Ernst II

Preceeded by: Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Reign: 29/1/1844-22/8/1893
Succeeded by: Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Ernst II
1852 1 Thaler
Silver 0.7500
mintage: 8,000
Mint: Dresden
MM: Gustav Theodor Fischer
Ernst II

Titles: Duke of Sachsen Coburg & Gotha (1844-1893)
Born: 21/6/1818 at Ehrenburg Palace
Died: 22/8/1893 at Reinhardsbrunn Castle
Father: Ernest III, Duke of Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld
Mother: Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
Married to: Princess Alexandrine of Baden
Children: none

Flag of Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha 1826-1911 Location of Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha

Ernst II was born on June 21st 1818 and ruled Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha from 1844 until his death on August 22nd 1893. He was born at Ehrenburg Palace and died at Reinhardsbrunn Castle and is burried at Moritzkirche in Coburg. Ernst studied philosophy and political economy at the University of Bonn (1834-1836) before entering the military in Saxony in 1836. He travelled widely in Spain, Portugal, Italy and north Africa. He was also a notable musician and composed numerous musical pieces and three operas.

Ernst's younger brother Albert, later married Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

Ernst supported the German Confederation against Denmark in the Schleswig-Holstein wars, sending thousands of troops and becoming the commander of a German corps; as such, he was instrumental in the 1849 victory at the battle of Eckernförde against Danish forces

After Otto of Greece was deposed in 1863 the UK proposed Ernst as king, but he refused because he did not want to leave his estates. In the book "Grandmama of Europe" in which the lives of the decendents of Victoria are examined, Ernst II is described as a lecherous and was largely unliked by his British relatives.

Ernst II could trace his ancestry back to Prince Albrecht who was the second son of Duke Ernst (the Pious) who dies in 1699. A dispute about his right to govern separately from his brother lasted three generations and was only settled towards the end of the 18the century by a redistribution of the Saxon Princes. A new division of lands took place in 1826 on the extinction of the Saxe-Gotha line and it was then that Saxe-Saalfeld-Coburg exchanged its name for that of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

The family was in possession of a large fortune, mostly accumulated by Ernst I of whom the Congress of Vienna made a present of the principality of Lichenberg – in return for his services as a commander of the fifth “corps d’armee” in 1813. This principality he sold to Prussia for 2 million thalers and other advantages.

Ernst also enjoyed a large civil list of some 100,000 thalers (£15,000) per year as a minimum plus other income from various estates.

The “Staatsgrundgesetz,” or fundamental law of the duchy was proclaimed in 1852 (May 3rd). The crown is vested in Duke Ernst II. And in his descendents, or failing that in the children of his brother Albert (consort of Queen Victoria). However the heir to the British throne is barred from obtaining the rulership of Saxe-Coberg-Gotha.

The legislative power is invested in two separate assemblies. One for the province of Coburg and one for Gotha. The Coburg chamber consists of 11 members and that for Gotha 19 members. Every man over 25 who has paid taxes is entitled to vote and any citizen over thirty can be elected as a deputy. Elections took place every 4 years.

The two assemblies met separately every year and every second year they united into one chamber to which the Coburg Diet provided 7 members and the Gotha Diet provided 14 members. This united Parliament alternated its meetings between the two provinces and it decided all legislative measures bearing upon the whole duchy while the separate assemblies concerned themselves with local matters.

Population wise Coburg had 47,014 in 1861 and Gotha had 112,417. All of the inhabitants are Protestant except 851 roman Catholics and 1,578 Jews.

Ever a pragmatist he supported Prussia in the Austro-Prussian war, and again in the Franco Prussian war. However he later became withdrawn from affairs partially because of the death of his brother Albert, of whom he was very close. He became increasingly antogonistic against the British Royal Family going so far as to publich anonymous pamphlates on his differing opinions. The disagreement mostly concerned the marriage of Victoria and Albert's son Bertie to Princess Alexandra of Denmark, as Denmark and Germany (or parts of it) were hostile over the status of Schleswig and Holstein.

The army commanded by Ernst II in 1863 consisted of: Click here

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