Friday, March 3, 2017

Margarete von Waldeck - Real-Life Snow White?

Researcher Eckhard Sander, in his 1994 book, Schneewittchen: Marchen oder Wahrheit? (Snow White: Is It a Fairy Tale?), put forth the idea that the Snow White story was actually based upon the life of a beautiful 16th century German countess, Margarete von Waldeck (1533-1554).

Sander discovered numerous similarities between the young Margaretha of Waldeck and the Grimm Brothers' heroine.

  • Margarete had an antagonistic relationship with her stepmother.
  • At the age of 16, the girl was forced to leave her home in Germany and live in Brussels.
  • Her father, Philipp IV of Waldeck-Wildungen, owned copper mines worked mainly by children. Because of poor working conditions, many died young, but those who lived suffered from malnutrition and stunted growth. They were scornfully referred to as “poor dwarfs”.
  • Margarete had a love affair with a prince (Philip II-- the future King of Spain). The relationship was frowned upon by his relatives since no political benefit would have been gained through marriage.
  • To do away with Margarete, it is thought that she might have been poisoned at the age of 21.

1 comment:

  1. Holy cow! I am beyond fascinated by the idea that the story might have been based upon reality!

    I knew about the nickname for the coal miners, but I had no idea that the story might have been based upon reality!

    I did know that the fairytale had evolved from a story that had been much more ominous (In the original story, the girl's stepmother was really her mother, and her father had to sneak her into the woods, so that her own mother wouldn't do away with her!)