Female Leaders in The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership

Women leaders in the Low Countries

Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands and parts of France

Also see

Belgium Ecclesiastical Territories
Netherlands Ecclesiastical Territories


B.C. 590-59 Legendary Ruler Adela of Friesland (The Netherlands and Germany)

After the murder of Frana in 586 BCE, the people wanted the "borough maid" Adela to be their new Earth Mother, but she refused because she wished to resign from her citadel and marry, which she did. For the next thirty years no Mother could be elected because each state supported the its own Maiden. More land was lost to the Magy of the Finns and Magyars but not by conquest of arms. He used propaganda on children and bribes on the nobles, promising them permanent hereditary offices with special privileges. These were long-term plans that undermined the very foundation of Friesland society. During Adela’s unofficial reign, nobles were then being mentioned but the meaning of such offices was changing. A count took the public inventory; he counted, initially the market sales, which were taxed, and the profits of the ships which were shared and later on, the military levy of armed men. It eventually became a position of privilege, even a hereditary one. A duke was a hearer of disputes like a local judge and it has already been mentioned that a king was an elected short-term commander.


973-1021 Sovereign Countess Adela van Hamaland (The Netherlands)
Oldest daughter of the rich and powerful count Wichman II van Hamaland (Achterhoek), who ruled (952-973) and first married to Immed (d. circa 983), who was either a Count or Noble from Utrecht, with whom she had 5 children. After his death she continued to rule and made coins in her own name - it is not clear if she did it in the function as regent for her son Dirk. Her father had granted much of the family possessions to the Women's Chapter of Elten, where her oldest sister Liutgard became the first Abbess.. In 973 the Emperor made it an Abbey of the Realm, just as Quedlinburg, Essen en Gandersheim and it was placed directly under the protection of the Emperor and it was granted immunity from the jurisdiction of the count and local potentates. But Adela was determined to make sure that her part of the inheritance did not also fall into the hand of the church and she engaged in a fight with her sister and after her death around 995 with the Chapter. Her marriage to Balderik (d. 1021) had the purpose of getting back the part of her inheritance that had fallen to the Abbey. And in 996 it did come to the redistribution of a large number of lands. But she was not content. Just after the death of Otto III she and Balderik occupied the territory of Elten for the second time, but had to leave it on the command of Emperor Henrik II. She was blamed for the murder of Wichman van Vreden; one of their most important opponents, her husband escaped and her castle was put under siege. She was allowed to escape with her possessions before it was set on fire. She lived (circa 952 –after 1021)


987-1003 Regent Dowager Countess Rozala-Suzanna d'Ivera of Flanderes/Vlaanderen (Belgium)
Her first husband was Roy Robert II de Cabet, and the second Arnulf van Vlaanderen (Flanders). Regent for son Boudewijn IV. She lived (circa 955-1003).


Until circa 992 Sovereign Countess Mathilde of Chiny (Belgium)
Until his death in 982, she ruled jointly with Arnold I Lahngau and 971-1013 with Otto I de Warcq.


993-1005 Regent Dowager Countess Liudgard von Luxembourg of Holland and Westfriesland (The Netherlands)
Widow of Arnulf and in charge of the regency for son Dirk III. She wad daughter of Siegfried of Luxembourg and Hadwig, sister of Empress Kunigunde. She lived (960/65-1005).


1050/51-86 Regent Dowager Countess Richildis of Hainault (Belgium)
1071-76 Regent of Flanders
Richilde van Henegouwen was the heiress of her father, Renier de Mons-Valenciennes and also known as Richilde van Egisheim - as her mother was member of the von Dagsburg-Egisheim-family. Because of her rights of inheritance her first husband, Herman de Mons, was named Count of Bergen and the Margravate of Valenciennes in 1049. After his death in 1050 or 1051, she took over the regency for her son, Arnulf III. Soon after she married her cousin, Baudouin VI of Flanders, who became joint ruler of the county. After his death in 1070, her sons were deposed in Flanders by her brother-in-law, Robert. She gained support from the king of France in the fight against Robert, but in the end she lost and only Hainault remained in her possession. In 1070 she married William, Earl of Hereford and Essex, but he was killed in battle the following year, and also Arnulf died in battle. The bishop of Liege gave the fief of Hainault to the Duke of Lower Lorraine who in his term gave the fief to her and she passed it on to her younger son, Boudewijn II. and lived (circa 1020-86).

Countess Geertruida 1061-69 Regent Dowager Countess Geertruida von Sachsen of Holland  (The Netherlands)
After the death of her husband, Floris I she took the reins in the name of her, son Dirk V (1061-71 and 1076-91). In 1063 she remarried Robrecht van Flanders (son of Count BoudewijnV) probably to secure her position against the German emperor Heinrich IV and the two acted as co-regents for Dirk and were involved in wars with various neighbouring rulers. In 1070 the Duke of Brabant conquered the county. She (d. 1113). 


1077/86-1117 Sovereign Countess Gertrude von Braunchweig of The Frisian Margravate and Ooster- en Westergo (Germany and The Netherlands)
1085 Regent of Katlenburg
1001 Regent of Northeim
1103-1117 Regent of Meissen und der Lausitz
1006-1117 Administrator of Katlenburg
Only daughter of Ekbert I von Braunschweig and Irmingard of Turino and managed to control the territories of her family after the death of her brother, Ekbert II, who was murdered in 1090. Her two first husbands Count Dietrich II von Katlenburg and Count Heinrich von Northeim were also both murdered, and she was regent for son Dietrich III von Katlenburg (1085-1106) and after his death she seems to have been in charge of the county. Also regent for the second son, Otto III von Northeim (1100-01-17). After the death of the third husband, Heinrich I von Eilenburg, Count of Meissen und der Lausitz, she was regent for their posthumously born son Heinrich II (1103/04-23). Many contemporary sources also name her as Reigning Margravine - and a Saxon document names her as holder of the countly rights, unique for the Middle Ages. She was one of the leaders of the insurrections against Emperor Heinrich IV and V who occupied the Core-Possession of the Bruno Dynasty, Braunschweig, and only her forceful leadership secured the territories of Meissen and Ostmark for her sons. Her daughters with Heinrich von Nordheim, Richenza and Gertrud, married the later king Lothar III of the German Realm and Count Siegfred von Ballensted. Her youngest son, Heinrich the Younger of Eilenburg, lived (1103-23). Gertrud lived (circa 1060-1117).  


1096-1100 Regent Countess Clementia de Bourgogne of Flanders (Belgium)
Reigned during her husband, Rothrecht (Robert) II's, absence during the 1. Crusade. She paved the way for the Gregorian reform in Flanders and played a role by the election of Johannes von Warneton as Bishop of Therouanne in 1099. Also active during the first years of her son, Baudouin VII's regency from 1115, and after his death she supported the claims of Guillaume d'Ypres (Wilhelm von Ypern) against Karl of Denmark (son of Adela of Flanders), who did become Count. Her dowry was one third of Flanders. Around 1121 she married Gottfried I of Brabant, count of Leuven (Löven, Liege) Daughter of Count Guillaume I Testardita of Bourgogne and Stefanie von Llongwy, she lived (circa 1070-1133).


1118-34/38 Sovereign Countess Ermengardis of Zütphen (The Netherlands)
Also known as Ermgard, she succeeded her brother Hendrik. She was married to Gerhard II of Gelder/Guelders (d. 1131). In 1134 she married Konrad of Luxembourg and around this time she transferred the county to her son, Hendrik II.


1122-25 Regent Dowager Countess Petronella de Lorraine of Holland-Zeeland and Friesland (The Netherlands)
Widow of Floris II, she was regent for son Dirk VI 1122-57 together with the Counts of Egmond, Rijnsburen and Middelburg. She was a very able ruler and acted forcefully in the interests of her sons. She funded various convents and also played a part in the politics of the Holy Roman Empire, trough her half-brother, Emperor Lothar III - the son of her mother in her first marriage. 1133 she withdrew to the Convent of Rheinsburg, which she had funded herself. She was daughter of Duke Dietrich II von Ober-Lothringen and Hedwig von Formbach, and was originally named Gertrud. She lived (circa 1078-1144).


1136 Reigning Countess Ermesinde I van Namen of Luxembourg

Inherited the county from her nephew Konrad II, but gave it to her son Henrik van Namen. She was the daughter of Conrad I of Louxembourg. First married to Albert von Moha-Dasburg and from 1109 with Godfried van Namen, and retired to a convent after his death in 1139.


1138-39 and 1147-49 Regent Countess Sibylla d'Anjou of Flanders (Belgium)
1123 she had been married to William Clito, son of the Norman Robert Curthose and future Count of Flanders and brought the County of Maine to this marriage, which was annulled in 1124 on grounds of consanguinity. Her father opposed this until Pope Honorius excommunicated him and placed an interdict over Anjou. she then accompanied her widower father to the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, where he married Melisende, the heiress of the kingdom, and became king himself in 1131. In 1139 she married Thierry of Alsace, the new Count of Flanders, who had arrived on his first pilgrimage to the Holy Land. They returned to Flanders and during his absence on the Second Crusade she was in charge of  the county. Baldwin IV, Count of Hainaut took the opportunity to attack Flanders, but she led a counter-attack and pillaged Hainaut. In response Baldwin ravaged Artois. The archbishop of Reims intervened and a truce was signed, but Thierry took vengeance on Baldwin when he returned in 1149. In 1157 she moved to Jerusalem with her husband and stayed there the rest of her life and remained very influential within the royal family. She joined the Convent of Bethani. She was daughter of Count Fulco V of Anjou-Jerusalem and Ermengarde of Maine, and mother of six children, including Margaretha, who inherited Flanders from her brother in 1191. Sibylla lived (circa 1110-65).


1142-55? Regent Dowager Countess Lutgardis von Sulzbach of Brabant (Belgium)
After the death of her husband, Godfrey II (1139-42), she ruled in the name of her son, Godfrey III, who reigned until 1190. 

Queen Isabelle 1180-90 Sovereign Dame Isabelle de Hainault of Artois (France/Belgium)
Daughter of Baudouin V-VIII of Flanders and Hainault and Margareta of Flanders. She was married to king Philippe II August of France, and her son, Louis, was created Count d'Artois. She died after having given birth stillborn twins, and lived (1170-90). After her death her husband first married Ingeborg of Denmark, but their marriage broke down in 1200 and he then married Agnès de Méranie, but also this marriage was repudiated.


1191-94 Sovereign Countess Margaretha d'Alsass I of Flanders (Belgium)
Alternatively known as Marguerite, she was the oldest daughter of Dirk van Flanders and Sibylle d’Anjou, and succeeded her brother Philippe d'Alsace (Elsaß). The king of France attempted to secure Flanders for his son Louis, but the population of Brugge and other major cities received her and her second husband, Baudouin VIII of Hainault (1150-1195) with enthusiasm, and he received the fief in her name by the Holy Roman Emperor. First married to Count Raoul II de Vermandois. One of her six children was Henri, who became Latin Emperor of Constantinople. She lived (1145-94).


Circa 1191-1203 Sovereign Baroness Sophie van Voeren-Montaigue of Ravenstein (Netherlands)
Reigned the small barony in the northeast of the Dutch province of Brabant, on the left bank of the Maas jointly with Albert of Cuijk circa 1191-1233.

Ermeside II of Luxembourg 1196-1247 Sovereign Countess Ermensinde II van Namur of Luxembourg, Durbuy and Laroche
In 1186, Henri IV was an old man who expected to die without heirs. He had already named BoudewijnV, Count of Hainault (and later also of Flanders) as his successor. Then his daughter Ermensinde was born. He made her his heir
instead, and a war of succession broke out. The outcome was that Ermensinde became Countess of Luxembourg, Durby and Laroche, and BoudewijnV's second son Philippe became Count of Namur. She was first married to Thibaut I, Count of Bar-Mousson and then to Walram IV, "Duke of Limburg", and trough this marriage Luxembourg and Limburg were politically
reunited. After Walram's death, Countess Ermensinde ruled Luxembourg alone for another 20 years, and lived (1186-1247).


1200-08 Regent Burgavine Petronella van Kortrijk of Gent (Belgium)

Her husband Zeger II was a templar from 1200 and in 1202 he died, and she continued as regent for their son Zeger III (1190-1227). She remained influential after her son took over the government and for example donated some lands to an abbey in 1214. When signing documents she used the titulature of Burgravine van Gent and Kortrÿk.


1202-04 Regent Countess Marie de Champagne of Flanders and Hainault (Belgium)

In charge of the government during husband, Count Baudouin IX's participation in the 5th crusade. He later became Emperor of Constantinople. She travelled to Jerusalem and died shortly after her arrival after having given birth to her second daughter, the later Marguerite II. Her husband died in 1205 and was succeeded by daughter Jeanne. 

1204-circa 05 Regent Dowager Countess Mathilda of Portugal of Flanders (The Netherlands)

Very influential during the reign of her husband Filips (d. 1191) and her sister-in-law Marguerite and again during the reign of her son, BoudewijnIX of Constantinople, and regent during his participation in the 5th Crusade. Born as Mafalda, she was daughter of King Sancho I (1154-85-1211) and Dulce of Aragón. 

Jeanne de Constantinople

1205-44 Sovereign Countess Jeanne de Constantinople of Flanders, Hainault and Namur (Belgium and France)

Also known as Johanna, she was the oldest daughter of Emperor BoudewijnIX of Constantinople. After the death of her parents she, and her sister, Marguerite, were raised by king Philippe Auguste of France and was married off to Ferrand of Portugal, who participated in the coalition against the king, and held as prisoner 1214-26. During this difficult period, she was advised by her mother-in-law and managed to secure her inheritance faced with the opposition of the nobility and cities. After she managed to obtain the liberation of her husband in 1226, she lived a couple of years in relative tranquillity and founded numerous charitable and religious institutions. After Ferrand's death in 1233, she married Thomas de Savoie. Her only daughter, Marie, died as an as an infant and she was succeeded by sister, Marguerite, and lived (1188/1200-44).

Yolande de Flandres

1212-17 Sovereign Margravine Yolanda de Flanders of Namur (Belgium)
1216-19 Empress of Constantinople

Also known as Violante or Jolanta. After her brother, Emperor Henri's death in June 1216 the Barons of the Empire offered her and her husband Pierre, the crown, and they both accepted. In 1217 they left for Constantinople, and she seeded the marquisate to her oldest son. They were crowned in Rome by Pope Honrius III, and continued their journey, Pierre over land and were taken prisoner; she was pregnant and travelled by sea. In Morea she married her daughter Anges off to Gottfried II, the future Prince of Achaia. In Constantinople she gave birth to the heir to the throne, Baudouin II. (1228-1261), and took over the regency. Just before her death she married her daughter Maria to Emperor Theodor I. Laskaris of Nikæa. She was mother of 9 children and daughter of Count Baudouin V of Flanders and Hainault and lived (circa 1175-1219).


1226 Sovereign Duchess Sophia of Limbourg (Belgium)

Married to Friedrich Graf de Altena-Isenburg, succeeded by son Dietrich I von Hinesburg-Limburg.


1227-71 Sovereign Countess Johanna of Chiny (Belgium)
From 1228 she ruled jointly with Arnold III, Count of Loon 1220-1272/3. She (d. 1271).


1229-34 Regent Dowager Countess Margaretha van Brabant of Gelderland and Zutphen (The Netherlands)

Widow of Gerhard III, she was regent for son, Otto II the Lame.  

1234-35 Regent Dowager Countess Machteld van Brabant of Zeeland bewester Schelde (The Netherlands)
Reigning Dowager Lady of Monster, Maasland, Lier and Zoutevenen

After the death of her second husband, Floris IV, graaf van Holland (1210-34), Countess Johanna of Flanders granted her Zeeland as a fief in the name of her minor son, Willem. It was a politically tricky affair as the Counts of Holland wanted to get rid of the overlordship of Flanders for Zeeland. Her brother-in-law Willem became Regent of Holland and occupied her dowries in  Monster, Maasland, Lier and Zoutevenen, and in 1235 she gave up the regency in exchange for her Dowries. In 1238 her other brother-in-law, Otto, bishop-elect of Utrecht took over the regency, but after her son came of age the following year she remained influential, placed her seal on his first decrees and appeared as witness on many of his later decrees. When he died at the age of 29 her other son, Floris and dauther, Aleid van Holland, acted ars regent for her grandson, Floris V (1254-96). She founded a number of religious institutions and convents  and gave rich gifts to others. She had first been married to Prince Palantine Henrik II and had 5 or 6 children with her second husband. She lived (circa 1200–67).

Marguerite de Constantinople

1244-78 Sovereign Countess Marguerite II de Constantinople of Flanders and Hainault (Belgium)

Margaretha succeeded sister, Jeanne. First married to Bouchard, the younger son of the Lord of Avesnes and bailiff of Hainault. Her sister, Jeanne, demanded that they divorced, but they refused and were excommunicated. They had three children before their separation in 1221. Two years later she married Guillaume de Dampierre, with whom she had four children. He died in 1232 and she received the domains around Orchies and Bouchain. Her children disputed her inheritance, but she managed to keep the reigns in Flanders and Hainault after a number of battles and with the help of King Louis IX of France. Her sons had been taken prisoners during the fighting and she paid a heavy ransom for them. She abdicated and retired to the Convent of Flines in 1278, and lived (1202-80).


Circa 1252/53 Sovereign Countess Sophie von Ravensberg in Friesland (Germany)

Left the county to the Bishop of Utrecht.


1257-80 Dame Margaretha de Brabant of Mechelen and Antwerpen (Belgium)

Also known as Marguerite, she was second daughter of Duke Jean III de Brabant and married to Louis de Male, count of Flanders, Nevers und Rethel. After the Brabrandian succession-war she got the title of Dame de Mechelen and Antwerpen. She was heiress-presumptive of Limburg and Brabant after her sister, Duchess Jeanne. Mother of Margaretha II de Male, who succeeded her aunt. She lived (1323-80).

1258-66 Regent Dowager Countess Aleid van Holland of Holland and Zeeland (The Netherlands)
1280-84 Regent of Hainault (Belgium)

Also known as Aleydis or Aleid van Avesnes. Even though his mother was still alive, she became regent for her nephew Floris V after the death of her brother, Willem II. Another nephew, Henri III of Brabant, was joint regent until his death in 1261. Her rule was opposed by her brother Floris and and Countess Margaretha van Vlaanderen, and she sought help by Otto II van Gelre, but he deposed her instead. After that Floris V took over the government in 1266 he made a deal with her over her dowry and continued to seek advice by her. Her son Jan II of Hainault became count of Holland 1299 after having been regent for Floris V's son Jan I (b. 1284-96-99). She was daughter of Floris IV, Count of Holland (1210-1234), and Machteld Duchess van Brabant (circa 1200-1267), and had been married to Jan I, graaf van Avesnes (d. 1257), and lived (circa 1230-84).


1273-80 Sovereign Countess Yolande de Bourgogne of Nevers (France/Belgium)
Oldest daughter Mahaut II de Dampierre of Nevers, d'Auxerre et de Tonnerre (1249-57-62) and Eudes de Bourgogne (d. 1269), she and her two sisters divided the inheritance in 1173. She first married Jean Tristan of France, Count of Valois (d. 1270), secondly Robert de Béthune, the future Count of Flanders. She was succeeded by her son Louis I (1280-1322), who married Countess Jeanne de Rethel.


1280-82 Sovereign Duchess Ermengarde of Limbourg (Belgium)

Became ruler after the death father. After her death in 1283 her husband, Reinaud I can Geldre-Zupten engaged in a succession-war which was won by Jean van Brabant. 


1288 Reigning Dowager Countess Beatrix d'Avenes of Luxembourg

Widow of Heinrich VI (1240-81-88), and regent for son Heinrich VIII (1274/75-1313), who later became Holy Roman Emperor. She lived (1250/55-1320).


1290-1325 Sovereign Countess Jeanne de Rethel (Belgium)

Succeeded father Hugues IV, and reigned jointly with husband Louis de Nevers (1290-1322).


1312/13-53 Sovereign Lady Mathildis van Wesemaele of Bergen op Zoom (The Netherlands)

Succeeded father, Arnold. Her mother Johanna van Loon probably acted as regent in the first years. Mathildis married Albrecht van Voorne, who died 1331 and Reinhoud van Kleef. Her daughter, Johanna van Voorne was Dame for some years until she again took over as regent until she abdicated in favour of a distant relative, Maria van Merksem van Wezemaal and her husband, Hendrik I van Boutersem. Mathildis (b. 1310).

Jeanne I de Franche-Comte

1315-30 Sovereign Countess Palatine Jeanne I de Châlons of Franche-Comté and Bourgogne (France)
1329-30 Sovereign Countess of Artois, Flanders and Brabant (France and Belgium)

In Artois, she was known as Jeanne II. Succeeded Robert and married to King Philippe V of France, who succeeded to the throne in 1316, after having acted as regent for his late brother's posthumously born son, Jean I, who died after a few months. In 1314 she became involved in a scandal concerning various sexual excesses together with her sister Blanche and sister-in-law Marguerite (The Scandal de Tour de Nesle) and fell from grace and internated in the Castle de Dourdan, but released soon after on the quest of her husband, who would have lost Franche-Comte which was part of her dowry if they had divorced. Her husband died in 1322 and was succeeded by his younger brother as King. She suceeded both her father, Otto I of Bourgogne and mother, Mahaut d'Artois and was succeeded by the oldest of her five daughters, Jeanne II and III in all her possessions. She died of the plauge, and lived (1294-1330).


Circa 1315-27 Sovereign Baroness Maria van Voeren-Montaigue of Ravenstein (Netherlands)
Held the small barony in the northeast of the Dutch province of Brabant, on the left bank of the Maas jointly with Jan van Valkenburg-Cleves 1328-56.


Around 1318 Burgravine Marie d'Enghien of Ghent, Lady of Zotteghen (Belgium)

Married to Guy de Dampierre, Lord de Richebourg (1286-1345) and mother of Alix, Heiress de Ricebourg (1322-46), who married Jean I de Luxembourg, Lord de Ligny.

1330-47 Sovereign Countess Jeanne III de France of Artois, Flanders, Brabant, Franche-Comté and Upper Burgundy (France and Belgium)

The daughter of Countess Jeanne I of Artois and Bourgogne and King Philippe V of France, she married to Eudes IV, Duc de Bourgogne, thereby uniting the two Bourgognes, which had been separated for 400 years. She was first succeeded by son, Philippe de Rouvres Bourgogne, Comte d'Artois and D'Auvergne, who succeeded his father in Rouvers and his grandmother in Franche-Comté etc. In 1361 he was succeeded by his cousin, Marguerite, daughter of Jeanne's sister by the same name. Jeanne II lived (1291-60).


1331-95 Sovereign Countess Jolanta van Flanders-Cassel of Cassel, Marle, Nogent, Bourbourg, Montmirail and Allauye (Belgium)
1344-52 and 1356-59 Regent of Bar (France)

Only daughter and heir of Count Robert van Flandern-Cassel (died in 1331). First married to Heinrich IV, Count of Bar (circa 1312-44) and in 1352 Philippe d’Évreux, Comte de Longueville (1336-63). Her son, Eduard II of Bar, lived (1344-1352). Her second son was Robert I of Bar. In 1352-56 she fought for the regency with her sister-in-law, Jeanne. She lived (1324-95).


1331-33 Sovereign Lady and Steward Margaretha van Berthout of Mechelen (The Netherlands)

Succeeded the father of her mother Sophie de Berthout, Floris, with her father Reinald II the Black, Duke of Gelders, as Regent until the City Liège asserted its rule of the lordship, which is also known as Malines in French. Margareta's father’s second wife was Eleonore of England, who was Guardian and Regent of Geldern (1343-44). Margareta married Count Gerhard von Jülich. 1333 she sold the Lordship and Stewardship of Mecheln to the county of Flanders. She lived (circa 1320-44).


1339-50 Sovereign Baroness Luitgard of Rechteren (The Netherlands)

Succeeded Zweder I as head of the smaller Barony, until 1523 within the Bishopric of Utrecht, then within Gelders.


Circa 1341-48/49 Sovereign Lady Johanna van Voorne of Bergen op Zoom (The Netherlands)

Her mother Mathildis, was Sovereign Lady 1312/13-circa 1349 and again 1351-53. Johanna married Jan van Vakenburg, who died 1352. They had no children, and Johanna lived (circa 1325/30-48/49).

1345-56 Sovereign Countess Marguerite III d'Avesnes of Hainault, Flanders, Holland, Zeeland and Friesland (Belgium and The Netherlands)

Acting Vicar of Pisa 1326-28 and 1328-29, where she acted as representative of her husband, Ludwig IV the Bavarian, who was Duke of Bavaria 1294-1347, German King 1314, Count Palatine (Pfalzgraf) von der Pfalz 1317-1329, Lord of Pisa 1326-29 and Emperor 1328-47 and during the last period she was Consors Regni of the Holy Roman Empire. She succeeded her brother Willem IV as Countess after a battle succession with two younger sisters and was officially handed over the fief by her husband, and she swore the oath of allegiance. After her husband's death in 1347 conflict broke out with her son Wilhelm. The dispute was settled in 1354 when she handed over Holland, Zealand and Friesland against a financial settlement and only remained ruler in Hainault. She lived (ca.1293-1356).

Marguerite of Flanders

1346 Regent Dowager Countess Marguerite de France of Flanders and Rethel 
1361-82 Sovereign Countess Palatine of Bourgogne and Countess of Franche-Comté, Artois and Salins (The low countries)

Daughter of King Philippe V of France and Jeanne I d'Artois (1329-30). She married Louis II de Nevers, Count of Flanders and Rethel, who fell in battle in 1346 and was regent for their son, Louis II de Male (1330-84), and in her own lands, she succeeded the her sister, Jeanne II (1330-47)'s great-grandson as Marguerite I in 1361. She abdicated in favour of son, but remained politically active to her death. Her son was succeeded by her daughter, Marguerite II, in 1384. Marguerite I lived (1310-82).


1346-53 Regent Dowager Duchess Beatrice de Bourbon of Luxembourg

Governed in the name of Venceslas, whose half-brother was Emperor Karl of The Holy Roman Empire. 


1355-1404 Sovereign Duchess Jeanne III of Brabant, Limbourg, Derby and Larche  (Belgium)

Succeeded her father, Jan III and had to confirm the privileges of the large cities of the Duchies. She engaged in a war over the succession with her brothers-in-law, Lodewijk II van Male, Count of Flanders, and Duke Reinoud III van Gelre, which hit the territories hard financially. 1371 her second husband, Wenceslaus I of Luxembourg was taken prisoner. She had first been married to Willem IV of Holland, Zeeland and Hainault. Her sister Marguerite de Brabant-Limbourg was Dame of Mechelen and Antwerpen, and she abdicated in favour of her daughter, Marguerite III of Flanders, who died shortly after. Jeanne (d. 1406). 


Until 1364 Burgravine Isabeau D'Antoing, Heiress of Antoing (Belgium)

Also known as Isabelle, she was married Infant Alfonso of Castilla e León, de la Cerda, Lord de Lunel, Governor de Languedoc (1310-27).


1372-83 Titular Duchess Maria of Gelders and Zütphen (The Netherlands)

Fourth daughter of Reinald II and Sofia de Berthout van Mecheln, Countess of Mecheln. She married to Duke Willem II/VI of Jülich (d. 1393), and was a contestant for the title after the death of her brother, Reinald III. Her sister Mechtild was also declared Duchess, but Maria's side prevailed and her son, Willem III, was named duke by the Holy Roman Emperor, Karl IV in 1372. Maria's daughter, Johanna, was heiress to the Duchy of Gelders. Maria (d. 1397).

Marguerite III de Mâle

1384-1405 Sovereign Countess Marguerite III de Mâle of Flanders, Artois, Countess Palantine of Bourgundie (known as Franche-Comté), Marchioness d'Anvers, Dame of Antwerpen, Mechelen and Malines (Belgium and France)
1384 Countess of
1384-1402 Countess of Rethel,

1404 Sovereign Duchess of Brabant and Limburg

Also known as Margaretha de Dampierre, she was daughter of Louis de Male of Flanders - she inherited his lands and those of her grandmother, Marguerite de France, Countess of Bourgogne and Artois, and first married to Philippe le Hardi de Rouveres, Duke de Bourgogne, who died after 6 months. Her second husband was Philippe, Duke de Bourbon, and she became famous as patron of fashion, art and art crafts. She inherited Brabant and Limburg after the abdication of her aunt, Johanna. Margaretha lived (1350-1405).  


From 1389 Regent Dowager Countess Margareta von Berg von Bayern of Holland, Zeeland and Hainault  (The Netherlands)

Governed in the name of her son Willem VI of Bayern, who was governor of Holland, Zeeland and Hainault (1389-1404) and afterwards count after Marguerite III's death - he was succeeded by niece, Jacobäa of Bavaria. Margareta lived (1363-1414).


1400-17 Sovereign Countess Elisabeth de Sponheim of Vianden (Luxembourg)
1414-17 Countess of Sponheim-Kreutznach (Germany)

Daughter of Countess Maria von Vianden (ca 1337-1400) and Count Simon III von Sponheim, who was Count of Vianden by the right of his wife until his death in 1414. Her brother Walram von Sponheim died 1382 and her sister Maria von Sponheim circa 1414. Elisabeth first married Engelbert III von der Mark and Ruprecht Pipan, Count Palatine of the Rhine, had no children and lived (1365-1417).

Elisabeth von Görlitz of Luxembourg

1411-43 Elisabeth von Görlitz, by the Grace of God, Duchess of Luxembourg, of Brabant and of Limbourg, Margravine of the Holy Roman Empire and Countess of Chiny

Given the Dukedom of Luxembourg as mortgage (Pfandherzogin) by her uncle Emperor Sigismund von Luxembourg, who was also king of Hungary trough his marriage to Queen Maria of Hungary. Her first husband, Anton von Burgundy, Duke of Brabant and Limburg, fought back three uprisings of the nobility until his death in 1415. Her next husband was Johann von Bavaria of Holland, and after his death in 1427, she became heavily indebted and sold her hereditary rights to Duke Philippe von Burgundy, but the Luxembourg states rejected this, but instead he invaded the duchy two years later. She was the only daughter of Duke Johann von Görlitz (d. 1396) and Ricardis von Mecklenburg-Schwerin, had no children and lived (1390- 1451).

Jacobaa zu Bayern

1417-28 Sovereign Duchess and Countess Jacobäa von Bayern of Holland, Zeeland and Hainault, Lady of Friesland and Countess of Ponthieu (The Netherlands and France)
1428-33 Titular Countess

Only child of Willem VI of Bayern-Straubing and Hainault-Holland. In 1415 she married the French Dauphin, Jean de Touraine, who died 1417. The following year she got papal acceptance to marry her cousin Jean IV of Brabant. With the support of Emperor Sigismund of Germany, her uncle, Johan VI of Bavaria demanded that she accepted him as regent. He persuaded the Pope to withdraw the dispensation and gave her lands to him. In 1419 Philippe of Bourgogne intervened. Johan got parts of southern Holland. The next year her husband gave Holland, Zeeland and Hainault as security to Johan. She die not accept this and had the marriage annulled. In 1422 she married Humphrey of Gloucester and in 1424 they launched an attack on her ex-husband. In 1424 she was taken prisoner and the following year her uncle died. He had given the countries to Philippe of Bourgogne. She escaped and fought against Philippe until 1428 until she had to capitulate. In 1432 she married Frank van Borsele and the next year she abdicated. Died of tuberculosis and lived (1401-36). 

1423-27 Lady Maria d'Harcourt of Brüggen, Grevenbroich, Arschot and Brebeke in Jülich and Geldern (Germany and the Netherlands)

Daughter of Count Jean VI d'Harcourt et Aumale and Catherine de Bourbon, Princess of France. After the death of her husband Duke Rainald IV, Duke of Jülich and Geldern, Count of Zutphen, she remained Lady of a number of possessions of Jülich. In 1424, she granted freedom to her serfs. Two years she married Duke Ruprecht von Jülich-Berg, Bishop of Passau and Paderborn. She lived (circa 1389-1427)


1431-53 Sovereign Duchess Isabella of Haut-Lorraine and Bar (France and Belgium)
1435-38 Regent Queen of Napoli (Italy)

Succeeded her father Karl I as Duchess of Lorraine. Her husband, René d'Anjou (d. 1480), Duke of Anjou from 1430 was Duke by the right of his wife of Bar from 1434, and when Queen Giovanna of Napoli died in 1435, she left him her throne. Isabella led the government during his warfare with Giovanna's previous adopted heir King Alfonso of Aragón and Sicily and in 1442 he defeated René, took Naples, and the following year he was recognized as King by the Pope Eugene IV. Among Isabella's six children was Queen Margaret d'Anjou of England. Isabel lived (1410-1453).

Elisabeth of Böhmen

1437-40 Queen Elisabeth von Luxemburg of Bohemia and of Croatia-Dalmatia, Sovereign Duchess of Luxembourg
1439-1440 De-facto Regent of Hungary

Known in Hungarian as Luxemburgi Erzsébet királyné, she was daughter of Sigismund of Luxembourg, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, who was joint regent and successor of his first wife, Queen Maria d'Anjou of Hungary. Her mother was Barbara Cilli. After his death in 1437, the Hungarian Estates recognized her as sovereign or Lady of the Land (Landesherrin), which pawed the way for her first husband, Albert von Habsburg's election as king of Hungary. After his death in 1439, she wanted to secure the throne for the unborn child. This would have meant that the reins of government would have been in her hands, but this the estates would not accept, and they offered the crown to Wladislas II Jagiello of Poland. In February, her son Lászlo was born and on 15 May, she had him crowned. However, the Estates declared that this had happened against the will of the people and in June, they invalidated her son's coronation. Elisabeth had secured the holy Stephan-Crown and Wladislas had to be crowned with another crown. A civil war followed among her supporters and those of the Polish king. Lászlo V the Posthumous was recognised as king in 1446 with Hunyadi Janos (John Corvinius) as regent until 1453. When he died in 1457 her two daughters, Elisabeth and Anna, inherited some of the rights to the family lands. She lived (1409-42).

Mary van Geldre of Scotland

1460-63 (†) Regent Dowager Queen Mary of Guelders of Scotland (United Kingdom)

After the death of her husband, of James II, she was regent for her son, James III, and her adviser, James Kennedy, bishop of St. Andrews. After their deaths, James was seized (1466) by the Boyd family, who ruled Scotland until 1469. In that year James married Margaret, daughter of the Danish king, and began to rule personally. Maria de Gelders was daughter of Duke Arnold Gelders and Catherine of Cleves and lived (1432-63).

Marie of Burgundy

1477-82 Maria de Bourgogne, by the Grace of God, Duchess Burgundy, Lorraine, Gelders, Limburg, Jülich, Brabant, Quilon, Bar and Franche-Comté, Margravine of the Holy Roman Empire of Higher-Elsass, Breisgau, Lower-Elsass and Antwerpen, Countess of Flanders, Hainault, d'Artois, Boulogne, Namur, Ponthieu, Picardie, d'Eu, Vermandois, Charolais, Macon, Montbelliard, Zutphen, Nevers and Rethel and Baroness d'Ilês, Bar-sur-Seine, Lady of Friesland, Salins and of Mechelen etc (France and Belgium)

At her father’s death in January 1477, Louis XI of France seized Burgundy and Picardy and prepared to her entire inheritance. To gain the assistance of Flanders, Brabant, Hainault, and Holland, whose representatives met at Ghent in February 1477, she granted the Great Privilege, which restored the liberties of the provincial estates that her father and grandfather had abrogated. She then rejected Louis XI’s proposal that she marry the dauphin Charles, and in May she married Maximilian, who had hastened to her assistance with an army. However, the Low Countries remained in turmoil; despite his victory at Guinegate in 1479, and after Maria's death Maximilian was forced to agree to the Treaty of Arras, by which Franche-Comté and Artois passed to France. Mary’s premature death, caused by a fall from horseback, left her young son Philip (later Philip I of Castile) her heir, but only in 1493 was Maximilian able to regain control over the Low Countries, where Philip had been a virtual prisoner until 1485. The Treaty of Senlis in 1493 with France restored Artois and Franche-Comté to Philip, but Burgundy and Picardy remained French. Mary of Burgundy had several children, and lived (1457-82).


1491-1500 Sovereign Countess Charlotte de Bourgogne of Rethel (France)

Succeeded father, Count Jean de Nevers, de Rethel, d’Étampes et d'Eu (1415-91). Her sister, Elisabeth de Rethel, was heiress of Nevers and Eu, but died 1483 - she was married to Johann I of Clèves. Charlotte married Jean d'Albret, Seigneur d'Orval (d. 1524) and was succeeded by daughter Maria d'Albret de Rethel. Charlotte lived (1472-1500).


1500-40 Sovereign Countess Marie d'Albret of Rethel, Sovereign Princess of Boisbelle-Henrichemont  (France) (Belgium)

Succeeded her mother, Charlotte de Bourgogne, as Countess of Rethel, and was married to Charles of Clèves, Count de Nevers (d. 1521) and succeeded by son, François de Nevers et Rethel, Duke of de Nevers (d. 1561) whose daughters shared the inheritance. Henriette de Clève became Duchess of Nevers-Rethel, Catherine de Nevers (1548-1633) Countess d'Eu and Marie de Nevers (1553-74) Comtesse de Beaufort. Her father was Jean d'Albret (d. 1524), and she lived (1491-1549).


1505-18 Regent Dowager Lady Mechteld van den Bergh of Bronckhorst and Borculo (The Netherlands)

After the death of her husband, Frederik van Bronckhorst en Borculo, she was regent for their son, Count Joost van Bronckhorst-Borculo, who married Maria van Hoya, but died without issue in 1553 leaving the possessions to his niece Ermgard van Wisch.

Margaretha of the Netherlands

1507-15 and 1518-30 General-Stadtholder Margareta von Habsburg of the Netherlands 

First appointed regent by her father, Emperor Maximilian and acted as intermediary between him and his subjects in the Netherlands, negotiated a treaty of commerce with England favourable to the Flemish cloth interests, and played a role in the formation of the League of Cambrai (1508). Her nephew, Karl V, removed her from office but soon recognized her as one of his wisest advisers, and she was again governor of the Netherlands. In 1529, together with Louise of Savoy, she negotiated the Treaty of Cambrai, the so-called Ladies' Peace. Her mother was Duchess Marie of Bourgogne. Divorced from her first husband King Charles VIII of France, her second husband, Juan, the Crown Prince of Aragón and Castilla, died shortly after their marriage in 1497. In 1501 she married Duke Philiberto II of Savoie, who died three years later. She was also Countess of Artois, Bourgogne (Franche-Comté), Mâcon, Auxerre and Charolais, and Dame de Salins from 1493 as Marguerite III. She had no children, and lived (1480-1530).

1530-55 General-Stadtholder Maria von Habsburg of the Netherlands
1530-58 Governor of Franche-Comté (France)

Regent as Dowager Queen  of Bohemia-Hungaria 1527-28, and Presided over the Hungarian Assembly in December 1527  and over the Austrian Landtag in January 1530. At the age of 17, she married King Lajos II Jagello of Hungary, who was 15. Four years later, the Turks over-ran half his kingdom, including the capital, Budapest. Louis was killed at the battle, and Maria fled west, taking the Hungarian treasury with her, and she called the Assembly, which elected her brother, Archduke Ferdinand von Österreich king of Hungary. In 1530 she Presided over the Landtag in his name. Her brother, Karl V, appointed her Governor of the Netherlands after the death of their aunt, Margaretha and she was also put in charge of Franche-Comté. Maria was granddaughter of Duchess Marie of Burgundy, had no children, and lived (1505-58). 


1544-87 Sovereign Lady Ermgard van Wisch of Wisch op Oud-Wisch, Wildenborch, Overhagen and Lichtenvoorde (The Netherlands)
1552-58 Regent Dowager Countess of Limburg-Stirum
1553-87 Hereditary Countess of Bronckhorst and Borculo

Inherited the family's possessions in Wisch after the death of her brother, Joachim, but her mother, Waldburga van den Bergh was allowed to reside in the castle for life. After the death of her husband, Georg von Limburg in Stirum (1500-52), she was regent for son, Herman George, Graaf van Limburg en Bronckhorst, heer in Stirum, Wisch en Borculo (1540-74), who later married to Maria von Hoya (1534-1612). Finally she inherited the possessions of her uncle, Count Joost van Bronckhorst-Borculo. She (d. 1587).

Henriette de March-Nevers, Duchesse de Nevers-Rethel 

1549-1601 Sovereign Countess Henriette de la March-Nevers of Rethel (Belgium)
1564-1601 Sovereign Duchess of Nevers, Sovereign Princess Boisbelle-Henrichemont (Belgium and France)

In 1564 she succeeded her brother Jacques, who had succeeded their father, François de March Nevers as Duke of Nevers in 1563. Her husband Ludovico Gonzaga, Duke of Mantova was duke of Nevers-Rethel by the right of his wife. Her father and brother had left her with large debts but she managed to bring the financial situation back in order, and was one of the chief creditors of the kingdom. Her son, Charles II de Gonzauge, had been co-governor with his father of Champagne since 1589 and had become titular duke in 1595 after his father's death, but did not take part in the government until after her death in 1601. Her one sister, Catherine, was countess d'Eu and the other, Marie, was Comtesse de Beaufort. Henriette lived (1542-1601). 

Margaretha II of the Netherlands

1559-67 and 1580-82 Stadtholder Margaretha de Parma of The Netherlands 
1559-67 Governor of Franche-Comté
1572-86 Perpetual Governor of L'Aquila (Italy)

Also known as Madama or Margarita de Austria, her full title was Archduchess of Austria, Infanta of Spain, Princess of Burgundy, Milan, Naples and Sicily. She was daughter of Emperor Karl V and his mistress Johanna van den Gheynst. Her first husband was Alessandro de' Medici, Duke of Firenze (1510-37), the son of the Black servant Simonetta da Collavechio and Cardinal Giulio de Medici (the later Pope Clement VII), was finally assassinated a few months after their wedding in 1536. She then received the titles of Feudal Duchess of Borbona, Penne and Posta and Feudal Lady of Campli, Castel Sant'Angelo (now Castel Madama), Civita Ducale (now Cittaducale), Leonessa, Montereale and Ortona, Lady of Amatrice, Borbona, Posta which she held until her death. In 1538 she was married to Ottavio Farnese (1525-86), whose father was given the Duchies of Parma and Piacenza by his father, Pope Paul III. In 1545 she became mother of twins. Her half-brother, King Felipe II of Spain, appointed her Governor-General of the Netherlands, and she proved to be an able administrator, but resigned after the Duke of Alba's crushing of the Dutch opposition against the Spanish rule. She then returned to Italy and was governor of L'Aquila by her brother. Her son Alessandro Farnese was Governor-General of the Netherlands until 1580 when she replaced him. After his return, she was kept a virtual prisoner in Namur, until she was allowed to return to Italy in 1583 where she died three years later. She lived (1522-86).

Marchioness of Bergen op Zoom

1577-82 Superintendent Maria Marguerite de Mérode of Bergen op Zoom (The Netherlands)

Was given the Marchionate as a fief by the States of Brabant, but she did not receive the title of Marchioness. The king of Spain had administered it after the death of her uncle, Jan IV van Glymes, who died childless in 1567. Joint administrator with her husband, Jan baron van Wittem from 1578. Both were deposed by the Dutch after they sided with the Spanish, and the possession was given to the Prince of Oranje and not until 1588 is the eldest of their three daughters, Maria, given the Marchionate as a fief. She lived (1560-88).

Isabella Clara Eugenia von Habsburg

1598-1621 Isabel Clara Eugenia, Infanta of Spain, By the Grace of Good Archduchess of Austria, Joint Duchess of Burgundy, Lothringen, Brabant, Limbourg, Luxembourg and of Gelders, Joint Countess of Vlaanderen, Artois and Bourgogne and Tirol, Palatine of Hainault, Holland, Namour and of Zuytphen, Margravine of the Holy Roman Realm, Joint Lady of Friesland, Salins, Mechelen, of the City, Cities and Lands of Utrecht, Overijssel and Groeningen
1589-1633 Countess of Franche-Comté (Belgium)
1617-33 Joint Marchioness of Coligny and Andelot (France)
1621-33 Governor of the Southern Low Countries (Belgium-Luxembourg)

After her uncle, Henri III of France, was assassinated 1589, her father Felipe II of Spain claimed the French crown on her behalf in spite of the Salic Law and the fact that her mother, Elisabeth de Valois, had to abjure any claims to the French crown with her marriage. 10 years later she married her cousin Archduke Albert of Austria, and they became joint Governors of the Southern Netherlands. Their reign brought a period of much-needed peace and stability to the economy and their actions stimulated the growth of a separate South Netherlandish identity. She promoted the Flemish Baroque and artists as Rubens, Brueghel, Coebergher, the De Nole family, the Van Veens and others. Their court became a vital link in the chain of Habsburg courts and the diplomatic conduits between Madrid, Vienna, Paris, London, Lisbon, Graz, Innsbruck and Prague. When her husband died in 1621, she joined the order of the Sisters of St. Clare, and became the governor of the Netherlands. Mother of three children who died as infants, and lived (1566-1633).

1613-33 Sovereign Marchioness Maria Elisabeth I Clara van Bergh 's-Heerenberg of Bergen op Zoom, Countess van Walhain, Dame of Beerssel, Duffel, Gheel, Leefdael, Waver, Eigenbrakel etc. (The Netherlands)

Daughter of Maria Mencia van Wittem van Beersel, titular marchioness (1581-88-1613) and Herman van Berg s'Heerenberg, count of Bergh, Governor of Spanish Gelders (1558-1611), she was succeeded first by uncle, and in 1638 by cousin Maria Elisabeth II.  Maria Elisabeth Clara lived (1610-33). 

Josina van Rochefort

Circa 1613-26 Sovereign Countess Josina van der Marck of Rochefort (Belgium)

It is not quite clear to me if she succeeded her father, Philipp von der Marck, Baron von Lummen, who died 1613, or another relative. Her mother was Katharina von Manderscheid (d. 1594) and she was married to Johann Dietrich von Löwenstein-Wertheim (d. 1644), who added her name to his. Her two aunts Josina and Anna were Princess-Abbesses of Thorn. 1570-1604 and 1604-31, and the oldest of her 7 children, Josina Walpurgis van Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rochefort 1631-32 until her marriage to Herman Frederik van den Bergh. She lived (1583-1626). 

1631-47 Regent Dowager Duchess Maria Gonzaga of Nevers and Rethel etc. (France and Belgium)
1637-51 Regent Duchess of Monferrato

Succeeded her father, Duke Francesco IV Gonzaga, who only reigned 10 months, as Sovereign Duchess of Mantua and Monferrato in 1612, but she was soon replaced by uncle, Ferdinando I, who had renounced his position of Cardinal. He died in 1615 and was succeeded by his brother, Vinzenco II, also a former Cardinal. She was engaged to Carlo Emanuele I of Savoia, but married Carlo Gonzaga Nevers, Duke de Nevers et Rethel, de Mayenne et d'Aiguillon, Marquis de Villars, Comte du Maine, de Tende et de Sommerive in 1627 (d. 1631), and their son, Caro II (1629-65), inherited Mantua in 1637 from her father-in-law, Carlo I Gonzaga, who had inherited the Duchy in 1627 from Vinzenco II, but Mantua was conquered by one of the other rulers in Italy. Also mother of one daughter, Eleonore, she lived (1609-60).

Dutch noble lady

1638-71 Sovereign Marchioness Maria Elisabeth II van den Bergh 's-Heerenberg of Bergen op Zoom, Countess of Walhain and 's-Heerenberg (The Netherlands)

Given the Marchionate as a fief from in 1635, three years after her aunt, Maria Elisabeth I, died, but she was not able to take the fief into possession until after the Peace of Munster in 1648. Her aunt's widower, Albert, Count van den Bergh, had claimed the succession of his wife, and he was given the Marchionate as a fief by the king of Spain in 1641, and not until 1650 did he give up his claims, after she gave up her claims to the County of Bergh. Maria Elisabeth II ruled jointly with husband, Fürst Eitel Friedrich zu Hohenzollern-Hechingen until his death in 1661. She was succeeded by daughter, Franziska Henrica, and lived (1613-71). 

1650-60 Joint Guardian, Dowager Princess Mary Stuart of England of Oranje-Nassau in The Netherlands

Her son Willem III was born 8 days after the death of her husband, Willem II, and she acted as his guardian and worked actively for his reinstatement as Governor-Stadtholder of the Netherlands. Willem was married to Mary's niece, Mary, and they later became king and Queen of England. Mary lived (1630-60).

1650-60 Joint Guardian Dowager Princess Amalia zu Solms-Braunfels of Oranje-Nassau (The Netherlands)
1660 Guardian

Her husband Frederik Hendrik of Oranje and Nassau was succeeed by their son, Willem II, in 1647, but he died suddenly in 3 years later, and the Estates desided not to appoint a new Stadtholder. 8 days after her son's death, his heir, Willem III was born, and she was appointed joint guardian with her son-in-law the Prince Palantine of Brandenburg on one side and her daughter-in-law, Mary Stuart, on the other by the High Council (Hoge Raad) of Holland and Zeeland, and after Mary's death in 1660, she became the sole Guardian (Voogd). She was very influential and had an important role in her grandson's appointment as Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland en Overijssel and Captain-General of the Union in 1672. He later became King of England as the husband of Queen Mary II. Her sister, Ursula von Soms, was Governor of Oranje 1637-48. Amalia lived (1599-1672), and Amalia herself had been Lady of Turnhout since 1648. She lived (1602-75).


1657-75 Regent Dowager Countess Isabella von Vehlen und Meggen zu Raesfeld of Limburg Stirum Gemen (The Netherlands)

Widow of Adolf Ernst of Limburg Stirum who had obtained the immediate lordship of Gemen and Illereichen in the partition in 1644 and regent for their son, Hermann Otto II of Limburg Stirum and Bronckhorst, Sovereign Lord zu Gemen.

Albertina Agnes van Oranje-Nassau

1664-79 Regent Dowager Princess Albertina Agnes van Oranje-Nassau of Nassau in Diez and Friesland, Groningen and Drente (Germany and the Netherlands)
1679-96 Reigning Dowager Lady of Oranienburg (Germany)

Her husband, Prince Willem Frederik von Nassau-Dietz, Stadtholder of Drente and Groningen, died from the wounds he got when he shot himself by cleaning his gun. She then took over the government in Friesland, Groningen and Drente for son Hendrik Casimir II of Nassau-Diez. In 1665 England and the Bishop of Münster declared war on The Netherlands. As the main provinces of The Netherlands, Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht had been without a Stadtholder since 1650; their armies had been neglected, as the fleet was favoured. Count Johann Moritz of Nassau-Siegen was put in charge of the army but still the Bishop's army could not be stopped. Even the strongly defended city of Groningen was threatened and to give moral support, Albertine Agnes hurried to the besieged city. Pressure by King Louis XIV of France, then an ally, forced the Bishop of Münster to withdraw. Six years later, Louis XIV changed his mind and attacked the south of The Netherlands himself, while the Bishop of Münster together with the Bishop of Köln attacked the North. Albertine Agnes arranged the defence and suggested opening the dykes to flood the lands. Her moral support kept Johann Moritz of Nassau-Siegen going; and at last her nephew, Prince Willem III of Orange became Stadtholder. She was born as Countess van Nassau-Katzenelnbogen and lived (1634-96).

Maria Franzisca von Hohenzollern

1671-98 Sovereign Marchioness Henriëtte Francisca zu Hohenzollern-Hechingen of Bergen op Zoom, Countess of Walhain (The Netherlands)

One year after the death of her mother, Maria Elisabeth II van der Bergh s'-Heerenberg, she was given the Marchionate as a fief, but was not inaugurated until 1781. She married Frédéric Maurice de La Tour, Comte d'Auvergne et d'Oliergues, and had nine children. During the war between the United Republic of the Netherlands and France, Bergen op Zoom was given two times to the King-Stadtholder Willem IIII (1672-78 and 1788-97). She was succeeded by son, Francois Egon. Also known as Franziska Henriette, she lived (1642-98). 


1677-1700 Burgravine Amalia von Dohna-Vianen, Sovereign Lady and Heiress of Vianen and Ameiden, Hereditary Burgravine of Utrecht (The Netherlands)

The "Souveräne Frau und Erbin von Vianden und Erbburggräfin von Uetrecht" was daughter of Christian Albrecht (1621-77) and Sophie Theodore von Brederode. Succeeded her father all of her 5 brothers and 2 sisters predeceased her. She was married to Count Simon Heinrich zur Lippe-Detmold (1649-99), mother of 16 children and lived (1644-1700).


1690-1721 Reigning Lady Maria von Limburg Stirum of Bronckhorst (The Netherlands)

She was daughter of Count Albrecht Georg von Limburg und Bronckhorst (1661-90) and Elisabeth Philippine van den Boetzelaer (1663-92), in 1714 married to Landgrave Philipp von Hessen-Philippsthal (1686-1717). She sold the Lordship in 1721 and lived (1689-1759).

Henriëtte Amalia Maria von Anhalt-Dessau

1696-1708 Regent Dowager Princess Henriëtte Amalia Maria von Anhalt-Dessau of Nassau in Diez (Germany)
1696-1708 Governess-General of Friesland, Groningen and Drente (The Netherlands)

Following the death of her husband, Hendrik Casimir II, she acted as regent for son, Johan Wilhelm Friso (1697-1711). She was daughter of Johan Georg II von Anhalt-Dessau and Henriette Catharina van Oranje-Nassau, who had acted as regent for her brother. She lived (1666-1726).    

1710-28 Sovereign Marchioness Marie Anne Henriette Leopoldine de La Tour d'Auvergne of Bergen op Zoom (The Netherlands)

Also known as Marie Henrëtte, she succeeded father, Francois Egon de La Tour d'Auvergne, Count d'Auvergne et d'Oliergues and from 1722 she reigned jointly with husband Prince Johann Christian Joseph von der Pfalz-Sulzbach, who was succeeded by their son, Karl Phillip Theodor, Pfalzgraf and Kurfürst von der Pfalz in 1742 and Kurfürst of Bayern in 1777. He was as under the regency of her mother, Maria Anna van Arenberg. She lived (1708-28). 


1710-22 Guardian and Administrator Dowager Marchioness Maria Anna van Arenberg of Bergen op Zoom and Walhain  (The Netherlands)

After the death of her husband, she acted as regent for her daughter, Maria Henriëtte de la Tour d'Auvergne. According to some sources Maria Anna's mother acted as regent for Maria Henrietta's son Karel Philip Theodoor van Sulzbach from 1728. She was daughter of Philippe Charles François d'Arenberg, 3rd Duke of Arenberg, Duke d'Aerschot and Donna Maria Enrietta del Caretto, Marchesa di Savona y Grana (Marie-Henriette d'Alcaretto, marquise de Grana e Savona), and lived (1689-1736).

Marie-Louise von Hessen-Kassel

1711-33 Governess Dowager Princess Maria Louise von Hessen-Kassel of Friesland, Groningen, Drente and Gelderland (The Netherlands)
1732-65 Baroness of IJsselstein
1759-65 Governess of Friesland

Her husband Johan Willem Friso van Oranje-Nassau, had been non-hereditary Stadtholder of the Netherlands, and she was in charge of the government as Acting Stadtholder in parts of the country first son, Willem IV, Price of Oranje and Nassau and then for Grandson Willem V, after the death of his mother, Princess Anne. Her regency took place during the Twenty Years War, and she was very popular in Friesland and known as warm and friendly and was involved in social work.
The barony of IJsselstein was part of the Oranje-Nassau inheritance but the Staten-Generaal challenged the inheritance, but she managed the barony and was later given it as a present. Known as Marijke Meu (Aunty Marijke), she was the sister of Friedrich, who became king of Sweden in 1720 after the abdication of his wife, Queen Ulrika Eleonora, and lived (1688-1765).

1715-22 Regent Johanna Katharina von Montfort of the County of Bergh (The Netherlands)

In 1712 the family of Van den Bergh ('s-Heerenberg) died out and the county was inherited by the family of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, through her mother-in-law, Marie Klara van den Bergh (1635-1715), the wife of Prince Maximillian von Hohenzollern. Johanna's younger son, Franz Wilhelm Nikolaus, was granted the title and after the death of her husband, Prince Meinrad II Karl Anton, (1673-1715), she took over the reins. In 1718, she granted the Prussian Commissar of War, Dozem zu Kleve, several manor houses as fief. Her oldest son was Prince Josef Franz Ernst Meinhard Karl Anton von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1702-69). Johanna von Montfort lived (1678-1759).

1725-41 Governor General Archduchess Maria-Elisabeth von Habsburg of the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium-Luxembourg)

Her brother, Emperor Karl V, appointed her as landvoogdes of the Southern Netherlands, a Federation of Brabant, Flanders, Hainault, Namur, Limburg and Luxembourg, each of which had its own tradition, laws and identity. The Austrian administration pursued a Mercantilist policy intending to improve the economy. But the Habsburg dynasty interests outweighed those of the southern Netherlands and Austrian diplomacy never achieved the lifting of the blockade of Schelde, and in 1731 the charter of the Oostende East India Company, which had been founded in 1722, was lifted in return for recognition by Great Britain and the Dutch Republic of the Pragmatic Sanction, making her niece, Maria-Theresia the heir of Austria and Hungary. Maria-Elisabeth was daughter of Emperor of Leopold I, unmarried and lived (1680-1741)

1728-42 Guardian and Administrator Maria Enrietta del Caretto de Savona y Grana von Arenberg og Bergen-op-Zoom (The Netherlands)
After the death of Philippe Charles François de Ligne, 3rd Herzog von Arenberg, Duc d'Aerschot, (1663-91) she might have been the person who was regent for son Leopold Philippe, Duke of Arenberg, Duc d'Aerschot (1691-54), who married Donna Maria Francesca Pignatelli, Duchessa di Bisaccia, Countess van Egmond (1696-1766). Apparently she acted as regent for her great-grandson Karel Philip Theodoor van Sulzbach (b.1724) after the death of her grand-daughter, Maria Henriëtte de la Tour d'Auvergne and was known as "the Dowager van Arenberg" during this period. Karl Philip became elector of Bavaria in 1777. He died in 1799 as the last Marquis of Bergen op Zoom. She was also known as Maria Enrichetta, and was Daughter of Ottone Enrico, Field Marshal of the Empire, Governor and General Captain of the Netherlands from 1682, and succeeded him to the titles of Titluar Marchesa di Savona y Grana, Countess of Millesimo, Lady and Co-Lady of Roccavignale, Co-Lady of Cosseria, Dame  di Casaleggi in 1685, and lived (1671-1744).

Maria Theresia of Austria

1740-80 Empress Maria Theresia, By the Grace of God, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Archduchess of Austria, Duchess Moravia and Schlesia, Queen of Croatia and Dalmatia, Princess of Transylvania and Grand Duchess of Siebenbürgen, Duchess of Burgundy, Steyer, Kärnten and Crain, Gelders, Limburg, Jülich, Luxembourg, Brabant, Quilon, Bar and Franche-Comté, Auschwitz and Zator, Princess of Schwaben, Margravine of Higher-Elsass, Breisgau, Lower-Elsass and Antwerpen, Princely Countess of Habsburg, Flanders, Hainault, Kyburg, Görz, Countess d'Artois, Boulonge,  Namur, Ponthieu, Picardie, d'Eu, Vermandôis, Charolais, Macon, Montbeliard, Zutphen, Nevers and Rethel  and Baroness d'Ilês, Bar-sur-Seine etc.

She was ruler of most of Central Europe, large parts of the Balkans and Belgium and Luxembourg. Her father, Emperor Karl VI, drew up an agreement, the Pragmatic Sanction; in order ensure the succession for Maria Theresia and her husband. Not educated in statecraft, and married to a weak but much beloved husband, Franz Stephan of Lorraine, she succeeded her father in 1740. She fought the war of succession against Friedrich II of Prussia, France, Spain and Bavaria. Between 1737 and 1756 she gave birth to sixteen children. She supervised the education of her children and planned internal reforms for her countries. After 1748 Maria Theresia was given time to implement internal reforms. Justice and taxation were centralized, nobles' privileges abolished and indirect taxation introduced. The reorganized army would later enable Austria to survive the Seven Years' War. She lived (1717-80)

Anna-Maria von Habsburg

1744 Governor and Stadtholder Anna-Maria von Habsburg of the Southern Low Countries (Belgium and Luxembourg) (January-December)

Sister of Empress Maria-Theresa and married to her brother-in-law, Prince Karl von Lothringen, who continued as Governor-General after her death until 1746 and again 1749-80. She died in childbed and lived (1718-44)

Anne of Great Britain

1751-59 Governess Dowager Princess Anne of Great Britain of Friesland, Nassau and Oranje etc. (The Netherlands)

After the death of husband, Willem IV van Oranje-Nassau, she took over the government for her minor son. In government affairs, she at first pleased by her quick actions and decisions; however, she was also tyrannical and unpredictable. Born as daughter of the future King George II of Great Britain, she was Princess of Great Britain and Ireland, Princess of Hanover, Duchess of Braunschweig and Lüneburg and from 1727 also Princess Royal. When she died after a long period of consumption, her mother-in-law, Marie-Louise von Hessen-Kassel, became regent for the second time. Anne lived (1709-59).

Carolina of Oranje-Nassau

1765-66 Governess Princess Carolina of Oranje-Nassau of Friesland (The Netherlands)

Her parents' third, but first surviving child, and in 1747 it was decreed that females could inherit the position of Stadtholder, however her brother, the future Willem V, was born the following year. Her brother became Stadtholder in 1755, aged three, first with their mother, Anna of Hanover and then with their grandmother, Marijke Meu as regents. After the death of the grandmother, Carolina became regent in the Northern Provinces. She had 15 children with her husband, Prince Karl of Nassau, Count of Saarbrücken and Saarwerden, Herr of Lahr, Mahlberg, Wiesbaden and Idstein. She lived (1743-87).


1764-83 Princess of the Realm Maria Theresa Josepha d'Hornes of Hornes (Belgium)

Her father, Prince Maximilian Emanuel zu Salm-Kyburg, Count of Baucignies and Prince d'Hornes (1695-163)had named her as sole heiress of his principalities, counties, baronies, lands and manors situated in the Austrian and Dutch Brabant and in the Belgian Flanders and Artois provinces. Her sister Princess Elisabeth Philippine Claude of Hornes and Dowager Princess of Stolberg-Gedern had accepted the new will and testament in the presence of her sister and irrevocably transferred and relinquished by notorized document to the Serene Princes of Salm-kyrburg and Hornes, all rights to said claims. With this document and agreement the dispute over the paternal inheritance regarding properties, but not over the titles of nobility, is deemed to have been finalized. She lived (1725-83)

1780-89 Co-Governor-General Princess Maria-Christina Johanna Josefa Antonia von Habsburg-Lothringen of the Southern Low Countries (Belgium and Luxembourg)
1790-91 Gouvernante-General
1791-92 Co-Governor General

Her mother, Empress Maria-Theresia appointed her and her husband Albrecht von Sachsen as Joint Rulers of the Austrian Netherlands. Their reign was difficult with "revolution in Brabant" and the war against the French and had to leave the territory a couple of times. Albrecht inherited her father, Stephan von Lothringen's possessions in Slesia and was named Duke of Teschen. They spend their last years in Wenen where she died of tyfus. She had no children and lived (1742-98).

1890 Regent Queen Emma zu Waldeck-Pyrmont of the Netherlands
1890-98 Dowager Queen Regent of the Netherlands 

First acted as regent for her terminally ill husband King Willem III of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg (14.-23.11.1890), and after he died, for her only daughter who succeeded to the Throne at the age of 10. Luxembourg passed to another branch of the Nassau-family. Emma was an able administrator, remained her daughter's closest advisor, and became extremely popular. She lived (1858-1934).

1890-1948 H.M. Wilhelmina, By the Grace of God Queen of the Netherlands (23.11.1890-04.09.1948)

Also Princess of Oranje-Nassau etc, etc, etc. The Netherlands at the time included Oostindia (Indonesia), Dutch Guyana (Suriname) and The Nederlanse Antillen. Her mother, Emma zu Waldeck-Pyrmont, acted as regent 1890-98. Although a Queen in a constitutional monarchy she in fact had absolute veto power over any legislation, appointed each member of the Council of State, and could alone dissolve the States-General. Tactful, and careful to operate within the limitations of what was expected by the Dutch people and their elected representatives, a strong-willed Wilhelmina became a forceful personality who spoke and acted her mind. Her shrewd investments would make her the wealthiest woman in the world and the first woman to ever accumulate a net worth in excess of a billion dollars. In 1940 Germany invaded the Netherlands and Queen Wilhelmina and her family had to flee to England, where she took charge of the Dutch government, setting up a chain of command and immediately communicating a message to her people. She broadcast messages to the Dutch people over Radio Orange, which was eagerly awaited by her people who had to hide in order to illegally listen to them under penalty of death. During the war, the Queen was almost killed by a German bomb that took the life of several of her guards and severely damaged her country home near South Mimms, England. After the war she oversaw the reconstruction of the devastated country, but abdicated for health reasons in favour of her only child, Juliana.  Wilhelmina was married to Duke Heinrich zu Mecklenburg-Schwerin (Prince Hendrik of the Netherlands), and lived (1880-1964).

1908 Lieutenant-Representant Grand Duchess HRH Maria-Anna da Bragança of Luxembourg (19.03-18.11)
1908-1912 Grande Duchesse Regent (18.11-14.06)

Regent during her husband, Gand Duke Guillaume's illness (19.3.08-25.12.) and her daughter's minority (25.2-14.6). Born as Infanta of Portugal and mother of six daughters. She lived (1861-1942)

1912-19 H.R.H. Marie-Adélheïde, By the Grace of God Grande Duchess of Luxembourg, Duchess of Nassau, Countess-Palatine and Electress of the Rhine, Countess of Sayn, Hadenburg, Königstein, Krazenborgen and Dietz, Burgravine of Hammerstein, Dame of Mahlberg, Wiesbaden, Idstein, Merenberg, Limburg and Eppstein (25.02-14.01)

Marie-Adelheide first reigned under the regency of her mother Anna Maria da Bragança, who had been in charge since 1908 during her father's illness. In 1914, German troops invaded, in the face of protests from the Grand Duchess and her government. However, the occupation had little effect on the day-to-day government. She saw the death of the Prime Minister, Paul Eyschenin in 1915 as an opportunity to become more involved in the political affairs of the Grand Duchy. In the face of opposition, and in spite of accusations that she was acting outside the spirit of the constitution, she appointed a right-wing minority government. Her actions aroused hostility among the socialists, who had been advocating the abolition of the monarchy since 1907. On the day following the German armistice in 1918, the socialists accused the Grand Duchess of having had a pro-German stance, stemming from her reception of Emperor Wilhelm II in 1914. In January 1919, opposition to the Grand Duchess lead to revolutionary protests, and she was persuaded that she would have to abdicate in order to preserve the monarchy. Her abdication took place on 9 January 1919 and she was succeeded by her sister, Princess Charlotte. Marie-Adelaide became a nun, joining the Carmelite Order in Modena, Italy. She lived (1894-1924).

1919-64 HRH. Charlotte, By the Grace of God Grande Duchesse of Luxembourg, Duchess of Nassau, Countess-Palatine and Electress of the Rhine, Countess of Sayn, Hadenburg, Königstein, Krazenborgen and Dietz, Burgravine of Hammerstein, Dame of Mahlberg, Wiesbaden, Idstein, Merenberg, Limburg and Eppstein
1940-44 Leader of the Government-in-Exile from London (10.05-10.09)

When her sister, Marie-Adelaide, abdicated, support for the monarchy was at an all-time low and it was made clear that, if the monarchy were to survive at all, she would have to remain above political affairs. The Constitution was amended, limiting the monarch's formal powers. These acts restored the reputation of the monarchy, and in a referendum on 28.09 1919, 77.8% voted in favour of the monarchy. On 10.05 1940 the German Army invaded, and she went into exile with her family, determined to avoid capture by the Germans, and eventually settled in London, where the exile-government was already operating. She maintained contact with her people through regular radio broadcasts on the BBC. The years following the war were marked by a period of reconstruction, during which the Grand Duchess symbolised the solidarity of the Luxembourg people. She made numerous official visits abroad, promoting her small nation's position on the international stage. During the 1950s, she sold off many of the family's properties in Germany, including Biebrich Palace in Wiesbaden and Hohenburg Castle in Bavaria, reinforcing Luxembourg's position as the permanent home of the grand-ducal family. In 1961 her son, Jean, was appointed regent and in 1964 she abdicated in his favour. Married to Prince Felix de Bourbon-Parma (1893-1970), and mother of six children. She lived (1896-1985).

1947 and 1948 Princess-Regent Juliana of the Netherlands 
1948-80 By the Grace of God Queen of the Netherlands 

Member of the Council of State from her 18th birthday in 1927. From 1927 to 1930, she attended lectures at Leiden University. Regent during the illness of her mother, Wilhelmina and succeeded her upon her abdication. The people of the Netherlands watched as their Queen often appeared in public dressed like any ordinary Dutch woman. Like her mother had out of necessity, Queen Juliana began riding a bicycle for exercise and fresh air. She began visiting with the citizens of the nearby towns and, unannounced, would drop in on social institutions and schools. Her refreshingly straightforward manner and talk made her a powerful public speaker. On the international stage, Queen Juliana was particularly interested in the problems of developing countries, the refugee problem, and had a very special interest in child welfare, particularly in the developing countries. In 1949, she signed the documents transferring sovereignty to Indonesia and in 1954 she gave her assent to the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which formed the basis for cooperation between the three remaining parts of the Kingdom: the Netherlands, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. Suriname became an independent republic in 1975. Closely involved in social questions and involved in the running of the government until her abdication in favour of her oldest daughter, Queen Beatrix. She has since been known as HRH Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, and since the early 1990s, she has gradually withdrawn from public life. Also Princess van Oranje Nassau, Duchess van Mecklenburg-Schwerin etc, etc, etc., she was married to Prince Bernhard zu Lippe-Biesterfeld (1911-2004), and mother of four daughters. She lived (1909-2004).

1980-2013 H.M. Beatrix, By the Grace of God, Queen of the Netherlands 

Queen Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard is also Princess van Oranje-Nassau, Princess van Lippe-Biesterfeld etc, etc, etc. The Kingdom of The Netherlands includes the external territories Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. She succeeded upon the abdication of her mother, Queen Juliana, and she closely follows affairs of government and maintains regular contact with ministers, state secretaries, the vice-President of the Council of State, the Queen's Commissioners in the provinces, burgomasters, and Dutch ambassadors etc. She meets the Prime Minister every Monday. Much of her work consists of studying and signing State documents. She regularly receives members of parliament, as well as other authorities on social issues. Married to Prince Claus of the Netherlands, Jonkheer von Amfeld (1926-2002), and mother of 3 sons. (b. 1938-).

2001-13 HRH Hereditary Princess Elisabeth of Belgium
2013- Crown Princess, Duchess of Brabant

Elisabeth Thérèse Marie Hélène is the first female in the Western World to have been born as heir apparent. She has got two younger brothers, Gabriel and Emmanuel and a sister, Éleonore. She is the daughter of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde. Elisabeth is (b. 2001-)

2003- Hereditary Princess HRH Priness Catharina-Amalia of The Netherlands
2013- Princess of Oranje

Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria is normally known as Princess Amalia, and is the oldest daughter of King Willem-Alexander, Prince of Oranje and Princess Maxima of the Netherlands. (b. 2003-).

Last update 20.01.12

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