m. 14 Feb 1613
Facts and Events
Elisabeth of the Palatinate (26 December 1618 – 11 February 1680), also known as Elisabeth of Bohemia, Princess Elisabeth of the Palatinate, or Princess-Abbess of Herford Abbey, was known for her intelligent and caring nature. She was the eldest daughter of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, who was briefly King of Bohemia, and Elizabeth Stuart. She was born in Heidelberg, Germany, spending the first nine years of her life there. When she was nine, she went to live in Leyden, Holland with her brother and was raised in a nursery palace to complete her studies. After finishing her studies, she was deemed ready to live in The Hague with her mother. Elisabeth was sent back to live in Germany and then eventually took her vows in a Protestant convent at Herford Abbey in Westphalia as Princess-Abbess. She influenced many key figures and philosophers, most notably Rene Descartes. During her days as head of the Abbey, she provided refuge for many Protestants during a time of great persecution. She is most famous for questioning Descartes' idea of Dualism, or the mind being separate from the body, in addition to questioning his theories regarding communication between the mind and body. The written correspondence of Descartes and Elisabeth is now revered as important philosophical documents, giving insight into the theoretical debates of the 17th century. Elisabeth died in 1680 after suffering from a painful illness for several years.