Death of Prince Albert of Saxony, Margrave of Meissen

  October 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm by

Prince Albert, Margrave of Meissen

Prince Albert of Saxony, Duke of Saxony, Margrave of Meissen passed away on 6 October 2012, just a month and a half short of his 78th birthday. He was the disputed head of the Royal House of Saxony.

The Prince was born on 30 November 1934 as the fourth child and youngest son of Friedrich Christian, Margrave of Meissen (second son of King Frederick Augustus III of Saxony and Louise Antoinette, Archduchess of Austria, Princess of Tuscany, Hungary and Bohemia) and his wife Princess Elizabeth of Thurn and Taxis (daughter of Albert, 8th Prince of Thurn and Taxis and Archduchess Margarethe Klementine of Austria).

The Duke received his secondary education in Germany before moving to Munich to study at the Ludwig Maximilian University. His initial field of interest was Macroeconomics but he later switched to History and Ethnography – areas he achieved considerable success in. The Prince received his PhD in History in 1961, aged just 26, for his thesis on one of his ancestors, King John of Saxony.  On 22 January 1990, he participated in a Monday demonstration in Dresden where he was unexpectedly asked to address the crowd. He told people it was their task to rebuild Saxony and ended his speech with the words “Long live Saxony, Germany, Europe and the western-Christian culture.”

Maria Emanuel, Margrave of Meissen

Albert married Elmira Henke, his assistant, in a civil ceremony on 10 April 1980, and in a religious ceremony two days later. The couple had no children together.

The succession to the House of Saxony has been a matter of debates for some time. The last undisputed Head of the House was Prince Albert’s elder brother, Maria Emanuel, Margrave of Meissen who was childless. Initially, it was expected that Prince Albrecht of Saxe-Coburg und Gotha (the son of Albert and Maria Emanuel’s sister Mathilde and Prince Joahnnes of Saxe-Coburg und Gotha) would succeed him. Unfortunately, Prince Albrecht died in a mount-climbing accident, predeceasing his uncle.

The tragic end of the young life meant there were almost no eligible candidates: the other Princes of Prince Maria Emanuel’s generation either had no children (such as Prince Albert himself), or had entered into morganatic marriages (such as Prince Timo), making children from such unions non-dynasts.

Alexander, Margrave of Meissen

To avoid a crisis, all surviving members of the House agreed to name Maria Emanuel’s preferred candidate, Alexander Afif (the eldest son of Princess Anna of Saxony and her husband Roberto Afif), as his heir. To that effect, in 1997 they all signed a document naming Alexander a successor to Maria Emanuel. At the same time, the requirement to marry “equally” (fellow royals) was removed and all those who previously didn’t qualify as dynasts (issue from morganatic marriages) were now treated as ones.

Despite that document, Prince Albert proclaimed himself head of the House of Saxony upon his brother’s death (although Alexander Afif did the same). The Margrave also believed that he should be succeeded not by his brother’s designated heir, Alexander, but by Prince Ruediger (great-grandson of King Frederick Augustus III).

Following his death, the leadership of the house will now either be undisputedly with Alexander, Margrave of Meissen, or perhaps be contested by Prince Ruediger of Saxony.

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