Countess Palatine Dorothea Sophie of Neuburg

Dorothea Sophie of Neuburg (Dorothea Sophie; 5 July 1670 15 September 1748) was Duchess of Parma from 1695 to 1727. She was the sixth daughter of the Elector Palatine, Philip William of Neuburg, and Landgravine Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt.[1] Her sisters became Queen of Spain, Queen of Portugal and Holy Roman Empress.[1] She was regent of the duchy of Parma from 1731 to 1735.[1]

Dorothea Sophie
Countess Palatine of Neuburg
Dorothea by an unknown artist
Duchess of Parma
Tenure7 December 1696 26 May 1727
Born(1670-07-05)5 July 1670
Neuburg Palace, Neuburg
Died15 September 1748(1748-09-15) (aged 78)
Parma, Italy
SpouseOdoardo, Hereditary Prince of Parma
Francesco, Duke of Parma
Prince Alessandro Ignazio
Elisabeth, Queen of Spain
Full name
Dorothea Sophie
FatherPhilip William, Elector Palatine
MotherElisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt


Born at the Neuburg Palace, Countess Palatine Dorothea was the fourteenth of seventeen children and her parents' sixth daughter.[1] Her older sisters included: Eleonor Magdalene, consort of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I; Maria Sofia, consort of Peter II of Portugal; Maria Anna, consort of Charles II of Spain; and Elisabeth, daughter-in-law of John III Sobieski, King of Poland.[1]

Her brothers included the Electors Palatine Johann Wilhelm and Charles III, each of whom, in turn, succeeded their father; and Francis Louis, Grand Master of the Teutonic Order.

On 17 September 1690, she married Odoardo Farnese, Hereditary Prince of Parma, heir to the throne of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza. The festivities for their wedding were the most splendid that had ever taken place in Parma. In their three years of marriage, they had two children, a son who died in infancy and a daughter, Elisabeth, future Queen of Spain.

Her husband died on 6 September 1693, only a month after the death of their son. On 7 December 1696, Dorothea married Odoardo's half-brother, Francesco Farnese, who had become Duke of Parma when his father died in 1694.[1]

This marriage was decided by Francesco himself, because he didn't want to give up Dorothea's dowry should she marry someone else. Nevertheless, this marriage remained childless.

Francesco died in 1727 and, when his only remaining brother Antonio also died childless in 1731, the Duchy of Parma went to Dorothea's eldest grandchild, the 16-year-old son of Elisabeth Farnese, Charles III of Spain. Dorothea ruled as regent until 1735, when the Duchy was ceded to Austria after the War of the Polish Succession. She died in Parma in 1748 and was buried at the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata.


  1. Alessandro Ignazio Farnese (6 December 1691 – 5 August 1693) died in infancy.
  2. Elisabeth Farnese (25 October 1692 – 11 July 1766) married Philip V of Spain and had issue.


Notes and references

  1. Huberty, Michel; Giraud, Alain; Magdelaine, F. and B. (1985). ’’L'Allemagne Dynastique, Tome IV – Wittelsbach’’. France: Laballery. pp. 199–201. ISBN 2-901138-04-7.

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