Duke of Saxony-Ernestine House Order

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Grand cross with sash

Ducal Saxe-Ernestine House Order was the joint state order of the Thuringian duchies of Saxe-Altenburg , Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Saxe-Meiningen .


With the redistribution of the inheritance of the younger branch of the Ernestine line of the House of Wettin - after the extinction of the House of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg - the "Ernestiner" was on December 25, 1833 by the dukes Friedrich von Sachsen-Altenburg , Ernst I of Saxony -Coburg and Gotha and Bernhard II. Erich Freund of Sachsen-Meiningen and Hildburghausen donated. The order served primarily as a house order for male members of the three Ernestine lines, but was also awarded for civil and military services.

The foundation goes back to the Order of German Righteousness , which was donated by the Duke of Altenburg in 1690 in memory of Duke Ernst the Pious (1601–1675).

Order classes

Carl Eduard (Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) with the Grand Cross of the Ernestine House Order, 1906

The order originally had four classes:

  • Grand Cross (no more than nine holders, real privy councilors or of this rank, princes of the three houses (not counting)
  • Commander first class (maximum of twelve owners, privy councilors or ministers)
  • Commander II class (no more than eighteen holders, with the rank of president, colonel or lieutenant colonel)
  • Knight (maximum 36 owners)

The award of the Grand Cross brought the hereditary nobility, and in the case of people who were already noble, the increase to the next rank (knights to barons, barons to counts).

Each of the three duchies could designate a third of the members of each class and was obliged to communicate the awards to the other two duchies. In the case of foreigners, the number of members of the order was unlimited, but at least two of the three duchies had to agree. The 5th class was also created around 1890: the Knight II class .

After 1850, the order was expanded to include a war decoration: the swords on the ring (crossed golden swords under the crown of the suspension) and swords for the cross (golden swords between the arms of the cross and on the order star under the medallion). The military received the order with a laurel wreath instead of the oak wreath described above.

In 1866 a Silver Cross of Merit of the Order was created, which was renewed several times (1870, 1890 and 1914) and was intended for lower officials and the military. It has the general shape but is without a crown, without the lion ornaments between its arms, without balls on the tips, and unenamelled. This cross was also awarded with swords (only between the arms).

Order decoration

The order cross is a white enameled Maltese cross with striding golden lions in the corners. In the obverse of the medallion in the middle shows a golden bust of Duke Ernst the Pious, looking to the right, surrounded by a blue enamelled ribbon with the order's motto Fideliter et constanter(“Faithful and constant”) in golden letters. A green enamelled oak wreath with golden veins runs around the whole middle medallion. In the reverse, the medallion of the cross shows the Saxon diamond coat of arms, surrounded by a blue ring with the inscription 25. December 1833and the same oak wreath as that of the obverse. The medal hangs on a golden royal crown. Until around 1864, the Altenburg awards were marked with the letter Fon the upper cross arm of the obverse, the Gothic with the letter Eand the Meiningian with the letter B. When the medals were awarded to foreigners, the oak wreaths were missing.

The order star of the grand cross is axially with alternating silver and gold rays. He wears a white cross, the middle medallion of which was the same (with the two wreaths and the order's motto) as the medal, but with the Saxon diamond crown in its center instead of the image of the duke.

The order star of the Commander I class was until 1864 just a faceted cross with the diamond crown and the order motto in the middle medallion, without the underlying star. Around 1865 a rhombic star with a cross on it was introduced for this class.

There was also a princess cross (actually only a badge, because the statutes did not provide for female wearers): it is a small cross of the model of the order star, placed at an angle (there were also other versions with a straight cross) and made of a green enamelled ribbon surrounded by the motto of the order. The cross hangs on a royal crown, which is raised by a ribbon worked in gold.


As a special award, the order (only grand crosses) could be awarded with diamonds. It was worn on a crimson ribbon with dark green stripes on both sides.

The collar was only available to the three sovereigns and other equal princes: it consists of white enamelled crosses with the letter E, golden crowns and striding golden lions, the medal hangs on a shield with the Saxon diamond coat of arms.

After 1918

The Ernestine House Order did not go out after the overthrow of the German monarchies in 1918, but continued to be awarded as an unofficial house order, especially by Duke Carl Eduard von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha. This was forbidden by Hitler around 1936 . Only after 1955, the ceremonies were resumed, this time by the Dowager Duchess Maria Clara of Saxe-Meiningen and Hildburghausen (1895-1992), who in the name of her son Friedrich Alfred († 1997, which as a Capuchin - a monk lived), undertook . In addition to their grandchildren from the Habsburg family , about twenty other people were honored (only grand crosses).

Known porters

The medal bearers were listed in the state handbooks of the country.


  • State handbooks for the Duchy of Saxony-Coburg and Gotha 1834–1887. Digital copies .
  • Gustav Adolph Ackermann: Order book of all in Europe flourishing and extinct orders and decorations. Annaberg 1855.
  • Václav Měřička : Orders and Awards. Prague 1969.
  • Jörg Nimmergut : Orders and decorations from 1800 to 1945. Munich 1979.
  • Kurt Stümpfl: Knight of the Ernestine House Order. Private print, Vienna 1979.

Web links

Commons : Saxony-Ernestine House Order  - collection of images, videos and audio files