Ernest II Duke Of Saxe-Coburg And Gotha played a significant role in shaping the political landscape of 19th-century Europe.
Born to Ernest I and Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, he succeeded his father as Duke in 1844.
This article delves into the life and reign of Ernest II Duke Of Saxe-Coburg And Gotha, his relationships with key figures, and his impact on the world during his time.
Ernest II: Early Years and Background
Born on 21 June 1818 in Coburg, Ernest August Karl Johann Leopold Alexander Eduard would later become Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Ernest II Duke Of Saxe-Coburg And Gotha was closely raised with his younger brother, Prince Albert, who would later become Queen Victoria’s consort.
Both experienced a tumultuous childhood, marked by their parent’s separation and eventual divorce.
Finding a Royal Match: Ernest II’s Marriage to Princess Alexandrine of Baden
In 1842, Ernest II Duke Of Saxe-Coburg And Gotha married Princess Alexandrine of Baden, a union that would last 51 years but remain childless.
Despite the couple’s inability to produce an heir, Ernest II Duke Of Saxe-Coburg And Gotha is believed to have fathered illegitimate children later in life.
Ernest II’s Reign: Ascension to the Duchy and Political Involvement
Upon his father’s death in 1844, Ernest II ascended to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
He played an active role in the German Confederation during the Schleswig-Holstein Wars and was considered a potential successor to the deposed King Otto of Greece.
Although initially a proponent of German liberalism, Ernest II shifted his support to the more conservative Prussians during the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian Wars, ultimately leading to the unification of Germany.
Relationship with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
Ernest II shared a complex relationship with his sister-in-law, Queen Victoria, and his brother, Prince Albert.
While the siblings remained close, Ernest II’s actions, such as writing anonymous pamphlets against the British royal family, often displeased Victoria. Nonetheless, the Queen accepted Ernest’s nomination of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, as his heir-presumptive.
Ernest II: Patron of Arts and Sciences
A talented musician and composer, Ernest II was an enthusiastic patron of arts and sciences in Coburg. He composed operas, songs, and hymns, while also supporting various artists and scientists throughout his reign.
An avid hunter and sportsman, Ernest II also held a strong interest in natural history, embarking on expeditions and writing about his experiences.
The Final Years of Ernest II’s Life and Legacy
Ernest II Duke Of Saxe-Coburg And Gotha passed away on 22 August 1893 at Reinhardsbrunn, leaving a mixed legacy. His reign was marked by political shifts, personal scandals, and a strong commitment to the arts and sciences.
With his death, the ducal throne passed to his nephew, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, continuing the family’s influence on European history.
*Feature Image: Ghémar Frères studio, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons