Friday, February 20, 2015

Carl Eduard to marry Holstein princess

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 February 20, 1905

In her latest column, the Marquise de Fontenoy considers the recently announced engagement of the young Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Princess Viktoria Adelheid of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg as a "satisfactory match" that will strengthen Duke Carl Eduard's position in Germany.

The match was no doubt engineered by the Duke's first cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm II, as the bride-to-be is the niece of Empress Auguste Viktoria.

Duke Carl Eduard was born in England, as a "prince of the reigning house of Great Britain," as the posthumous son of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, who died several months before his birth.   His early education took place in England.  He was a pupil at Eton when he became the heir to the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha duchy, which meant that his entire life was uprooted to Germany.    

Marrying a German princess, especially one with close ties to the German Kaiser, can only help Duke Carl Eduard, who will celebrate his 21st birthday, and reach his majority in July.  When that time comes,  the Duke will "assume the reigns of the government of the grand duchies," which have been administered by the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, whose wife, Princess Alexandra, was the third daughter of the late Duke Alfred of Saxe-Coburg Gotha,  who died in 1900.

The Duke was also the Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who became the heir to Coburg duchies, succeeding his childless paternal uncle, Duke Ernst II.  After the tragic death of his only son, Hereditary Prince Alfred in 1899,  the succession devolved on his nephew, the young Duke of Albany, the only son of Duke Alfred's youngest brother, Leopold.  

Queen Victoria's fourth son, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, and his only son, Prince Arthur of Connaught, renounced their rights in favor of Prince Charles Edward, now known as Carl Eduard.

Since leaving Eton,  Carl Eduard has been educated in Germany, under the supervision of his cousin, the Kaiser, along with the latter's second son, Prince Eitel Friedrich, who has become one of Carl Eduard's closest "chums."

The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha's marriage will "coincide" with the celebration of his majority.  An early marriage may be a good thing, as the "companionship of a lovely bride" will go far to keep Carl Eduard from "following the example of nearly all his predecessors," most of whom were "unenviably famed for their profligacy, their drunkenness, and their eccentricities."

The future Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha is a firm favorite of her aunt, the Empress Auguste Viktoria as she is the child of her favorite sister, Caroline Mathilde, who is married to Duke Friedrich Ferdinand of Schleswig-Holstein.    They don't spend a lot of time at the court of Berlin or Potsdam, preferring to make their home in the "picturesque and beautiful castle of Glücksburg" in Holstein.

Empress Auguste Viktoria makes "long visits" to her sister each year. 

The young Duke of Saxe-Coburg is by all accounts "a nice young fellow," and there is good reason to believe that Princess Viktoria Adelheid's future will be a happy one.

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