german Houses: The Ducal House of Saxe-Altenburg

The Ducal House of Saxe-Altenburg

 House of Wettin

 Duchy of Saxe-Hildburghausen

 When in 1680 the 7 sons of the late Duke Ernst I. of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg divided their from their father inherited Country his 6 son Ernst  received the offices and cities Hildburghausen, Heldburg and Eisfeld, as well as the Office Veilsdorf and half the office SchalkauAfter a comparison with his brother Friedrich Duke Ernst  he received in 1683 in addition the Office Konigsberg from the possession of his brother Heinrich and after the death of his brother Albrecht in 1699, the office Sonnenfeld In 1710  the Primogeniturordnung was confirmed in the Principality, the Ernst had determined in his will in 1703,  by the Emperor. Duke Ernst was in 1706 the kingdom vote that was come from the county of Henneberg, awarded at the Imperial Diet in Regensburg. In addition the Duchy  received after the end of the inheritance disputes in 1714 in exchange for Schalkau parts of Saxony-Römhild, the winery Behrungen, the Echterschen fiefs and spleen. In consequence of the “Schalkauer exchange contract” the principality received in 1723 from the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen from the office Meiningen its Exklave Queienfeld and from the office Maßfeld the places Rentwertshausen, Berkach and Schwickershausen (Meiningischer portion), which formed since then with Behrungen the office Behrungen  In 1684 Hildburghausen became a residential town and accordingly built up. However, the elaborate court and the buildings of the princes destroyed the finances of the Duchy so strongly that from 1769 a compulsory debt administration was established by an imperial debit commission, to whose director the regent Charlotte Amalie of Saxe-Meiningen was appointed. In 1787 Duke Friedrich took over the reign. One of his first acts was decided at the meeting of Unterrodach establishment of a customs union between him, Duke Georg I of SaxeMeiningen and Duke Franz of SachsenCoburg-Saalfeld, which allowed free trade between countries. He then made ​​reforms in guild and poor and policing, road construction and medicine. He improved the school system and founded in 1795 by Ludwig Nonne the teaching seminar, in 1812 the illustrious school and an industrial school for the poor. After the declaration of war of Prussia and Austria to France in 1791, Freidrich supplied a contingent of troops which occupied the fortress Ehrenbreitstein. Until 1806 he was subject to the limitations of the imperial debit Commission, which had put the Duchy of SaxonyHildburghausen because of the parlous financial policy of his father in 1769 under its receivership.
With the dissolution of the old empire in 1806, Saxony-Hildburghausen also received full sovereignty as the Duchy of Saxe-Hildburghausen, which in 1806 joined the Confederation of the Rhine and in 1815 the German Confederation. In 1818 it was one of the first German states to receive a Landstaat constitution. In 1815 the Duchy joined the German Confederation, under whose responsibility is it, according to the Final Act of Vienna, in collaboration with the Privy Karl Ernst Schmid, 1818 the country was a new basic constitution.
Because the extinction of the House of SaxeGothaAltenburg in 1825  a reoginzation of the ernestine Duchies became necessary. It was  decided as in the preliminary treaty to Bad Liebenstein that Duke Frierich should get the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg in exchange with Saxe-Hildburghausen with fell to Saxe-Meiningen and Saxe-coburg. 

Duke’s of Saxe-Hilburghausen
1680-1715 Ernst
married to Countess Sophie Henriette zu Waldeck
1715-1724 Ernst Friedrich I.
married to Countess Sohie Albertina zu Erbach-Erbach
1724-1745 Ernst Friedrich II.
married to Countess Caroline zu Erbach-Fürstenau
1745-1780 Ernst Friedrich III.
married first  to Princess Louise of Denmark and Norway
married second to Princess Christiane Sophie Charlotte of Brandeburg-Bayreuth
married third to Princess Ernestine Auguste of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
1780-1826 Friedrich, became Duke of Saxe-Altenbrug in 1826
married to Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz


Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg

Because ot the extinction of the line Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg with the last childless Duke Friedrich IV. and reorganization ot the ernestine Countries took place. In a preliminary treaty which was signed on 11.08.1826 it was decided that Saxe-Hildburghausen would go to Saxe.Meiningen and Friedrich would get the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. Duke Friedrich moved in at Altenburg on 23.11.1826. On 14.09.1830 Duke Friedrich gave the country the town hall of Altenburg‘s promise for a first constitution after it had come to the residence to street fighting. The Constitution came into force on 23.04.1831.  Since 1830 the future Duke Joseph was involved into the Government. Duke Joseph reigned conservative and reform reluctantly. He eventually had to resign from the government, which was outstanding in the Thuringian States during the bourgeois revolution in 1848. On 30.11.1848, two days after the death of his wife, he abicated  of of his brother Georg. During his reign Duke Georg  reformed the financial administration, founded the George club” to promote arts and crafts and designed the Eisenberger castle on. 1850 Georg founded a loan fund for poor artisans and gave their own funds for poor relief from, which earned him the name of Georg the Good. Under his son Duke Ernst I. a miltary law that fundamented the close connection to Prussia. was adopted in 1855. At the outbreak of the German war between Prussia and Austria, Duke Ernst I. concluded, despite the sympathy of many Wettins for Austria on 21.06.1866 a military alliance with Prussia. He recognized the fact, among other things, the criteria established by Prussia draft for the new German order and received in return for the guarantee of the independence and integrity of its territory. The required Altenburger quota, however, was not involved in hostilities. 1866 came Saxe-Altenburg in the North German Confederation and the military system was reformed on the Prussian model.

After an unusually long reign of 55 years Duke Ernst I. died on 07.02.1908. As his only son Georg had died as child he was succeeded by his nephew Ernst, the brother of his son Moritz who had died a year before him.The new duke Ernst II. was considered a close to the people’s Duke  who held audiences for anyone regularly. During World War I, Ernst II.  refused all honorary appointments at the Kaiser’s headquarters.  Resigning from his courtesy rank of Generalleutnant; he requested, and was granted, the colonelcy and command of his duchy’s regiment, the 153rd (8th Thuringian) Infantry.  In October 1918, when the defeat of Germany in World War I and the collapse of the monarchy already started to emerge, Ernst II hesitated. Adopt a reformed electoral law for the Duchy. On 07.11.1918 riots broke in Altenburg. The Duke was still trying to change the situation by appointing three Social Democrats in the government, but eventually abdicated on 13.11.1918.  

Duke’s of Saxe-Altenburg
1826-1834 Friedrich
married to Princess Charlotte of Mecklöenburg-Strelitz
1834-1848 Joseph
married to Duchess Amalie of Württemberg
1848-1853 Georg
married to Duchess Marie zu Mecklenburg
1853-1908 Ernst I.
married to Princess Agnes of Anhalt-Dessau
1908-1918 Ernst II.
married first (divorced) to Princess Adelheid zu Schaumburg-Lippe
married second (morganatic) to Maria Triebel, created Baroness of Rieseneck


The Ducal House since the Endo of the Monarchy

After his abdication Duke Ernst II. already in April 1919 attended lectures in physics, oceanography and philosophy at the University of Berlin .From 1922 he lived under the name Ernst, Baron  of Rieseneck at Schloss Fröhliche Weiderikunft at Wolfersdorf  There  he taught with the support of Kurd Kiss Hauer an observatory, which was equipped with the most modern equipment of the time and became a much-visited research institution. In the early 1930s he studied at the Astrophysical Institute of the University of Jena. In 1934 he was permitted by the Thuringian Ministry of Justice, the name Ernst Duke of Saxe-Altenburg to lead again, which had been forbidden him in 1923. In this year he also married his longtime girlfriend, the singer Marie Triebel. She used until her death the title “Baroness of Rieseneck”. On 01.05.1937 Ernst II. became a  member of the NSDAP.  In 1938 he received the honorary citizenship of the city of Altenburg. On 10.04.1943 gifted Duke Ernst II. Altenburg Castle to the City Altenburg. Although the Castle Fröhliche Wiederkunft  had been expropriated in 1946 in the wake of land reform in the Soviet Occupation Zone, Ernst was granted a lifelong residency in October by the competent Soviet headquarters. An offer of his eldest son – the Hereditary Prince Georg Moritz – to move to  Hamborn castle near Paderborn in the british occupation Zone he declined. Thus Ernst II. was the only former German sovereign among the citizens of the GDR. Duke Ernst II. died as the last former reigning german monarch  on 22.03.1955. His older son hereditar Prince Georg.Moritz became the new Head of the Ducal House. Already in his youth he  had turned towards anthroposophy. Beginning of the 1930s, the encounter with Siegfried Pickert was crucial for him. Center of his life shifted in these circles in the castle Hamborn, where he was actively involved as representatives of the anthroposophical teaching since 1931.  Although the Nazi regime banned the anthroposophy, the work could be continued with disabled children in Hamborn castle until June 1941 thanks to mediation by Georg Moritz. Finally, however, it was suppressed by the Gestapo and taken the CEO of the institution Adolf Ammerschläger and Georg Moritz for nine and a half months in protective custody. In 1946, Georg Moritz came back to Hamborn Castle  where he campaigned anew for employees, guests of the convalescent home and especially for the living there in the boarding school youth. Until 1968 he worked among other things, the board of the local social relief organization. He lived modestly in a small apartment in the castle, surrounded by an extensive library. On 13.02.1991 Hereditary Prince Georg Moritz died as a result of pneumonia in ahosptial at Rendsburg. With his death the line SachsenAltenburg became extinct in the male line
Heads of the Ducal House since the End of the Monarchy
1918-1955 Duke Ernst II.
married first (divorced) to Princess Adelheid zu Schaumburg-Lippe
married second (morganatic) to Maria Triebel, created Baroness of Rieseneck
1955-1991 Hereditary Prince Georg Moritz



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