Chief Court Mistress

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Court Mistress (Danish: hofmesterinde; Dutch: hofmeesteres ('Court mistress'); German: Hofmeisterin; Norwegian: hoffmesterinne; Swedish: hovmästarinna) or Chief Court Mistress (Danish: Overhofmesterinde; Dutch: Grootmeesteres ('Grand Mistress') German: Obersthofmeisterin; Norwegian: overhoffmesterinne; Swedish: överhovmästarinna; Russia: Ober-Hofmeisterin) is or was the title of the senior lady-in-waiting in the courts of Austria, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Imperial Russia, and the German princely and royal courts.

Austria[edit]

In 1619, a set organisation was finally established for the Austrian Imperial court which came to be the characteristic organisation of the Austrian-Habsburg court roughly kept from this point onward.[1] The first rank of the female courtiers was the Obersthofmeisterin, who was second in rank after the empress herself, and responsible for all the female courtiers.[1] Whenever absent, she was replaced by the Fräuleinhofmeisterin, normally in charge of the unmarried female courtiers, their conduct and service.[1]

Chief Court Mistress to Anna of Tyrol, 1608–1618[edit]

  • 1611–1618: Freiin Katharina v. Kollowrath-L.

Chief Court Mistress to Eleonora Gonzaga, 1622–1658[edit]

  • 1621–1624: Gräfin Maria Anna v. Portia
  • 1624–1637: Gräfin Ursula v. Attems
  • 1637–1644: Freiin Margarita v. Herberstein
  • 1647–1647: Gräfin Octavia Strozzi
  • 1652–1655: Freiin Anna Eleonora v. Metternich

Chief Court Mistress to Maria Anna of Spain, 1631–1646[edit]

  • 1630–1638: Victoria de Toledo y Colona
  • 1643–1646: Marquesa Flores d’Avila

Chief Court Mistress to Maria Leopoldine of Austria, 1648–1649[edit]

  • 1648–1649: Gräfin Anna Eleonora v. Wolkenstein 1648–1649

Chief Court Mistress to Eleonora Gonzaga, 1651–1686[edit]

  • 1651–1658: Gräfin Maria Elisabeth v. Wagensperg

Chief Court Mistress to Maria Theresa of Austria, 1740–1780[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Empress Elisabeth of Austria, 1854–1898[edit]

Denmark[edit]

Louise von Plessen

The early modern Danish court was organized according to the German court model, in turn inspired by the Imperial Austrian court model, from the 16th century onward.[2]

The highest rank female courtier to a female royal was the hofmesterinde (Court Mistress) from 1694/98 onward named Overhofmesterinde (Chief Court Mistres), equivalent to the Mistress of the Robes, normally an elder widow, who supervised the rest of the ladies-in-waiting.[3]

When the office was vacant the tasks were taken over by the second in command, the kammarfröken. This was also the case when the office of hofmesterinde to the queen was left vacant in 1808–23 and 1839–45, and was handled by Friederiche Amalie Marie Hedevig von der Manfe and Marie Ernestine Wilhelmine von Walterstorf respectively.[4]

Chief Court Mistress to Christina of Saxony, 1481–1513[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Isabella of Austria, 1515–1523[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Sophie of Pomerania, 1523–1533[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg, 1534–1571[edit]

  • 1557–1558: Fru Kirstine.[5]
  • 1558– : Anne Albertsdatter Glob-Urne.[6]

Chief Court Mistress to Sophie of Mecklenburg-Güstrow 1572–1631[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Anne Catherine of Brandenburg 1597–1612[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg 1648–1685[edit]

  • Lucie von Løschebrand
  • 1657–1685: Maria Elisabeth von Haxthausen

Chief Court Mistress to Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel 1670–1714[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Louise of Mecklenburg-Güstrow 1699–1721[edit]

  • 1699–1716: Abel Cathrine Buchwald

Chief Court Mistress to Anne Sophie Reventlow 1721–1743[edit]

  • Fru von Grabow[8]

Chief Court Mistress to Sophie Magdalene of Brandenburg-Kulmbach 1721–1770[edit]

  • Beate Henriette af Reuss-Lobenstein

Chief Court Mistress to Louise of Great Britain 1746–1751[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel 1752–1796[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Caroline Matilda of Great Britain 1766–1775[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Marie of Hesse-Kassel 1808–1852[edit]

  • 1808–1823: Vacant[4]
  • 1823–1839: Lucie Charlotte Sehestedt Juul
  • 1839–1852: Vacant[4]

Chief Court Mistress to Caroline Amalie of Augustenburg 1839–1881[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Louise of Hesse-Kassel 1863–1898[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Louise of Sweden 1906–1926[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin 1912–1952[edit]

  • 1912–1935: Louise Grevenkop-Castenskiold
  • 1935–1952: Inger Wedell

Germany[edit]

The Austrian court model was the role model for the princely courts in Germany,[1] and the post of Obersthofmeisterin, or only hofmeisterin, existed in the princely (and later royal) German courts as well.

The German court model in turn became the role model of the early modern Scandinavian courts of Denmark and Sweden.[2]

Chief court mistress to the queens of Prussia and empresses of Germany

Chief Court Mistress to Sophia Louise of Mecklenburg-Schwerin 1708–1713[edit]

  • Countess von Wittgenstein Valendar[9]

Chief Court Mistress to Sophia Dorothea of Hanover 1713–1757[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern 1740–1797[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Frederika Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt 1786–1805[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz 1797–1810[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Elisabeth Ludovika of Bavaria 1840–1873[edit]

  • Wilhelmine van Reede-Ginkel

Chief Court Mistress to Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach 1861–1891[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein 1888–1918[edit]

  • Therese von Brockdorff

The Netherlands[edit]

In the 16th-century, the principal lady-in-waiting in the courts of the Habsburg governors of the Netherlands, Margaret of Austria and Mary of Hungary (governor of the Netherlands), was named hofmesterees ('Court mistress') or dame d'honneur.[13]

The principal female office holder in the royal court of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the 19th century was named Grootmeesteres ('Grand Mistress').[14][15]

Chief Court Mistress to Wilhelmine of Prussia, Queen of the Netherlands, 1815–1837[edit]

  • 1818–1824: Agneta Margaretha Catharina Fagel-Boreel
  • 1823–1837: Sophie Wilhelmina barones van Heeckeren van Kell (1772–1847)

Chief Court Mistress to Anna Pavlovna of Russia, 1840–1865[edit]

  • 1840–1844: Sophie Wilhelmina barones van Heeckeren van Kell (1772–1847)
  • 1844–1850: Rose Amour Caroline Aya Gislène(Zézette) Falck, geb. barones De Roisin (1792-1850)
  • 1850–1852: Johanna Philippina Hermanna barones van Knobelsdorff (1772–1860)

Chief Court Mistress to Sophie of Württemberg, 1849–1877[edit]

  • 1849–1858: Anna Maria Margaretha Deutz van Assendelft – Rendorp (1797–1858)
  • 1858–1878: Alida van der Oudermeulen barones van Wickevoort Crommelin (1806–1883)

Chief Court Mistress to Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, 1879–1934[edit]

  • 1879–1894: Leopoldine Marie gravin van Limburg Stirum (1817–1894)
  • 1894–1909: Wilhelmina Elizabeth Charlotta gravin Van Lynden van Sandenburg (1869–1930)

Chief Court Mistress to Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, 1890–1962[edit]

  • 1909–1938: Agneta Hendrika Groeninx van Zoelen-Van de Poll (1857–1933)
  • 1924–1938: Gerarda Cornelia barones van Nagell (1878–1946)
  • 1938–1954: Cornelie Marie, barones van Tuyll van Serooskerken

Chief Court Mistress to Juliana of the Netherlands, 1980–2004[edit]

  • 1954–1957: Adolphine Agneta barones Van Heeckeren van Molecaten-Groeninx van Zoelen (1885–1967)

Norway[edit]

During the union of Sweden-Norway in 1814–1905, Sweden and Norway shared the same royal family. At that time, there were two Chief Court Mistress for the same queen: one as Queen of Sweden at the Swedish royal court when she lived in Sweden, and a separate Chief Court Mistress as Queen of Norway at the Norwegian royal court, who served in her post during the visits of the Swedish-Norwegian royal family to Norway.

Presently, the overhoffmesterinne in Norway acts as a vice hostess at the Norwegian royal court when the queen and the other female members of the royal family are absent.

Chief Court Mistress to Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp, 1814–1818[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Désirée Clary, 1823–1861[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Josephine of Leuchtenberg, 1844–1876[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Louise of the Netherlands, 1859–1871[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Sophia of Nassau, 1872–1905[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Maud of Wales, 1905–1938[edit]

Russia[edit]

In 1722, the Russian Imperial court was reorganized in accordance with the reforms of Peter the Great to Westernize Russia, and the old court offices of the Tsarina was replaced with court offices inspired by the German model. Accordingly, the new principal lady in waiting of the Russian empress was named Ober-Hofmeisterin.

Chief Court Mistress to Catherine I of Russia 1713–1725[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Elizabeth of Russia 1741–1762[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Catherine II of Russia 1762–1796[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Maria Alexandrovna (Marie of Hesse and by Rhine) 1855–1880[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Maria Feodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark) 1881–1917[edit]

  • 1881–1881: Princess Kurakin (in position since 1866)
  • 1881–1888: Princess Hélene Kotchoubey
  • 1888–: Countess Anna Stroganoff

Chief Court Mistress to Alexandra Feodorovna (Alix of Hesse) 1894–1917[edit]

Sweden[edit]

Maria Sofia De la Gardie
Charlotta Fredrika Sparre
Ulrica Strömfelt
Charlotta Aurora De Geer
Wilhelmina Bonde

In Sweden, the Chief Court Mistress is the second highest-ranking official of the royal household, preceded only by the Marshal of the Realm. She ranks immediately below the members of the royal family, the speaker of the Parliament and the prime minister, and has precedence over former speakers of the Parliament and former prime ministers. The incumbent is Kirstine von Blixen-Finecke, who has served from 2016.

The title and position have changed over time. Before the reign of Queen Christina (1632–1654), the title was generally referred to as hovmästarinna (Court Mistress), but during and after the reign of Christina, it became the custom to have two such Court mistresses subordinate to one överhovmästarinna (Chief Court Mistress).[16] Only the Queen and the Queen Dowager had a Chief Court Mistress called överhovmästarinna (the Chief Court Mistress) while the equivalent at the courts of other female members of the royal house was called hovmästarinna (Court Mistress).

The position was the highest a female courtier could have in the Swedish royal court, and the överhovmästarinna was ranked an Excellency, something unusual for a woman in the 17th century, which placed her immediately after the female members of the royal house in rank. Her role was to uphold etiquette at court, and receive and carry out the instructions of the Queen in the management of the court. She managed the employment of new members to the court of the Queen, and every meeting and letter to the Queen passed through her.[16] She also managed the ceremony of the court presentation, in which nobles were presented to the royal family and thus allowed to show themselves officially at court.[17] She could also represent the Queen on some occasions at court ceremonies and parties as hostess.

Chief Court Mistress to Catherine Stenbock 1552–1621[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Karin Månsdotter 1567–1568[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Catherine Jagellon 1568–1583[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Gunilla Bielke 1585–1597[edit]

  • 1587–1592: Kerstin Oxenstierna

Chief Court Mistress to Christina of Holstein-Gottorp 1604–1625[edit]

  • 1604–1608: Carin Ulfsdotter Snakeborg
  • 1608–1612: Gunilla Jönsdotter Struss
  • 1612–1619: Carin Kyle

Chief Court Mistress to Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg 1620–1655[edit]

  • 1620–1623: Hebbla Eriksdotter Stålarm
  • Catharina von Schnideck
  • Regina Catharina von Windisch-Grätz
  • 1628–1633: Brita Gylta
  • 1633–1634: Ebba Leijonhufvud
  • 1634–1639: Elisabeth Gyllenstierna
  • 1639–1640: Christina Posse
  • 1640–1649: Vacant
  • 1649–1655: Görvel Posse

Chief Court Mistress to Christina 1632–1654[edit]

During the reign of Christina, the office was often shared by several people.

Chief Court Mistress to Hedvig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp, 1654–1715[edit]

  • 1655–1660: Elisabet Carlsdotter Gyllenhielm
  • 1660–1664: Görwel Bååt
  • 1664–1671: Görvel Posse
  • 1671–1686: Occa Maria Johanna von Riperda
  • 1686–1715: Märta Berendes (equivalent position at the court of the princesses in 1687–1717)

Chief Court Mistress to Ulrika Eleonora of Denmark, 1680–1693[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Ulrika Eleonora 1718–1741[edit]

  • 1717–1736: Katarina Ebba Horn af Åminne
  • 1736–1741: Hedvig Elisabet Strömfelt (equivalent position to the Crown princess in 1744–1751)

Chief Court Mistress to Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, 1751–1782[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Sophia Magdalena of Denmark, 1771–1813[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Frederica of Baden, 1797–1809[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp, 1809–1818[edit]

Chief Court Mistresss to Désirée Clary, 1823–1861[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Josephine of Leuchtenberg, 1844–1876[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Louise of the Netherlands, 1859–1872[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Sophia of Nassau, 1872–1907[edit]

Chief Court Mistress to Victoria of Baden, 1907–1931[edit]

  • 1907–1908: Vacant
  • 1908–1931: Augusta Lewenhaupt

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Nadine Akkerman & Birgit Houben, eds. The Politics of Female Households: Ladies-in-Waiting Across Early Modern Europe (2013).
  2. ^ a b Fabian Persson (1999). Servants of Fortune. The Swedish Court between 1598 and 1721. Lund: Wallin & Dalholm. ISBN 91-628-3340-5.
  3. ^ Klaus Kjølsen: Det Kongelige Danske Hof 1660–2000: en forvaltningshistorisk oversigt, 2010
  4. ^ a b c d Kongelig dansk hof- og statskalender
  5. ^ Emil Madsen, Forskellige Forhold ved den danske Hofstat i det 16. Aarhundrede, særlig dets anden Halvdel. , Historisk Tidsskrift, Bind 7. række, 3 (1900 - 1902)
  6. ^ Emil Madsen, Forskellige Forhold ved den danske Hofstat i det 16. Aarhundrede, særlig dets anden Halvdel, Historisk Tidsskrift, Bind 7. række, 3 (1900 - 1902)
  7. ^ Jorgensen, Ellen; Skovgaard, Johanne (January 5, 1910). "Danske dronniger; fortaellinger og karakteristikker af Ellen Jorgensen og Johanne Skovgaard". Kobenhavn H. Hagerup – via Internet Archive.
  8. ^ Berner Schilden Holsten, Hans Heinrich Adam (January 5, 1911). "Dronning Anna Sophie paa Clausholm". Odense : Miloske Boghandel – via Internet Archive.
  9. ^ Atkinson, Emma Willsher: Memoirs of the queens of Prussia, London : W. Kent
  10. ^ Biographie, Deutsche. "Finck von Finckenstein, Albrecht Konrad Graf - Deutsche Biographie". www.deutsche-biographie.de.
  11. ^ "Digitale Bibliothek - Münchener Digitalisierungszentrum". daten.digitale-sammlungen.de.
  12. ^ Biographie, Deutsche. "Voß, Sophie Marie Gräfin von - Deutsche Biographie". www.deutsche-biographie.de.
  13. ^ Jacqueline Kerkhoff: Maria van Hongarije en haar hof 1505–1558: tot plichtsbetrachting uitverkoren
  14. ^ Dianne Hamer: Sophie: biografie van Sophie van Würtemberg (1818–1877) op basis van brieven en dagboken, 2011
  15. ^ S Gravenhaagsche” Stads-Almanak: voor 1857
  16. ^ a b Fabian Persson (1999). Servants of Fortune. The Swedish court between 1598 and 1721. Lund: Wallin & Dalholm. ISBN 91-628-3340-5
  17. ^ Tydén-Jordan Astrid, red (1987). Kungligt klädd, kungligt mode. Stockholm: Bergh. Libris 7401256. ISBN 91-502-0849-7