Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mother of Kings

A famous allegory of the young Countess Augusta Reuss-Ebersdorf (1757-1831), mother of King Leopold I, and grandmother of Queen Victoria, as Artemisia. The portrait was painted in 1775 by Johann Heinrich Tischbein the Elder. Augusta, who later married Duke Francis of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and bore him ten children, was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time, and her good looks seem to have been inherited by her Belgian descendants. Determined and ambitious, through her children's strategic marriages, she overcame the ruinous debts of her husband's family to become the ancestress of many European royal lines.

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