07 September 2014

german Houses: The Ducal House of Saxe-Meiningen

The Ducal House of Saxe-Meiningen

House of Wettin

The members of the Ducal Family bear the Titles Prince/Princess of Saxe-Meingen, Duke/Duchess zu Saxony with the style of Highness (HH).

When in 1680 the 7 sons of the late Duke Ernst I. of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg divided their from their father inherited Country his 3 son Bernhard got the former henneberigian offices  Meiningen Maßfeld, Wasungen, Sand and Frauenbreitungen, and the Saxon Wettin-offices Salzungen and Alenstein  with the Liebenstein. This formed the new Duchy  of Saxe-Meiningen which got full sovereignty in the realm federation. With the establishment of a representative castle was begun immediately. The palace was completed in 1692 and was named after the second wife of  the  Duke Elizabeth Castle. In 1690, the Duke established the court orchestra and in 1692 the park was initially created as a Renaissance garden. The royal household was the financial situation completely inappropriate and so Bernhard slipped stability in the country soon. The sale of goods and a multi-chamber exposure of the public taxes and compulsory labor were the result. But his immense expenditure for his tendency to alchemy and military affairs led to multiple complaints of the stands. Bernhard was highly educated and gave especially topics such as religion and education his attention, where he worked in the administration of the country with General visitations. In foreign policy was Bernard's government by tensions and armed conflicts, mainly with his brothers, inAlthough Bernhard possessed testamentary the indivisibility of the Country  there was not a primogeniture. So Bernard sons ruled after his death the land jointly.
Duke Bernhard was married twice. First he married in 1671 Princess Maria Hedwig of Hesse-Darmstadt, a daughter of Landgrave Georg II. In 1681 he married again with Princess Elisabeth Eleonore of Brunswick-Wolffenbüttel, a daughter of Duke Anton Ulrich.
He had Isssue from both marriages:
from the first marriage
  • Ernst Ludwig I., succeeded his father as Duke
  • Bernhard
  • Johann Ernst, died as child
  • MariaeElisabeth, died as child
  • Johann Georg, died as child
  • Friedrich Wilhelm, succeeded his nephew, Duke Karl Friedrich as Duke
  • Georg Ernst
from the second marriage:
  • Elisabeth Ernestine, Abbess of Gandersheim
  • Eleonore Friederike, Kanonisse in Gandersheim
  • Anton August, died as child
  • Wilhelmine Luise, married to Duke Karl of Württemberg-Bernstadt
  • Anton Ulrich, succeeded his halfbrother, Duke Friedrich Wilhelm as Duke

After the death of Duke Bernhard on 27.04.1706 his oldest son Ernst Ludwig I. reigned together with his brother Friedrich Wilhelm and his half-brother Anton Ulrich, as Bernhard I had set the indivisibility of the country, but also the communal government of his sons in his will.  As the eldest of the brothers sought Ernst Ludwig, contrary to his father's will, according to autocracy for himself and his descendants. Immediately after his father's death reached Ernst Ludwig in a contract and that it his brethren, the government could, which led to a break with his half-brother Anton Ulrich. The introduction of primogeniture but failed, so his brothers ruled in guardianship of his sons by Ernst Ludwig's death again. The country experienced due to the ongoing disputes within the ducal family a declineErnst Ludwig was involved in numerous military conflicts as Duke, which aimed to increase its territory and arose out of the death of his uncle Albert, Henry and Christian, who had died without heirs. The in 1714 made imperial arbitration of "Coburg-Eisenberg-Römhilder inheritanceconflict " had fallen far short of the expectations of Ernst LudwigThe looming already under his father debt of the country increased further by Ernst Ludwig government. Domestic political reform efforts were superficial and mostly ineffective. The Duke, who bowed almost to an exaggerated piety, more successful religious issues and the promotion of the Church's life was dedicated. Even as a 17-year-old he had created a collection of German and French songs. Later he composed and wrote hymns.

Duke Ernst Ludwig I. was twice married. First he married in 1704 Pricness Dorothea of Saxe-Gotha, a daughter of Duke Friedrich I., In 1714 he married in 1714 Pricness Elisabeth Sophie of Brandebrug, a daughter of the big Elector Friedrich Wilhelm.

From his first marriage he had seveeral children

  • Joseph Bernhard, died young
  • Friedrich August, died as child
  • Ernst Ludwig II., succeeded his father as Duke
  • Luise Dorothea, married to Duke Friedrich III. of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
  • Karl Friedrich, succeeded his brother ernst Ludwig as Duke

When Duke Ernst Ludwig I. died on 24.11.1724 his oldest surviving son Ernst Ludwg II. was only 25 years old. His father s father had established for himself and his descendants the birthright of the firstborn in land and intended as a guardian for his firstborn his brother Friedrich Wilhelm and Duke Friedrich II. Gotha. He had his half-brother Anton Ulrich ignored knowingly and provoked renewed dissensions in the ducal family. Anton Ulrich processed against this scheme. The young Duke Ernst Ludwig II.  died already 5 years later on 24.02.1729 1 year before comong of age. His successor was his younger brother Karl Friedrich who was also not of Age. However after the death of Duke Friedrich II. of Saxe-Gotha now also Anton Ulrich became a Co-Regent. Karl Friedrich was unambitious and limited by pronounced obesity in many things. He was not able to walk and had to be executed to drive anywhere. His purpose he found in food, sleep and amusements. So he left after he had come of age in 1733, the government continues his uncles and the court official. He died 31 years old in 1743 unmarried and childless as the last male descendant of Ernst Ludwig I, bringing the Primogeniturordnung in the country lapsed again. He therefore followed his uncle shared in the government Office. Duke Friedrich Wilhelm died already 3 years later on 10.03.1746 so that from then on Anton Ulrich reigned alone. Never provided for the succession, he married in 1711 the not befitting  Captain's Daughter Elisabeth Philippine Caesar , which in turn led to considerable tensions with the relatives. He could indeed reach the 1727 Reichshofrat in Vienna the lawful recognition of his marriage, the ten children of morganatic wife, however, were explained in the 1744 year of death of Philippine Elisabeth and again in 1747 as having no succession rights.  With the neighboring Duchy of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, he led a military conflict 1747/1748 (Wasunger war), the project arose from a dispute between two ladies at the Meininger court. Again in conflict with Saxe-Gotha, he lost the right to the regency for the minor Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.  As sole Regent he was domiciled in Frankfurt not abandoned, but provided the most important affairs of state there. He led here a hospitable house, and was very frequently visited by generals in their winter quarters. Anton Ulrich founded in Meiningen and his sister Elisabeth Ernestine, Abbess of Gandersheim, an art and natural history collectionWith the extinction of the line of Saxe-Meiningen already had to be expected, when Anton Ulrich as 63-year-old married in 1750 the 43 years younger Princess Charlotte Amalie Hesse-Philippsthal, daughter of Landgrave Karl I.  and until 1762 fathered eight children with her.

The children:

  • Charlotte, married to Duke Ernst II. of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
  • Luise, married to Landgrave Adolf of Hesse-Philippsthal-Barchfeld
  • Elisabeth, died as child
  • Karl, succeeded his father as Duke
  • Friedrich Franz, died as child
  • Friedrich Wilhelm, died as child
  • Georg. succeeded his brother Karl as Duke
  • Amalie, married to Fürst Heinrich Karl Erdmann zu Carolath-Beuthen

Rarely present in his duchy, it hardly succeeded the Duke described as strong-willed, intelligent and worldly wise, but also short-tempered, quarrelsome and wasteful to build the prostrate state government again. This should succeed only after his death by his wife. duke Anton Ilrich died on 27.01.173. As his 2 sons were still minors Anton Ulrich's widow, Duchess Charlotte Amalie took opver the Regency. When the older Karl came of age in 1775, he served as co-regent with his mother, where he acted in mitigation by limiting his royal household on the financial position of the deep indebted country. He made also earned the general public education in Saxony-Meiningen. Karl was a member of the Masonic Lodge Charlotte to three cloves founded in 1776 under his leadership one of the first teachers' training in Germany. Together with his brother he began rebuilding the representative of residence MeiningenIn 1780 he married in Gedern Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedern,  daughter of Prince Karl Christian of Stolberg-Gedern, but the  had no children. Two years later, the mother resigned from the regency resigned and Karl  ruled jointly with his brother George I until his death at the age of only 28 years. Successor as sole regent was his brother Georg. The new Duke Georg  summoned in 1789 the composer J.F.A. Fleischmann as a "cabinet-secretaire" in his ministry. On  27.11.1782 he married in Langenburg Princess Louise Eleonore zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg and let in the same year in Meiningen create the of his English garden in which mitconstruction he was instrumental. He had started with his brother the conversion Meiningen to a representative residence and was instrumental in redesigning  Bad  Liebenstein and the Castle Altenstein  with its park. With the establishment of the Forestry Academy Dreißigacker 1800, the foundation stone was laid for the significant upturn in the forestry of the Duchy. In great pomp to celebrate the birth of his son Bernhard, he renounced and made with their savings for laying the foundation stone of a school building, which was opened in 1821 under the government of his wife as a high school Bernhardinum. He also founded a charity school with a working device connected and free medical care. Even at the throne he had made ​​available to the public the ducal library and art collections. George also provided for a reform of the church being, among other things, he picked up the penance for illegitimate motherhood.
Like his brother, he was in frail health all his life and died on 24.12.1803 at the age of 43 years on a "chest fever".
Duke Georg I. and his wife had 3 children:
  • Adelheid (Adeliade) married to King William IV. of Great Britain and Ireland, King of Hannover etc.
  • Ida, married to Prince Karl Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
  • Bernhard, who succeeded his father as Duke.
As the new Duke Bernhard II. was only 3 years old when his father died his mother took over the guardianship and the Regency for the Duchy.By the Napoleonic war turmoil due, the country was forced in 1806 to join the Confederation of the Rhine and provide troops. After the end of the war it had come in the Duchy of famine, which Louise Eleonore sought to counteract the import of grain.  She made through land consolidation for better manageability of the country and opened in 1821 in Meiningen high school already begun during his lifetime of her husband Bernhardinum. In 1821 Duke Bernhard II. came of Age and took over the regency. Three years later he left the placed under the guarantee of the German Federal Constitutional improved constitution come into force. After the extinction of the line of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg united Bernhard II. having signed the agreement from 12.11.1826 the Duchy of Saxe-Hildburghausen, the Principality of Saalfeld, the Office Themar, the county Kamburg and the rule crane field with his hereditary land, by this increase in territory and population more than doubled. On 23.08.1829 the Duke gave the united country a new constitution. By traveling to England, where his sister Adelheid in  1830 became Queen, the English parliamentary certain influenced many state and economic policy decisions in Saxe-Meiningen. In 1830, Bernhard was included in the Order of the Garter. The improvement in the economic situation allowed the expansion of the city Meinignen to the north, the establishment of the Court Theatre and the construction of the Castle of Landsberg. In March 1848 approved Bernhard II., The demands of the people, before it came to larger protests, the Imperial Constitution readily accepted, later joined the Union and was also after the failure of the plans of Prussia in 1850 his sympathies for the German unification efforts. Later he turned to the large German Party, protested against the of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha with Prussia concluded  military convention and stood in 1866, next to the Fürst of Reuss zu Greiz, the only Thuringian Regent on the part of opponents of Prussia. Even in the peace negotiations he showed himself joining the North German Confederation so averse that on 19.09.1866 Prussian troops marched in Meiningen. This forced him to resign from the government on 20.09.1866 in favor of his son Georg. The former Duke Bernhard lived from then on as a private citizen in the Grand Palais, which he had set up in 1823 specifically for his mother as Wittumspalais. The proposed advisory role for his son Georg refused this. The relationship between father and son was strained. Bernhard had during his reign his son son given no access to government affairs. When Georg II. made a morganatic marriage came in 1873 with the actress Ellen Franz, Bernhard tried in vain to obtain the deposition of his son by Emperor Wilhelm I.. The former Duke died in 1882. He had in 1824 married Princess Marie of Hesse. a daughter of Elector Wilhelm II. .
They had 2 children:
  • Georg who became in 1866 Duke
  • Auguste, married to Prince Moritz of Saxe-Altenburg

After Duke Bernhard II. had abdicated under pressure from Otto von Bismarckon 20.09.1866, his only son became reigning Duke as as Duke Georg  IIIn 1867 he took over command of the 2nd Thuringian Infantry Regiment. 32, which had its location in the Meininger main barracks. In 1871  Duke Georg II. together with his eldest son and Hereditary Prince Bernhard he participated in the German-French War and in part also at the imperial proclamation in Versailles on 18.01.1871.  Limited sovereignty remained for  the Duke even after the formation of the German Empire. The Empire first positive judgmental, but it came in 1889 to the break between George II., and the Emperor  Wilhelm II. Because the liberal and humanistic principles of George II. did not agree with the conservative, chauvinist policy of the Hohenzollern Emperor. Georg II. advocated a liberal, parliamentary and pro-British monarchy, which included the integration of the newly formed Social Democratic Party in state politics. Under the reign of Duke Georg IIa liberalization policy took place, the legal system and society, and reforms in the school system there were still carried out (primary school law and school health care from 1875), the electoral system and in administration (Municipalities Act 1897). George II also was for the equality of women in educational and academic professions a. His work as reigning Duke is thus as high as assess his achievements in culture and art. Famous is Georg II. for his work for the theater and in particular with the reorganization of the Meiningen Court Theatre and the Meininger Theater group. He introduced himself directed, designed costumes and went with his reforms of director's theater, the so-called Meininger principles in the culture history. Together with his third wife, the actress Ellen Franz, later Baroness Helene von Heldburg and director Ludwig Chronegk he led the "Meininger" to international fame with performances in Berlin, Vienna, Moscow, London and in many other European cities. Through these tours, which were carried out until 1890, his ideas of the modern director's theater spread quickly on the stages of Europe. Meiningen is still regarded as a theater townUnder Georg II., the Meininger Court Orchestra became world-famous. The construction was started by the dedication of Hans von Bülow in 1880, who wrote here the "Meininger principles" of the orchestral work and the chapel formed into an elite orchestra, which was maintained under the leadership of other known conductor its high quality and 1914. A close friend of Georg II. Has worked in the last years, Johannes Brahms, who was often in the ducal house guest and with the court orchestraThe Duke entertained more numerous relationships with painters, sculptors, actors, musicians and scientists whose work he promoted and supported. Many artists and intellectuals were with him as a guest in the residence Meiningen, at Castle Old stone castle Veste hero, the Berghaus Salet Alp and in particular in the Villa Carlotta. George II was. Thus also a patron of art and culture not only in the duchy, but also beyond. He was extremely popular with his people through his humanistic attitude to life and carried out liberal reforms. In a recuperative break in Bad Wildungen Duke Georg II died on 25.06.1914 at the age of 88 years.
Duke Georg II. was married 3 times. In 1850 he made a Lovematch to Princess Charlotte of Prussia, a daughter of Prince Albrecht. She died in 1855 together with her fourth child in childbed. In 1858 he made a second marriage to Princess Feodora zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg, daughter of Fürst Erst I., and his wif Feodora, a half-sister of the british Queen Victoria. She died in 1872. His third wife became the actress Ellen Franz, who was appointed Baroness Helene of Heldburg before the wedding in 1873. Since 1868 his mistress, the two where connected through  the common artistic interest and theater work. This morganatic marriage provoked indignation among the Nobility.
His children:
From the first marriage:
  • Bernhard, who succeeded his father as Duke
  • Georg Albrecht, died as child
  • Maria Elisabeth
From the second marriage:
  • Ernst, he succeeded his halbrother Duke Bernhard III. as Head of the Ducal House
  • Friedrich, married to Countess Adleheid zur Lippe-Biesterfeld
    • Feodora, married to Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
    • Adelheid, married to Prince Adalbert of Prussia
    • Georg, he succeeded his uncle, Prince Ernst as head of the Ducal House
    • Ernstm, fallen in the First World War
    • Luise, married to Baron Götz of Wangenheim
    • Bernhard, he succeeded his brother, Duke Georg as Head of the Ducal House
  • Viktor, died as child

After Duke Georg II.  25.06.1914  a few days before the assassination in Sarajevo  took over the "eternal" Hereditary Prince Bernhard as III. with 63 years the government. As he married in 1878 Princess Charlotte of prussia, daughter of Emperor Firedrich III. and a sister of Emperor Wilhelm II. he was a member of he Imperial Family. In 1889 he had been appointed major general and lieutenant general in 1891. The German Archaeological Institute in 1892 appointed him an honorary member. In December 1893 Hereditary Prince Bernhard and Hereditary Princess Charlotte took their permanent residence in the Grand Palais (Erbprinzenpalais) in Meiningen. Bernhard was general of the infantry and was from 1896-1903 commander of the VI. Army Corps in BreslauOn 15.09.1903 he was promoted to Colonel General Bernhard and appointed him inspector general of the II. Army inspection with the facility in Meiningen. With his wife he now undertook numerous car trips by the Duchy and the German Empire and became increasingly ceremonial duties for his father. 1909 Bernhard received the rank of Field Marshal, then ended his military career in 1912 and finally moved to Meiningen. His conservative Prussian ethos made ​​the now ailing Duke unpopular in his hitherto liberal country. After the start of World War Duke  Bernhard III.  gave over  the affairs of government to his wife Charlotte, who now as Duchess led the country, and went to the front to visit Meiningen troops and military installations. After his brother-in-law abdicated as German Emperor and King of Prussia in the wake of the November Revolution on 09.11.1918, Bernhard did the next day to pressure the Meininger Workers 'and Soldiers' Council equalAfter Bernhard's brother Ernst on 12.11.1918 waived the government, in Meiningen, the monarchy was ended and the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen went on in the Free State of Saxe-Meiningen. After the death of his wife Charlotte on 01.10.1919 at the Age of 59 during  a cure in Baden-Baden, . Bernhard lived  withdrawn in Altenstein Castle in Bad Liebenstein  and in Meiningen. hje died in in Meiningen on 16.01.1928. 
Duke Bernahrd III. and Duchess Charlotte had one daughter
  • Feodora, married to Prince Heinrich XXX. Reuß zu Köstritz
As Duke Bernhard III. had no male issue the Headship of the Ducal House went to his half-brother Ernst. Prince Ernst was a painter and artist. From 1884 studied  during his military service, which he finished in 1885 as an officer à la suite, painting in Munich. From that time began his career as an artist, where he met in Meiningen, Munich, Bremen and in the Netherlands with many known artists of that time, that list included a teacher Franz von Lenbach, Adolf von Hildebrand and Arthur Fitger. In 1885 Ernst had his own studio in Munich and in 1888 he created his first portraits. He frequented artistic circles in Munich and with his brother Bernard as a brother of Wilhelm II. In imperial circles. 1890, Ernst with his father and his wife Helene trips to Greece and Constantinople OpelOn 20.09.1892, he married KatharinaJensen, daughter of the writer Wilhelm Jensen who was raised by Duke and Georg II. to the status of a "Baroness von Saalfeld", and then moved with her ​​to Florence in the vicinity of his mentor Adolf von Hildebrandt toBy 1914, followed Ernst's most productive phase as an artist. He traveled widely and in many places created portraits and murals. During World War I, Prince Ernst reported for use on the front and he enlisted as a lieutenant colonel on 09.08.1914 with the Meininger second Thuringian Infantry Regiment. 32 à la suite at the Western FrontIn 1915 he was in command of the 2 hunters Regiment to the Alpine Corps reassigned to Tyrol. Meanwhile promoted to colonel, his regiment was transferred early 1916 to Verdun. In August of the same year, he became the 43rd Infantry Brigade and on 01.11. 1918, the 22nd Infantry BrigadeThroughout the war his artistic activity rested almost entirely. In the War he lost his sons Ernst (1915) and George (1916). After his brother Bernhard III. had abdicated on 10.11.1918 as the reigning Duke Ernst also signed as heir to the throne on 12.11.1918 the renuciation to the Throne  provided by the Meininger Diet. Prince Ernst settled yet in 1918 with his family from the troubled Munich soviet republic after Haubinda in the local school camp of his friend Hermann Lietz order. Together with Adolf von Hildebrand and the architect Karl Behlert he designed in 1920 the Burial Place for the Duke George II., and Baroness Helene of Heldburg  on the Park Cemetery in Meiningen. In 1921 he moved into his own newly built house in Haubinda. Initially worked as an art teacher at the school camp, he began again in 1922 with the painting. Next he was only a substitute, in place of his ailing brother, entirely responsible after his death for the management and disposal of the ducal estate, for inheritance matters and as a representative of the House of Saxe-Meiningen. Ernst died in 1941 at Schloss Altenstein which his widow sold the following year to the State of Thuringia.
From his marriage he had 5 sons and 1 daughter but they had no succession rights.
Therefore the new Head of the Ducal House became his nephew Georg. Georg had broken up his studes to serve in the First Wold War and had seen Action as a Captain in a cavaltry Regiment.  After the war he resumed his law studies and for a time served as a substitute judge for the town of Hildburghausen in the Free State of Thuringia. On 01.05.1933 he joined the Nazis, becoming NSDAP member  2.594.794. He and his family were expropriated without compensation in 1945, he died in 1946 in Soviet captivity in North West Russia. His wife and his children flow to West-Germany.
On 22.02.1919 Duke Georg had married Countess Klara-Marie of Korff, called Schmissing-Kerssenbrock. Thay had four children:
  • Anton Ulrich, fallen in 1940
  • Friedrich Alfred, he rennounced the succesion rights, allowing to pass it to his uncle. From 1953 he became a carthusian Monk
  • Marie Elisabeth, died as child
  • Regina, married to Archduke Otto of Austria, former Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary
After the death of his Duke  Georg in 1946 his only survigin son Prince Friedrich Alfred renounced his succession rights and so Georg's brother Bernhard succeeded to the headship of the house of Saxe-Meiningen and the nominal title of Duke of Saxe-Meiningen.
Bernhard made in 1931 a not equal marriage to Margot Grössler. This Union ended in divorce in 1947. Bernhard and his first wife were declared guilty of a Nazi conspiracy against Austria in 1933; he was sentenced to six weeks in prison, while she was placed under house arrest.After intervention of the German envoy, he was released from prison, upon which they escaped to Italy . Three weeks later he was arrested while trying to return to his castle of PitzelstaettenIn 1948 Prince Bernahrd made a second marriage to Baroness Schäffer of Bernstein.
pricne Bernahrd had the following children:
From the first marriage:

  • Feodora, married to Burkhard Kippenberg
  • Friedrich Ernst, married from 1962-1973 to Ehrengard von Massow. Second he married in 1977 Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
    from the second marriage:
    • Marie Alexandra (Marie Alix), she weas married to Benno Widmer
    • Friedrich Constantin

From the second marriage:

  • Eleonore Adelheid, married to Peter Eric Rosden
  • Friedrich Konrad, he succeeded his father as Head of the Ducal House
  •  Almut married to Eberhard von Braunschweig.
As his first marriage was not equal after the death of Prince Bernhard on 04.10.1984 his second son Prince Friedrick Konrad succeeded him as head of the Ducal House. In 1996, Prince Konrad began legal proceedings against the Russian government seeking the
HH Prince Konrad
rehabilitation of property that had been expropriated after World War II by the Soviet Union. Professionally, Prince Konrad is a qualified banker who has worked for various banks as an analyst. Since 1998, he has been an independent advisor specialising in the restructuring of companies, and has also spent time working in the air and car industries. Currently, Prince Konrad is a partner in the Rudolf Döring Law Firm;and since 2007, he has been Managing Director of GWP German Wind Power GmbH. As prince Konrad is unmarried the other male member of the House of Saxe-Meiningen is his nephew Friedrich Constantin, the son of his late half-brother Friedrich Ernst. It is assumed that his nephew will follow him as head of the House in the Case that Prince Konrad will leave no male Issue.

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