Ernest Gotha
German prince
Ernest Gotha
Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the second sovereign duke of the German duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, reigning from 1844 to his death. Ernest was born in Coburg as the eldest child of Ernest III, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and his duchess, Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Fourteen months later, his family would be joined by one brother, Prince Albert, later consort of Queen Victoria.
Biography
Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha's personal information overview.
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News
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Reliance Industries' Exports Rise as Jet Fuel Shipments More Than Triple - Bloomberg
Google News - over 5 years
The Rich Duke II, chartered to transport 90000 tons of diesel, left Sikka in mid-May and was last tracked near South Africa, heading to the port of Cotonou in Benin, West Africa, vessel fixture data and ship transmissions show
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Google News article
Inversiones millonarias - Diario de Ibiza
Google News - over 5 years
Motocicletas. Una KTM Duke II que costó 8.840 euros y una Yamaha TW (3.385 euros). Lanchas. Una Fairline 43 por la que pagaron 300.000 euros, una Basti Bombardier (18.030 euros) y la embarcación ´Celebrity´, valorada en 22.891 euros
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Google News article
On Eve of Butler-Duke II, Passions Still Run Deep
NYTimes - about 6 years
There are few do-overs in sports, and Saturday's basketball game between Duke and Butler is not one, no matter how many times it is referred to as a rematch of April's national championship contest. That is not only because this is a regular-season game, not a Final Four one, and that it is being played in East Rutherford, N.J., not Indianapolis.
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NYTimes article
DUKAKIS TAKING A COOL AND PRAGMATIC APPROACH TO DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION
NYTimes - over 29 years
LEAD: He once climbed the Acropolis in wing-tip shoes. He switched from Thomas's English muffins to Wonder Bread English muffins, gleefully explaining to friends that ''they taste better because they cost less.'' He once climbed the Acropolis in wing-tip shoes. He switched from Thomas's English muffins to Wonder Bread English muffins, gleefully
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NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1893
    Age 74
    Ernest II died at Reinhardsbrunn on 22 August 1893 after a short illness.
    More Details Hide Details A lifelong sportsman, his last words were apparently "Let the drive commence!" His funeral was held in the Morizkirche in Coburg; thousands of spectators came to the funeral, including Emperor Wilhelm and the Prince of Wales. He is buried in the ducal mausoleum in the which he himself had built in 1853-8. Ernest was succeeded by his nephew Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.
  • 1891
    Age 72
    In 1891, they met in France; Victoria's lady-in-waiting commented "the old Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha has been here today with his wife.
    More Details Hide Details He is the Prince Consort's only brother and an awful looking man, the Queen dislikes him particularly. He is always writing anonymous pamphlets against the Queen and the Empress Frederick, which naturally creates a great deal of annoyance in the family". Throughout his reign, Ernest had been known for his extravagance and womanizing; as he grew older, Ernest enjoyed gossip and was "now a thoroughly disreputable old roué who enjoyed the outrage provoked by his actions", leading Vicky to declare that her uncle "was his own enemy". His behavior and manner of dress increasingly became a joke for younger generations. His great-niece Marie of Edinburgh would later describe Ernest as "an old beau, squeezed into a frock-coat too tight for his bulk and uncomfortably pinched in at the waist', sporting a top hat, lemon coloured gloves, and a rosebud in his lapel". He put on weight and though on paper his wealth was large, he was still constantly in debt.
  • 1886
    Age 67
    In 1886, Ernest published Co-Regents and Foreign Influence in Germany, a pamphlet that greatly angered his family; though produced anonymously, no one doubted that it was written by Ernest.
    More Details Hide Details It attacked Vicky as a disloyal German that was too dependent on her mother, and declared that she had been too indiscreet in passing along confidential information during both war and peacetime. Queen Victoria was furious, writing to Vicky, "What you told me of Uncle E and that pamphlet is simply monstrous. I assure you that I felt great difficulty in writing to him for his birthday, but I wrote it as short and cool as I could consistently with civility". "Dear Uncle Ernest does us all a great deal of harm by his odd ways and uncontrollable tongue with his very lively imagination". Later in his reign, Ernest's actions managed to continually anger his sister-in-law. Though Victoria loved Ernest because he was Albert's brother, she was displeased that Ernest was writing his memoirs, worrying about their contents mainly in regard to her dead husband. Despite their disputes, Ernest still met with Victoria and her family occasionally.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1871
    Age 52
    Victoria's husband Crown Prince Frederick was also pleased with Ernest's decision, writing in his journal 28 September 1871, that the duke's "society always affords me peculiar pleasure, especially when his heart beats so warmly for Germany".
    More Details Hide Details Ernest's support of the Prussians in the Austro-Prussian War and later Franco Prussian War meant he was no longer the potential leader of a political movement; although it was true that he had been able to retain his duchies, it had come at a price. According to historian Charlotte Zeepvat, Ernest "was increasingly lost in a whirl of private amusements which earned only contempt from outside". Ernest funneled his political thoughts into the private sphere, preferring to write covertly sponsored articles in the Coburg press that became increasingly embittered against England.
  • FORTIES
  • 1864
    Age 45
    This was partly because Alfred was second-in-line to the United Kingdom until the birth of his nephew Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, in 1864.
    More Details Hide Details One example of the many problems of his education concerned the language he would speak. Although he grew up learning German, his native language was decided to be English. In addition, a naval career was chosen for Alfred, a common profession for a British prince but almost unheard of for a prince of Germany. Ernest also wanted Alfred to be educated in Coburg, but his brother refused. Albert's refusal most likely stemmed from the negative British reaction that would have inevitably occurred and the fact that Albert was fearful of Alfred's moral development. Thus despite Ernest's protests, he went unheeded in Albert's lifetime. In 1863, Ernest told Victoria that it was time for Alfred to leave the navy and enter a German university. By March of the following year, it was decided that Alfred would attend Bonn University but be left to consider his future, as he was having reservations over permanently residing outside England. The matter was eventually resolved; Alfred came to accept his inheritance, and Victoria understood and accepted that Ernest needed to be involved in the upbringing of his heir-presumptive, with a strong German element added to his education and (carefully chaperoned) visits to Coburg.
  • 1863
    Age 44
    In 1863, he attended the liberal Frankfurt Conference, which was openly avoided by more conservative Prussia.
    More Details Hide Details Though his attendance made him no friends in Prussia, he developed such strong contacts in Austria that many looked to him as a potential leader in the mounting conflict between the northern and southern powers. He grew tired of the advice he received from Albert on the subject however; as Ernest "was by no means inclined to consent to an energetic rule such as I adopted immediately afterwards for the perfection of the constitutional system", according to Albert's letters. The Austro-Prussian War was triggered by the desire of German conservative leaders to unify, albeit on different terms than their liberal counterparts. Ernest urged Prussian leaders against the impending war, and was an active advocate of the Austrian cause. Though Ernest normally followed more liberal politics than many of his counterparts, he began switching his views to align more closely with Prussian Minister President Otto von Bismarck by the mid-1860s. Despite this change in his private political views, he still had strong publicly known Austrian ties, and no one foresaw that Ernest would immediately side with the better-equipped Prussians upon breakout of the war. His reasoning is usually understood as acting in the best interests of his duchies, and by extension, of himself. Regardless, it was seen as a betrayal of former friends; Queen Victoria commented that Ernest "might have agreed to neutrality - for that might be necessary, but to change colours I cannot think right".
    Despite Ernest's disprovable, Bertie was duly married to Alexandra on 10 March 1863.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1862
    Age 43
    He was elected with 95% of the vote in the Greek head of state referendum of 1862.
    More Details Hide Details After his ineligibility was confirmed however, the Greeks began looking for other possible candidates, which included Duke Ernest at the British government's suggestion. To their and Victoria's reasoning, if Ernest were to take the Greek throne, Alfred could immediately take up his inheritance and succeed Ernest as duke (the Prince of Wales having passed his claim to the duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha onto his younger brother). Many were in favor of his nomination, including Prime Minister Lord Palmerston and Ernest's sister-in-law. In a letter written to her uncle Leopold I of Belgium, Victoria stated her support for a new royal branch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (as Leopold had been chosen as King of the Belgians in 1831) as well as her desire for her second son Alfred to succeed his uncle in the duchy. As negotiations continued however, she began to lose enthusiasm for the idea.
  • 1861
    Age 42
    The Duke had a reputation for being a strong friend of the United States, as did his brother Albert. He was, however, the only European sovereign to appoint a consul, Ernst Raven, to the Confederate States of America, on 30 July 1861.
    More Details Hide Details The Texas government, where Raven resided, made it clear, however, that his request for an exequatur did not imply or extend diplomatic recognition to the Confederate regime. On 23 October 1862, Otto of Bavaria, King of Greece was deposed in a bloodless coup. The Greeks were eager to have someone close to Britain and Queen Victoria replace Otto; some desired to allow Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (her second son) succeed as King of Greece.
    The princes' relationship experienced phases of closeness as well as minor arguments as they grew older; after Albert's death in 1861, Ernest became gradually more antagonistic to Victoria and her children, as well as increasingly bitter toward the United Kingdom, publishing anonymous pamphlets against various members of the British royal family.
    More Details Hide Details
  • THIRTIES
  • 1849
    Age 30
    As commander of a German corps, Ernest was instrumental in winning the 5 April 1849 battle of Eckernförde against Danish forces.
    More Details Hide Details The first war ended in 1851, but would resume in 1864. During this interlude, Ernest fervently opposed the marriage of his nephew Albert Edward, Prince of Wales ('Bertie') to Princess Alexandra of Denmark, a daughter of the future Christian IX of Denmark (and therefore an enemy of the German states). He believed that such a match flew in the face of German interests. Albert replied angrily "What has that got to do with you? Vicky has racked her brains to help us to find someone, but in vain We have no reasonable choice". Albert agreed there were going to be problems with the match, but as he could find no alternative bride, he wrote to Ernest that keeping the affair a private matter (and outside the realm of government) was "the only way to prevent a break with Prussia and the only way to keep the game in our own hands, impose the conditions that we think necessary, and as far as we can, take off its political edge". Albert also warned his son of Ernest's endeavors to interfere with the match, commenting, "Your uncle will try his hand at this work. Your best defence will be not to enter on the subject, should he broach it".
  • TWENTIES
  • 1848
    Age 29
    During the 1848 turmoil in Germany, Albert had been constructing his own liberal reform plan, under which a single monarch, chancellor, and parliament would unite the German states; in addition, each state would retain its own current ruling dynasty.
    More Details Hide Details As this plan pertained to his brother, Ernest was given a copy in the hope that he would develop his own liberal constitution. Ernest subsequently made a few concessions, but his position remained sound, not counting the increasing problem of his debts. A constitution was drafted and promulgated in 1849 in Gotha, though one had existed in Coburg since 1821. In 1852, both constitutions were converged into one, which converted the personal union of the two duchies into a real union; the duchies were now inseparable, with a common set of institutions. During the political turmoil, timely concessions and Ernest's popular habit of mingling with "the people in their pleasures" were instrumental in keeping him from losing his throne. Furthermore, various contemporary sources state that Ernest was an able, just and very popular ruler, which may have also helped keep him in power.
    Extravagant to a great degree, Ernest had many money troubles throughout his reign. In January 1848, Ernest visited his brother in the midst of political unrest in Germany.
    More Details Hide Details Upon his return, he also discovered unrest in Coburg. One of the many concerns related to finances. Although Ernest had a large inheritance, he also had frequent debts. There were increasing calls to nationalize most of his property. Indeed, Albert had to intervene at one point and spare his brother the embarrassment of losing one of his Coburg properties.
  • 1844
    Age 25
    On 29 January 1844, Ernest's father died in Gotha, one of the territories their family had recently acquired.
    More Details Hide Details Ernest consequently succeeded to the duchies of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as Ernest II.
  • 1842
    Age 23
    In Karlsruhe on 3 May 1842, Ernest married 21-year-old Princess Alexandrine of Baden.
    More Details Hide Details
    In 1842, Ernest married Princess Alexandrine of Baden in what was to be a childless marriage.
    More Details Hide Details Soon after, he succeeded as duke upon the death of his father on 29 January 1844. As reigning Duke Ernest II, he supported the German Confederation in the Schleswig-Holstein Wars against Denmark, 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 King Otto of Greece was deposed in 1862, the British government put Ernest's name forward as a possible successor. Negotiations fell through however for various reasons, not in the least of which was that he would not give up his beloved duchies in favor of the Greek throne. A supporter of a unified Germany, Ernest watched the various political movements with great interest. While he initially was a great and outspoken proponent of the liberal movement, he surprised many by switching sides and supporting the more conservative (and eventually victorious) Prussians during the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian wars and subsequent unification of Germany. His support of the conservatives came at a price however, and he was no longer viewed as the possible leader of a political movement. According to historian Charlotte Zeepvat, Ernest became "increasingly lost in a whirl of private amusements which earned only contempt from outside".
  • 1839
    Age 20
    Ernest had been so visibly deteriorating in appearance as a result that Sarah Lyttelton, a lady-in-waiting of Queen Victoria, observed at Windsor in 1839 that he was "very thin and hollow-cheeked and pale, and no likeness to his brother, nor much beauty.
    More Details Hide Details But he has fine dark eyes and black hair, and light figure, and a great look of spirit and eagerness". Later that year, Albert counseled his brother against finding a wife until his 'condition' was fully recovered. He further warned that continued promiscuity could leave Ernest incapable of fathering children. Some historians believe that while he himself was able to father other children, the disease rendered his young wife infertile. As the years went by with further childlessness, Ernest became more distant to his wife, and was continually unfaithful. Though Alexandrine continued to be devoted, choosing to ignore those relationships she was aware of, her loyalty became increasingly baffling to those outside her immediate family. By 1859, after seventeen years of childlessness, Ernest took no further interest in his wife.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1837
    Age 18
    Ernest entered military training later that year. In April 1837, Ernest and Albert and their household moved to the University of Bonn. Six weeks into their academic term, Victoria succeeded as Queen of the United Kingdom. As rumors of an impending marriage between her and Albert interfered with their studies, the two brothers left on 28 August 1837 at the close of the term to travel around Europe.
    More Details Hide Details They returned to Bonn in early November to continue their studies. In 1839, the brothers traveled to England again, where Victoria found her cousin Albert agreeable and soon proposed. This connection would have many implications upon Ernest in the future; for instance, he was selected as godfather for Albert's second daughter Princess Alice, and would eventually come to give her away at her wedding, only months after Albert's death. Various candidates were put forward as a possible wife for Ernest. His own father wanted him to look high-up for a wife, such as a Russian grand duchess. One possibility was Princess Clémentine of Orléans, a daughter of Louis Philippe I, whom he met while visiting the court at the Tuileries. Such a marriage would have required his conversion from Lutheranism to Roman Catholicism however, and consequently nothing came of it. She later married his cousin Prince August of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Ernest was also considered by Dowager Queen Maria Christina as a possible husband for her young daughter Isabella II of Spain, and by Queen Victoria for her cousin Princess Augusta of Cambridge.
  • 1836
    Age 17
    In 1836, Ernest and Albert visited their matrimonially eligible cousin Princess Victoria of Kent, spending a few weeks at Windsor.
    More Details Hide Details Both boys, and especially Albert were considered by his family to be a potential husband for the young princess, and they were both taught to speak competent English. Their father first thought that Ernest would make a better husband to Victoria than Albert, possibly because his sporting interests would be better received by the British public. Most others favored Albert over Ernest as a possible husband however. Temperamentally, Victoria was much more like Ernest, as both were lively and sociable with a love for dancing, gossip, and late nights; conversely, this fast pace made Albert physically ill. Victoria believed Ernest had a "most kind, honest, and intelligent expression in his countenance", while Albert "seemed full of goodness and sweetness, and very clever and intelligent". No offer of marriage was forthcoming for either brother however, and they returned home.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1824
    Age 5
    In 1824, Ernest I and Louise divorced; she subsequently left Coburg and was disallowed from seeing her sons again. She soon remarried to Alexander von Hanstein, Count of Pölzig and Beiersdorf, dying in 1831 at the age of thirty.
    More Details Hide Details The year after her death, their father remarried his niece Duchess Marie of Württemberg, who was his sister Antoinette's daughter. Their stepmother was thus also their first cousin. The duke and his new duchess were not close, and would produce no children; while the boys formed a happy relationship with their stepmother, Marie had little to no input in her stepsons' lives. The separation and divorce of their parents, as well as the later death of their mother left the boys scarred and in close companionship with each other.
  • 1820
    Age 1
    In May 1820, his mother described Ernest as "very big for his age, as well as intelligent.
    More Details Hide Details His big black eyes are full of spirit and vivacity". Biographer Richard Hough writes that "even from their infancy, it was plainly evident that the elder son took after his father, in character and appearance, while Albert strongly resembled his mother in most respects". Ernest and his brother often lived with their grandmother the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld until her death in 1831. He and Albert were brought up and educated together as if they were twins. Though Albert was fourteen months younger, he surpassed Ernest intellectually. According to their tutor, "they went hand-in-hand in all things, whether at work or at play. Engaging in the same pursuits, sharing the same joys and the same sorrows, they were bound to each other by no common feelings of mutual love". Perhaps the "sorrows" aforementioned related to their parents' marriage. It was not a happy one and Duke Ernest I was continually unfaithful.
  • 1818
    Born
    Ernest, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was born at Ehrenburg Palace in Coburg on 21 June 1818.
    More Details Hide Details He was the elder son of Ernest III, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and his first wife Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. He was soon joined by a brother, Prince Albert, who would later become the husband of Queen Victoria. Though Duke Ernest fathered numerous children in various affairs, the two boys would have no other legitimate siblings. In 1826, their father succeeded as Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha through an exchange of territories after the death of the duke's uncle, Frederick IV, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. There are various accounts of Ernest's childhood. When he was fourteen months old, a servant commented that Ernest "runs around like a weasel. He is teething and as cross as a little badger from impatience and liveliness. He is not pretty now, except his beautiful black eyes".
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