Friedrich III. (Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg)

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Friedrich III. von Sachsen-Gotha, painting by Christian Schilbach, 1720
Duke Friedrich III. of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg

Friedrich III. von Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg (* April 14th July / April 24th  1699 greg. in Gotha ; † March 10th 1772 ibid) was a prince from the branch line Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg of the Ernestine Wettins and from 1732 to 1772 duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg .


Friedrich was the eldest son of Duke Friedrich II of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1676–1732) from his marriage to Magdalena Augusta (1679–1740), daughter of Prince Karl Wilhelm von Anhalt-Zerbst . The prince was very thoroughly trained and was considered good-natured, if not gifted. From 1718 to 1724 he made his cavalier tour to the Netherlands, France, England and Italy. When Friedrich III. he followed his father in 1732 as Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg.

From 1734, after the invasion of French troops, he drove a flourishing soldier trade with the Emperor Charles VI. , the Prince of Waldeck and the King of Prussia , which enabled him to issue a tax in his own country.

The country, especially the Altenburg part, suffered badly in the Seven Years' War and Friedrich III. involved the country itself in a war with its neighbor, Duke Anton Ulrich von Sachsen-Meiningen ( Wasunger Krieg ). In 1744 Frederick III managed to have the children from Anton Ulrich's first marriage, which was not befitting his status, declared by the emperor as not entitled to succeed, which would have cost him in the case of Saxony-Meiningen . With Anton Ulrich he came into contradiction over the reign for the minor Ernst August von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach , the Friedrich III. eventually took over from 1748 to 1755.

With the introduction of the small groschen and half-groschen minted in large quantities in his mint in Gotha , Friedrich hoped for a big profit. The coins minted in huge quantities were not only intended to meet their own needs, but were also intended for profitable export to neighboring countries. Since the neighboring states also minted small coins that were impaired and poured into his duchy, this monetary policy was doomed to failure.

From 1747 Friedrich had the Weimar master builder Gottfried Heinrich Krohne build the Gotha Orangery based on the French model. He issued numerous ordinances relating to church affairs and supported the Moravian Brethren in Neudietendorf , which was founded there in 1742.

Under Friedrich's government, his country remained the most powerful of the small Thuringian states and his court developed into a center of the Enlightenment . The latter is mainly due to his ingenious, spiritually superior wife.

Friedrich III. was not laid to rest like his father and grandfather in the royal crypt at Friedenstein Castle , but in the town church of St. Margarethen on Neumarkt, in whose crypt his great-grandfather Duke Ernst I ("Ernst the Pious") is buried. He succeeded his wife Luise Dorothea, who had died five years earlier, and who in her will the Margaret Church, "... at the feet of Duke Ernst and his wife ...", had designated as her last resting place.


Duke Friedrich III. was one of the godparents of the British King George III. who was his nephew. He was the son of Friedrich's sister Augusta , Princess of Wales since their marriage in 1736 .

The person of Frederick III. is the main character of the two-day baroque festival at Friedenstein Castle, which has been taking place in the former royal seat of Gotha since 2001 . On the last weekend in August, over 150 performers invite you on a journey back in time to the 18th century and relive the glamorous late baroque era in the historical ambience of the palace and the orangery : Friedrich III. (from 2001 to 2008 portrayed by opera singer Günter Köbrich, since 2009 by Uwe Müller) and his wife Luise Dorothea (portrayed by Annett Jahn since 2009) complete tours of the craft market, grant privileges, hold guard parades, give audiences , and go on trips to the City and stroll through the orangery garden.

In the historical film "Vive la joie!" (Long live joy), shot parallel to the 2nd Baroque Festival in 2002, Duke Friedrich III. (Günter Köbrich) one of the main characters.

Marriage and offspring

His only marriage was on September 17, 1729 in Gotha with his cousin, Princess Luise Dorothea von Sachsen-Meiningen (1710–1767), daughter of Duke Ernst Ludwig I of Sachsen-Meiningen and his wife Dorothea Maria von Sachsen-Gotha. Altenburg .

Luise Dorothea of ​​Saxony-Meiningen

They had the following children together:

  • Friedrich Ludwig (born January 20, 1735 in Gotha; † June 9, 1756 ibid), Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
  • Ludwig (born October 25, 1735 in Gotha; † October 26, 1735 there)
  • stillborn, nameless son (* / † October 25, 1735 in Gotha; twin of Ludwig)
  • stillborn male twins (* / † 1739)
  • Friederike Luise (born January 30, 1741 in Gotha; † February 5, 1776 ibid)
  • Ernst II (born January 30, 1745 in Gotha; † April 20, 1804 ibid), Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
  • Sophie (born March 9, 1746 in Gotha; † March 30, 1746 ibid)
  • August (* August 14, 1747 in Gotha; † September 28, 1806 there)


Web links

Commons : Frederick III, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Streguweit: History of the Gotha Mint from the 12th to the 19th Century , Weimar 1987, p. 118.
  2. ^ Jenny von der Osten: Luise Dorothee Duchess of Saxony-Gotha 1732–1767 , Leipzig 1893, p. 274.
predecessor Office successor
Friedrich II. Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
1732 - 1772
Ernst II
predecessor Office successor
Ernst August I. Administrator of the Duchy of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach
1748 - 1755
Ernst August II.