- Here's how John van der Kiste tells it:
â€œDuring the night of 1 July 1694, KÃ¶nigsmarck was seen to enter the Leineschloss Palace and go to
Sophia Dorotheaâ€™s apartments. He never came out alive. What precisely happened that night will
probably never be known, but the traditional version has it that he received a note in pencil left
on a table in the sitting-room of his house in Hanover that afternoon, informing him that he was
summoned to meet Princess Sophia Dorotha in her private apartment at about 10 oâ€™clock that night.
The note purported to be hers but was in fact the work of Countess von Platen. That he did not
suspect it was a trap designed to lure him could be put down to his ignorance of how much his and
the Princessâ€™s indiscretions had become the subject of gossip at court during his absence.
Disguising himself in shabby clothes, he gave a prearranged signal under the window of her
apartment, and she let him in. It was the first time she had seen him for three months, and she told
him that the note was a forgery. He told her that a carriage was ready to take them to safety at
WolfenbÃ¼ttel, and she would have agreed to join him at once if it was not for the matter of saying
goodbye to her children. She would do so next morning, and asked him to return with his carriage at
the same time on the evening of 2 July. Nearby Countess von Platen and her courtiers were lying in
wait. Her spies had kept her informed of the intended flight, and as soon as KÃ¶nigsmarck had
arrived, she went to the Electorâ€™s chamber to inform him. With the assistance of four halberdiers,
she said, she could catch the young lovers red-handed. To the scheme of capturing and arresting
them, he gave his approval, and she hid the men in a chimney recess, locked all the doors out of the
Princessâ€™s gallery except one near the chimney, and hid behind a curtain. When KÃ¶nigsmarck tried to
leave and found his way blocked, he realized what had happened. Outnumbered by four to one he had no
chance, but with the sword which he always carried he wounded three of them. However, they
overpowered him and stabbed him to death, and as he lay dying the Countess, who had been watching
with malicious glee, came and kicked him viciously in the mouth. Having witnessed his despatch, she
realized with dismay that the Elector had merely authorized her to bring the Count to justice, and
she returned to his apartment panic-stricken. Though angry with her he knew that he was also
implicated in the murder, and he authorized her to do what she could to suppress any trace of the
nightâ€™s events. The halberiers were ordered to throw the body in the palace latrines, cover it with
quicklime and brick the wall up. They accomplished their mission silently and by dawn they were all
in their beds.â€ An alternative reconstruction has the body placed in a sack, weighted with stones,
and thrown into the river.
About 1/2 of the correspondance between Philip and Sophia survives today, having been sent to his
sister Aurora, who preserved it.
The European Royal History Journal, Issue XV, February 2000, p. 9.
van der Kiste, John, The Georgian Princesses, Sutton Publishing, Gloucestershire, England, 2000, p. 23.