Margaret of Brandenburg, Duchess of Pomerania

Margaret of Brandenburg

The Baptism of Christ (detail), 1556, by Lucas Cranach the Younger. The two people at the front are said to represent Margrave John of Küstrin and his sister Margareta. In the background, the Royal Palace at Dessau is depicted. The scene refers to Margaret's second marriage in 1534 in Dessau.
Spouse(s) George I, Duke of Pomerania
John V, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst
Noble family House of Hohenzollern
Father Joachim I, Elector of Brandenburg
Mother Elizabeth of Denmark
Born c.1511
Died after 3 November 1577

Margaret of Brandenburg (1511 after 3 November 1577) was a Princess of Brandenburg by birth and by marrying first a Duchess of Pomerania and later a Princess of Anhalt.


Margaret was the youngest daughter of the Elector Joachim I of Brandenburg (1484–1535) from his marriage to Elisabeth (1485–1555), daughter of King John of Denmark.

Duchess of Pomerania

She married her first husband on 23 January 1530 in Berlin Duke George I of Pomerania (1493–1531). She brought a dowry of 20000guilders into the marriage, enabling George I to transfer a jointure consisting of the districts of Barth, Damgarten, Tribsees, Grimsby and Klempenow to her.[1] The marriage hap apparently been agreed during negotiations at Grimnitz Castle about the constitutional relationship between Brandenburg and Pomerania.[2] George I died a year after the marriage and Margaret enjoyed the revenue from het wittum for only three years. She was quite unpopular in Pomerania and when Prince John IV of Anhalt asked for her hand, her stepson Philip I, Duke of Pomerania had to levy a special tax to pay her dowry and redeem her jointure.

Margaret and George had a posthumous child, a girl named Georgia. Georgia went with her mother to Anhalt, but returned to Pomerania when she was eight years old. Margaret succeeded in tough negotiations with her stepson, Philip I, to delay her return until May 1543.[3]

Princess of Anhalt

Her second husband was on 15 February 1534 in Dessau prince John V of Anhalt-Zerbst (1504–1551). Her marriage to John soon proved unhappy. Margaret fled from her husband to her wittum, Roßlau Castle. Martin Luther tried to mediate between John and Margaret. He visited her at Roßlau Castle and blamed her for leaving er husband cheekily. This started a fierce war or words. Luther later reported: I must have told her clearly enough, until I was attracting her wrath.

John eventually accused Margaret of marital infidelity and imprisoned her in 1550. John's personal physician was tortured to make him confess a relationship with the princess, but he did not budge. She managed to escape from her prison and after a number of adventures arrived half-naked and robbed at the court of her cousin King Christian III of Denmark in Copenhagen.

Later, she lived for a while with her sister Elisabeth, who advised her to protect herself by marrying for a third time. Elisabeth held her sister to be unreliable and unstable and warned her son-in-law Albert not to take in Margaret.[4] Albert took her in anyway, and after his death George Frederick I, the administrator of Prussia, took care of her, because her own children refused to support her.

By the end of her life, the led an unsettled existence in the Pomeranian-Polish border region. She is said to have married a simple farmer. It is also alleged that she contacted her daughter Georgia during her pregnancy and even visited her in Schlochau under a false identity.[5]

Marriages and issue

From her first marriage to George I, she had a daughter:

married in 1563 Count Stanislaus Latalski of Labischin († 1598)

From her second marriage to John IV, she had the following children:

married in 1557 princess Anna of Pomerania (1531-1592)
married firstly in 1560 Countess Agnes of Barby (1540-1569)
married secondly in1571 Princess Eleanor of Württemberg (1552-1618)
married in 1559 Count Albert X of Barby and Mühlingen (1534-1586)
married in 1565 princess Clare of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1550-1598)
married in 1570 Count Wolfgang II of Barby (1531-1615)

References and sources

External links


  1. Dirk Schleinert: Die 2. Hochzeit Herzog Georgs I. von Pommern mit Margarete von Brandenburg im Januar 1530 in Berlin. Kommentierte Edition einer zeitgenössischen Beschreibung, in: Baltische Studien, NF 94, 2008, pp. 55-70
  2. Dirk Schleinert: Die 2. Hochzeit Herzog Georgs I. von Pommern mit Margarete von Brandenburg im Januar 1530 in Berlin. Kommentierte Edition einer zeitgenössischen Beschreibung, in: Baltische Studien, NF 94, 2008, pp. 55-70
  3. Dirk Schleinert: Georgia von Pommern (1531-1573). Studien zum Leben einer Fürstin des 16. Jahrhunderts, in: Jahrbuch für die Geschichte Mittel- und Ostdeutschlands, vol. 55, 2009, pp. 71-120
  4. Martina Schattkowsky: Witwenschaft in der frühen Neuzeit, Leipziger Universitätsverlag, Leipzig, 2003, p. 101
  5. Johannes Voigt: Die Fürstin Margarethe von Anhalt, geborne Markgräfin von Brandenburg. Aus archivalischen Quellen, in: Schmidt´s Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft, vol. IV, 1845, p. 357 ff
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