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Duchess Sibylle of Saxe-Lauenburg

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Title: Duchess Sibylle of Saxe-Lauenburg  
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Duchess Sibylle of Saxe-Lauenburg

Sibylle of Saxe-Lauenburg
Sibylle by an anonymous artist
Margravine consort of Baden-Baden
Tenure 17 March July 1690 – 4 January 1707
Spouse Louis William, Margrave of Baden-Baden
Louis George, Margrave of Baden-Baden
Johanna, Duchess of Orléans
Augustus George, Margrave of Baden-Baden
Full name
Franziska Sibylle Auguste
House House of Ascania
Father Julius Francis, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg
Mother Countess Palatine Maria Hedwig of Sulzbach
Born (1675-01-21)21 January 1675
Schloss Ratzeburg, Germany
Died 10 July 1733(1733-07-10) (aged 58)
Schloss Ettlingen, Germany
Burial Schloss Rastatt, Germany

Sibylle of Saxe-Lauenburg (Franziska Sibylle Auguste; 21 January 1675 – 10 July 1733) was Margravine of Baden-Baden. Born a Duchess of Saxe-Lauenburg,[1] she was the wife of Louis William, Margrave of Baden-Baden, a famous Imperial general who was known as the Türkenlouis. She acted as consort of the ruler of Baden-Baden (1690–1707) and then regent of Baden-Baden (1707–1727) for her son Louis George.[2]


Early life

Franziska Sibylle Augusta was born in 1675 at the Schloss Ratzeburg the second daughter of Julius Francis, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg and his wife Countess Palatine Maria Hedwig Augusta of Sulzbach.[1]

In 1676 the family moved to Schlackenwerth in Bohemia where she and her sister spent their youth. Her older sister Anna Maria Franziska of Saxe-Lauenburg was the future Grand Duchess of Tuscany as the wife of Gian Gastone de' Medici future Grand Duke of Tuscany. When their mother died in 1681, their education was entrusted to Countess Eva Polyxena of Werschowitz (d. 1699). Their education was conducted in the art of courtly etiquette in conversation, painting and music, deemed the traditional education for a female in the era. She was also taught by her grand father Christian Augustus, Count Palatine of Sulzbach.

As the two sisters were the only surviving children of the duke and duchess of Saxe-Lauenburg, they were desirable candidates for marriage due to their inheritance which they would be intitled to at their father's death in 1689.[1]

At her father's death, her sister would become the duchess of Saxe-Lauenburg in her own right and would pass the duchy to her children. Their father was apparently poisoned according to court gossip, the culprit allegedly Countess Werschowitz.

With his death, the Lauenburg line of the House of Ascania was extinct in the male line. However, female succession was possible by the Saxe-Lauenburgian laws. So the legal female heir to the throne, Duchess Anna Maria Franziska, and her sister Sibylle of Saxe-Lauenburg fought for the succession of the former, the elder of them. Also Julius Francis' cousin, Eleonore Charlotte of Saxe-Lauenburg-Franzhagen, claimed the succession. Their weakness was abused by Duke George William of the neighbouring Brunswick-Lunenburgian Principality of Lunenburg-Celle, who invaded Saxe-Lauenburg with his troops, thus inhibiting Anna Maria's ascension as Duchess regnant.

Also other monarchies claimed the succession, evoking a conflict further involving the neighbouring duchies of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and of Danish Holstein, as well as the five Ascanian-ruled Principalities of Anhalt, the Electorate of Saxony, which had succeeded the Saxe-Wittenbergian Ascanians in 1422, Sweden and Brandenburg. The conflict was finally settled on 9 October 1693 (Hamburger Vergleich), definitely ousting the dispossessed Anna Maria and her sister. Both sisters never gave up the claim.

Emperor Leopold I rejected Celle's succession and thus retained the Saxe-Lauenburgian exclave of Hadeln, which was out of Celle's reach, in his custody. Only in 1728 his son Emperor Charles VI enfeoffed George II Augustus with Saxe-Lauenburg, finally legitimising the de facto takeover by his grandfather in 1689 and 1693. In 1731 George II Augustus also gained Hadeln from imperial custody.


Sibylle was due to marry Prince Eugene of Savoy but preferred the other candidate, the older and impoverished Margrave of Baden-Baden who had lost practically everything due to the war with France.[1]

Sibylle was engaged to Louis William, Margrave of Baden-Baden, some 20 years older than she and childless. He was also known as Türkenlouis (Turk Louis) due to his famous efforts again Louis XIV in the field and as part of the Imperial Army.

As a result, Louis William traveled to meet his young bride in Bohemia.

Margravine of Baden-Baden

He arrived in Bohemia on 10 January 1690. The couple were officially betrothed on 14 January and the actual marriage occurred on 27 March 1690, Sibylle aged 15. The couple were supposed to be married at the Schloss Raudnitz, the main residence of the Margrave, but that had been destroyed by the French. As a result, the newlyweds stayed in Ostrov. Although a reigning prince, Louis of Baden-Baden was a retired general, twenty years older than Sibylle Auguste.

The emperor had deemed that her sister marry Prince Eugene of Savoy again due to his service in the name of the emperor. As such she married Philipp Wilhelm of the Palatinate, son of Philip William, Elector Palatine and Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt. When Philipp Wilhelm died in 1693, she married again to Gian Gastone de' Medici, Grand Prince of Tuscany and son of Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Marguerite Louise d'Orléans[3] (first cousin of Louis XIV).

Shortly after his marriage to Sibylle was the Margrave Louis William, however, was again engaged in the war against the Ottomans. In the battle of Slankamen was his greatest triumph and took place in 1691.

The exchange of letters between the young Sibylle and her husband have since been lost, but Sibylle had a close relationship with her grandfather, the Christian August, Count Palatine of Sulzbach; From these letters it is obvious that Christian August adored his youngest grand daughter.

In the early years of the marriage, Sibylle was often separated from her husband and had plenty of time to cultivate her personal interests. But soon she began to worry about the management of their property, an experience from which they drew much benefit later. She wanted her future husband and moved to the side are with him from camp to camp, but this is very detrimental to their health.


Sibylles eldest surviving son, Louis George, for whom she was Regent
Sibylle's only surviving daughter Johanna, future Duchess of Orléans, by Belle
Sibylle's youngest son Augustus George
The surviving children of Sibylle

The couple had nine children in all, only two of which would have further progeny, her son Ludwig Georg Simpert, Margrave of Baden-Baden (who married Princess Marie Anna zu Schwarzenberg and had issue) and her youngest daughter Johanna (who married Louis d'Orléans, grandson of Louis XIV). It is through her daughter Johanna that Sibylle is an ancestress of many modern royals.[1][4]

With regards to her children, Sibylle was named the unlucky; her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage; the first child lived for six months; the second four years; the third six years and the fourth three years. The fifth died after four months. In all there were nine children, who emerged from the marriage, of which only three reached the tenth year of life - a daughter and two sons. The daughter died in childbirth at age 22, the sons were 53 and 65 years old.[5]

  • Leopold William of Baden-Baden (1694 – 1695) Hereditary Prince of Baden-Baden, died in infancy;
  • Charlotte of Baden-Baden (1696 – 1700), Princess of Baden-Baden, died in infancy;
  • Charles Joseph of Baden-Baden(1697 – 1703) Hereditary Prince of Baden-Baden, died in infancy;
  • Louis George Simpert of Baden-Baden, (7 June 1702 – 22 October 1761) Margrave of Baden-Baden, married Maria Anna of Schwarzenberg, had issue; married again to Maria Anna of Bavaria, no issue;
  • Wilhelm Georg Simpert of Baden-Baden (1703 – 1709), Prince of Baden-Baden died in infancy;
  • Augustus George Simpert of Baden-Baden, (14 January 1706 – 21 October 1771) Margrave of Baden-Baden, married Marie Victoire d'Arenberg, no issue;
  • Wilhelmine of Baden-Baden (* 1700 in Schlackenwerth – 1702 in Schlackenwerth), Princess of Baden-Baden, died in infancy;
  • Luise of Baden-Baden (1701 in Nürnberg – 1707), died in infancy;
  • Auguste Marie Johanna of Baden-Baden, Princess of Baden-Baden (10. November 1704 in Aschaffenburg – 8. August 1726 in Paris) married Louis d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans and had issue.

When her first son Charles Joseph, Hereditary Prince of Baden-Baden died in 1703,[1] she made a first pilgrimage to Maria Einsiedeln; it was followed by another seven pilgrimages.


Her husband Louis William, died in January 1707 aged 51 of a war injury.[6] He was succeeded by their eldest surviving son Louis George who had been Hereditary Prince of Baden-Baden since his birth in 1702.[2]

Louis George was aged five and as such, Sibylle was created the Regent of Baden-Baden in the name of her son. Sibylle's has been credited with the reconstruction of Baden-Baden, a state which had been ravaged greatly by the French during their various wars prior to Louis George's birth. Sibylle held a tight rein on the states finances and by the time of Louis George's majority in 1727, the state was once again flourishing[6] and she had considerably augmented his own personal fortune. Whenever she could, she made pilgrimages to the next secular advisors, such as Leopold, Duke of Lorraine and the Elector Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine. She also sought spiritual support too.

During her regency, she helped reconstruct as well as create many new splendid buildings including palaces, villa's as well as places of worship.

With the Treaty of Rastatt in 1714, she built the Einsiedeln Chapel in Rastatt in gratitude. Louis George reached his majority on 22 October 1727 at the age of 25. Sibylle thus retired from state administration to the Schloss Ettlingen in Ettlingen. In her dowager years, she also carried out various improvements which were finished in the year of her death in 1733.

As her only daughter was still unmarried in 1723, it was Siyblle tried to find a suitable candidate for her only daughter known as Johanna. Her mother proposed two candidates;[5] Prince Alexander Ferdinand of Thurn and Taxis, son and heir of Anselm Franz of Thurn and Taxis, a wealthy German noble of the powerful Thurn und Taxis[5] family and the Postmaster General of the Holy Roman Empire. The second was a French nobleman Louis d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans. Her mother preferred the French match as it would strengthen ties with a powerful neighbour who prior to Johanna's birth, had ravaged Baden-Baden. Johanna however preferred the German match due to her roots.[5]

Johanna, however gave into her mother and agreed to the match with Louis d'Orléans and there was a proxy ceremony held at the Schloss Rastatt before she was married on 13 July 1724 Louis d'Orléans, the grandson of Louis XIV of France. Chosen for, among other reasons, her family's Catholic beliefs, she brought a comparatively small dowry of 80,000 livres to the House of Orléans.

Later years

Having retired, she made various pilgrimages and under the influence of the Cardinal Damian Hugo Philipp von Schönborn, she led a very religious life and visited various monasteries.

Sibylle, born a Duchess of Saxe-Lauenburg, Margravine of Baden-Baden and Regent of Baden-Baden died at the Schloss Ettlingen on 10 July 1733 at the age of 58. As instructed in her will she was buried at the Schloss Rastatt[6] with little pomp.

Architectural legacy

Siyblle had an active interest in architecture as well as property management. While living in Ostrov with her husband in the first years of their marriage, the two carried out improvements to the Weißes Schloss (White Palace). Their chosen architect was Johann Michael Sock.

Sibylles most significant legacy was the Schloss Rastatt, which became the main residence of the rulers of Baden-Baden when Rastatt got promoted to city status in 1700. The residence in Rastatt is the oldest baroque residence in the German Upper Rhine area and was built according to the example of the French Palace of Versailles.[7]

She also carried out various other projects:

  • 1707 : Renovations begin at the Schloss Rastatt;
  • 1710 : Construction on the Schloss Favorite begins;
  • 1713 : Construction on the Valentin Church, Karlsruhe begins;
  • 1714 : Reconstruction in Rastatt begins;
  • 1715 : Construction on the Einsiedeln Chapel begins;
  • 1717 : Construction on the Home Office, Offenburg begins;
  • 1717 : Construction on the Fremersberg hunting lodge begins;
  • 1718 : Hermitage Museum in the Park of Schloss Favorite is built;
  • 1719 : Holy Cross Church (Castle Church) in Rastatt is built;
  • 1721 : Loretokapelle is built;
  • 1721 : Extension of the Jagdschloss Scheibenhardt in Bulach;
  • 1722 : Pagodenburg is built in the gardens of Rastatt;
  • 1723 : Exentsions on the Schloss Bruchsal[8]
  • 1724 : Hermitage in Waghäusel is built;
  • 1724 : Redesigning of the Schloss Kislau;
  • 1724 : Various projects at Scheibenhardt;
  • 1728 : Expansion of the Schloss Ettlingen;
  • 1731 : Chapel in the Schloss Ettlinger;
  • 1730 : Reconstruction of the nave of the church of St. Martin in Ettlingen.


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 21 January 1675 – 27 March 1690 Her Serene Highness Duchess Sibylle of Saxe-Lauenburg
  • 27 March 1690 – 4 January 1707 Her Serene Highness the Margravine of Baden-Baden
  • 4 January 1707 – 22 October 1727 Her Serene Highness the Regent of Baden-Baden
  • 22 October 1727 – 10 July 1733 Her Serene Highness the Dowager Margravine of Baden-Baden

References and notes


  • Otto Flake: Türkenlouis. Gemälde einer Zeit. 2. Auflage. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1988, ISBN 3-596-25788-3
  • Saskia Esser: Leben und Werk der Markgräfin Franziska Sibylla Augusta. Ausstellungskatalog, Stadt Rastatt, Rastatt 1983, ISBN 3-923082-01-0
  • Clemens Jöckle: Maria-Einsiedeln-Kapelle Rastatt. Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg 1999, ISBN 3-7954-5971-0
  • Hans-Georg Kaack: Markgräfin Sibylla Augusta. Die große badische Fürstin der. Barockzeit. Stadler, Konstanz 1983, ISBN 3-7977-0097-0
  • Anna Maria Renner: Sybilla Augusta. Markgräfin von Baden. Die Geschichte eines denkwürdigen Lebens. 4. Auflage. Müller, Karlsruhe 1981, ISBN 3-7880-9665-9
  • Gerlinde Vetter: Zwischen Glanz und Frömmigkeit. Der Hof der badischen Markgräfin Sibylla Augusta. Katz, Gernsbach 2006, ISBN 3-938047-19-4
  • Rudolf Sillib: Schloß Favorite und die Eremitagen der Markgräfin Franziska Sibylla Augusta von Baden-Baden. Neujahrsblätter der Badischen Historischen Kommission, Neue Folge 17. Carl Winters Universitätsbuchhandlung, Heidelberg 1914.
Title last held by
Maria Magdalena of Oettingen-Baldern
Margravine consort of Baden-Baden
Title next held by
Maria Anna of Schwarzenberg
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