Who Murdered Königsmarck?
Count Philip Christoph von Königsmarck was a charismatic Swedish count born in 1665 who was the lover of Princess Sophia Dorothea of Celle. He disappeared in 1694 and it is widely believed that he was murdered.
The correspondence between Count Philip von Königsmarck and Sophia Dorothea (wife of George Louis of Hanover, later King George I of England) was preserved by his sister, Aurora. It tells the story of a doomed love affair. This is one version of events that was told at the time.
On the night of 1st July 1694, Königsmarck was seen entering Sophia Dorothea’s apartments in the Leineschloss Palace. He is believed to have received a note, purportedly from Sophia Dorothea summoning him to meet with her. The note was actually from Countess Clara von Platen with whom Königsmarck had had a brief affair. She was the mistress of Elector Ernest Augustus, a beautiful, scheming woman who was in love with Königsmarck and was intensely jealous of Sophia Dorothea.
Clara von Platen was so desperate to preserve her youth that she bathed daily in milk and, to ensure her popularity, had the milk distributed to the poor after she had finished with it.
Königsmarck had arranged a carriage to take him and Sophia Dorothea to Wolfenbuttel. She was desperate to escape from her husband (who became King George I of England) who had attacked her and come close to killing her when he learned of her affair with Königsmarck. This was in spite of the fact that he lived openly with his mistress, Ehrengard Melusine von Schulenberg.
While the lovers made their plans, Clara von Platen was nearby with her servants. When Königsmarck tried to leave, he found his way blocked. He fought bravely but was outnumbered and, as he lay dying, Clara von Platen ground her heel into his mouth. She then ordered her servants to throw his body into the palace latrines, cover it with lime and brick it up.
The following day, George Louis had his wife imprisoned in the castle of Ahlden where she remained until her death over 30 years later.
Two of the servants involved in Königsmarck’s murder are believed to have confessed to the crime several years later.