Skeleton Found in Castle May Be That of Doomed Lover

A Swedish count had an illicit love affair with a German princess 322 years ago
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2016 2:45 PM CDT
Skeleton Found in Castle May Be That of Doomed Lover
Swedish count Philip Christoph K?nigsmarck and German princess Sophia Dorothea had an illicit two-year love affair. Until Sophia's husband (probably) had Philip murdered.   (Lund University)

Construction workers fixing up a German castle may have stumbled across the remains of a Swedish count murdered more than 322 years ago for romancing the wife of the man who would become King George I of Britain, Motherboard reports. According to Smithsonian Magazine, German prince Georg Ludwig married his first cousin, princess Sophia Dorothea, for political reasons. By all accounts, Georg was a massive jerk, openly sleeping with other women and rubbing his favorite mistress in Sophia's face. Enter Philip Christoph Königsmarck. Philip and Sophia would exchange 300 love letters over the course of their two-year illicit love affair. Until, it is suspected, a friend of theirs ratted them out to Georg, according to a press release.

Philip disappeared after a final nighttime visit to Sophia at Georg's castle in 1694. It's assumed Georg had Philip killed—and some of Georg's men admitted to the murder—but the final resting place of Philip's body has been a centuries-long mystery. There were reports it was thrown in a river or buried outside Germany's Leine castle, but it seems it may have been inside all along. A team repairing a section of the castle found a centuries-old skeleton in August. And while the skeleton didn't give any evidence as to a cause of death, researchers are working on extracting DNA from it to compare to Philip's living descendants. A positive match would mean a final chapter in one of history's great doomed love stories. (Another recently discovered skeleton may belong to a teen sacrificed to Zeus.)

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