The Story Of Margaretha Von Waldeck, The Real Snow White

Margareta Von Waldeck

Margretha von Waldeck was a German countess, born in 1533 as the second daughter of Philip IV, Count of Waldeck-Wildungen and his first wife. She was an extraordinary beauty, with—you guessed it—fair skin and ruby ​​lips but blonde instead of dark hair, as depicted in later versions of the story. When she was just four years old, her mother died, and soon after, Philip married the beautiful but vain and shallow Katharina von Herzfeld. According to the stories, Katharina enjoyed admiring her own reflection so much that Philip gave her a large, ornate mirror as a wedding gift. Disappointingly, there is no evidence that he spoke.

Portrait of Katharina von Harzfeld.

Out Of A Fairy Tale

Katharina resented her new husband's children with his previous wife, especially the beautiful and lovely Margareta, so when the girl was 16 years old, her father and stepmother took her to the royal court of Brussels to find a suitable husband. Shipped, where she proved as popular as she was at home. She and the future King Philip II of Spain fell in love, but their relationship was troubled, as the Spanish authorities expected a more politically advantageous match. Katharina also resented the possibility that Margarita could surpass him in marital success as well as beauty.

Fortunately for them, the 21-year-old countess fell ill and soon died of a mysterious illness in 1554. It was widely speculated that she was either poisoned by the Spanish authorities or by her stepmother. Historically, the former is the most likely suspect, but "Evil Stepmother" made for a better fairy tale.

Poison Apple in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Poetic License

While there is no mention of a tainted apple in the story of Margretha von Waldeck, a man in her German hometown was arrested and several decades later giving apples with poison to local children in revenge for stealing it from her garden. was tried. In addition, the region of Germany from which it came was rich in copper deposits. Children working in cramped mines often did not grow to their full height, and their spines became permanently curved, leading the townspeople to call them "dwarfs". Waldeck's family owned seven of them (mines, not "dwarfs").

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