Alfred, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

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Prince Alfred
Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Duke of Saxony
Prince Alfred of Saxe Coburg Gotha.jpg
Born(1874-10-15)15 October 1874
Buckingham Palace, London
Died6 February 1899(1899-02-06) (aged 24)
Sanatorium Martinnsbrunn, Meran, Austria–Hungary
Burial
Full name
Alfred Alexander William Ernest Albert
House Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Father Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Mother Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia

Alfred, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Alfred Alexander William Ernest Albert; 15 October 1874 – 6 February 1899), was the son and heir apparent of Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He died aged 24 under circumstances still not entirely clear. He was a first cousin of King George V of the United Kingdom, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.

An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in a line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting by the birth of another person. An heir presumptive, by contrast, is someone who is first in line to inherit a title but who can be displaced by the birth of a more eligible heir.

Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Alfred reigned as Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha from 1893 to 1900. He was the second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He was known as the Duke of Edinburgh from 1866 until he succeeded his paternal uncle Ernest II as the reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in the German Empire.

George V King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India

George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936.

Contents

Early life

Prince Alfred of Edinburgh was born on 15 October 1874 at Buckingham Palace, London. His father was Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, second eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. His mother, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, was a daughter of Emperor Alexander II of Russia and Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine.

Buckingham Palace Official London residence and principal workplace of the British monarch

Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Queen Victoria British monarch who reigned 1837–1901

Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India.

Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury, baptised the prince in the Lower Bow Room of Buckingham Palace on 23 November 1874. His godparents were the Queen, the Emperor of Russia (whose son Tsesarevich Alexander stood proxy for him), the German Emperor (for whom Alfred's paternal uncle Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn stood proxy), the German Crown Princess (Alfred's paternal aunt, for whom her sister Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein stood proxy), the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (his paternal grand-uncle, for whom Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein stood proxy), and the Prince of Wales (his paternal uncle). [1]

Archibald Campbell Tait Archbishop of Canterbury; Bishop of London; Dean of Carlisle

Archibald Campbell Tait was an Archbishop of Canterbury in the Church of England.

Archbishop of Canterbury senior bishop of the Church of England

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The current archbishop is Justin Welby, who was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013. Welby is the 105th in a line which goes back more than 1400 years to Augustine of Canterbury, the "Apostle to the English", sent from Rome in the year 597. Welby succeeded Rowan Williams.

Tsesarevich

Tsesarevich was the title of the heir apparent or presumptive in the Russian Empire. It either preceded or replaced the given name and patronymic.

Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

In 1893, his granduncle, Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the elder brother of his paternal grandfather, died without legitimate heirs. Being ineligible under Saxe-Coburg-Gotha house law to succeed to the duchy due to his status as the heir apparent to an existing throne, [2] the Prince of Wales had previously renounced his claim to the ducal throne. Thus, the succession devolved to Alfred's father, who was at that time the Duke of Edinburgh. Alfred thus became the Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha German prince

Ernest II was the sovereign duke of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, reigning from 1844 to his death. Ernest was born in Coburg as the elder child of Ernest III, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and his wife, Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Fourteen months later, his younger brother, Prince Albert, was born, who became consort of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Ernest's father became Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1826 through an exchange of territories.

Edward VII King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India 1901-1910

Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910.

Duke of Edinburgh Dukedom in the Peerage of the United Kingdom

Duke of Edinburgh, named after the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, is a substantive title that has been created three times for members of the British royal family since 1726. The current holder is Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II.

Prince Alfred had lived in Clarence House in the early years of his life with his parents and sisters; after his father's accession to the ducal throne of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, he moved to Schloss Rosenau, near Coburg.

Clarence House royal residence in London, situated on The Mall, in the City of Westminster

Clarence House is a British royal residence on The Mall in the City of Westminster, London. It is attached to St James's Palace and shares the palace's garden. From 1953 until 2002, it was home to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. It has since been the official residence of Charles, Prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Schloss Rosenau, Coburg château

Schloss Rosenau, called in English The Rosenau or Rosenau Palace, is a former castle, converted into a ducal country house, between the towns of Coburg and Rödental, formerly in Saxe-Coburg, now lying in Bavaria, Germany.

Coburg Place in Bavaria, Germany

Coburg is a town located on the Itz river in the Upper Franconia region of Bavaria, Germany. Long part of one of the Thuringian states of the Wettin line, it joined Bavaria by popular vote only in 1920. Until the revolution of 1918, it was one of the capitals of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Through successful dynastic policies, the ruling princely family married into several of the royal families of Europe, most notably in the person of Prince Albert, who married Queen Victoria in 1840. As a result of these close links with the royal houses of Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Coburg was frequently visited by the crowned heads of Europe and their families.

Failed engagement

On 28 January 1895, the Court Circular published the following: “We are informed that a marriage has been arranged between his Royal Highness Prince Alfred of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, only son of their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and grandson of Her Majesty, and Her Royal Highness the Duchess Elsa Matilda Marie, elder twin daughter of the late Duke William Eugene of Württemberg by his marriage with the Grand Duchess Vera of Russia.” The marriage never occurred.

The Court Circular (CC) is the official record that lists the engagements carried out by the monarch of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms; the Royal Family; and appointments to their staff and to the court. It is issued by Buckingham Palace and printed a day in arrears at the back of The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Scotsman newspapers. An archive of the circular back to 1998 is provided on the British monarchy's website.

Duchess Elsa of Württemberg German duchess

Duchess Elsa of Württemberg was a daughter of Duke Eugen of Württemberg and Grand Duchess Vera Constantinovna of Russia. She married Prince Albert of Schaumburg-Lippe.

Duke Eugen of Württemberg (1846–1877) German officer

Duke Eugen of Württemberg was a German prince and a staff officer of Württemberg.

Death

Group photograph of Hereditary Prince Alfred of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha celebrating his majority. Young Alfred majority.jpg
Group photograph of Hereditary Prince Alfred of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha celebrating his majority.

The exact circumstances of Alfred's death are not known, and varying accounts have been published. His sister Marie's memoirs simply say his health "broke down", and other writers have said that he had "consumption". [3] :62 The Times published an account stating he had died of a tumor, [3] :62 while the Complete Peerage gives the generally accepted account that he "shot himself". [4] Various authors have speculated on reasons why he might have killed himself, and one author, Frank Bush, claimed to have been a descendant of a secret marriage between Alfred and Mabel Fitzgerald, granddaughter of the 4th Duke of Leinster, and claimed that friction between Alfred and his family over the "secret marriage" was the cause of the suicide. [3] :176, fn. 2 [lower-alpha 1] Despite the lack of documentary evidence, and the lack of contemporary reference, other authors have repeated Bush's assertion that Alfred and Mabel married, including John van der Kiste and Bee Jordaan in Dearest Affie, and the assertion is repeated as fact in the official family history (Das Haus von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha). [2]

According to theory, Alfred shot himself with a revolver while the rest of the family was gathered for the anniversary celebration. He survived and was looked after at Schloss Friedenstein in Gotha (Thuringia) for three days before being sent to the Martinnsbrunn Sanatorium in Gratsch near Meran in the County of Tyrol (Austria-Hungary, now Italy). Alfred died there at 4:15 pm on 6 February 1899, aged 24 years. [2] He was buried in the ducal mausoleum of the Friedhof am Glockenberg  [ de ], Coburg, Bavaria (southern Germany). [5] :47

Later in 1899 Alfred's uncle the Duke of Connaught and his son Prince Arthur of Connaught renounced their succession rights to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. As a result, his first cousin Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Albany, became heir presumptive.

Ancestors

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

Honours

British [6]
Foreign [6]

Arms

Coat of Arms of Prince Alfred of Edinburgh. Coat of Arms of Alfred of Edinburgh.svg
Coat of Arms of Prince Alfred of Edinburgh.

As a male-line grandson of the British Sovereign, young Alfred bore the royal arms, with an inescutcheon of the shield of Saxony, all differenced by a label argent of five points, the odd bearing crosses gules and even anchors azure. [9]

Notes

  1. Unfortunately for this theory, which was first published in the 1940s, and for Bush's claimed ancestry, there is no evidence Alfred and Mabel ever met; at the time of their alleged civil and religious marriages in 1898 (of which no records exist) Mabel was under 14 years old, and when Mabel contracted a documented marriage to William Clarke Hadoke in 1910 she is described as a spinster rather than a widow. [3] :176, fn. 2

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References

  1. Demoskoff, Yvonne (27 December 2005). "Christenings of the Royal Family". Yvonne's Royalty Home Page. users.uniserve.com. Archived from the original on 27 August 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 Sandner, Harold (2004). "II.4.2 Erbprinz Alfred". Das Haus von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha 1826 bis 2001 (in German). Andreas, Prinz von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha (preface). 96450 Coburg: Neue Presse GmbH. pp. 155–156. ISBN   3-00-008525-4.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Eilers Koenig, Marlene A. (1997). Queen Victoria's Descendants. Falköping, Sweden: Rosvall Royal Books. ISBN   91-630-5964-9.
  4. Cokayne, George Edward (April 1982). The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct, or Dormant. 5 (Reprint of 1982 ed.). Gloucester, England: Sutton Publishing. p. 8. ISBN   0-904387-82-8.
  5. Klüglein, Norbert (1991). Coburg Stadt und Land (German). Verkehrsverein Coburg.
  6. 1 2 "Prince Alfred of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1874–1899)". Archived from the original on 3 January 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  7. Wm. A. Shaw, The Knights of England, Volume I (London, 1906) page 69
  8. Justus Perthes, Almanach de Gotha 1899 (1899) page 107
  9. Velde, François R. (5 August 2013). "Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family: Houses of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha/Windsor/Windsor-Mountbatten (since 1837)". www.heraldica.org. Chicago: self-published . Retrieved 11 September 2017.

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