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Abel Cathrine

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Name  Abel Cathrine

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Abel Cathrine (1626-1676) was a Danish courtier and philanthropist. She was the favorite of the queen of Denmark, Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-L√ľneburg, and known as the founder of Abel Cathrines Stiftelse (The Abel Cathrine Foundation).

Abel Cathrine was born in Holstein, but her origin is unclear. She never used a last name, but she is believed to have been the illegitimate daughter of a German nobleman of the von der Wisch family. She was likely employed in the household of Sophie Amalie upon her arrival to Denmark in 1643. In 1655, Abel Catherine married the court official Hans Hansen Osten, who had the responsibility of the royal estates and accumulated a great fortune. Formally, Abel Cathrine left her position as lady-in-waiting of the queen upon her marriage, but in practice, she remained the intimate favorite of the queen, who showed her many favors. After the death of her spouse in 1672, she used his fortune for charity. She founded a refuge for the poor of Copenhagen, which was financed by her foundation, Abel Cathrines Stiftelse. A street is named after her.


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