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The Albertines are a line of the German prince dynasty of the Wettins . The name is derived from the progenitor of the line, Duke Albrecht the Courageous . The Albertines ruled from 1485 to 1918 as dukes, electors and kings in Saxony .

Creation of the Albertine line of the Wettins

Albrecht the Courageous, the first Albertine

Ernst and Albrecht von Sachsen, the two sons of Elector Friedrich II. (1412–1464), initially ruled their paternal inheritance for a long time, with Ernst as the eldest elector. In 1485 the two brothers divided their countries ( Leipzig division ). Albrecht and his descendants were given their own territory with Dresden as their center, which they ruled from now on as Dukes of Saxony.

While the Ernestine Elector Frederick the Wise supported the Reformation, the Albertine Duke George the Bearded tried to prevent it in his area. It was not until his brother Heinrich the Pious (1538–1541), who succeeded George as Duke, who introduced the Reformation in Albertine Saxony.

Acquisition of the electorate

Although the Albertine Moritz von Sachsen was also a Protestant, in 1546 he sided with Emperor Charles V against the Protestant princes of the Schmalkaldic League under the leadership of his Ernestine cousin Johann Friedrich . After the defeat of the Protestants in the Schmalkaldic War , he received electoral dignity from the emperor in 1547 and large parts of the Ernestine lands as a reward for his services. Since then, the Albertines have been the leading line of the Wettin house .

The joint coinage agreed in the Leipzig main division of 1485 between the Ernestines and Albertines was finally abandoned. The new Albertine elector Moritz only minted in his own name ( Saxon coin separation ).

The Albertines as Polish kings

The Albertine elector Friedrich August the Strong succeeded in ascending the Polish throne in 1697 and securing it for his son . After his death, however, this dignity could no longer be held by the Wettins, who had plunged into political insignificance during the Seven Years' War . It was only his grandchildren who managed to gain a foothold in Poland under the protection of Napoleon , which he was able to rule as a duke like a vassal - until the Albertines lost this again and this time also with considerable parts of the Saxon home country.

Albertines as kings of Saxony

In 1806 Napoleon I appointed the Saxon Elector Friedrich August III. to the king of Saxony . Since then he has called himself King Friedrich August I of Saxony. In the November Revolution of 1918, the last Albertine, King Friedrich August III. , crashed.

List of the Albertine dukes, electors and kings

Albertine branch lines

In 1652, Elector Johann Georg I ordered the division of the Albertine lands in his will so that his three sons August, Christian and Moritz could be endowed with their own principalities. The division took place a few months after the death of Johann Georg I in April 1657 in Dresden. The duchies separated from the Saxon electoral state emerged

By the middle of the 18th century, all Albertine branch lines were extinct and their countries were reunited with Electoral Saxony .

Succession dispute among the Albertines

Alexander von Sachsen-Gessaphe (* 1954) was born as the eldest son of Roberto Afif (who called himself "Prince von Gessaphe") and Maria Anna Princess of Saxony. He and his brothers were given the name "Prince of Saxony-Gessaphe" by changing their name. In 1999 he was adopted by his uncle Maria Emanuel Margrave von Meißen , who was the boss of the Wettin house at the time and brother of Maria Anna, and took his official name "Prince of Saxony Duke of Saxony". His adoptive father was the son of Friedrich Christian von Sachsen and the grandson of Friedrich August III. of Saxony , who was the last King of Saxony until 1918. Since Maria Emanuel Margrave von Meißen and his brother Albert von Sachsen had no descendants and the cousins ​​from the "Moritzburg line" came from unequal connections, Maria Emanuel first considered adopting his sister Mathilde's son, Johannes von Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha Member of the Ernestine line, who died in a skiing accident in 1987. In May 1999 he adopted his nephew Alexander, son of his sister Maria Anna. Her husband Roberto Afif claimed to come from the Lebanese Maronite aristocracy and acquired the title "Prince of Gessaphe" without any genealogical evidence. Maria Emanuel declared this nephew after a notarized agreement of most of the members of the House of Wettin Albertinische Linie e. V. as his immediate successor as head of the house according to the statutes of the House of Wettin. The brother of the adoptee, the lawyer Karl August Prince von Sachsen-Gessaphe , wrote a supporting legal opinion. The decisive factor for the nephew's successor was probably his marriage to Gisela, Princess of Bavaria.

Albert von Sachsen (* 1934; † 2012), the brother of Maria Emanuel von Sachsen, later denied the claim of Alexander von Sachsen-Gessaphe and claimed the title "Margrave of Meißen", preferring his great-nephew Rüdiger as his successor. Rüdiger von Sachsen is the son of Timo von Sachsen, grandson of Ernst Heinrich von Sachsen and great-grandson of the last Saxon King Friedrich August III. Since the Wettin descent of the "Prince of Saxony-Gessaphe" is only based on his mother and he is therefore not an agnatic Wettin, this inheritance disposition is contested by the descendants of Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony (who are unequal according to the Wettin house laws ). Maria Emanuel's brother Albert was pressured from various sides to withdraw his notarized consent to the succession plan. As a result, after the death of his brother Maria Emanuel, he declared himself head of the House of Wettin with the Albertine line; he died just three months later. Regardless of the house laws that apply to the family, he wanted to see Rüdiger von Sachsen, who was not entitled to inheritance, his dynastic successor. Rüdiger is a grandson of Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony. The latter lived with his three sons Dedo, Gero and Timo, who was later married unequally, at Moritzburg Castle until 1945 .

According to the expert opinion of the Münster-based legal historian Heinz Holzhauer , Timo's descendants see each other, who meanwhile belong to the “Verein Agnaten des Wettin albertinische Linie e. V. ", as descendants of the last Saxon king in the direct male line as the only legal successors of the Albertine line of the House of Wettin, even if their and their direct ancestors Timos marriages they are according to the standards of the house law applicable to the Wettins as" morganatic “From the succession to the throne - as well as from membership in the Wettin house. Section 13 of the "Royal Saxon House Law of December 30, 1837" (Royal Saxon Law Gazette, 1838, p. 60ff.) Reads: "No member of the Royal House is permitted to adopt." From this, Timo's descendants conclude: if you look at the (unauthorized) Amendment of the house law with a legitimation of unequal marriages as effective, the (equally unauthorized) house law amendment by Maria Emanuel with the abolition of the age-old successor law of the Lex Salica (male line principle) as ineffective, so the Albertines have not yet expired in the male line. Maria Emanuel was therefore followed by his brother Albert of Saxony as head of the Albertines and Margrave of Meissen . But since Albert's marriage to Elmira also remained childless, this was followed by Rüdiger, the son of his cousin Timo Prince of Saxony, Duke of Saxony as head of the former Saxon royal family, in accordance with the male principle of succession as well as his succession provision. Rüdiger von Sachsen therefore declared himself head of the house, but passed the position on to his son, Daniel von Sachsen. The genealogical report prepared in 2019 by archivist and genealogist Markus Fugger von dem Rech, which is also available to the German Nobility Law Committee, clearly speaks in favor of Rüdiger von Sachsen resp. for his son Daniel from Saxony as head of the house. Fugger essentially states that Rüdiger and Daniel von Sachsen are the only people who come into question as head of the house in direct line of the last Saxon king. Alexander von Sachsen-Gessaphe is not a member of the Wettin family due to his adoption, and there is no genealogical evidence of his nobility. In summary, Fugger concludes: "Since there is only one line in the Wettin family that descends in the direct male line of the last Saxon king, the equality of the spouses of the Wettin family, as required by the Wettin house law, is less serious than the ban on adoption , since under nobility law still applies: "Adoption does not ennoble". In addition, it is only possible to assume the position of head of the house in direct male lineage from the last king, at least as long as such persons are alive. "

According to the German nobility Legal Committee by the standards of the historic house law no living individual is more nobility legally entitled to use the title of "Margrave of Meissen". Accordingly, none of the living descendants of the Albertine Wettins should call themselves “Royal Highness”. As a result, Rüdiger Prinz von Sachsen (in contrast to his second cousin Alexander) initially refrained from using the title of Margrave of Meissen (which is only unofficial today) . However, the German Nobility Law Committee has not yet conclusively assessed the question of the effectiveness of the house law changes in its interim report. The highest-ranking representative of the House of Wettin is therefore now the Ernestine Michael-Benedikt von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach as the successor of the House of Wettin as a whole: The Saxon-Thuringian division of the House of Wettin, which the brothers Duke Albrecht (1443-1500) and Elector Ernst (1441 –1486) 1485, since the death of Maria Emanuel Margrave of Meißen or his brother Albrecht Joseph (Albert) Margrave of Meißen in 2012. The dynastic House of Wettin is now limited to the Thuringian lines, the line's oldest boss is Michael-Benedikt von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach. This is of course just as unmarried as his probable successor from the Weimar line.

The heads of the three remaining branches of the Ernestine family (the Grand Ducal House of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach , the Ducal House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen ) made a declaration for themselves and their houses on June 23, 2015 the relevant principles of historical princely and domiciliary rights ”states that Alexander Prince of Saxony (formerly Alexander Prince of Saxony-Gessaphe or Alexander Afif) as an adopted Prince of Saxony does not belong to the nobility, but is a non-aristocratic bearer of the name that he does not Member of the House of Wettin and that he was neither the head of the Albertine line of the House of Wettin (formerly the Royal House of Saxony) nor the bearer of the title that characterizes this head of house Margrave of Meissen succeeded.

The dispute is not only based on the dispute about the male line principle of the Salian law of succession and ultimately obsolete questions of equality (obsolete in view of the marriage practice of today's heir to the throne and monarch), the question also has a denominational background, since the descendants of Ernst Heinrich von Sachsen in the 20th Century have been reconverted to the Protestant faith and thus reversed the conversion of the Albertines to Catholicism (by August the Strong in 1697), whereby they can refer to the early confession of Henry the Pious to Lutheranism (from 1536). Therefore, Pope Francis is said to have supported his claims in 2015 by granting an audience to the Catholic Alexander Prince of Saxony and his family.

Family table of the Albertines

Margaretha of Austria
Friedrich II.
Sidonie of Bohemia
Albrecht the Courageous
Catherine of Mecklenburg
Henry the Pious
George the Bearded
Barbara Jagiellonica
Anna of Denmark
Sophie of Brandenburg
Christian I.
Magdalena Sibylle of Prussia
Johann Georg I.
Christian II
Magdalena Sibylle of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Johann Georg II.
(founder of the Weißenfels line, died out in 1746)
(founder of the Merseburg line, died out in 1738)
(founder of the Zeitz line, died out in 1718)
Anna Sophie of Denmark
Johann Georg III.
Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Friedrich August I.
(as August II. King of Poland)
Johann Georg IV.
Eleanor of Saxony-Eisenach
Maria Josepha of Austria
Friedrich August II.
(As August III. King of Poland)
Maria Antonia of Bavaria
Friedrich Christian
Caroline of Bourbon-Parma
(renounced the throne in 1830)
Friedrich August III.
(since 1806 as Friedrich August I. King of Saxony)
Amalie Auguste of Bavaria
Friedrich August II.
Maria Anna of Portugal
Luise of Austria-Tuscany
Friedrich August III.
Friedrich August Georg
Friedrich Christian
Ernst Heinrich
Margarete Carola Wilhelmine
Maria Alix Luitpolda
Anna Pia Monika

See also


  • Konrad Sturmhoefel : Illustrated history of the Saxon countries and their rulers. Volume 2: Illustrated history of Albertine Saxony. Hübel & Denck, Leipzig 1909.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Paul Arnold: Elector August (1553–1586) and the Saxon coinage. In numismatic notebooks. No. 20, Dresden 1986, p. 13.
  2. Picture online on July 27, 2012: This secret document regulates the Wettiner succession .
  3. See: Karl August Prince von Sachsen-Gessaphe: Legal assessment of the request of Messrs Rüdiger Prince of Saxony and Daniel Prince of Saxony for the post of head of the house in Wettin Albertinische Linie. (PDF, 68 kB) June 25, 2013, accessed on October 22, 2013 . In: Jürgen Helfricht: Georg Philipp Antonius Prince of Saxony (25). The new face of the Wettins. The offspring of the nobility still lives undetected in Scotland ... , article in the Bild Zeitung Dresden, dated June 25, 2013.
  4. Sächsische Zeitung online on August 13, 2012: There can only be one: Alexander or Albert - who can be a margrave? ( Memento from June 19, 2013 in the web archive )
  5. Saxony reading: Ursula and Prof. Dr. habil. Wolfgang Brekle in an interview with HRH Dr. phil. Albert Prince of Saxony, Duke of Saxony, Margrave of Meissen on August 17, 2012 .
  6. ^ Family of Saxony: The head of the house .
  7. Wettiner report 2015 with addendum by Heinz Holzhauer from March 27, 2015 and declaration by the House of Wettin Albertinischer Line from July 4, 2015 (accessed on August 27, 2015).
  8. ^ German Aristocratic Law Committee: Interim report on questions of princely law in the Wettin house , dated November 5, 2014 .
  9. Stefan Locke, Albertiner? Ernestiner? Another dispute in the royal family of Saxony, FAZ No. 83 of April 8, 2014, p. 7. and Thomas Schade, Der Prinz des Abstichten, SZ of June 18, 2014, p. 3. and picture online on June 11, 2015: "Wettiner-Prince Alexander does not belong to the nobility!" (Accessed on June 11, 2015)
  10. "Interim expert opinion on questions of princely law in the Wettin house" from November 5, 2014 (accessed on July 17, 2015), DNN-Online from April 2, 2014: "The Albertinian Wettins are arguing about the successor to the deceased house boss Maria Emanuel" ( accessed on July 15, 2015) and Thomas Schade, "Alle gegen Alexander", SZ from July 17, 2015, p. 3.
  11. Picture online on March 29, 2014: "I am the new boss of the Wettin!" (Accessed on October 22, 2014) and "Joint statement by the heads of the Wettin House" from June 23, 2015 (accessed on June 27, 2015) .
  12. Joint declaration by the heads of the Wettin House as a whole of June 23, 2015 .
  13. Picture online on June 1st, 2015: “Pope ennobles the Prince of Saxony” (accessed on June 1st, 2015).