|The Last Saxon King ~ The House Of Wettin
|Many of the Wettin rulers had tell-tale names: Konrad the Great, Otto the Rich, Albrecht the Proud,
Albrecht the Degenerate, Dietrich the Hard Pressed, Heinrich the Illustrious, Johann the Steadfast,
Albert the Resolute, George the Bearded, Heinrich the Pious, Johann Friedrich the Magnanious,
Anton the Kind and a bunch of Friedrichs: Friedrich the Just, Friedrich the Bitten, Friedrich the
Serious, Friedrich the Belligerant, Friedrich the Gentle, Friedrich the Wise, Friedrich the Strong and
Friedrich the Strict. All of those adjectives had to end somewhere, and so they did, with the last
Wettin, Friedrich lll (Friedrich August III Johann Ludwig Karl Gustav Gregor Philipp) of Saxony.
|Friedrich (the Last), 1865 to 1932, was the oldest son of King Georg I of Saxony and his wife
Infanta Maria Ana of Portugal. His father had educated his children systematically with fear and tight
discipline. In 1891, Friedrich married lively, young Luise of Toscana, daughter of Ferdinando IV,
Grand Duke of Tuscany. The old King would not be fond of his son's new wife.
|Castle Sybillenort was nearly completely destroyed by the Red Army before Breslau was given to
Poland after World War Two. The family funds of the Haus Wettin were greatly diminished as well.
Dresden was in ruins along with the other Saxon cities and then sent under communist slavery.
However, the Saxon royal family still lives and remains significantly honored. When the Berlin wall
fell in 1989, the royal family led the parade in Dresden celebrating liberation from the communists.
|In the beginning of World War One, Friedrich supported participation but soon questioned it. Once
he asked a soldier how long he had been fighting in the war. The soldier answered: "From the very
beginning, your majesty." He replied: "So you have enough of it, too." He abdicated on November
13, 1918 after the defeat of Germany in World War One, in which his sons bravely served in the
military. He had forbidden his soldiers the use of firearms against revolutionaries during the
November Revolution. He was the only German royal that renounced only his own rights for the
throne, but not his family's rights.
|When Luise first met her future husband, he was a handsome, 21 year old Crown Prince wearing his
light blue Hussar uniform with kind eyes and a pleasant disposition. Luise bore three sons and three
daughters in quick succession, but already found herself with very little personal freedom. Women of
the high aristocracy at the time were beginning to release themselves from patriarchal rule, as was
society in general, but Luise was surrounded by high expectations she found difficulty meeting and
an overbearing father-in-law.
|If Luise wore a bathing suit to go swimming with her sons, rode a bicycle or took a ride on the
streetcar causing crowds to gather, reportedly she would get "room detention" with a guard outside of
her room courtesy of her father-in- law. Her little Princes were not "normal" children, she was
reminded, they belonged to the state, and her role with them was limited. Soon, her frustrations
mounted. Some claimed that she was simply suffering from depression and mental instability which
accounted for her loose morals and insubordinate behavior. In any case, Luise's drama would
entertained the press for many years.
|Shortly before Christmas of 1902, and following an affair with her childrens' Belgium tutor André
Girons, Kronprinzessin Luise of Saxony abandoned her children and husband and fled into
Switzerland with her lover, not only freeing herself from the serious obligations of royalty, but from
the monotony and boredom of daily life. She was pregnant with her youngest daughter. After the
separation, however, freedom did not come easily. Although King Georg allowed the separation in
1903, the high regional court in Leipzig ruled that Anna Pia Monica, Luise's youngest daughter,
legitimatized by her husband although thought to be born of her liaison with Girons, was still a
duchess of Saxony and therefore had to be sent back to Dresden. The secret service sent educators
to get the child. Luise tried to visit her children in December, 1904, but it was in vain since the police
had the building surrounded.
|Friedrich was a loving father and raised his children alone. He succeeded his father as monarch in
1904, and Saxony's economy and cultural life flourished under his reign. He was very popular and
respected. He spoke endearingly to the people in the Saxon dialect. He was honest, forthright and
down to earth, as a speech he made during a ceremony for a new bridge indicates. His only words
were: "Let's walk over it."
|He went to his Castle Sybillenort near Breslau and lived there happily until his death. Over 200,000
people followed his coffin through Dresden after it was transferred by the railroad in a special train to
the city where he was buried in the family grave of the house of Wettin. Thus with his death, ended
the rule of the House of Wettin. Still popular, even now people leave flowers at his sarcophagus
|Anna Monica Pia was eventually taken into exile by her mother after becoming the subject of one of
the greatest custody battles of the twentieth century. The other children would be allowed to connect
with their mother only at adult age. Luise herself was popular with the people, and before long,
postcards with her image were circulated all over the world. In September, 1907 Luise caused further
scandal by marrying the composer Enrico Toselli, thirteen years her junior, bearing him a son and
becoming a countess. They divorced in five years, and Toselli gained custody of the son. He later
wrote a tell-all book about his marriage and chaotic life with Luise. Luise died in March, 1947 in her
dwelling in Brussels, completely impoverished after being cut off from any financial support due to
the war and separated from her children. She could have been last queen of Saxony, but instead sold
flowers from a cart for food money.
|The Waning Wettins
|The House of Wettin, a royal German dynasty, lasted longer than every other German dynasty and
was in power for 829 years, the longest time any European house ruled a country. For centuries, the
German states known today as Saxony and Thuringia were ruled by the Wettins. Some of the Wettin
line also ruled Poland and formed part of the ruling houses of Great Britain, Portugal, Bulgaria and
Belgium. There is a legend that the family descended from Wittekind, a Saxon chief in the days of
Charlemagne, but the oldest recorded member of the House of Wettin was Thiedericus (died 982).
It was around the year 1000 that the family acquired Wettin Castle on the Saale River in Wettin,
Saxony-Anhalt and changed their name to reflect the name of their territory. Heinrich of Eilenburg
was given the title of Margrave by the Emperor in 1089 and he was the first Wettin who would reign
as either margrave, duke, elector or king for the next 829 years.