The Wittelsbach ruler, Frederick V, commissioned his ornamental gardens to charm his uppity English bride, 19-year-old Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I, and to surprise her, says local lore, he erected overnight the Elisabethentor (1615) to the west of the Schloss terrace. Poor Frederick. Few of his attempts to impress succeeded. Four years later, against better advice, the impetuous 24-year-old was crowned King of Bohemia and so declared a threat by the mighty Habsburg dynasty. The clash proved a disaster, both for him – his forces were routed by Emperor Ferdinand II, and the “Winter King” was stripped of all his titles – and for Europe, igniting the tinderbox of resentments that became the Thirty Years’ War.

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