A fortress and widow's residence

Kirchheim Palace

Book in the living room at Kirchheim Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff
TOUCHING INSIGHTS

FRANZISKA VON HOHENHEIM'S

DIARY

"Today was much like yesterday." One of the most interesting sources for information on daily life at the Württemberg court under Duke Carl Eugen are Franziska von Hohenheim's diary entries, albeit it in a highly unconventional in style!

Books in the writing room at Kirchheim Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff

Valuable books have survived to this day.

A PERSONAL DIARY

Franziska von Hohenheim (1748–1811) was Duke Carl Eugen's official mistress from 1772, and later became his second wife. She lived by his side for more than 20 years and relocated to Kirchheim unter Teck as dowager duchess in 1795. She had recorded the events of the past 15 years in her diary. Her spelling is of particular note, as it deviated considerably from the typical spelling of the period.

Interior courtyard of Kirchheim Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Franziska's "new residence".

FRANZISKA'S ARRIVAL IN KIRCHHEIM

"We departed from my dear Sindlingen at 6 o'clock, my heart was so touched by the farewell from the residents.] […] We arrived well at my new residence after 6 o'clock." Franziska described her trip from Sindlingen to Kirchheim on January 22, 1795. Some of her household staff had made the trip on January 8, in advance, to prepare everything for her arrival. "A whole convoy of my people departed for Kirchheim. The farewell was difficult and we were all sad to leave the quiet residence."

Writing desk by a Kirchheim cabinet maker, built for the palace in around 1730. Image: Stadtmuseum Kirchheim

Precious writing desk.

DAILY LIFE AT THE PALACE

Franziska's daily routine was often unremarkable, so that many days were much like the next. For example, her diary entry from January 26, 1795: "Nothing much happened, I was always rearranging." Entries from the following week give an indication of how boring court society in Kirchheim must have been: "I rearranged things again." (1/28/1795), "Today was much like yesterday." (1/29/1795), "Today was the same." (1/30/1795) "Nothing much planned for today." (2/1/1795). On Wednesday, February 11, 1795, which would have been Carl Eugen's 67th birthday, Franziska made her last entry: "Nothing much happened today, my ladies took some air. […]. In the evening, we played games with the gentleman von Rieben, as we have for the past eight days"

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