Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach

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Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe
Eleonore Erdmuthe Louise von Sachsen-Eisenach.jpg
Margravine consort of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Tenure4 November 1681 – 22 March 1686
Predecessor Johanna Elisabeth of Baden-Durlach
Successor Christiane Charlotte of Württemberg-Winnental
Electress consort of Saxony
Tenure17 April 1692 - 27 April 1694
Predecessor Anna Sophie of Denmark
Successor Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Born(1662-04-13)13 April 1662
Died9 September 1696(1696-09-09) (aged 34)
Schloss Pretzsch, Pretzsch
Burial Freiberg Cathedral
Full name
Eleonore Erdmuthe Louise
House Wettin
Father John George I, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach
Mother Countess Johanna of Sayn-Wittgenstein

Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe Louise of Saxe-Eisenach (13 April 1662 – 9 September 1696), was a German princess member of the House of Wettin and through her two marriages was Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach (from 1681 to 1686) and Electress of Saxony (from 1692 to 1694).

House of Wettin noble family

The House of Wettin is a dynasty of German counts, dukes, prince-electors and kings that once ruled territories in the present-day German states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The dynasty is one of the oldest in Europe, and its origins can be traced back to the town of Wettin, Saxony-Anhalt. The Wettins gradually rose to power within the Holy Roman Empire. Members of the family became the rulers of several medieval states, starting with the Saxon Eastern March in 1030. Other states they gained were Meissen in 1089, Thuringia in 1263, and Saxony in 1423. These areas cover large parts of Central Germany as a cultural area of Germany.



Eleonore Erdmuthe Louise was the eldest child of John George I, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach, and Johannetta of Sayn-Wittgenstein. Of her seven younger siblings, only four survive adulthood: Frederick August, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Eisenach, John George II, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach, John William III, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach and Fredericka Elisabeth (by marriage Duchess of Saxe-Weisselfels).

John George I, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach German duke

Johann Georg I, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach.

John George II, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach German duke

Johann Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach, was a duke of Saxe-Eisenach.

John William III, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach Duke of Saxe-Eisenach

John William III, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach, was a duke of Saxe-Eisenach, and came from the Ernestine line of the house Wettin.

In Eisenach on 4 November 1681, Eleonore married firstly John Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach as his second wife.

Eisenach Place in Thuringia, Germany

Eisenach is a town in Thuringia, Germany with 42,000 inhabitants, located 50 kilometres west of Erfurt, 70 km southeast of Kassel and 150 km northeast of Frankfurt. It is the main urban centre of western Thuringia and bordering northeastern Hessian regions, situated near the former Inner German border. A major attraction is Wartburg castle, which has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1999.

John Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach

John Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach succeeded his father Albert II as margrave of Ansbach in 1667. He married his second wife Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach on 4 November 1681. Their daughter Wilhelmine Charlotte Caroline, Margravine of Brandenburg-Ansbach married George II of Great Britain before he became king.

After the death of her husband (22 March 1686), the government of Brandenburg-Ansbach passed to her stepson Christian Albert (eldest surviving son of her husband's first marriage), who being a minor ruled under a regency. Because her relationship with her stepchildren was not good since the beginning, Eleonore and her children moved to Crailsheim, where they lived in poverty; shortly after, she returned alone to her homeland Eisenach, [1] [2] while her children were sent to Berlin, where they became companions of the together with Frederick William, Electoral Prince of Brandenburg. In November 1691 Eleonore also arrived in Berlin to actively participate in the negotiations of her second marriage. [3]

Christian Albert, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach was a German prince.

Crailsheim Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Crailsheim is a town in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Incorporated in 1338, it lies 32 kilometres east of Schwäbisch Hall and 40 km (25 mi) southwest of Ansbach in the Schwäbisch Hall district. The city's main attractions include two Evangelical churches, a Catholic church, and the 67 metre tower of its town hall.

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

Electress of Saxony

In Leipzig on 17 April 1692, Eleonore married secondly John George IV, Elector of Saxony [4] [5] and moved with her children to Dresden, where the Saxon court was established. The wedding was concluded at the insistence of Frederick III, Elector of Brandenburg (who wanted to secure an alliance with Saxony) [lower-alpha 1] [6] and the Dowager Electress Anna Sophie of Denmark, ostensibly to produce legitimate heirs to the Electorate of Saxony but truly to end the liaison between her son and his mistress, Magdalene Sibylle "Billa" of Neidschutz.

Leipzig Place in Saxony, Germany

Leipzig is the most populous city in the federal state of Saxony, Germany. With a population of 581,980 inhabitants as of 2017, it is Germany's tenth most populous city. Leipzig is located about 160 kilometres (99 mi) southwest of Berlin at the confluence of the White Elster, Pleiße and Parthe rivers at the southern end of the North German Plain.

John George IV, Elector of Saxony German noble

John George IV was Elector of Saxony from 1691 to 1694.

Dresden Place in Saxony, Germany

Dresden is the capital city and, after Leipzig, the second-largest city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the border with the Czech Republic.

The union proved to be unsuccessful; [2] John George IV lived openly with Billa, and she became the first ever Official Mistress (Favoritin) of an Elector of Saxony; while Eleonore was relegated to the Hofe (the official residence of the Elector). [1] In addition, the Electress suffered two miscarriages during their marriage, in August 1692 [4] and February 1693, [7] and a phantom pregnancy in December 1693. [8] In March 1693 began rumors at the Saxon court that Eleonore was not the lawful wife of John George IV, because at the time of their marriage, he was already married with Billa; [9] There was even found a document confirming the conclusion of a marriage contract between the Elector of Saxony and his mistress, but John George IV (probably fearing the anger of the Hohenzollerns) said that he did not consider this contract as a formal marriage, and that it was only made for the purpose of legitimizing his offspring with Billa. [7] Nevertheless, throughout his marriage, John George IV desperately wanted to legitimize the relationship with his mistress and tried to get rid of his wife and her children; fearing for her and her children's lives, Eleonore left the Hofe and settled in Pretzsch. [10] During this time, Eleonore confided in the English diplomat George Stepney, who wrote extensively about her and the Saxon court.

Miscarriage natural death of an embryo or fetus before it is able to survive independently

Miscarriage, also known as spontaneous abortion and pregnancy loss, is the natural death of an embryo or fetus before it is able to survive independently. Some use the cutoff of 20 weeks of gestation, after which fetal death is known as a stillbirth. The most common symptom of a miscarriage is vaginal bleeding with or without pain. Sadness, anxiety and guilt often occur afterwards. Tissue and clot-like material may leave the uterus and pass through and out of the vagina. When a woman keeps having miscarriages, infertility is present.

Pretzsch, Wittenberg Stadtteil of Bad Schmiedeberg in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Pretzsch is a small town and a former municipality in Wittenberg district in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 1 July 2009, it is part of the town Bad Schmiedeberg.

George Stepney English diplomat

George Stepney was an English poet and diplomat.

Later life

John George IV died on 27 April 1694 from smallpox after being infected by the dying Billa. [10] [11] The new Elector, Frederick Augustus I allowed the Dowager Electress and her children to remain in Pretzsch, where they lived until Eleonore's death two years later, on 9 September 1696. [10] [11] [12] She was buried at Freiberg Cathedral.

After her death, Eleonore's children were sent back to Ansbach to the court of their older half-brother George Frederick II, [5] who became in the new Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach after Christian Albert's death in 1692. George Frederick II, as well as his predecessor, was a minor and ruled under a regency, who had little interest in the education of the children. William Frederick stayed in Ansbach and in 1703 after the death of his brother inherited the Margraviate; Caroline went to Berlin at Charlottenburg Palace under the care of Frederick III, Elector of Brandenburg, and his wife, Sophia Charlotte of Hanover, who was a friend of Eleonore. [2] [10] [13]


She had three children: [14]


  1. The Electorate of Saxony was heavily influenced by Austria. Saxon Field Marshal Hans Adam von Schöning longed for liberation of the Electorate from Austrian influence. To this end, he made sure that John George IV made an offer to Eleonore, who by her first marriage now belonged to the House of Hohenzollern. This option is most suited and Frederick III, as the marriage of Eleonore and John George IV marked the actual transition of the Electorate to the side of the future King of Prussia.

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  1. 1 2 Arkell 1939, p. 5.
  2. 1 2 3 Beatty 2003, p. 134.
  3. Sharp 2001, p. 21.
  4. 1 2 Sharp 2001, p. 23.
  5. 1 2 Van der Kiste 2013, p. 2.
  6. Van der Kiste 2013, pp. 2–3.
  7. 1 2 Sharp 2001, p. 38.
  8. Sharp 2001, pp. 48–49.
  9. Sharp 2001, p. 37.
  10. 1 2 3 4 Van der Kiste 2013, p. 3.
  11. 1 2 Arkell 1939, p. 6.
  12. Hichens 2006, p. 19.
  13. Arkell 1939, pp. 6–7.
  14. 1 2 Weir 2011, pp. 277–278.
  15. Van der Kiste 2013, p. 17.
  16. Beatty 2003, pp. 138–166.


Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach
Born: 13 April 1662 Died: 9 September 1696
German nobility
Title last held by
Johanna Elisabeth of Baden-Durlach
Margravine consort of Brandenburg-Ansbach
4 November 1681 – 22 March 1686
Title next held by
Christiane Charlotte of Württemberg-Winnental
Title last held by
Anna Sophie of Denmark
Electress consort of Saxony
17 April 1692 – 27 April 1694
Succeeded by
Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth