Elisabeth of the Palatinate (26 December 1618 – 11 February 1680), also known as Elisabeth of Bohemia, was the eldest daughter of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, who was briefly King of Bohemia, and Elizabeth Stuart. Elisabeth ruled the Herford Abbey as Princess-Abbess from 1667 until her death, and is well known for having established a philosophical correspondence with René Descartes that lasted for seven years until his death in 1650.
She is described as a woman of utmost intelligence speaking six languages and having an aptitude for mathematics and art. Additionally, she was a very gifted painter, among her other talents.
Along with the rest of her family, young Elisabeth Stuart was taken captive when Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand seized most of the Netherlands after the destruction of the Dutch fleet by the League of Ostend.
In the winter of 1634-1635, Elisabeth decided to move to Amsterdam to study medicine under Anne Jefferson. There were misgivings about this all around, partly because of her age and position, and partly because of her sex, but she was ultimately given permission, and she and her brother Rupert went to Amsterdam. Anne, who was less than happy about being placed in that situation, arranged for Elisabeth's introduction to medicine to be an anatomy lesson. It was widely assumed that she would start vomiting, and abandon any thought of becoming a doctor; her brother even brought a bucket for her to use. Instead of vomiting, she was fascinated. On the other hand, her brother, who had become a famous soldier in the OTL, left the room looking pale -- and carrying the bucket.[n 1]
Late in 1635, she was wounded, though not seriously, when assassins sent by the Earl of Cork attacked a masque rehearsal in Amsterdam. She was not a target; a deflected, and mostly spent, bullet glanced off her head. Her medical training allowed her to recognize that the wound was not serious and to focus on controlling the bleeding. Her brother, being involved in the fight and not having medical training, initially assumed she had been killed and went into a rage against the assassins.
- ↑ This lesson was the subject of Rembrandt's NTL version of The Anatomy Lesson. Based on the cover art for the paper edition of Grantville Gazette IV, it can be assumed that she appears in it.