Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine

Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine

Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine
Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine
Spouse(s) Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel
Marie Luise von Degenfeld
Elisabeth Hollander von Bernau
Noble family House of Wittelsbach
Father Frederick V, Elector Palatine
Mother Elizabeth of Bohemia
Born (1617-12-22)22 December 1617
Died 28 August 1680(1680-08-28) (aged 62)
near Edingen

Charles Louis, (German: Karl I. Ludwig), Elector Palatine KG (22 December 1617 – 28 August 1680) was the second son of German elector Frederick V of the Palatinate, the "Winter King" of Bohemia, and his wife, Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King James I of England (James VI of Scotland).


The young Prince Charles Louis with his old teacher Volrad von Plesse, painting by Jan Lievens, 1631.

After the death of his older brother in 1629, and of his father in 1632, Charles Louis inherited his exiled father's possessions in the Electorate of the Palatinate. Along with his younger brother Prince Rupert, he spent much of the 1630s at the court of his uncle in England, hoping to enlist English support for his cause. The young Elector Palatine was largely unsuccessful in this, and became gradually estranged from the King, who feared that Charles Louis might become a focus for opposition forces in England. Indeed, in the English crisis leading up to the outbreak of the English Civil War, Charles Louis had considerable sympathy for the parliamentary leaders, especially the Earl of Essex, feeling them more likely to come to the aid of the Palatinate on the continent. The Prince Palatine supported the execution of Strafford. Although Charles Louis was involved in the early stages of the Civil War with his uncle, he was mistrusted for his parliamentary sympathies, and soon returned to his mother in The Hague. There he distanced himself from the royalist cause in the Civil War, fearing that Charles would sell him out for Spanish support.

Engraving of Charles I Louis
In 1644, Charles Louis returned to England at the invitation of Parliament. He took up residence in the Palace of Whitehall and took the Solemn League and Covenant, even though his brothers, Rupert and Maurice, were Royalist generals. Contemporaries (including King Charles) and some in subsequent generations believed that Charles Louis' motive in visiting Roundhead London was that he hoped that Parliament would crown him King, in place of his uncle. Charles Louis' endorsement of the Parliamentary party was a cause of enmity between uncle and nephew, and when a captive Charles I met his nephew once again in 1647, the elder Charles accused the Prince of angling after the English throne. Charles Louis was still in England in October 1648 when the Peace of Westphalia restored the Lower Palatinate to him (the Upper Palatinate, to his great disappointment, remained under the Elector of Bavaria). He remained in England long enough to see the execution of his uncle Charles I in January 1649, which appears to have come as a shock (nevertheless, the two had not reconciled prior to the King's death - Charles refused to see his nephew before his execution).

After this unhappy dénouement to Charles Louis's participation in English politics, he at last returned to the now devastated [[Electorate of the Palatinate