Margarete von Waldeck (1533–1554)
The story of Snow White may have been intertwined with those of some historical figures. Scholars have uncovered parallels between the legendary Snow White and Margarete von Waldeck (1533–1554). Like Snow White, Margarete was a strikingly attractive young woman. Like Snow White she had a problematic relationship with her stepmother. She grew up in the mining town of Waldeck, where small children known as "dwarfs" worked in the mines. At 16, Margarete moved to Brussels. There, she attracted the romantic interest of several nobles, including Phillip II of Spain. Phillip hoped to marry her because she was beautiful, but she became ill as a result of poisoning. Ruthless politics were a part of medieval court, where marriage to a powerful personage was often viewed as a way for a clan to gain allies to the detriment of rivals. Margarete died at the age of 21. The handwriting of her will, written shortly before her death, shows evidence of tremor. The perpetrator was never exposed, but it could not have been her stepmother, who was already dead at the time. The poignant tale of a beautiful young woman whose life was cut short may have captured the popular imagination and provided inspiration for the folktale.
Created by: Laurie
Record added: Oct 28, 2009
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