saxe meiningen


Queens of England + Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen (1792-1849)

Adelaide was born in 1792, the daughter of George I, Duke of Saxe-Meinigen, and Princess Luise Eleonore of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. Her father died when she was 11 years old and she, along with her younger siblings, was carefully raised by her mother and received an excellent education.

Adelaide’s marriage to Prince William, Duke of Clarence, was precipitated by the death of Princess Charlotte in 1817. She was the daughter of the Prince Regent and only legitimate grandchild of the ailing George III. This event led the other sons of the king to seek quick marriages in the hope of producing children who could inherit the throne. Parliament offered considerable allowances to any Royal Duke who married. This is what led the Duke of Clarence to marry Adelaide, the princess of an unimportant German state and twenty-seven years his junior in July 1818, a week after their first meeting. It was a double wedding with his brother Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and his bride Princess Victoria of Saxe-Cogburg-Saafeld.

By all accounts, the two became devoted to each other despite the circumstances of their marriage. Adelaide accepted William’s illegitimate children by the actress Dorothea Jordan as part of the family and had a positive effect on William’s behavior; he drank and swore less and became more tactful. Observers thought them parsimonious and their lifestyle simple. Adelaide and William had no surviving children. Between 1819 and 1822, Adelaide gave birth to two short-lived daughters, Charlotte and Elizabeth, and stillborn twin boys. Princess Victoria of Kent came to be acknowledged as William’s heir presumptive, as Adelaide had no more pregnancies after 1822.

Adelaide became queen in 1830 when George IV died and her husband succeeded the throne as William IV. They were crowned at Westminster Abbey in 1831 and while William despised the ceremony and behaved in mockery of it, Adelaide took it very seriously. She received praise for her “dignity, repose and characteristic grace.” She became beloved by the people for her piety, modesty, charity, and tragic childbirth history.

It is unknown how much Adelaide was able to politically to influence her husband and she never spoke about politics in public. She did give a large portion of her household income to charity and treated the heir presumptive, Princess Victoria, with kindness. She and William were both fond of the Princess but were frustrated in their attempts to have her closer to them by her mother, the Dowager Duchess of Kent. The Duchess refused to acknowledge Adelaide’s precedence and William, aggrieved at this disrespect to his wife, publicly called out the Duchess for her behavior.

When William became fatally ill in 1837, Adelaide stayed by his deathbed and didn’t sleep for ten days. She became the first queen dowager in over a century when he died and survived him by twelve years. She died of natural causes in the reign of her niece, Queen Victoria, in 1849. She is well-remembered today for her namesake city in Australia. Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, was named after her at its founding in 1836. The Queen Adelaide Club for women for is still active there and a statue of her stands in the foyer of the Town Hall. (x)

Princess Elisabeth of Saxe-Altenburg

That same year - 1882 - during a visit to his mother´s native Altenburg, Konstantin met Princess Elisabeth Auguste Marie Agnes, daughter of Prince Moritz of Saxe-Altenburg and his wife Auguste, formerly a Princess of Saxe-Meiningen. Born on Wednesday, January 25, 1865, in Meiningen, the sixteen-year-old Princess was a slim young woman with a long neck and narrow waist, and light brown hair coiled in a fringe atop her head. The Grand Duke´s mother, Alexandra Iosifovna, pushed the pair toward marriage; Princess Elisabeth seemed amenable enough to the idea, but Konstantin Konstantinovich was less certain. It took nearly two year for the young Grand Duke to finally work  up the courage to propose. He could have remained a bachelor, but family pressure on him was enormous; by this time, his brother Nicholas Konstantinovich had been living in disgrace in exile for ten year, and there was little doubt that his father´s estates would devolve upon him - a fact that would necessitate heirs. Expectation may have pushed the Grand Duke toward a proposal. In the end, it is difficult to say what his true feelings about Elisabeth may have been.

Greg King & Penny Wilson: Gilded Prism


No one could accuse George III and Queen Charlotte of neglecting their dynastic duty. The couple produced 15 children together, and 13 of those lived past childhood. Surprisingly, for a couple with so many children, they had very few surviving (legitimate) grandchildren.

George IV (Married to Caroline of Brunswick): Had one daughter, Princess Charlotte Augusta, who died in childbirth at the age of 21.

William IV (Married to Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen): Had two short lived daughters, Princess Charlotte and Princess Elizabeth (The statue pictured above), as well as stillborn twin boys and another stillborn child. He also had 10 illegitimate children with the actress Dorothea Jordan.

Charlotte, Princess Royal (Married to Frederick I of Württemberg): They had one stillborn daughter. 

Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (Married to Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld): Had one daughter, Princess Alexandrina Victoria, who would one day succeed her uncle William IV as Queen Victoria.

Ernest Augustus I (Married to Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz): They had two stillborn daughters, and one son, George V of Hanover.

Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (Married to Augusta Murray): They had two children; a son named Augustus Frederick and a daughter named Augusta Emma.

Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge (Married to Augusta of Hesse-Cassel): Had three children: A son named George, and two daughters named Augusta and Mary Adelaide.