House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
|Country||Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Kingdom of Belgium
Kingdom of Bulgaria
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Empire of India
|Ancestral house||House of Wettin|
|Titles||Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
King of the Belgians
Tsar of Bulgaria
King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
|Founder||Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
|Current head||Andreas, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
|Cadet branches||House of Windsor
House of Braganza-Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Bulgarian Royal Family
Belgian Royal Family
|Ducal Family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (German: Haus Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha) is a German dynasty, the line of the Saxon House of Wettin that ruled the Ernestine duchies including the duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Founded by Ernest Anton, the sixth duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, it is the royal house of several European monarchies, and branches currently reign in Belgium through the descendants of Leopold I, and in the Commonwealth realms through the descendants of Prince Albert. Due to anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom during World War I, George V of the United Kingdom changed the name of his branch from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor in 1917. The same happened in Belgium where it was changed to "van België" (Dutch) or "de Belgique" (French).
The first duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was Ernest I, who reigned from 1826 until his death in 1844. He had previously been Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (as Ernest III) from 1806 until the duchy was reorganized in 1826. Ernst's younger brother Leopold became King of the Belgians in 1831, and his descendants continue to serve as Belgian head of state. Léopold's only daughter, Princess Charlotte of Belgium, was the consort of Maximilian I of Mexico, known as the Empress Carlota of Mexico, in the 1860s. Ernst's nephew Ferdinand married Queen Maria II of Portugal, and his descendants continued to rule Portugal until that country became a republic in 1910.
Ernst I's second son, Prince Albert (1819–1861), married Queen Victoria in 1840, and thus is the progenitor of the United Kingdom's current royal family, called Windsor since 1917. In 1826, a cadet branch of the house inherited the Hungarian princely estate of Koháry, and converted to Roman Catholicism. Its members managed to marry an imperial princess of Brazil, an archduchess of Austria, a royal princess of "the French", a royal princess of Belgium and a royal princess of Saxony. A scion of this branch, also named Ferdinand, became Prince, and then Tsar, of Bulgaria, and his descendants continued to rule there until 1946. The current head of the House of Bulgaria, the former Tsar Simeon II who was deposed and exiled during World War II, goes by the name Simeon Sakskoburggotski and served as Bulgaria's prime minister from 2001 to 2005.
The ducal house consisted of all male-line descendents of John Ernest IV, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld legitimately born of an equal marriage, males and females (the latter until their marriage), their wives in equal and authorised marriages, and their widows until remarriage. According to the House law of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha the full title of the Duke was:
- Wir, Ernst, Herzog zu Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha, Jülich, Cleve und Berg, auch Engern und Westphalen, Landgraf in Thüringen, Markgraf zu Meißen, gefürsteter Graf zu Henneberg, Graf zu der Mark und Ravensberg, Herr zu Ravenstein und Tonna usw.
- We, Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Jülich, Cleves and Berg, also Angria and Westphalia, Landgrave in Thuringia, Margrave of Meissen, Princely Count of Henneberg, Count of the Mark and Ravensberg, Lord of Ravenstein and Tonna, et cetera.
Although the ducal branch is eponymous with the dynasty, its head is not the genealogically or agnatically senior member of the family. In 1893 the reigning duke died childless, whereupon the throne would have devolved, by male primogeniture, upon the British branch descended from Prince Albert. However, as heirs to the British throne, Albert's descendants consented and the law of the duchy ratified that the ducal throne would not be inherited by the British monarch or heir apparent. Therefore, the German duchy became a secundogeniture, hereditary among the younger princes of the British royal family who belonged to the House of Wettin, and their male-line descendants.
Instead of the future Edward VII of the United Kingdom inheriting the duchy, it was diverted to his next brother, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and, upon the latter's death without surviving sons, to the youngest grandson of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Albany (bypassing his uncle Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and his male line who, although senior by birth, preferred to remain on British soil).
The current head of the ducal branch is Andreas, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
- Leopold I (1831–1865)
- Carlota of Mexico (1863–1927) Empress consort of Mexico.
- Leopold II (1865–1909)
- Albert I (1909–1934)
- Leopold III (1934–1951)
- Baudouin (1951–1993)
- Albert II (1993–present )
Because of the First World War, the family name was changed in 1921 to van België, de Belgique or von Belgien ("of Belgium") in the country's three official languages (Dutch, French and German) - this family name is used on the identity cards and in all official documents. The armorial bearings of Saxony were removed from the Belgian royal coat of arms (see here). Other Coburgers from the many-branched Saxe-Coburg family have also changed their name. For example, Britain’s King George V adopted the family name of Windsor, after the Royal Family’s place of residence.1
- Ferdinand I (1887–1918)
- Boris III (1918–1943)
- Simeon II (1943–1946) In 2001, elected2 Prime Minister of Bulgaria as Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha—also known as Simeon "Sakskoburggotski" (Сакскобургготски).345
- Edward VII (1901–1910)
- George V (1910–1936, until 1917 when the name was changed and the royal house and family became known as Windsor).
- Edward VIII (1936)
- George VI (1936–1952)
- Elizabeth II (1952–)
According to the official website of the British monarchy "the only British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was King Edward VII, who reigned for nine years. King George V replaced the German-sounding title with the name of Windsor during the First World War. The name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha survived in other European realms, including the former monarchy of Bulgaria and in the Belgian royal family until 1920."6
If Elizabeth II had been succeeded before 1960 by her child or by a child of one of her sons, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha would have been supplanted patrilineally by the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg. However, by a 1960 Order in Council her children also bear the name of Windsor.
Ernest I's younger son, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, became Prince Consort to Queen Victoria, Ernest's niece through his sister Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. As a consequence of their marriage, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha became the dynasty of the British Royal Family from the accession of Edward VII in 1901 until changed to Windsor by King George V in 1917, during World War I.
Contrary to common belief, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was not the personal surname of either Prince Albert, his wife or their descendants. Queen Victoria launched an inquiry to identify her surname. After an exhaustive search her advisors concluded that Prince Albert (and thus the Queen—by virtue of her marriage) had the surname Wettin.citation needed
George V changed both Wettin and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor by proclamation in 1917.
In 1947 Princess Elizabeth (now Elizabeth II) married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who also had German heritage, being descended from the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, and whose surname since shortly before his marriage has been Mountbatten—anglicised during WWI from "Battenberg" of the Grand Duchy of Hesse. The Queen's marriage to Prince Philip raised the issue of the surname and dynastic name to be carried by the Queen's descendants, including future monarchs. An Order in Council in 1960 decreed that the name and dynasty of Elizabeth II would remain "Windsor", as would that of her children by the Duke of Edinburgh (save that of any of their daughters who married). The order stipulated that those of their male-line descendants who do not bear the title of prince or princess and the style of Royal Highness would have the surname of Mountbatten-Windsor. In fact, some of Elizabeth II's children have also chosen, on occasion, to use that designation on legal documents.citation needed
Patrilineality, descent as reckoned from father to son, has historically been the principle determining membership in reigning families, thus the dynasty to which the monarchs of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha belonged genealogically through the 20th century is the House of Wettin, despite the official use of varying names by different branches of the patriline.
- Balfoort, et. al., Brigitte. "journalist" (pdf). The Belgian Monarchy. Olivier Alsteens, Director-General of the FPS Chancellery of the Prime Minister, Wetstraat 16, 1000 Brussels. Retrieved 2012-07-18.
- Bulgaria: Timeline, BBC News Online, 27 June 2007. Retrieved on 28 July 2007.
- Former king marks first year as Bulgarian Prime Minister, Radio Free Europe, 26 July 2002. Retrieved on 28 July 2007.
- Bulgarian (or Spanish) Prime Minister?, Bulgaria Development Gateway, 24 July 2003. Retrieved on 28 July 2007.
- Lord Alderdice speaking in the House of Lords on 19 May 2005, Hansard. Retrieved on 28 July 2007.
- Saxe-Coburg-Gotha on the official website of the British monarchy
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
|New title||Ruling house of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
|Duchy abolished in the
German Revolution of 1918–19
|Ruling house of the Kingdom of Belgium
|Ruling house of the Kingdom of Bulgaria
|Monarchy abolished after the
Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944
House of Hanover
|Ruling house of the United Kingdom
(Renamed House of Windsor
by Royal Proclamation 17 July 1917)
House of Windsor