Ferdinand II of Portugal
Dom Ferdinand II was a German prince of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry, King of Portugal jure uxoris as the husband of Queen Maria II, from the birth of their son in 1837 to her death in 1853. In keeping with Portuguese law, only after the birth of his son in 1837 did he acquire the title of king. Ferdinand's reign came to an end with the death of his wife in 1853, but he served as regent for his son and successor, King Pedro V, until 1855, he and Maria founded the House of Braganza-Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which would rule Portugal until 1910. Born Ferdinand August Franz Anton in Vienna, he was the eldest son of Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and his wife Princess Maria Antonia Koháry de Csábrág, heiress to the House of Koháry; the younger Ferdinand grew up in several places: the family estates in modern-day Slovakia, the imperial court of Austria, Germany. He was a nephew of King Leopold I of Belgium, thus a first cousin to Leopold II of Belgium and Empress Carlota of Mexico, as well as Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and her husband Prince Albert.
In 1826, his title changed from Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld to Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, following the re-arrangement of the Saxon duchies. According to Portuguese law, the husband of a queen regnant could only be titled king after the birth of an heir from that marriage. After the birth of their eldest son and heir, the future Pedro V of Portugal, Ferdinand was proclaimed King Dom Fernando II. Although it was Maria who reigned by right, the royal couple formed an effective team during their joint reign, with Ferdinand reigning by himself during his wife's pregnancies. Maria II died as a result of the birth of their eleventh child, Ferdinand II's reign ended. However, he would assume the regency of Portugal from 1853 to 1855, during the minority of his son King Pedro V. In 1869 he rejected an offer to assume the throne of Spain. Ferdinand was an artistically minded man with modern and liberal ideas, he was adept at etching and painting aquarelles. He was the president of the Royal Academy of Sciences and the Arts, Lord Protector of the University of Coimbra and Grand-Master of the Rosicrucians.
In 1838, he acquired the former Hieronymite monastery of Our Lady of Pena, built by King Manuel I in 1511 on the top of the hill above Sintra and had been left unoccupied since 1834, when the religious orders were suppressed in Portugal. The monastery consisted of the cloister and its outbuildings, the chapel, the sacristy and the bell tower, which today form the northern section of the Pena National Palace. Ferdinand began by making repairs to the former monastery, according to the historical sources of that time, was in poor condition, he refurbished the whole of the upper floor, replacing the fourteen cells used by the monks with larger-sized rooms and covering them with the vaulted ceilings that can still be seen today. In 1843, the king decided to enlarge the palace by building a new wing with larger rooms, ending in a circular tower next to the new kitchens; the building work was directed by the Baron von Eschwege, a wild architectural fantasy in an eclectic style full of symbolism that could be compared with the castle Neuschwanstein of King Ludwig II of Bavaria.
The palace was built in such a way as to be visible from any point in the park, which consists of a forest and luxuriant gardens with over five hundred different species of trees originating from the four corners of the earth. Ferdinand would spend his last years in this castle with his second wife, receiving the greatest artists of his time. In 1836 Ferdinand married Maria II, Queen Regnant of Portugal, the daughter and heiress of the late King Pedro IV. Eleven children were born to the royal couple before Maria died of complications due to childbirth in 1853. Ferdinand was destined to outlive eight of his eleven children. In late 1861, an attack of cholera or typhoid fever struck the royal family and Ferdinand suffered the tragedy of witnessing the death of three of his five surviving sons. In his life, Ferdinand married again in Lisbon on 10 June 1869 to actress Elisa Hensler. Just before the marriage, she was created Gräfin von Edla by Ferdinand's cousin Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
The couple had no children. 29 October 1816 – 12 November 1826: His Serene Highness Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Duke of Saxony 12 November 1826 – 1 January 1836: His Serene Highness Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Saxony 1 January 1836 – 16 September 1837: His Royal Highness The Prince Consort of Portugal 16 September 1837 – 15 November 1853: His Most Faithful Majesty The King of Portugal and the Algarves 15 November 1853 – 15 December 1885: His Most Faithful Majesty King Ferdinand II of Portugal Kingdom of Portugal: Sash of the Three Orders Kingdom of Portugal: Grand Cross of the Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa Kingdom of Portugal: Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword Kingdom of Portugal: Medal of Distinguished Service
Juliane of Nassau-Dillenburg (1587-1643)
Countess Juliane of Nassau-Dillenburg, was the fifth child and second daughter of John VII, Count of Nassau-Siegen, who became Count John I of Nassau-Siegen when his father's inheritance was divided in 1606, his wife Countess Magdalena of Waldeck. In Dillenburg on 22 May 1603 Juliane married Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel as his second wife, they had fourteen children: Philipp Agnes, married John Casimir, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau Herman IV, Landgrave of Hesse-Rotenburg Juliane Sabine Magdalene of Hesse-Kassel, married Erich Adolf, Count of Salm-Reifferscheid Maurice Sophie, married Philip I, Count of Schaumburg-Lippe Frederick, Landgrave of Hesse-Eschwege Christian, Swedish colonel, died after an altercation with General Johan Banér and some other officers. Maurice transferred a quarter of Hesse, the so-called Rotenburg Quarter to his children. However, this area remained under Hesse-Kassel's sovereignty. Thus, Juliane's sons Herman and Frederick founded the Hesse-Rotenburg and Hesse-Eschwege cadet branches of the House of Hesse and in 1649 her son Ernest founded the Hesse-Rheinfels line.
Herman and Frederick died childless and by 1658, Ernest had inherited all parts of the Rotenburg Quarter. In the next 250 years, Rotenburg was divided and again divided, giving rise to cadet branches with names like Hess-Rheinfels-Rotenburg, Hesse-Eschwege-Wanfried and Hesse-Rotenburg-Eschwege. Landgrave Maurice abdicated under pressure from the Estates, he retired to Eschwege, where he died in 1632. Hesse-Kassel was inherited by Maurice's son from his first marriage. In 1629, Juliane and her children moved into Rotenburg Castle in Rotenburg an der Fulda, where she died in 1643. Lemberg, Margret: Juliane Landgräfin zu Hessen, published as: Quellen und Forschungen zur hessischen Geschichte, vol. 90, Marburg, 1994
Augustus the Younger, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Augustus II, called the Younger, a member of the House of Welf was Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. In the estate division of the House of Welf of 1635, he received the Principality of Wolfenbüttel which he ruled until his death. Considered one of the most literate princes of his time, he is known for founding the Herzog August Library at his Wolfenbüttel residence the largest collection of books and manuscripts north of the Alps. Augustus was born at the seventh child of Duke Henry of Brunswick-Lüneburg, his father had ruled over the Brunswick Principality of Lüneburg, jointly with his younger brother William, since 1559. Ten years however, upon his marriage with Ursula, a daughter of the Ascanian duke Francis I of Saxe-Lauenburg, he had to waive all rights and claims and was compensated with the small Dannenberg lordship. Moreover, he received an annual payment and had reserved the inheritance right of his descendants should the Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel line become extinct. Augustus was the youngest child from the marriage of Henry and Ursula.
With little chance to take up any rule in the Brunswick lands, he concentrated on his studies in Rostock, Tübingen, Straßburg. Afterwards, he travelled on a Grand Tour through Italy, the Netherlands, England. Back in Germany at the age of 25, he took his residence in Hitzacker, where he spent the next three decades with a small court, continuing his studies. Succession arose in the midst of the Thirty Years' War, when the last Wolfenbüttel prince, Duke Frederick Ulrich of Brunswick-Lüneburg died without heirs in 1634. After lengthy and complicated negotiations with his reluctant Welf relatives and an intervention by Emperor Ferdinand II, it was agreed that Augustus should inherit the Wolfenbüttel principality; because of the ongoing war, he had to stay at Dankwarderode Castle in Braunschweig and could not move to his residence until 1644. Soon after, Augustus instituted a number of government reforms, founded the Bibliotheca Augusta. After the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, the Wolfenbüttel lands recovered under his capable rule.
Augustus was a promoter of German as language of literature. Under the pseudonym Gustavus Selenus, he wrote a book on chess in 1616, Chess or the King's Game, a standard reference on cryptography in 1624: Cryptomenytices et Cryptographiae libri IX; the pseudonym itself is a cryptic reference to his name, Gustavus anagrams to Augustus, the surname is a play on the Greek goddess of the moon. The book on cryptography is based on earlier works by Johannes Trithemius; the duke employed the scholar Justus Georg Schottel as tutor of his sons. In 1632 he joined his Fruitbearing Society. Augustus was succeeded by his eldest son Rudolph Augustus. In December 1607 he married Clara Maria of Pomerania-Barth, the eldest daughter of the Griffin duke Bogislaw XIII of Pomerania; the marriage produced two stillborn children. Clara Maria died in February 1623. In October 1623 he married Dorothea of Anhalt-Zerbst, daughter of the Ascanian prince Rudolph of Anhalt-Zerbst, they had the following children: Henry August Rudolph Augustus, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttelmarried firstly, in 1650 Countess Christiane Elisabeth of Barby married secondly, in 1681 Rosine Elisabeth Menthe Sibylle Ursula married in 1663 Duke Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Glücksburg Klara Auguste married in 1653 Duke Frederick of Württemberg-Neuenstadt Anton Ulrich, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttelmarried in 1656 princess Elisabeth Juliane of Schleswig-Holstein-Norburg.
Dorothea died in September 1634 and in 1635 Augustus married Duchess Elisabeth Sophie of Mecklenburg, daughter of Duke John Albert II of Mecklenburg. They had two surviving children: Ferdinand Albert I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburgmarried in 1667 Christine of Hesse-Eschwege Marie Elisabeth married firstly, in 1663 Adolf William, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach married secondly, in 1676 Albert V, Duke of Saxe-Coburg. Bibliotheca Augusta
Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was one of the ruling Thuringian dukes of the House of Wettin. As progenitor of a line of Coburg princes who, in the 19th and 20th centuries, mounted the thrones of several European realms, he is a patrilineal ancestor of, among others, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, King Philippe of Belgium and King Simeon II of Bulgaria, he was the eldest son of Ernest Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Sophia Antonia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. He received a private and comprehensive education and became an art connoisseur. Francis initiated a major collection of books and illustrations for the duchy in 1775, which expanded to a 300,000-picture collection of copperplate engravings housed in the Veste Coburg, he was commissioned into the allied army in 1793 when his country was invaded by the Revolutionary armies of France. The allied forces included Hanoverians and the British, he fought in several actions against the French. Francis succeeded his father as reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld in 1800.
In the discharge of his father's debts the Schloss Rosenau had passed out of the family but in 1805 he bought back the property as a summer residence for the ducal family. Emperor Francis II dissolved the Holy Roman Empire on 6 August 1806, after its defeat by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz. Duke Francis died 9 December 1806. On 15 December 1806, Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, along with the other Ernestine duchies, entered the Confederation of the Rhine as the Duke and his ministers planned. In Hildburghausen on 6 March 1776, Francis married Princess Sophie of Saxe-Hildburghausen, a daughter of his Ernestine kinsman, Duke Ernst Friedrich II, she died on 28 October 1776, only seven months after her wedding. There were no children born from this marriage. In Ebersdorf on 13 June 1777, Francis married Countess Augusta Reuss-Lobenstein-Ebersdorf, they had ten children, seven of whom survived to adulthood: His male-line descendants established ruling houses in Belgium, United Kingdom and Bulgaria, while retaining the duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha until 1918.
His son Leopold ruled as Leopold I of the Belgians. A grandson reigned jure uxoris as King Ferdinand II of Portugal while a great-grandson named Ferdinand became the first modern king of Bulgaria. One of his granddaughters was Empress Carlota of Mexico, while another was Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom; the latter's son, Edward VII, a patrilineal as well as matrilineal great-grandson of Francis, inaugurated the male line which wore the British crown until the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952. August Beck: Franz Friedrich Anton, Herzog von Sachsen-Koburg-Saalfeld. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie vol. VII, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1877, p. 296. Carl-Christian Dressel: Die Entwicklung von Verfassung und Verwaltung in Sachsen-Coburg 1800 - 1826 im Vergleich, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-428-12003-1. Christian Kruse: Franz Friedrich Anton von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld: 1750 - 1806, in: Jahrbuch der Coburger Landesstiftung, Coburg 1995
Eberhard III, Duke of Württemberg
Eberhard III, Duke of Württemberg ruled as Duke of Württemberg from 1628 until his death in 1674. Eberhard III became the heir under guardianship in 1628 during the Thirty Years War at the age of 14 after the death of his father, Johann Frederick, 7th Duke of Württemberg, his guardian at first was his father's brother Louis Frederick, Duke of Württemberg-Montbéliard and after his death in 1631 Julius Frederick, Duke of Württemberg-Weiltingen. Württemberg lost around one third of its territory in 1629. Julius Frederick was removed as guardian in 1633 when Eberhard was declared of full age at which point he assumed full rule of the Duchy. Following a major defeat of Württemberg troops in the battle of Nördlingen on 6 September 1634, Württemberg was looted and plundered. Eberhard fled to Strasbourg where he married in 1637, returning to Württemberg in 1638 after long negotiations with Ferdinand III of the Holy Roman Empire. By this time many territories had been passed on by the Emperor to other parties to push forward Catholicism in the region.
The Duchy of Württemberg was reinstated after long negotiations resulting in the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, despite or maybe because of the effects of war, poverty and the Bubonic plague all of which reduced the population from 350,000 in 1618 to 120,000 in 1648. Eberhard III entered into an inheritance agreement with his younger brother Frederick thereby handing over ownership of the Duchy of Württemberg-Neuenstadt and thus establishing a new branch line of the duchy. In 1651, Eberhard came to a similar agreement with another brother, Ulrich affecting the Castle of Neuenbürg. Eberhard III was the second son of John Frederick, 7th Duke of Württemberg and Barbara Sophie of Brandenburg, he married twice, first on 26 February 1637 with Anna Katharina, Wild- and Rheingräfin of Salm-Kyrburg. They had fourteen children: John Frederick of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Louis Frederick of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Christian Eberhard of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Eberhard of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Sophie Louise of Württemberg-Stuttgart.
Dorothea Amalie of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Christine Fredericka of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Christine Charlotte of Württemberg-Stuttgart, married 8 May 1662 to Prince George Christian, Prince of East Frisia. Duke William Louis of Württemberg. Anna Katharine of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Karl Christof of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Eberhardine Katharine of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Duke Frederick Charles of Württemberg-Winnental. Karl Maximilian of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Secondly, he married on 20 July 1656 with Countess Marie Dorothea Sofie of Oettingen, they had eleven children: George Frederick of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Stillborn son. Albrecht Christian of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Louis of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Joachim Ernst of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Philipp Siegmund of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Karl Ferdinand of Württemberg-Stuttgart. John Frederick of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Died in duel with count János Pálffy near Herrenberg. Sophie Charlotte of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Eberhard of Württemberg-Stuttgart. Emanuel Eberhard of Württemberg-Stuttgart.
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Leopold I of Belgium
Leopold I was a German prince who became the first King of the Belgians following the country's independence in 1830. He reigned between July 1831 and December 1865. Born into the ruling family of the small German duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Leopold took a commission in the Imperial Russian Army and fought against Napoleon after French troops overran Saxe-Coburg during the Napoleonic Wars. After Napoleon's defeat, Leopold moved to the United Kingdom where he married Princess Charlotte of Wales, second in line to the British throne and the only legitimate child of the Prince Regent. Charlotte died after only a year of marriage, but Leopold continued to enjoy considerable status in Britain. After the Greek War of Independence, Leopold was offered the crown of Greece but turned it down, believing it to be too precarious. Instead, Leopold accepted the kingship of the newly established Kingdom of Belgium in 1831; the Belgian government offered the position to Leopold because of his diplomatic connections with royal houses across Europe, because as the British-backed candidate, he was not affiliated with other powers, such as France, which were believed to have territorial ambitions in Belgium which might threaten the European balance of power created by the 1815 Congress of Vienna.
Leopold took his oath as King of the Belgians on 21 July 1831, an event commemorated annually as Belgian National Day. His reign was marked by attempts by the Dutch to recapture Belgium and by internal political division between liberals and Catholics; as a Protestant, Leopold was considered liberal and encouraged economic modernisation, playing an important role in encouraging the creation of Belgium's first railway in 1835 and subsequent industrialisation. As a result of the ambiguities in the Belgian Constitution, Leopold was able to expand the monarch's powers during his reign, he played an important role in stopping the spread of the Revolutions of 1848 into Belgium. He died in 1865 and was succeeded by his son, Leopold II. Leopold was born in Coburg in the tiny German duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld in modern-day Bavaria on 16 December 1790, he was the youngest son of Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Countess Augusta Reuss-Ebersdorf. In 1826, Saxe-Coburg acquired the city of Gotha from the neighboring Duchy of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg and gave up Saalfeld to Saxe-Meiningen, becoming Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Ln 1795, at just five years old, Leopold was given an honorary commission of the rank of colonel in the Izmaylovsky Regiment, part of the Imperial Guard, in the Imperial Russian Army. Seven years he received a promotion to the rank of Major General; when French troops occupied the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars, Leopold went to Paris where he became part of the Imperial Court of Napoleon. Napoleon offered him the position of adjutant. Instead, he went to Russia to take up a military career in the Imperial Russian cavalry, at war with France at the time, he campaigned against Napoleon and distinguished himself at the Battle of Kulm at the head of his cuirassier division. By 1815, the time of the final defeat of Napoleon, he had reached the rank of lieutenant general at only 25 years of age. Leopold received British citizenship in 1815. On 2 May 1816, Leopold married Princess Charlotte of Wales at Carlton House in London. Charlotte was the only legitimate child of the Prince Regent George and therefore second in line to the British throne.
Charlotte had been engaged to the Prince of Orange, but finding him distasteful, broke it off in favour of Leopold. The Prince Regent was displeased, but found Leopold to be charming and possessing every quality to make his daughter happy, thus approving of their marriage; the same year he received an honorary commission to the rank of Field Marshal and Knight of the Order of the Garter. On 5 November 1817, after having suffered a miscarriage, Princess Charlotte gave birth to a stillborn son, she herself died the next day following complications. Leopold was said to have been heartbroken by her death. Had Charlotte survived, she would have become queen of the United Kingdom on the death of her father and Leopold would have assumed the role of prince consort taken by his nephew Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Despite Charlotte's death, the Prince Regent granted Prince Leopold the British style of Royal Highness by Order in Council on 6 April 1818. From 1828 to 1829, Leopold had an affair with the actress Caroline Bauer, who bore a striking resemblance to Charlotte.
Caroline was a cousin of his advisor Baron Christian Friedrich von Stockmar. She came to England with her mother and took up residence at Longwood House, a few miles from Claremont House. But, by mid-1829, the liaison was over, the actress and her mother returned to Berlin. Many years in memoirs published after her death, she declared that she and Leopold had engaged in a morganatic marriage and that he had bestowed upon her the title of Countess Montgomery, he would have broken this marriage. The son of Baron Stockmar denied that these events happened, indeed no records have been found of a civil or religious marriage with the actress. Following a Greek rebellion against the Ottoman Empire, Leopold was offered the throne of an independent Greece as part of the London Protocol of February 1830. Though showing interest in the position, Leopold turned down the offer on 17 May 1830; the role would subsequently be accepted by Otto of Wittelsbach in May 1832 who ruled until he was deposed in October 1862.
At the end of August 1830, rebels
Louis Rudolph, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Louis Rudolph, a member of the House of Welf, was Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and ruling Prince of Wolfenbüttel from 1731 until his death. Since 1707, he ruled as an immediate Prince of Blankenburg. Louis Rudolph was the youngest son of Duke Anthony Ulrich of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and his consort Elizabeth Juliane, a daughter of Duke Frederick of Schleswig-Holstein-Sønderburg-Norburg, he became a major general in the service of the Habsburg emperor Leopold I in 1690 and was promptly captured in the Battle of Fleurus by the forces of King Louis XIV of France. After being released the same year, his father gave him the Brunswick County of Blankenburg as a present, with the consent of his eldest son Augustus William, insofar violating the primogeniture principle laid down by the late Duke Henry V; when in 1707 Prince Anthony Ulrich managed to betroth Louis Rudolph's daughter Elisabeth Christine to the Habsburg archduke Charles VI, his elder brother Emperor Joseph I raised the County of Blankenburg to an immediate principality.
Louis Rudolph's status as an Imperial prince, was limited as his vote in the Imperial Diet was not hereditary and depending on the Welf Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg. On the death of brother Augustus William in 1731, Louis Rudolph inherited Wolfenbüttel, thus ruling both principalities in personal union, he relocated his residence to the capital of the inherited bigger principality. In the few years of his rule, Louis Rudolph managed to restore the finances, after Augustus William had ruined the state. Louis Rudolph died without male issue in 1735, he was succeeded by his first cousin, Duke Ferdinand Albert II, who had married Louis Rudolph's youngest daughter, Antoinette Amalie. Louis Rudolph married Christine Louise, daughter of Albert Ernest I, Prince of Oettingen, at Aurich in 1690, they had the following children who reached adulthood: Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, married Archduke Charles VI of Austria, crowned Holy Roman Empress in 1711, mother of Empress Maria Theresa Charlotte Christine of Brunswick-Lüneburg, married Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich of Russia and heir of Peter the Great and was mother to Emperor Peter II of Russia Antoinette Amalie of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, married Duke Ferdinand Albert II of Brunswick-Lüneburg who succeeded her father in 1735.
Louis Rudolph's descendants include monarchs of World War I Allied Powers George V of the United Kingdom, Nicholas II of Russia, Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, Albert I of the Belgians, Ferdinand I of Romania. His descendants included the last rulers of several defunct kingdoms and empires including Francis II the last Holy Roman Emperor, Charles I of Austria, Ludwig III of Bavaria, Frederick Augustus III of Saxony, William II of Württemberg, Francis II of the Two Sicilies, Maximilian I of Mexico, Manuel II of Portugal, Pedro II of Brazil, Constantine II of Greece, Peter II of Yugoslavia, Napoleon II and Louis XVII of France. At the House of Welf site