European Royalty: German States--Saxe

Figure 1.--

The term Saxe is somewhat confusing. The German principalities are complicated enough, but several are hyphanated versions of Saxe. The German name is Sachsen. The land with that name was until 1918 a kingdom in Eastern Germany. The English name is Saxony which we discuss below. Within Saxony are several dukedoms with the name Sachsen are referred to in English as Saxe. Some likes Saxes-Coburg are very well known because Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg married Queen Victoria. Other Saxe dukedoms are virtually unknown outside Germany.

Saxon Duchies

Here isbwaht we know about the major Saxon duchies. I am not clear at this time the precise rekatioinship between these Duchies and the Kingdom of Saxony.

Sachsen-Altenburg (Saxe-Altenburg)

We have no information on Saxe-Altenburg. We are somewhat confused by the different principalities with Saxe in the name. We have some portraits of the royal family, but no information on the principality now. Hopefully our German readers with provide us some information about Saxe-Altenburg. Duke Ernst had four children, two boys and two girls. Their mother like many Grman mothers was very practical to sailor suits. Even the gils at time wore sailor suits. Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Altenburg was ousted on November 12, 1918. The House of Saxe-Altenburg is extinct today.

Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha)

The Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gortha is probably reconizable to many Brits as the family of Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. When the heritary line expired, Queen Victoria and Kaiser Wilhelm II decided to convey the principality to Carl-Edward, prince of Great Britain, Duke of Albany, who was the posthumous son of Victoria's youngest son, Leopold, Duke of Albany. During World War I, the Duke remained loyal to the Kaiser Wilhelm II. This allegiance cost Carl-Edward his English titles--Duke of Albany and Edinburgh. In fact his situation was even more complicated because his only sister, Princess Alice of Albany, was married to the Duke of Teck, Queen Mary's brother. The malestorm of World War I eventually cost him in crown. Carl-Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha abdicated on November 14, 1818. Carl-Edward and Wilhelm II were first cousins, both being grandsons of Queen Victoria. Carl-Edward's wife was a niece of the Kaiser's wife.

Sachsen-Meiningen (Saxe-Meiningen)

Duke Bernhard III of Saxe-Meiningen to vacate his throne on November 10, 1918.

Sachsen-Merseburg (Saxe-Merseburg)

A sideline till 1918. The Germans use the word "Nebenlinie" when they talk about a branch of a noble family tree that came about after a ruler (in this case the duke) had no son to succeed him and somebody else in the family was given property that was not included in the original duchy, then that family got a new Saxe name but was considered to be of a sideline (Nebenlinie).

Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach)

Grand Duke Wilhelm-Ernst of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach abdicated on November 9, 1918.

Sachsen-Weissenfels (Saxe-Weissenfels)


Sachsen-Zeitz (Saxe-Zeitz)

Another sideline.


In the sixth century AD present-day Saxony was settled by Sorbian tribes. The rule of the House of Wettin, which began in 1089 when Heinrich von Eilenburg became Margrave of Meissen, went on to last for 829 years. The last King of Saxony, Friedrich-August III, was ousted on November 12, 1918 in the aftermath of World War I.

German and English

I don't know why Sachsen is Saxe in English. The same goes for Hessen. In English it is Hesse. Habsburg is spelled Hapsburg in English. Don't ask me why. The pronunciation is nearly the same in all these names. What I find amusing how the name Rothschild is pronounced in the Anglo-American world. They say: roth - child. The name has nothing to do with a child. The pronunciation in German is: roat - shield. The house of the family Rothschild in the ghetto of Frankfurt had a red shield on the front door. There also was a Jewish family with the name Schwarzschild. They did not have a black child, but rather a black shield at the door.


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Created: March 23, 2003
Last updated: March 23, 2003