Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen

From Kaiserreich


Ernst von Wettin (born Ernst Bernhard Victor Georg on September, 27 1859 in Meiningen, Germany), is the twelth and current ruler of Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen, one of the constituent states of the German Empire, succeeding to his half-brother Bernhard III on January, 16 1928.


Ernst was born in Meiningen the eldest son of the heir apparent to the duchy of Saxe-Meiningen, Prince Georg and his second wife Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. His father succeeded to the throne in 1866. Ernst pursued a career in the Army and retried as Colonel in the Prussian cavalry. He received an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the University of Jena.

Ernst was married in Munich on 20 September 1892 to Katharina Jensen, the daughter of poet Wilhelm Jensen. This was a morganatic marriage and his wife was created Baroness of Saalfeld on their wedding day by Ernst's father Georg II. Though the marriage was unequal Ernst retained his succession rights to the duchy of Saxe-Meiningen. Thus, when Georg II died in 1914 and was succeeded from the son he had from his first wedding, Bernhard III, who had only a daughter, Ernst became the heir apparent to the throne of Saxe-Meiningen. When Bernhard III died on 16 January 1928 Ernst succeeded him as head of the ducal house. As his children were born of a morgantic marriage, they will never succeed him to the throne. His heir apparent is his nephew, Prince Georg (who would succeed him as Georg III), son of his younger brother Friedrich Johann.


Ernst and Katharina had six children, all of whom held the title Baron (Baroness) of Saalfeld:

  • Baron Georg Wilhelm (June, 11 1893-April, 29 1916); Killed in action during the Weltkrieg
  • Baroness Elisabeth Helene (February, 2 1896-June, 4 1934)
  • Baron Ernst Friedrich (July, 4 1896-May, 28 1915); Killed in action during the Weltkrieg
  • Baron Ralf Erich (born March, 28 1900)
  • Baron Sven Hans (Born September, 18 1903)
  • Baron Heinrich (born July, 17 1908)
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