Karl Eugen (Württemberg)

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Karl Eugen as the young Duke of Württemberg
Karl Eugen in 1782

Karl Eugen (also Carl Eugen ; born February 11, 1728 in Brussels ; † October 24, 1793 in Hohenheim ) was the twelfth Duke of Württemberg from 1737 to 1793 (ruling since 1744) .

Childhood and upbringing

Duke Karl Eugen, who always called himself Karl , was the eldest son of Duke Karl Alexander and his wife Maria Augusta von Württemberg, née Princess Maria Augusta von Thurn und Taxis . After the early death of his father Karl Alexander, Karl Eugen ascended the throne as early as 1737 at the age of nine , but until he came of age under the administration of Dukes Carl Rudolf von Württemberg-Neuenstadt and Karl Friedrich von Württemberg-Oels . The young Karl Eugen and his two brothers came to Berlin to be educated at the court of King Frederick II of Prussia , also to keep him and his brothers as far as possible from the sphere of influence of the Habsburgs . Karl Eugen received a careful upbringing, his music teacher was Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach . In 1744, at the age of 16, Karl Eugen was declared of legal age and took over the government of the Duchy of Württemberg.

Early reign

Immediately after he took office, the duke had the body of Joseph Suss Oppenheimer hanged and buried, which had remained in an iron cage for six years as a deterrent after his execution in 1738. He got into an argument with his mother in 1750 and had her interned in Göppingen Castle .

Karl Eugen's reign coincided with the height of absolutism , and the young sovereign did everything to make his court one of the most brilliant in Europe. With enormous financial outlay, which brought Württemberg to the brink of ruin, he succeeded at times: for his magnificent court he not only had the New Palace in Stuttgart built, but also Solitude , Monrepos and later Hohenheim Palace . He had Solitude Palace, at times his favorite place to stay, connected to Ludwigsburg Palace via the straight Solitude-Allee , which was exclusively reserved for the court . At a right angle from it he had an axis from the Solitude to the south of Stuttgart laid out. As far as possible, the best artists from all branches were committed to Württemberg.

The Duke's festivals were as legendary as his countless affairs and despotism. The poet Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart , who mocked him and his mistress Franziska von Hohenheim , had Karl Eugen imprisoned at the Asperg mountain fortress for a period of ten years. He also threatened the poet Friedrich Schiller with a writing ban and imprisonment.


Elisabeth Friederike Sophie of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, Duchess of Württemberg
Franziska von Hohenheim

In 1741 Karl Eugen had met the niece of King Frederick II of Prussia, Princess Elisabeth Friederike Sophie von Brandenburg-Bayreuth , daughter of Margrave Friedrich von Brandenburg-Bayreuth , whom he married in 1748. The couple's marriage did not last long, however, and in the autumn of 1756, Duchess Elisabeth Friederike Sophie returned to her parents' court in Bayreuth . The duke kept various mistresses , some of whom lived by his side for several years and with whom he had numerous illegitimate children. In 1771 he met the married Baroness Franziska Leutrum von Ertingen , née Baroness von Bernerdin (1748–1811), and she too became his mistress. After their divorce in 1772 and the death of his wife Elisabeth Friederike Sophie in 1780, Karl Eugen morganatically married Franziska in 1785, who had meanwhile been raised to Countess of Hohenheim .

Late reign and death

In old age Karl Eugen increasingly turned to agriculture and education. The establishment of an Académie des arts in Stuttgart in June 1761 was followed by the Ducal Public Library in Ludwigsburg , where the court was located at that time , in 1765 , which is now the Württemberg State Library in Stuttgart , for whose inventory he spent considerable sums. In 1767 he installed himself as "Rector perpetuus" of the Tübingen University Eberhardina, which he had renamed Eberhardo-Carolina two years later, and held the office of rector until his death in 1793. In 1770 he founded an educational institute at the ducal Solitude Palace , which developed out of modest circumstances into the high-ranking High Charles School . In 1781 he was elected an honorary member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences .

Historians do not agree to what extent his second wife had an influence on his change from a despot and indulgent to a caring father. Even Friedrich Schiller , who had left the country at a young age because of Karl Eugen, made his peace with him when he died. Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart was released from prison shortly before his death and appointed as music and theater director at the Herzogshof zu Stuttgart and was allowed to work again as editor. The Duke traveled extensively with his second wife and had diaries kept of them.

On October 24, 1793, Duke Karl Eugen died in his still unfinished Hohenheim Palace near Stuttgart and was buried in the crypt of Ludwigsburg Palace . His two younger brothers Ludwig Eugen and Friedrich Eugen followed him on the throne at a short distance.


Only legitimate child with Margravine Elisabetha Friederika Sophia von Brandenburg-Bayreuth :

  • Friederike Wilhelmine Augusta Luisa Charlotte (born February 19, 1750 in Stuttgart, † March 12, 1751 in Stuttgart), Duchess of Württemberg

Illegitimate children with the silver maid Margarete Traub:

  • Friedrich Wilhelm von Franquemont (* 1744; † December 13, 1790 in Cape Town with the Cape Regiment ),

with Magdalene Barbara Fischer, née Castenbauer, wife of the Württemberg court chamber councilor Friedrich Johann Ernst Fischer, daughter of Sigmund Castenbauer (1677–1736), court musician in Stuttgart , ducal Württemberg instrument administrator and his wife Maria Barbara born. Carpenter (1683–1757):

  • Reinhard Ferdinand Heinrich Fischer (born June 18, 1746 in Stuttgart; † June 25, 1813 there), architect and court architect
  • Auguste Elisabeth Franziska Johanna Feuerlein, née Fischer (* December 18, 1747 in Stuttgart; † February 11, 1823 ibid), wife of Carl Friedrich Feuerlein (* March 6, 1730 in Mömpelgard ; † March 15, 1808 in Stuttgart), government councilor in Stuttgart, president of the local charity , lawyer, secret cabinet secretary of Duke Carl Eugen von Württemberg. The first Lord Mayor of Stuttgart Willibald Feuerlein was one of the 12 children from Auguste's marriage to Carl Friedrich Feuerlein,

with the actress Luisa Toscani:

  • Karl von Ostheim (* 1761; † Batavia February 24, 1793)
  • Karl Alexander von Ostheim (born December 31, 1765, † after 1821)

with the singer Caterina Bonafini :

  • Karl (July 2, 1768 - April 30, 1769)
  • Carl Borel (* May 18, 1770; † before 1821) (suicide),

with Anna Eleonora Franchi:

  • Eugene (October 5, 1768; † around 1794)
  • Eleonore Freiin von Franquemont (* January 17, 1771; † 1833), married Albert Grimaud, Comte d'Orsay (* 1772; † December 26, 1843) in 1792

with Katharina Kurz:

  • Karl David von Franquemont (March 13, 1769; † July 20, 1830), married (1st) a daughter of Baron Theobald von Hügel (2nd) in May 1795, Luise Sophie Henriette von Jett (* September 1783; † 24 January 1852)

with Regina Monti:

with unknown women:

  • Luise (born May 8, 1752)
  • Karoline (born December 31, 1755 - † May 14, 1839)
  • Charlotte (February 9, 1762; † August 31, 1811), married Julius Friedrich von Lützow (May 22, 1759; † July 4, 1833) on June 30, 1783, head forester
  • Friedrich Wilhelm († December 19, 1790)

Karl Eugen recognized a total of 77 “natural sons”.


Web links

Commons : Karl Eugen (Württemberg)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. People from the country. Friedrich Schiller at: State Center for Civic Education Baden-Württemberg, accessed on July 6, 2019
  2. Holger Krahnke: The members of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen 1751-2001 (= Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Philological-Historical Class. Volume 3, Vol. 246 = Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Mathematical-Physical Class. Episode 3, vol. 50). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2001, ISBN 3-525-82516-1 , p. 128.
  3. See Eberhard Fritz: The baroque and the enlightened sovereign - a contrast? Reflections on Duke Carl Eugen's role as ruler and representation. In: Wolfgang Mährle (ed.): Enlightened rule in conflict. Duke Carl Eugen von Württemberg 1728–1793 (History of Württemberg. Impetus for Research, Volume 1). Stuttgart 2017. pp. 106–121.
  4. ^ Hansmartin Decker-Hauff: The University of Tuebingen from 1477 to 1977 in pictures and documents 500 years of the University of Tübingen . P. 187: “On behalf of Duke Karl Eugen, his son, the architect Reinhard Fischer, rebuilt the building next to the collegiate church (today's Alte Aula ) , which had existed for a long time, in a classicist style. As Aula Nova it was the gift of Karl Eugen for the university anniversary in 1777 "
  5. Peter Huber: Visionary in times of upheaval. Johannes Mährlen, economist, social reformer and friend of Mörikes. 1st edition. Hohenheim, Stuttgart / Leipzig 2007, ISBN 978-3-89850-161-3 .
predecessor Office successor
Karl Alexander Duke of Württemberg
Ludwig Eugen