As morganatic marriage ( Latin matrimonium morganaticum or matrimonium ad morganaticam , Middle Latin neoplasms in Old High German * morgangeba " Morgengabe "), or marriage to the left hand , is a form of marriage in the European nobility in which a spouse - usually the wife - of was of lower social class (“not equal ”, see also hypergamy : “marrying up”).
A morganatic marriage often took place with the intention of the man to legitimize the existing love affair with a mistress as a publicly recognized relationship . Some ruling kings and princes entered into a morganatic marriage as a love marriage after the death of their first, "befitting" wife, if they had previously had children, in order to ensure the intended succession : The descendants from a morganatic marriage were usually not entitled to inheritance and from excluded from the line of succession. In other cases a morganatic marriage was concluded in order to avoid possible dynastic entanglements through a (new) marriage according to one's status. This possibility was particularly available to younger sons of ruling houses if they and their descendants were not intended for the succession to the throne due to the existing birthright of the eldest son.
Since after the death of the husband, his widow and descendants were mostly not entitled to inheritance , their financial support had to be secured by a corresponding marriage contract while they were still alive ; hence the name matrimonium ad morganaticam or "marriage on a mere morning gift". The legal form of the morganatic as "not befitting marriage" was abolished in 1919 in Germany.
In a morganatic marriage, not all of the usual legal consequences of a marriage occurred , but it was still a state and church marriage that came about properly. The children that emerged from her were legitimate descendants of the father, who in some cases rose to the highest ranks (for example Maria von Teck , the wife of King George V of Great Britain, granddaughter of Prince Alexander of Württemberg and Claudine Rhédey , later Countess of Hohenstein).
However, the rights of the offspring followed "the angry hand", so they only entered into the rights of the lower class spouse, usually the mother. Children in a morganatic marriage were therefore usually not entitled to inheritance and - if it was a ruling royal house - excluded from the line of succession. Neither the wife nor the children were viewed as members of the husband's family, they did not bear his nobility titles or coat of arms . In the protocol, the woman, although the official wife, ranked behind the youngest princes and princesses , which is why, for example, Auguste von Harrach , the widow of the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III. , could not attend his official memorial service in the Berlin Cathedral. Often increased their rulers nichtebenbürtige wife in the state (see also ennoblement ).
Examples from Germany
- In 1540 the Hessian Landgrave Philip I concluded a morganatic marriage with Margarethe von der Saale (1522–1566) in Rotenburg . It is a second marriage because the marriage with his first wife continued. Philip I thus encountered far-reaching political difficulties, although Martin Luther pointed out such consequences to him. When Philip used the legend of Count von Gleichen as a justification , Luther did not further contradict this representation and argumentation for an exception, let Philip do it and agreed not to disclose it. The reformer Philipp Melanchthon was also present at the wedding.
- August the Elder, Duke of Braunschweig and Lüneburg , Bishop of Ratzeburg , Prince of Lüneburg , (1568–1636) lived with Ilsa Schmedecken ( Ilse Schmidichen ) in a "marriage-like relationship" and had twelve children with her. In 1625 he had the children legitimized by the emperor and raised to the imperial nobility together with Ilsa under the name of Lüneburg .
- In 1658, the Palatinate Elector Karl Ludwig , the son of the Winter King , married Baron Marie Luise von Degenfeld (1634–1677), who he raised to Raugräfin in 1667 . Their 13 children together received the same title.
- 1681 married Duke Rudolf August (1627–1704), Prince of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel , and Rosine Elisabeth Menthe (1663–1701), also known as “Madame Rudolfine”, daughter of a barber and surgeon.
- In 1692 Prince Emanuel Lebrecht von Anhalt-Köthen (1671–1704) married the landed nobleman Gisela Agnes von Rath (1669–1740). It was not until 1699 that the sons received imperial recognition and the right to inheritance, and the widow ruled the country from 1704–1715 until they came of age.
- In 1699, Margrave Georg Albrecht von Brandenburg-Kulmbach from a sideline of the Franconian Hohenzollern family married Regine Magdalene Lutz, who was finally raised to Madame de Kotzau and whose descendants were given the title of Barons of Kotzau .
- In 1701, after the death of his first wife, the East Frisian prince Christian Eberhard married the chief ranger's daughter Anna Juliana von Kleinau (1674–1727), who was given the title Frau von Sandhorst. The three children were named von Sandhorst.
- 1710, on June 7th, Duke Karl Leopold zu Mecklenburg was married in Doberan to Christine Dorothea von Lepel , a daughter of the court master Klaus Friedrich von Lepel († 1706) from his second marriage to Leveke von Plessen († 1732) . Christine soon left the duke, however, and went back to her mother in Lübeck. On October 2, 1711, the marriage was divorced. Christine Dorothea von Lepel then married Hans Christoph von Bibow, Oberkammerjunker from Mecklenburg, and is said to have died in 1728.
- In 1740 the Anhalt Prince Viktor I. Amadeus Adolf got his second marriage to Hedwig Sophie Henckel von Donnersmarck , whose family had only been raised to the count status in 1651. The prince already had an heir to the throne from his first marriage.
- In 1773, Reich Field Marshal Karl August von Baden-Durlach , who had been chairman of the guardianship government in Baden-Durchlach from 1738 to 1746, entered into a morganatic marriage with the lady-in-waiting Juliane Schmid, who was forty years younger. Over time, she bore him seven children, all of whom were named von Ehrenberg, including Wilhelmine von Ehrenberg (born September 15, 1780 in Durlach; † November 8, 1854 in Karlsruhe), who was colonel of a Baden hussar regiment, Ludwig, in Karlsruhe in 1804 von Cancrin, whose uncle Franz Ludwig von Cancrin and his cousin Georg Cancrin were.
- On September 1, 1774, Ludwig von Nassau-Saarbrücken entered into a morganatic marriage with the chambermaid Katharina Kest and fathered a total of seven children with her. Seven years after the death of his wife Wilhelmine von Schwarzburg -Rudolstadt († 1780), the prince renewed the covenant again on February 28, 1787 through an ordinary marriage, previously he had Katharina elevated to Countess of Ottweiler and Duchess of Dillingen . Against the will of the House of Nassau, she was proclaimed Princess of Nassau-Saarbrücken on March 8, 1787. The youngest son Adolph was born as a legitimate descendant and therefore bore the title "Count of Ottweiler, Prince of Nassau and Duke of Dillingen".
- In 1784, the 75-year-old Margrave of Brandenburg and Prince of Prussia Friedrich Heinrich von Brandenburg-Schwedt married his mistress Marie Magdalene Charlotte von Stoltzenberg (1763-1838), who was more than 50 years his junior, two years after the death of his first wife Leopoldine Marie von Anhalt-Dessau. .
- In 1785, Duke Carl Eugen of Württemberg married his second left-hand lover, Baroness Franziska von Leutrum (1748–1811), 20 years his junior , who was made Countess of Hohenheim by Emperor Joseph in 1774.
- In 1787, King Friedrich Wilhelm II entered into a morganatic marriage with Julie von Voss , who later became Countess Ingenheim, and after her death in 1790 was also morganatically married to Sophie Juliane Friederike Countess von Dönhoff . The latter connection came from a daughter, Countess Sophie Julie von Brandenburg (1793-1848), who in turn entered into a morganatic marriage with Duke Ferdinand von Anhalt-Köthen .
- In 1787, the later Grand Duke Karl Friedrich von Baden (1728–1811) married a much younger lady-in-waiting, Baron Luise Karoline Geyer von Geyersberg (1768–1820), who later became Countess von Hochberg . This marriage took place after the death of his wife, Princess Karoline Luise von Hessen . At his personal request, the new wife was made Countess von Hochberg by the Roman-German Emperor and declared entitled to inherit. After the male Zähringer and Ludwig I died out in 1830, their descendants were given the reign of the Margraviate of Baden (see also the discussions about Kaspar Hauser , where one of the interpretations asserts the unlawful succession of a morganatic line to the throne that had been illegally acquired by exchanging children).
- In 1824 the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III married. in the second marriage ("because Providence had blessed Our Royal Marriage with a flourishing offspring, and the succession to the throne was secured according to all human hopes") Auguste Countess von Harrach (1800–1873) "for the sake of her recommending and appreciative qualities", which he made princess of Liegnitz and countess of Hohenzollern. He also excluded "in the event that the same [marriage] would be blessed with children" from "all succession to land and people and from every inheritance or other claim to which the princes and princesses of the royal house are entitled". This second rule turned out to be unnecessary because the marriage remained childless.
- In 1834 Carl Prinz zu Solms-Braunfels secretly married Louise Beyrich, but separated from her again at the beginning of 1841 - presumably under pressure from the family - and requested with an apanage that she should join the grand-ducal Hessian nobility as Louise von Schönau (Darmstadt on March 25th 1841) was raised. With Louise, Solms had the three children Marie (* 1835), Karl (* 1837) and Melanie (* 1840). Son Karl was enrolled in the royal Bavarian aristocratic class on March 20, 1912 as Karl von Schoenau, a privateer in Munich.
- The descendants of Prince Alexander von Hessen-Darmstadt (1823-1888) from his morganatic marriage with Julia Hauke in 1851 carried the title Prince von Battenberg . These descendants include the current consort of the British Queen Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh , his uncle, the former Viceroy of India Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma , the Bulgarian Prince Alexander I and King Juan Carlos I of Spain , whose paternal grandmother was Victoria Eugénie von Battenberg .
- In 1853, Prince Albrecht von Prussia (1809–1872) married Rosalie von Rauch (1820–1879), the daughter of the late Prussian War Minister Gustav von Rauch and maid of honor of his first wife Marianne Princess of Orange-Nassau . Before the marriage of Albrecht's son-in-law, the Hereditary Prince of Saxony-Meiningen (from 1866 Duke Georg II of Saxony-Meiningen ), she was raised to Countess of Hohenau . The newly created family name looked like an allusion to the name Hohenzollern. Her two sons Wilhelm and Friedrich received the same name and title. Countess Hohenau was not wanted at the Prussian court. The couple left Prussia and settled in Dresden the albrechtsberg palace building.
- In 1857 Ludwig in Bavaria , eldest brother of Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary , married the actress Henriette Mendel . She was raised to the nobility and was allowed to call herself Freiin von Wallersee. After her death, Ludwig remarried an actress, Antonie Barth, who was also ennobled and was henceforth called by Bartholf.
- In 1868 Prince Nikolaus Wilhelm zu Nassau married Natalia Pushkin, daughter of the Russian poet Alexander S. Pushkin . Due to the improper marriage, she was not allowed to use the title of her husband. On June 29, 1868 she was given the title of Countess (or Count) of Merenberg for herself and her children from his brother-in-law, Prince Georg Viktor von Waldeck-Pyrmont.
- In 1873, Duke Georg II of Saxony-Meiningen (1826–1914) married Ellen Franz (1839–1923), a pianist and actress, in their third marriage . Before the wedding of Duke Georg, she was ennobled Helene Freifrau von Heldburg . Due to the close relationship between the ducal house of Sachsen-Meiningen and the Prussian royal house , the morganatic marriage aroused indignation in aristocratic circles. Kaiser Wilhelm II was so upset that he never visited Meiningen and also never the Altenstein summer residence .
Examples from the House of Habsburg
- In 1557 Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria-Tyrol married the Augsburg patrician daughter Philippine Welser .
- In 1829 Archduke Johann of Austria , son of Emperor Leopold II , married Anna Plochl , the daughter of the Postmaster von Aussee . It was not until 1844 that Anna was appointed Countess of Meran by Johann's nephew, Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria, and a year later her son Franz was also given the title of Count of Meran . The descendants include the conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Catholic theologian Philipp Harnoncourt .
- In 1900 the Austrian heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, married Countess Sophie Chotek von Chotkova and Wognin , who was then made Duchess of Hohenberg in 1909 . Both fell victim to the 1914 assassination attempt in Sarajevo , which sparked the First World War .
- In 1903, Archduke Leopold Ferdinand Salvator of Austria-Tuscany married the Viennese prostitute Wilhelmine Adamovics. In 1902, because of her, he renounced the title and rights of Archduke and from then on lived as Leopold Wölfling in Switzerland and Berlin. After divorcing his first wife, he married Maria Ritter from Munich's red-light district in 1907 . This second marriage did not last either. In 1933 he married Clara Hedwig Gröger, who was almost thirty years his junior, and lived with her in abject poverty in Berlin-Kreuzberg .
- In 1909 Archduke Ferdinand Karl , brother of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and nephew of Emperor Franz Joseph I , secretly married his lover Berta Czuber , daughter of the mathematician Emanuel Czuber . At the behest of the emperor, Ferdinand Karl had to leave the imperial family in 1911 and has since called himself Ferdinand Burg after his father's travel pseudonym.
Examples from other countries
- In 1909, King Leopold II married his long-time mistress Blanche Zélia Joséphine Delacroix as a second marriage . Leopold died just five days after the marriage.
- In 1941 King Leopold III married . in second marriage to Mary Lilian Baels . She outlived him by 20 years and died in 2002.
- In 1721 King Friedrich IV married Anna Sophie von Reventlow for the second time .
- In 1850, King Friedrich VII married Louise Christine Rasmussen for the third time . She was ennobled and was allowed to call herself Countess von Danner.
- Compare also Sophie Amalie Moth , mistress of the Danish-Norwegian King Christian V , who was made Countess of Samsø by him in 1677.
- After the death of Queen Marie Therese in October 1683, King Louis XIV secretly married his mistress , Madame de Maintenon , on the left hand side. He lived with her until his death and visited her daily in her rooms.
- In 1803, Napoleon's youngest brother Jérôme Bonaparte married the American Elizabeth Patterson . The marriage was never recognized by Napoleon and later even annulled by Napoleon so that his brother could marry a princess from Württemberg.
- In 1821 the ex-empress of France married Marie Louise (former wife of Napoleon I) Count von Neipperg . The marriage had three children.
- King Alexander married the commoner Aspasia Manos in 1919 . The only daughter Alexandra became Queen of Yugoslavia.
- In 1869, King Victor Emmanuel II married his long-time lover, the commoner Rosa Vercellana , the daughter of his game warden , as a second marriage .
- In 1814 King Ferdinand IV married the bourgeois Lucia Migliaccio for the second time . She was not allowed to call herself “King Wife” and received no other titles.
- In 1820 Alexander I's eldest brother , Konstantin , married the Polish Catholic Joanna Grudzińska and in 1822 left the line of succession voluntarily in favor of his younger brother Nikolaj .
- In 1880 Tsar Alexander II married Princess Ekaterina Mikhailovna Dolgorukaya , with whom he had had a relationship for a long time. At this point they already had four children.
- In 1891 Grand Duke Michail Michailowitsch Romanow , grandson of Tsar Nikolaus I. Pavlovitsch , married Countess Sophie von Merenberg , granddaughter of the Russian national poet Alexander Sergejewitsch Pushkin .
- In 1912 Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich Romanov , brother of Tsar Nicholas II , married Natalija Sergejewna Brassowa .
- In 1730 King Viktor Amadeus II married Countess Anna Canalis di Cumiana for the second time . She received the title "Marchese von Spigno" and died in 1769 at the age of 90.
- Prince Carl, great-uncle of King Carl XVI. Gustaf , married Elsa von Rosen in 1937 and thereby lost the title of Royal Highness and was only allowed to call himself Prince Carl Bernadotte.
- In 1900 King Aleksandar Obrenović married her lady-in-waiting Draga Lunjevica against his mother's wishes . The popularly unloved Queen Draga fell victim to an officers' conspiracy with her husband three years after her marriage.
- In 1833, the Queen of Spain, Maria Christina of Naples-Sicily, married the sergeant of the life guards Agustín Fernando Muñoz y Sánchez in a secret ceremony . The marriage, which became known in spite of this, contributed to their unpopularity and their later exile.
- Alfons Pius de Borbón , heir to King Alfonso XIII. of Spain , renounced his rights to the throne in 1933 to marry Edelmira Sampedro-Robato (1906–1994) in Lausanne .
- In 1785 the future King George IV (then Prince of Wales ) married the Catholic and widow of two Maria Anne Smythe . The marriage was considered invalid in the royal family.
- In 1811 Princess Augusta married Sophia, daughter of King George III. , her father's stable master, Brent Spencer.
- Muntehe (for Teutons and early nobility: guardianship and determining power over the woman changes from father to husband)
- Kebsehe (marriage form of the early Middle Ages: free man and serf, unfree woman)
- Angular marriage (agreed in a corner of the house, without church involvement)
- Mesalliance ("mismatch" between different social classes)
- Uncle marriage (cohabitation of a widow with a man in order to maintain her widow's pension)
- Sororat / Levirat (marriage in law: marriage of the sister of the deceased wife / marriage in law with the brother of the dead husband)
- Anisogamy (marriage between different classes)
- Marriage rules (social rules: Ge messenger and Ver messenger)
- Johann Ernst Friedrich Danz: About family laws of the German high nobility, which prohibit civil marriages. A contribution to the German princely rights. Varrentrapp & Wenner, Frankfurt 1792 ( full text in the Google book search).
- Heinrich J. Dingeldein : Graeflich-Erbacher family branches "on the left hand". Illegitimate children and morganatic marriages in the Grafenhaus Erbach until the end of the monarchy. With notes on heraldry. Gendi-Verlag, Otzberg 2020, ISBN 978-3-946295-19-8 .
- About miscarriages of Teutonic princes and counts , Göttingen 1796 ( digitized version )
- Bernhard Peter: Coat of arms for morganatic marriages (1). In: Heraldry - the world of coats of arms. Own website, 2012, accessed on September 28, 2014 (many examples explained in detail).
- Douglas Harper: morganatic (adj.). On: etymonline.com. Without date, accessed on September 25, 2018 (English, with reference to Germany in particular), quotation: "1727, from French morganatique (18c.), From Medieval Latin matrimonium ad morganaticam " marriage of the morning ", probably from Old High German * morgangeba (Middle High German morgengabe) »morning gift« […] Also known as left-handed marriage, because the groom gives the bride his left hand instead of his right, but sometimes this latter term is used of a class of marriage (especially in Germany) where the spouse of inferior rank is not elevated, but the children inherit rights of succession. "
- Duden editors : morganatic. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
- The saga of the Count von Gleichen , accessed on: November 19, 2015
- Marriage for three - The wives of Count von Gleichen , accessed on: November 19, 2015
- Friedrich Cast: South German noble hero. Second section, first volume: The history and genealogy of the nobility in the Grand Duchy of Baden , Stuttgart 1845, p. 243.
- Quotations from: Law Collection for the Royal Prussian States. No. 21, 1824, p. 209.
- Genealogical handbook of the nobility. Adelslexikon Volume 8 (= Volume 128 of the complete series), Starke, Limburg 2002, p. 31.