Monday, October 8, 2012

Saxony: + Prince Albert of Saxony (1934-2012)

HRH Prince Albert of Saxony, youngest son of Prince Friedrich Christian of Saxony, Margrave of Meißen, and of his wife the former Princess Elisabeth Helene of Thurn und Taxis, passed away at hospital in Munich on Saturday, October 6.

The Prince had resided in the Bavarian capital for decades. He was a respected historian and professor, as well as author of several books on the history of his family, the Wettins.

He remained unmarried until middle age when in 1980 he wed Ms. Elmira Henke, a lady of Polish extraction who was four years his senior. Obviously, the marriage was morganatic and would remain childless.

Albert's older brother, Maria Emanuel, succeeded their father as Margrave of Meißen and Head of House in 1968. He had married in 1963 Princess Anastasia of Anhalt, but the couple remained childless. Given that the Saxon royal family was running out of male dynasts, for after all Maria Emanuel and Albert's first cousins (Timo, Dedo and Gero) did not leave any dynastic heirs, a solution had tobe found to secure the dynasty from becoming extinct.

Several years ago under the guidance of the Margrave of Meißen, who passed away earlier this summer, the Wettins gathered and discussed the future of the dynasty. They all agreed that upon the Margrave's death, their nephew Prince Alexander (whom the Margrave of Meißen adopted), would succeed him as Head of House with the venerable title of Margrave of Meißen. Prince Albert and his wife, along with the Margrave and Margravine, and their sisters Maria Josepha, Maria Anna and Mathilde, as well as their first cousins Princes Dedo and Gero and the widow of Prince Timo, all signed the Family Pact guaranteeing a smooth succession. Consequently, Prince Alexander of Saxe-Gessaphe became a full member of the Royal Family with the title of Prince of Saxony, extended as well to his wife and their children. Signing the agreement was voluntary and all its signatories were bound by it.

Several years later, and led by Prince Albert and his wife, who tried to manipulate matters, some of the signatories (Albert, Elmira and Dedo and Gero) questioned the Family Pact and announced that they would most likely support the late Prince Timo's morganatic son, Rüdiger Prinz von Sachsen to become the Margrave of Meißen. This decision violated their signature of the Family Pact and plunged the family into endless bickering. Rüdiger, not an easy person to start with, fanned the flames and tried desperately to have himself and his three sons elevated to the princely rank. The Margrave of Meißen would not have it – perhaps among his reasons foor standing against the rebellion from within was Rüdiger checkered past, which included a stint in jail that lasted several years.

When Maria Emanuel died, Prince Alexander (who married Princess Gisela of Bavaria) assumed Headship of House. Supported by the Family Pact Alexander thus became the Margrave of Meißen. Rüdiger and his supporters protested outside the Cathedral in Dresden where Maria Emanuel's funeral mass was taking place. It was a shameful scene that marred somewhat the solemn events of the day. Luckily, Margrave Alexander and his uncle Prince Albert, who had taken to calling himself Margrave, met before the funeral of the late Maria Emanuel and Albert abandoned his claim to the title.

Perhaps, the matter will now forever rest. Prince Albert died childless, as mentioned before. He recognized his nephew Alexander as the family's heir. He abandoned the use of the title of Margrave of Meißen and accepted that Alexander was Head of House Saxony. Hopefully this sad chapter is now closed and the family can mourn in peace and look toward a brighter future.

May He Rest in Peace...

 The late Prince Albert of Saxony with his wife Princess Elmira.

From left: The Margrave of Meißen, Prince Maria Emanuel,
the Margravine of Meißen, Princess Mathilde and Prince Albert.

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