Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha


He was the eldest son of Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Countess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf and Lobenstein.

On 10 May 1803 he was hurriedly proclaimed an adult, because his father became gravely ill in the spring of that year and he was required to take part in the government of the duchy. When his father died in 1806, he succeeded in the duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld as Ernest III , but could not take the formal government of his lands because the duchy was occupied by the Napoleonic troops and was under French administration. Only after the Peace of Tilsit (1807) was the duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld reunited (first having been dissolved) and returned to Ernest. This occurred through Russian pressure, since his sister Juliane was married to the brother of the Russian Tsar.

Ernest was a Prussian general and participated in fights against Napoleon. He fought in the battles of Auerstedt (1806), Lützen and Leipzig (1813) and drew in 1814 into the French fortress of Mainz. After the defeat of Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo, the Congress of Vienna on 9 June 1815 gave him an area of 8.25 square miles with 25,000 inhabitants around the capital St. Wendel. In 1819 this land received the name of Principality of Lichtenberg. He sold it to Prussia in 1834.

In Gotha on 3 July 1817 Ernest married Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. They had two children:
#Ernest II Augustus Charles John Leopold Alexander Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (b. Coburg, 21 June 1818 - d. Reinhardsbrunn, 22 August 1893).
#Francis Augustus Charles Albert Emmanuel (b. Schloss Rosenau, Coburg, 26 August 1819 - d. Windsor Castle, 14 December 1861), Prince Consort of the United Kingdom.

His marriage was unhappy due to his own acts of infidelity. Ernest and Louise were separated in 1824 and were officially divorced on 31 March 1826.Despite being the innocent party Louise was parted from her children and died at 30

The death in 1825 of the last duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, Louise's uncle, resulted in a rearrangement of the Ernestine duchies. Ernest at the time was in the process of divorcing Louise, and because of this the other branches objected to him receiving Gotha. They reached a compromise on 12 November 1826: Ernest received Gotha and ceded Saalfeld to Saxe-Meiningen. He subsequently became Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

In Coburg on 23 December 1832, Ernest married secondly with his niece Duchess Marie of Württemberg ("Antoinette Friederike Auguste Marie Anna Herzogin von Württemberg") (b. 17 September 1799, d. 24 September 1860), the daughter of his sister Antoinette. They had no children. This marriage made Marie both Prince Albert's cousin and his stepmother.

Ernest had three illegitimate children:

—With Sophie Fermepin de Marteaux:
# "Berta Ernestine von Schauenstein" (b. 26 January 1817 - d. Coburg, 15 August 1896), married her cousin Eduard Edgar Schmidt-Löwe, the illegitimate son of his father's sister, Juliane.

—With Margaretha Braun:
# "Ernst Albert Bruno von Bruneck" (d. 1838).
# "Robert Ferdinand von Bruneck" (d. 1856), created in 1856 "Freiherr von Bruneck".

It should be noted that he is the patrilineal ancestor of both the Duke of Gloucester and Duke of Kent, as well as being the great-great-great-grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II


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1= 1. Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
2= 2. Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
3= 3. Princess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf
4= 4. Ernest Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
5= 5. Duchess Sophia Antonia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
6= 6. Heinrich XXIV, Count of Reuss-Ebersdorf
7= 7. Karoline Ernestine of Erbach-Schönberg
8= 8. Francis Josias, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
9= 9. Princess Anna Sophie of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
10= 10. Ferdinand Albert II, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
11= 11. Antonietta Amalie of Brunswick-Blankenburg
12= 12. Heinrich XXIX, Count of Reuss-Ebersdorf
13= 13. Sophie Theodora of Castell-Remlingen
14= 14. Georg August, Count of Erbach-Schönberg
15= 15. Ferdinande Henriette, Countess of Stolbert-Gedern
16= 16. John Ernest IV, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
17= 17. Charlotte Johanne of Waldeck-Pyrmont
18= 18. Ludwig Friedrich I, Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
19= 19. Anna Sophie of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
20= 20. Ferdinand Albert I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
21= 21. Christine of Hesse-Eschwege
22= 22. Louis Rudolph, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
23= 23. Princess Christine Louise of Oettingen-Oettingen
24= 24. Heinrich X, Count of Reuss-Lobenstein
25= 25. Countess Erdmuthe Benigna of Solms-Laubach
26= 26. Wolfgang Dietrich, Count of Castell-Castell
27= 27. Countess Dorothea Renata of Zinzendorf
28= 28. Georg Albrecht II, Count of Erbach-Fürstenau
29= 29. Countess Anna Dorothea Christine of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg
30= 30. Ludwig Christian, Count of Stolberg-Gedern
31= 31. Duchess Christine of Mecklenburg-Güstrow


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