James Boswell died in 1795 believing he had touched and kissed a cache of Shakespeare's original letters and papers discovered by a Mr. Ireland. His friend, Edmond Malone, publicly exposed the lot as a forgery just a year later.
Anna Wilhelmine, Princess of Anhalt-DessauBorn 1715
Daughter of Leopold I of Anhalt-Dessau (1676-1747) and Anna Luise Föhse (1677-1745).
She was the favorite child of Leopold I, and, at the age of 27, was given the area known as Mosigkau near Dessau. From 1752 to 1757 she had built a new mansion, Schloss Mosigkau, which is today accessible as a museum.
She never married.
Life with Boswell:
Boswell waited on Wilhelmine, aunt to the then reigning Prince Leopold III, at Dessau on September 26, 1764, and found her to be “a large, jolly princess, very high and mighty, but her pride was of the best kind. It did not show itself in silent disdian but in splendid magnificence.” That same evening Boswell went to an intimate party at the Princess's, consisting of only eight people. They played cards, had supper (“exceedingly well”), and Boswell obviously enjoyed himself. The Princess “was very hearty, and conversation went well on. There was just as much restraint as pleased me.”
On September 29, Boswell participated in entertainments arranged by the Princess in honor of the deposed Duke of Courland Karl Christian Joseph. The festivities took place “at the Palace of the late Prince Maurice, which now belongs to the Princesse Wilhelmine”.1
Note 1: Prince Moritz, an able military commander, was the Princess' brother who had died in 1760 as a result of wounds sustained at the Battle of Hochkirch in October 1758. He had been in Austrian captivity since the battle, and had only just been released when he died.