Charles I Louis" (German: Karl I. Ludwig) (1 January 1618 - 28 August 1680) was the Elector Palatine from 1648 until 1680 (pretender 1632 - 1648).


Charles Louis was born in Heidelberg in 1618 as the second son of Frederick V, Elector Palatine. The following year his father accepted the crown of Bohemia which sparked a war with the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II. In 1620 he fled back to the Palatinate and, as imperial forces invaded that territory too, in 1622 fled to Holland. After the death of his elder brother in 1629 and his father in 1632, Charles Louis inherited his father's pretensions to the Palatinate. He spent much of the 1630s at the court of his uncle, King Charles I of England, with his younger brother Rupert in an attempt to gain support for his cause. He was unsuccessful in this and became estranged from Charles, who feared he would become a focus of the English opposition. Indeed Charles Louis was a sympathiser with the parliamentarians in the leadup to the English Civil War, who he believed would be more likely to assist him regain the Palatinate.

After the war broke out he became involved in the initial fighting, but with the mistrust of the parliament he travelled to his mother in the Hague. There he distanced himself from the civil war, fearing Charles would betray him to the King of Spain for support. At the invitation of the parliament, Charles Louis returned to England in 1644 and took up residence in the Palace of Whitehall, despite the fact that his brothers Rupert and Maurice were Royalist generals. Contemporaries, historians and even Charles I believed that Charles Louis moved to England in the hope he would be crowned king. Charles I Louis was still in England when the Peace of Westphalia was signed in 1648 and the Lower Palatinate was returned to him (the [[Upper Palatinate, to Charles Louis' dismay, wa retained by the Bavarians). He remained in London long enough to see the execution of Charles on 1 January 1649.

He arrived in the Palatinate in the autumn of 1649 and spent the remaining 30 years of his life trying to rebuild it with some success. Politically he took a pro-France position, and even married his daughter Elizabeth Charlotte to Philip, brother of King Louis XIV. After his restoration he became further estranged from his relatives - his English relations never forgave him for his part in the English Civil War and his mother and siblings resented his niggardness. The most curious part of Charles Louis' reign was his unilateral divorce from his wife Charlotte of Hesse-Cassel, and his bigamous second marriage to Maria Louise of Degenfeld.


Charles Louis married Charlotte of Hesse-Cassel (20 November 1627 - 16 March 1686), daughter of Landgrave William V of Hesse-Cassel, in 1650 and had the following children:

  1. Charles II (10 April 1651 - 26 May 1685)
  2. Elizabeth Charlotte (27 May 1652 - 8 December 1721)
  3. Frederick (12 May 1653 - 13 May 1653)

Charles Louis bigamously married Maria Louise of Degenfeld (1634 - 1677) on 6 January 1658 and granted her the title of "Raugrave", and had the following children:

  1. Charles Louis (15 January 1658 - 1688)
  2. Caroline Elizabeth (29 December 1659 - 1696)
  3. Louise (26 January 1661 - 1733)
  4. Louis (19 February 1662 - 1662)
  5. Amalia Elizabeth (1 April 1663 - 1709)
  6. George Louis (30 March 1664 - 1665)
  7. Frederick (7 July 1665 - 1674)
  8. Frederick William (November 1666 - 1667)
  9. Charles Edward (19 May 1668 - 1690)
  10. Sophia (19 July 1669 - 1669)
  11. Charles Maurice (9 January 1671 - 1702)
  12. Charles Augustus (19 October 1672 - 1691)
  13. Charles Casimir (22 April 1675 - 1691)

Charles Louis married Elisabeth Holländer of Bernau (1659 - 1702) in 1679 and had the following children:

  1. Charles Louis Holländer (17 April 1681)
Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine
Cadet branch of the House of Wittelsbach
Born: 22 September 1617 Died: 28 August 1680
Preceded by
Frederick V
Elector Palatine
1648 (1632)-1680
Succeeded by
Charles II
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