German nobility

The German nobility (German: deutscher Adel) and royalty were status groups which until 1919 enjoyed certain privileges relative to other people under the laws and customs in the German-speaking area.

Historically German entities which recognized or conferred nobility included the Holy Roman Empire (962–1806), the German Confederation (1814–1866) and the German Empire (1871–1918). All legal privileges and immunities of the royalty and nobility (appertaining to an individual, a family or any heirs) were officially abolished in 1919 by the Weimar Republic (1919–1933), and nobility is no longer conferred or recognized by the Federal Republic of Germany. Former hereditary titles are permitted as part of the surname (e.g., the aristocratic particles von and zu). Later developments distinguished the Austrian nobility, which came to be associated with the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary. The nobility system of the German Empire was similar to nobility in the Austrian Empire, both having risen from the Holy Roman Empire and both ending in 1919. Contrary to Germany, Austrian nobility was completely abolished under the new First Austrian Republic and the subsequent use of hereditary titles in any form was banned, even of their legal recognition as aristocratic particles, and use as part of an individual's or family's surname.


In Germany, nobility and titles pertaining to it were recognised or bestowed upon individuals by emperors, kings and lesser ruling Royals, and were then inherited by the legitimate, male-line descendants of the ennobled person. Families that had been considered noble as early as pre-1400s Germany (i.e., the Uradel or ancient nobility) were usually eventually recognised by a sovereign, confirming their entitlement to whatever legal privileges nobles enjoyed in that sovereign's realm. Noble rank was usually granted to men by letters patent, whereas women were members of nobility by descent or by marriage to a nobleman. Nobility was inherited equally by all legitimate descendants in the male line. Many German states, however, required a marriage to a woman of elevated social status in order for a nobleman to pass on his titles and privileges to his children. In this respect, the General State Laws for the Prussian States of 1794 spoke of marriage (and children) "to the right hand". This excluded marriages with women of the lower social classes, but did not mean a woman had to come from nobility herself. Especially towards the end of the 19th century and beyond, when a new upper class of wealthy common people had emerged following industrialization, marriages with commoners were becoming more widespread. This did not apply to higher nobility, however, who largely continued to marry among themselves.

German titles of nobility were usually inherited by all male-line descendants, although some descended by male primogeniture, especially in 19th and 20th century Prussia (e.g., Otto von Bismarck, born a baronial Junker (not a title), was granted the title of count (Graf) extending to all his male-line descendants, and later that of prince (Fürst) in primogeniture). Upon promulgation of the Weimar Constitution on 11 August 1919, all Germans were declared equal before the law.[1] On 18 March 1919 the Landtag of the Free State of Bavaria enacted the Gesetz über die Aufhebung des Adels ("Act on the Abolition of the Nobility"), which eliminated (not nobility as a class or individual attribute per se, but) all noble privileges, and henceforth forbade Bavarians from accepting foreign ennoblement. Other German states enacted equivalent legislation.

The Bavarian constitution of 1998 also bans the transfer, by way of adoption, of surnames containing formally noble attributes (§ 118, section 3). This caused an exceptional practice regarding surnames borne by former members of the nobility: whereas the gender differentiation in German surnames, widespread until the 18th century and colloquially retained in some dialects, was abolished in Germany with the introduction of officially registered invariable surnames by the late 19th century, former noble titles transformed into parts of the surname in 1919 continue to appear in female and male forms.[2]

Altogether abolished were titles borne exclusively by German monarchs, such as emperor/empress, king/queen, grand duke/grand duchess, etc. However, former titles shared and inherited by all members of the family were retained but incorporated into the surname. For instance, members of the former royal families of Prussia and Bavaria were allowed use of Prinz/Prinzessin;[3] or Herzog/Herzogin. In the cases of the former kings/queens of Saxony and Württemberg, the ducal title borne by non-ruling cadets of their dynasties before 1919, or Herzog/Herzogin for the six deposed grand dukes (i.e., the former rulers of Baden, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Oldenburg, and Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach) and their consorts were retained.

Any dynast who did not reign prior to 1918 but had held a specific title as heir to one of Germany's former thrones (e.g., Erbprinz ("hereditary prince"))—along with any heir to a title of nobility inherited via primogeniture, and their wives—were permitted to incorporate those titles into elements of the personal surname. However, these titles became extinct upon their deaths, not being heritable.[4] With the demise of all persons styled "crown prince" before 1918, the term Kronprinz no longer exists as a legal surname element. Traditional titles exclusively used for unmarried noblewomen, such as Baronesse, Freiin and Freifräulein, were also transformed into parts of the legal surname, subject to change at marriage or upon request.[5]

All other former titles and nobiliary particles are now inherited as part of the surname, and remain protected as private names under the laws. Whereas the title previously prefixed the given and surname (e.g., Graf Kasimir von der Recke), the legal usage moves the former title to the surname (i.e., Kasimir Graf von der Recke). However, the pre-1919 style sometimes continues in colloquial usage. In Austria, by contrast, not only were the privileges of the nobility abolished, but their titles and nobiliary particles as well.[6]

German nobility was not simply distinguished by noble ranks and titles, but was also seen as a distinctive ethos. Title 9, §1 of the General State Laws for the Prussian States declared that the nobility's responsibility "as the first social class in the state" was "the defence of the country, as well as the supporting of the exterior dignity and the interior constitution thereof". Most German states had strict laws concerning proper conduct, employment, or marriage of nobles. Violating these laws could result in temporary or permanent Adelsverlust ("loss of the status of nobility"). Until the late 19th century, for example, it was usually forbidden for nobles, theoretically on pain of Adelsverlust, to marry persons "of low birth". Moreover, nobles employed in menial labour and lowly trades or wage labour could lose their nobility, as could nobles convicted of capital crimes. Adelsverlust only concerned the individual who had violated nobility codes of conduct. Their kin, spouse, and living children were not affected, but children born to a man after an Adelsverlust were commoners and did not inherit the father's former nobility.

Various organisations perpetuate the historical legacy of the former nobility, documenting genealogy, chronicling the history of noble families and sometimes declining to acknowledge persons who acquired noble surnames in ways impossible before 1919.

Nobiliary particles

Most, but not all, surnames of the German nobility were preceded by or contained the preposition von (meaning "of") or zu (meaning "at") as a nobiliary particle.[7] The two were occasionally combined into von und zu (meaning "of and at").[7] In general, the von form indicates the family's place of origin, while the zu form indicates the family's continued possession of the estate from which the surname is drawn. Therefore, von und zu indicates a family which is both named for and continues to own their original feudal holding or residence. However, the zu particle can also hint to the split of a dynasty, as providing information on the adopted new home of one split-off branch: For instance, a senior branch owning and maybe even still residing at the place of the dynasty's origin might have been called of A-Town [{and at} A-Town] furthermore, while a new, junior branch could then have adopted the style of, say, of A-town [and] at B-ville, sometimes even dropping [and] at, simply hyphenating the names of the two places. Other forms also exist as combinations with the definite article: e.g. "von der" or von dem → "vom" ("of the"), zu der → "zur" or zu dem → "zum" ("of the", "in the", "at the").[8] Particularly between the late 18th and early 20th century when an increasing number of unlanded commoners were ennobled, the "von" was typically simply put in front of a person's surname. When a person by the common occupational surname of "Meyer" received nobility, they would thus simply become "von Meyer".

When sorting noble—as well as non-noble—names in alphabetic sequence, any prepositions or (former) title are ignored.[9] Name elements which have developed from honorary functions, such as Schenk (short for Mundschenk, i.e., "cup-bearer"), are also overlooked.[10] Nobiliary particles are not capitalised unless they begin a sentence, and then they are usually skipped,[11] unless this creates confusion. In this, the German language practice differs from Dutch in the Netherlands, where the particle van is usually capitalised when mentioned without preceding given names or initials, or from Dutch in Belgium, where the name particle Van is always capitalised.


A family whose nobility dates back to at least the 14th century may be called Uradel, or Alter Adel ("ancient nobility",[12] or "old nobility"). This contrasts with Briefadel ("patent nobility"): nobility granted by letters patent. The first known such document is from September 30, 1360, for Wyker Frosch in Mainz.[13] The term Uradel was not without controversy, and the concept was seen by some as an arbitrary distinction invented by the Kingdom of Prussia.


Hochadel ("upper nobility", or "high nobility") were those noble houses which ruled sovereign states within the Holy Roman Empire and later, in the German Confederation and the German Empire. They were royalty; the heads of these families were entitled to be addressed by some form of "Majesty" or "Highness". These were the families of kings (Bavaria, Hanover, Prussia, Saxony, and Württemberg), grand dukes (Baden, Hesse and by Rhine, Luxembourg, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Oldenburg and Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach), reigning dukes (Anhalt, Brunswick, Schleswig-Holstein, Nassau, Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Saxe-Meiningen), and reigning princes (Hohenzollern-Hechingen, Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Liechtenstein, Lippe, Reuss, Schaumburg-Lippe, Schwarzburg, and Waldeck-Pyrmont).

The Hochadel also included the Empire's formerly quasi-sovereign families whose domains had been mediatised within the German Confederation by 1815, yet preserved the legal right to continue royal intermarriage with still-reigning dynasties (Ebenbürtigkeit). These quasi-sovereign families comprised mostly princely and comital families, but included a few dukes also of Belgian and Dutch origin (Arenberg, Croÿ, Looz-Corswarem). Information on these families constituted the second section of Justus Perthes’ entries on reigning, princely, and ducal families in the Almanach de Gotha.

During the unification of Germany, mainly from 1866 to 1871, the states of Hanover, Hesse-Kassel, Hohenzollern-Hechingen, Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (in 1850), Schleswig-Holstein and Nassau were absorbed into Prussia. The former ruling houses of these states were still considered Hochadel under laws adopted by the German Empire.

In addition, the ruling families of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen were accorded the dynastic rights of a cadet branch of the Royal House of Prussia after yielding sovereignty to their royal kinsmen. The exiled heirs to Hanover and Nassau eventually regained sovereignty by being allowed to inherit, respectively, the crowns of Brunswick (1914) and Luxembourg (1890).

Niederer Adel

Nobility that held legal privileges until 1918 greater than those enjoyed by commoners, but less than those enjoyed by the Hochadel, were considered part of the lower nobility or Niederer Adel. Most were untitled, only making use of the particle von in their surnames. Higher-ranking noble families of the Niederer Adel bore such hereditary titles as Ritter (knight), Freiherr (or baron) and Graf. Although most German counts belonged officially to the lower nobility, those who were mediatised belonged to the Hochadel, the heads of their families being entitled to be addressed as Erlaucht ("Illustrious Highness"), rather than simply as Hochgeboren ("High-born"). There were also some German noble families, especially in Austria, Prussia and Bavaria, whose head bore the titles of Fürst (prince) or Herzog (duke); however, never having exercised a degree of sovereignty, they were accounted members of the lower nobility (e.g., Bismarck, Blücher, Pless, Wrede).

Titles and ranks

Reigning titles

The titles of elector, grand duke, archduke, duke, landgrave, margrave, count palatine, prince and Reichsgraf were borne by rulers who belonged to Germany's Hochadel. Other counts, as well as barons (Freiherren), lords (Herren), knights (Ritter)[14] were borne by noble, non-reigning families. The vast majority of the German nobility, however, inherited no titles, and were usually distinguishable only by the nobiliary particle von in their surnames.

Titles and territories
Title (English) Title (German) Territory (English) Territory (German)
Emperor/Empress Kaiser(in) Empire Kaiserreich, Kaisertum
King/Queen König(in) Kingdom Königreich
Prince-elector/Electress Kurfürst(in) Electorate Kurfürstentum
Archduke/Archduchess Erzherzog(in) Archduchy Erzherzogtum
Grand Duke/Grand Duchess Großherzog(in) Grand Duchy Großherzogtum
Grand Prince(ss) Großfürst(in) Grand Principality Großfürstentum
Duke/Duchess Herzog(in) Duchy Herzogtum
Count(ess) Palatine Pfalzgraf/Pfalzgräfin County Palatine, Palatinate Pfalzgrafschaft
Margrave/Margravine Markgraf/Markgräfin Margraviate, March Markgrafschaft
Landgrave/Landgravine Landgraf/Landgräfin Landgraviate Landgrafschaft
Prince(ss) of the Empire Reichsfürst(in)1 Principality Fürstentum
Count(ess) of the Empire Reichsgraf1/Reichsgräfin County Grafschaft
Burgrave/Burgravine Burggraf/Burggräfin Burgraviate Burggrafschaft
Altgrave/Altgravine Altgraf/Altgräfin Altgraviate Altgrafschaft
Baron(ess) of the Empire Reichsfreiherr1/Reichsfreifrau/Reichsfreiin2 (Allodial) Barony Freiherrschaft
Lord Herr Lordship Herrschaft
Imperial Knight Reichsritter1
^1 The prefix Reichs- indicates a title granted by a past Holy Roman Emperor; these titles conferred higher precedence than that associated with other titles of the same nominal rank.
^2 Freiin indicates a baroness by birth.

Non-reigning titles

Titles for junior members of sovereign families and for non-sovereign families
Title (English) Title (German)
Crown Prince(ss) Kronprinz(essin)
Electoral Prince Kurprinz(essin)
Archduke/Archduchess Erzherzog(in)
Grand Duke/Grand Duchess Großherzog(in)
Grand Prince(ss) Großfürst(in)
Duke/Duchess Herzog(in)
Prince/Princess (royal) Prinz(essin)
Prince/Princess (noble) Fürst(in)
Margrave/Margravine Markgraf/Markgräfin
Landgrave/Landgravine Landgraf/Landgräfin
Count(ess) Palatine Pfalzgraf/Pfalzgräfin
Burgrave/Burgravine Burggraf/Burggräfin
Altgrave/Altgravine Altgraf/Altgräfin
Imperial Count(ess) Reichsgraf/Reichsgräfin
Imperial Baron(ess) Reichsfreiherr/Reichsfreifrau/Reichsfreiin
Count(ess) Graf/Gräfin
Baron(ess) Freiherr/Freifrau/Freiin
Lord / Noble Lord Herr /Edler Herr
Knight Ritter
Noble Edler/Edle
Young Lord (grouped with untitled nobles) Junker

The heirs to sovereigns or to headship of mediatised families prefixed their title with Erb-, meaning "hereditary". For instance, the heir to a grand duke is titled Erbgroßherzog, meaning "hereditary grand duke". A sovereign duke's heir was titled Erbprinz ("hereditary prince"), and a prince's (Fürst) heir might be titled Erbprinz or Erbgraf ("hereditary count"). The prefix distinguished the heir from similarly-titled junior siblings and cadets. The heirs to emperors and kings were titled Kronprinz ("crown prince"), while the heirs to prince-electors were titled Kurprinz ("electoral prince").

See also


  1. ^ Article 109 of the Weimar Constitution constitutes: Adelsbezeichnungen gelten nur als Teil des Namens und dürfen nicht mehr verliehen werden ("Noble names are only recognised as part of the surname and may no longer be granted").
  2. ^ This practice was confirmed in a judgement by the Reichsgericht on 10 March 1926 (published: Reichsgesetzblatt (Reich's law gazette), No. 113 (1926), pp. 107seqq., cf. also Sebastian-Johannes von Spoenla-Metternich, Namenserwerb, Namensführung und Namensänderung unter Berücksichtigung von Namensbestandteilen, Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, Europäischer Verlag der Wissenschaften, 1997, (=simultaneously: Wilhelmshaven, Fachhochsch., Diploma thesis), p. 137. ISBN 3-631-31779-4
  3. ^ In the Free State of Prussia the Gesetz über die Aufhebung der Standesvorrechte des Adels und die Auflösung der Hausvermögen ("Act on the abolition of the privileges of rank of the nobility and the dissolution of dynastic estates") of 23 June 1920 stipulated this in § 22 (cf. Gesetzsammlung für Preußen {Statute for Prussia}, No. 32 (1920), 22 July 1920, pp. 367–382).
  4. ^ Several heirs filed suits against this regulation, but on 11 March 1966 the supreme Federal Administrative Court of Germany ruled, based on Art. 109 of the Weimar Constitution and an earlier decision of the Reichsgericht, that German law on names does not recognise hereditary surname variants for heads of families distinct from the legal surname borne by other family members. (cf., N.N. Primogenitur – Nur eine Silbe (in German) ("primogeniture – only a syllable"), in: Der Spiegel, No. 15 (1966), p. 61.
  5. ^ Das Bürgerliche Gesetzbuch mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Rechtsprechung des Reichsgerichts und des Bundesgerichtshofes; Kommentare (=Großkommentare der Praxis (in German); "Civil Law Code with Special Attention to Jurisdiction of the Reichsgericht and the Bundesgerichtshof: Commentaries"), edited by members of the Bundesgerichthof, vol. 1: §§ 1–240, compiled by Kurt Herbert Johannsen, 12th, newly revised edition, Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, 1982, § 12 (p. 54). ISBN 3-11-008973-4.
  6. ^ Thus, for example, Friedrich von Hayek became Friedrich Hayek in 1919 when Austria abolished all indicators of nobility in family names.
  7. ^ a b For example: Johannes Adam Ferdinand Alois Josef Maria Marco d'Aviano Pius von und zu Liechtenstein.
  8. ^ However, the prepositions vom, von, zum, zur can also form part of non-noble family names.
  9. ^ Cf. DIN standard # 5007, part 2.
  10. ^ Thus, Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg is listed as: Stauffenberg, Claus Schenk Graf von.
  11. ^ Humboldt said ..., rather than: Von Humboldt said ...
  12. ^ Godsey 2004, p. 58.
  13. ^ DFG Regesta Imperii, 1360, Moguntie: Karl IV. (HRR) erhebt den Wiker Frosch ... in Mainz ... in den adelsstand.
  14. ^ In German, the meaning of Ritter is "rider", and likewise for the Dutch and Scandinavian title ridder. These words are cognates derived from Germanic rīdan, "to ride", from Proto-Indo-European reidh-. See reidh- from American Heritage Dictionary's Index of Indo-European Roots.

External links

Anna of Brandenburg

Anna of Brandenburg (27 August 1487 – 3 May 1514) was a German noblewoman.

Margravine Anna was the daughter of John Cicero, Elector of Brandenburg and Margaret of Thuringia. She was born in Berlin, Brandenburg, and died in Kiel, Holstein.

Baltic nobility

The Baltic or Baltic German nobility was the privileged social class in the territories of today's Estonia and Latvia. It existed continuously since the Northern Crusades and the medieval foundation of Terra Mariana. Most of the nobility were Baltic Germans, but with the changing political landscape over the centuries, Polish, Swedish and Russian families also became part of the nobility, just as Baltic German families re-settled in e.g. the Swedish and Russian Empires. The nobility of Lithuania is for historical, social and ethnic reasons often separated from the German-dominated nobility of Estonia and Latvia.

Countess Amalie Henriette of Solms-Baruth

Countess Amalie Henriette Charlotte of Solms-Baruth (Kliczków, 30 January 1768 – Karlsruhe, 31 October 1847) was a countess by birth of Solms-Baruth. She was the only child of John Christian II, Count of Solms-Baruth and his wife, Friederike Louise of Reuss-Köstritz.

Ferdinand Maximilian II of Isenburg-Wächtersbach

Ferdinand Maximilian II of Isenburg-Wächtersbach was a German count of Isenburg-Wächtersbach from 1703 to 1755. The county itself lasted from 1673 to 1806 in the central Holy Roman Empire, until it was mediated to Isenberg.

George II, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt

George II of Hesse-Darmstadt, German: Georg II von Hessen-Darmstadt (Darmstadt, 17 March 1605 – 11 June 1661) was the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt from 1626 - 1661. He was the son of Ludwig V and Magdalene of Brandenburg.

He married Sophia Eleonore of Saxony on 1 April 1627. From 1645 to 1648 he led the so-called Hessenkrieg against the Landgravine Amalie Elizabeth of Hesse-Kassel over the inheritance of the extinct line of Hesse-Marburg. This conflict resulted in the loss of Hesse-Marburg to Hesse-Kassel.

Heinrich Joseph Johann of Auersperg

Heinrich Joseph Johann von Auersperg (24 June 1697, Vienna – 9 February 1783, Vienna) was the fourth Prince of Auersperg, and one of the longest reigning monarchs in history. He was successively Grand Master of the Court, Grand Equerry and Grand Chamberlain at the Viennese court. During his reign Duchy of Münsterberg and Frankenstein, the Silesian dominions of the Auerspergs, came under Prussian rule.

Henry VI, Count of Luxembourg

Henry VI (c.  1240 – 5 June 1288) was count of Luxembourg and Arlon from the death of his father, Henry V the Blond in 1281 until his own death at the battle of Worringen, seven years later, when he was succeeded by his son, Henry VII.

Hunting dagger

The hunting dagger (German: Hirschfänger, "deer catcher") is a 20–30-inch (510–760 mm) long double-edged German stabbing hunting knife, used to kill deer and boar. It was a weapon mainly used in the fancy hunts of the German nobility. This dagger developed from Medieval hunting swords which were longer and mainly used by mounted hunters. Today hunting daggers are occasionally used as parts of traditional German hunting uniforms.

Joseph Wilhelm Ernst, Prince of Fürstenberg

Joseph Wilhelm Ernst (born 1699 in Augsburg - died 1762 in Vienna) was a prince of Fürstenberg-Fürstenberg who changed his residence to Donaueschingen, at the head of the Danube, and thus converted the existing settlement into a town. He was succeeded by his eldest son Joseph Wenzel.

King of Bavaria

King of Bavaria was a title held by the hereditary Wittelsbach rulers of Bavaria in the state known as the Kingdom of Bavaria from 1805 until 1918, when the kingdom was abolished. It was the second kingdom, almost a thousand years after the short-lived Carolingian kingdom of Bavaria.

Line of succession to the former throne of Anhalt

The Duchy of Anhalt was abolished in 1918 during the German Revolution, following the defeat of the Central Powers in the First World War. The original succession principle was semi-salic, with the nearest female kinswoman of the last male inheriting the crown upon extinction of the dynasty in the male line. The current pretender to the throne and head of the house is Eduard, Prince of Anhalt, son of Joachim Ernst, the last ruling Duke of Anhalt.Duke Eduard is the last surviving male member of the House of Ascania; after his death, the house will become extinct in the male line. The only other legitimate male line being the morganatic Counts of Westarp, descendants of Prince Franz of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym and his wife Karoline Westarp. In 2010, Eduard abolished the semi-salic succession law in favour of absolute primogeniture, recognising his eldest daughter as his heir.

Line of succession to the former throne of Waldeck and Pyrmont

The Principality of Waldeck and Pyrmont was abolished in 1918 during the German Revolution, following the defeat of the Central Powers in the First World War. The succession, as with most former states of the Holy Roman Empire, was semi-salic, with the nearest female kinswoman of the last male inheriting the crown upon extinction of the dynasty in the male line. The current pretender to the throne and head of the house is Wittekind, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont, grandson of Friedrich, the last ruling prince.

Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse

Louis II (26 December 1777 – 16 June 1848) was Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine from 6 April 1830 until 5 March 1848, resigning during the German Revolution of 1848. He was the son of Louis I, Grand Duke of Hesse, and Princess Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt.

Louis VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt

Louis VIII (German: Ludwig) (5 April 1691 – 17 October 1768) was the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt from 1739 to 1768. He was the son of Ernest Louis, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt and Margravine Dorothea Charlotte of Brandenburg-Ansbach.

Magdalena Sibylle of Saxe-Weissenfels

Magdalena Sibylle of Saxe-Weissenfels (2 September 1648 – 7 January 1681) was a German noblewoman.

She was a daughter of August, duke of Saxe-Weissenfels, and his wife Anna Maria of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Her paternal grandparents were John George I, Elector of Saxony, and Magdalene Sibylle of Prussia.

On 14 November 1669, she married Duke Friedrich I of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. They had the following children:

Anna Sophie (b. Gotha, 22 December 1670 – d. Rudolstadt, 28 December 1728), married on 15 October 1691 to Louis Frederick I, Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt.

Magdalene Sibylle (b. Gotha, 30 September 1671 – d. Altenburg, 2 March 1673).

Dorothea Marie (b. Gotha, 22 January 1674 – d. Meiningen, 18 April 1713), married on 19 September 1704 to Ernst Ludwig I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen.

Fredericka (b. Gotha, 24 March 1675 – d. Karlsbad, 28 May 1709), married on 25 May 1702 to Johann August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst.

Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (b. Gotha, 28 July 1676 – d. Altenburg, 23 March 1732).

Johann Wilhelm (b. Gotha, 4 October 1677 – killed in battle, Toulon, 15 August 1707), General Imperial.

Elisabeth (b. Gotha, 7 February 1679 – d. of smallpox, Gotha, 22 June 1680).

Johanna (b. Gotha, 1 October 1680 – d. Strelitz, 9 July 1704), married on 20 June 1702 to Adolf Frederick II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Prince Hubertus of Prussia

Prince Hubertus of Prussia (Hubertus Karl Wilhelm; 30 September 1909 – 8 April 1950) was the third son of Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany and Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

Princess Johanna Charlotte of Anhalt-Dessau

Johanna Charlotte of Anhalt-Dessau (6 April 1682 – 31 March 1750) was a princess of Anhalt-Dessau from the House of Ascania by birth and Margravine of Brandenburg-Schwedt by marriage. From 1729 until her death she was Abbess of Herford Abbey.


Von [fɔn] is a term used in German language surnames either as a nobiliary particle indicating a noble patrilineality, or as a simple preposition used by commoners that means of or from.

Nobility directories like Almanach de Gotha often abbreviate noble von to v. In medieval or early modern names the von particle was at times added to commoners' names; thus, "Hans von Duisburg" meant Hans from [the city of] Duisburg. This meaning is preserved in Swiss toponymic surnames or in the Dutch or Afrikaans van, which is a cognate of von but does not indicate nobility and this commoner usage is ubiquitous: there are far more non-noble Dutch people with the surname preposition van, as opposed to most German users of von being noble and most German nobles using von.

William the Younger, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg

William VI (4 July 1535 – 20 August 1592), called William the Younger (German: Wilhelm der Jüngere), was Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Prince of Lüneburg from 1559 until his death. Until 1569 he ruled together with his brother, Henry of Dannenberg.

William was the son of Ernest I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. On 12 October 1561 he married Dorothea of Denmark (29 June 1546 Kolding–6 January 1617 Winsen), daughter of Christian III of Denmark and Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg.

In 1582, William began suffering from fits of insanity. These fits caused his wife to flee him in 1584 for her own safety.

After William's death, his wife became regent for their son George.

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