Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1800–1831)

Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (Louise Dorothea Pauline Charlotte Fredericka Auguste; 21 December 1800 – 30 August 1831) was the wife of Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and the mother of Duke Ernst II and Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. She is also the paternal great-great-great grandmother of Elizabeth II.

Princess Louise
Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Luise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
Painting by William Corden, 1844 known as William Corden the Elder (1795-1867)
Born21 December 1800
Gotha, Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, Holy Roman Empire
Died30 August 1831 (aged 30)
Paris, France
Ducal family mausoleum, Friedhof am Glockenberg, Coburg
SpouseErnst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
IssueErnest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Albert, Prince Consort of the United Kingdom
Full name
Louise Dorothea Pauline Charlotte Fredericka Auguste
FatherAugustus, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
MotherLouise Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Schwerin


Princess Louise was the only daughter of Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg and his first wife Louise Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, daughter of Frederick Francis I, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (her namesake).

Marriage and issue

Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, with her children
Princess Louise with her two sons Ernest (right) and Albert, shortly before her exile from court

On 31 July 1817 in Gotha, sixteen-year-old Louise married her thirty-three-year-old kinsman Ernst III, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld after he failed to win the hand of a Russian grand duchess.[1] Louise was considered "young, clever, and beautiful".[2]

They had two children: Ernst, who inherited his father's lands and titles, and Albert, who was later the husband of Queen Victoria.

The marriage was unhappy because of Ernst's infidelities and the couple separated in 1824. St. Wendel, in the Principality of Lichtenberg, was assigned as her new residence (it was an exclave of Saxe-Coburg und Gotha; see Sotnick on this period), and Louise was forced to leave her two sons behind. Biographer Lytton Strachey noted in 1921: "The ducal court was not noted for the strictness of its morals; the Duke was a man of gallantry, and it was rumored that the Duchess followed her husband's example. There were scandals: one of the Court Chamberlains, a charming and cultivated man of Jewish extraction, was talked of; at last there was a separation, followed by a divorce."[3]


On 31 March 1826 their marriage was officially dissolved. Seven months later, on 18 October 1826, Louise secretly married in St. Wendel her former lover, the Baron Alexander von Hanstein (later created Count of Pölzig and Beiersdrof). In her previous marriage, she had taken great interest in the social life of the principality and was revered as its Landesmutter (literally, "mother of the region"). Nevertheless, this happy life ended in February 1831, when her secret marriage to von Hanstein was discovered and she lost her children permanently.

Louise died of cancer on 30 August 1831, when she was only 30 years old. Years after her death, Queen Victoria described Louise in an 1864 memorandum: "The princess is described as having been very handsome, though very small; fair, with blue eyes; and Prince Albert is said to have been extremely like her".[4] Louise was reinterred from her initial burial site at Morizkirche to the ducal mausoleum at Friedhof am Glockenberg after it had been completed in 1859.[5]:47


Ancestors of Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1800–1831)
16. Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (= 28)
8. Frederick III, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
17. Princess Magdalena Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst (= 29)
4. Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
18. Ernst Ludwig I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen
9. Princess Luise Dorothea of Saxe-Meiningen
19. Princess Dorothea Marie of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
2. Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
20. Bernhard I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen
10. Anton Ulrich, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen
21. Princess Elisabeth Eleonore of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
5. Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Meiningen
22. Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Philippsthal
11. Princess Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Philippsthal
23. Princess Caroline Christine of Saxe-Eisenach
1. Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
24. Christian Ludwig II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
12. Duke Louis of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
25. Duchess Gustave Caroline of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
6. Frederick Francis I, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
26. Francis Josias, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
13. Princess Charlotte Sophie of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
27. Princess Anna Sophie of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
3. Duchess Louise Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
28. Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (= 16)
14. Prince John August of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
29. Princess Magdalena Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst (= 17)
7. Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
30. Heinrich I, Count Reuss of Schleiz
15. Countess Luise Reuss of Schleiz
31. Countess Juliana Dorothea of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Virneburg


  1. ^ Grey, p. 29.
  2. ^ Weintraub, p. 21.
  3. ^ Strachey, Lytton (1921). Queen Victoria. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Co. p. 135.
  4. ^ Grey, p. 30.
  5. ^ Klüglein, Norbert (1991). Coburg Stadt und Land (German). Verkehrsverein Coburg.


External links

Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1800–1831)
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 21 December 1800 Died: 16 November 1831
German royalty
Title last held by
Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf
Duchess consort of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
31 July 1817 – 31 March 1826
Succeeded by
Duchess Marie of Württemberg
as Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Countess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf

Countess Augusta Caroline Sophie Reuss-Ebersdorf (German: Gräfin Reuß zu Ebersdorf) (19 January 1757 – 16 November 1831), was by marriage the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She was born in Saalburg-Ebersdorf. She was the maternal grandmother of Queen Victoria and the paternal grandmother of Albert, Prince Consort.

Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld

Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (Coburg, 15 July 1750 – Coburg, 9 December 1806), was one of the ruling Thuringian dukes of the House of Wettin. As progenitor of a line of Coburg princes who, in the 19th and 20th centuries, mounted the thrones of several European realms, he is a patrilineal ancestor of, among others, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, King Philippe of Belgium and King Simeon II of Bulgaria.

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