting life. While being a noblewoman had it perks, Curzon shows the reader that for Sophia, family duty led to a disastrous domestic life and ultimately a life of what could have been. Curzon takes us from Sophia's loving family, to her affection less marriage to her fiery affair with Philip Christoph von Königsmarck which eventually led to her confinement and his mysterious disappearance. This all happens in the mix of a warring Europe, ambitious electors and court politics. This give Sophia' life context and depth that would be lacking without it.

NetGalley, Justin Staley

A very real matrimonial war of the roses this book is full of information about the real hatred between this royal couple.

NetGalley, Shelly Myers

A readable and accessible biography of Sophia Dorothea of Celle, I found the book interesting.

NetGalley, Mandy Jenkinson

I was very intrigued by the subject of this book, because I've long been curious about this tragic figure, trapped in an unhappy marriage, a princess imprisoned, a mother separated from her children... so I was excited to find out about this biography. It holds much interesting information and seems very well researched.

NetGalley, Karen Meeus

I thought this was a very well written biographical account of Sophia Dorothea's unhappy life. The author sketched the characters well enough that the reader is drawn into their story, and feels some sympathy for the main two, whilst detesting the figure of Clara von Platen, scheming mistress to George's father, Ernest Augustus. It is infuriating that Sophia Dorothea (the same as most other wives of the time) was expected to put up with her husband's philandering without complaint but was denied the same opportunity. This is a great introduction to a person that history on the whole tends to forget. Recommended to anyone who likes historical biographies.

NetGalley, Gayle Noble

Poor Sophia Dorothea might have been the first Hanoverian Queen, but she became a prisoner instead because of a tragic love affair and the several evil forces against her. A heartbroken bride from the first, Sophia hated her husband Prince George - when she knew of her intended betrothal she threw his miniature across the wall and shouted, "I will not marry the pig snout!" The handsome soldier and adventurer Phillip von Konigsmarck was a very different matter. Sophia Dorothea would pay a terrible price for loving him...

Catherine Curzon brings intelligent and likeable but rather naive Sophia to life in this book, as well as such characters as the evil Clara von Platen. Sometimes, it is a little bit difficult to tell when she is writing actual history or speculation, for example, she theorises somewhat about what happened to von Konigsmarck. Although this is a sad story, Curzon tells it in a lively, engaging and enjoyable way

NetGalley, Lisa Sanderson

I did find it's well researched and obviously the result of a lot of work.

NetGalley, Amy McElroy

I have read a lot of English history but this was a first for me on this princess! What a life she had,misery all around! Everyone wishes to be Royalty,a princess,but wow,it's not all It's cracked up to be! Received this from Net Gallery and interesting to say the least! Very well researched on the dates and time and the story was interesting to say and the writing was great! A very good read it you enjoy these kinds of stories!!

NetGalley, Trick Wiley

Catherine Curzon has written a very readable account of a woman, period and setting I knew little about. I felt I gained a greater appreciation of the time through this book and it has prompted me to look more into this period.

NetGalley, Madeline McCreanor

I found this an interesting read
Loved the style - it made the book very accessible.

I had not heard of the subject so for me this was very informative and fascinating.

Really enjoyed this.

NetGalley, Maria Martignetti

Good sourcing and descriptions of what was going on in her life and those around her that played apart in it.

NetGalley, Alexandra Roth

An interesting look into one of the most underrated members of royalty, this novel is action packed! Written in a funny but historic way, The Imprisoned Princess details one of the forgotten miscarriages of justice.

NetGalley, Kinsey Fiene

About Catherine Curzon

CATHERINE CURZON is a historian of Georgian royalty. Her work has been featured on the official website of BBC History Magazine, and in publications such as All About HistoryWho Do You Think You Are?, and Jane Austen’s Regency World. She has spoken at venues including Kenwood House, Wellington College, the Royal Pavilion, the National Maritime Museum and Dr Johnson’s House. Her first play, Being Mr Wickham, premiered to sell-out audiences in 2019. 

Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, can be found cheering on the mighty Terriers. 

She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill. 

Visit her glorious Georgian bubble at www.madamegilflurt.com

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