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Countess Emilia of Nassau

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Title: Countess Emilia of Nassau  
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Subject: William the Silent, Anna of Saxony, Patrick Stewart, 2nd Earl of Orkney, Countess Anna of Nassau, Manuel, Prince Hereditary of Portugal
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Countess Emilia of Nassau

Emilia of Nassau
Princess of Portugal (disputed)

Portrait by Daniël van den Queborn
Spouse Manuel de Portugal
House House of Orange-Nassau
Father William the Silent
Mother Anna of Saxony
Born (1569-04-10)10 April 1569
Died 16 March 1629(1629-03-16) (aged 59)
Religion Calvinist

Countess Emilia of Nassau (10 April 1569 – 16 March 1629) was the third and youngest daughter of William the Silent and his second wife Anna of Saxony.


Emilia was born in Cologne. She is named after Amalia of Neuenahr who was in charge of her mother's household at the time of her birth. Emilia's mother had an affair with the father of painter Peter Paul Rubens. Due to this infidelity Emilia and her siblings, Anna and Maurice, were taken out of their mother's care and went to live with their uncle John VI, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg at Dillenburg. Emilia later went to live in Delft with her father and, in Friesland, with her sister, Anna.

After her father's death she acted as hostess at the court of her brother, Maurice. It was on one of those occasions that she met Dom Manuel de Portugal, (son of pretender to the Portuguese throne, António, Prior of Crato). She secretly wed him in 1597. Maurice was firmly opposed to the marriage, because the Nassaus were Calvinists and Dom Manuel was a Catholic. Maurice put Emilia under house arrest; Dom Manuel had to flee to Wesel. When Maurice found he could not convince her to divorce her husband, he banished her from court for ten years. They eventually made peace and she and Dom Manuel were at Maurice's deathbed.

Emilia and her husband had ten children. The last years of their lives, they lived separately when her husband decided — due to financial concerns — to live in Brussels at the court of Isabella of Spain, archenemy of the House of Orange. Emilia went to Geneva with her daughters, where she died three years later, at the age of 59.


  • Maria Belgica (born before 12 October 1598;[1] died 28 July 1647), married in June 1629 to Colonel Theodor Croll (died 1640 in Venice [murdered]), Quartermaster general of Duke Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma,
  • Manuel António (born 24 February 1600 in Delft; died 27 October 1666 in Schlagen),
  • Emilia Louise (born June 1603 in Delft; died 29. October 1670), unmarried,
  • Christopher William Louis (1604–7 July 1660); a military person, commander of the guards of Maurice of Nassau in 1624, Knight of Malta, married to Anne Marie of Moutéleone,
  • Anna Louise (born before 3 May 1605;[1] died 5 April 1669), unmarried,
  • Juliana Catherine (c. 1607–22 July 1680), unmarried,
  • Mauritia Eleonora (born before 10 May 1609;[1] died 25 June 1674), married in Count George Frederick of Nassau-Siegen on 4 June 1647 in The Hague,
  • Sabina Delphica (1612–20 July 1670), unmarried.


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