Countess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf

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Countess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf
Duchess consort of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Augusta di Reuss-Ebersdorf, duchessa di Sassonia-Coburgo-Saalfeld.jpg
Tenure 1800–1806
Born (1757-01-19)19 January 1757
Saalburg-Ebersdorf
Died 16 November 1831(1831-11-16) (aged 74)
Coburg
Spouse Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Issue
More
Princess Sophie, Countess von Mensdorff-Pouilly
Princess Antoinette, Duchess Alexander of Württemberg
Grand Duchess Anna Feodorovna of Russia
Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Prince Ferdinand
Princess Victoria, Duchess of Kent and Strathearn
Leopold I of Belgium
Full name
Augusta Caroline Sophie
House Reuss
Father Heinrich XXIV, Count Reuss of Ebersdorf
Mother Karoline Ernestine of Erbach-Schönberg

Countess (later Princess) Augusta Caroline Sophie Reuss of Ebersdorf (German: Gräfin Reuß zu Ebersdorf) (19 January 1757 – 16 November 1831), was by marriage a duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She was born in Saalburg-Ebersdorf. She was the maternal grandmother of Queen Victoria and the paternal grandmother of Albert, Prince Consort.

Family[edit]

She was the second of seven children of Heinrich XXIV, Count Reuss of Ebersdorf and his wife Karoline Ernestine of Erbach-Schönberg. Her birthplace, Ebersdorf, was a center of Pietism in Thuringia and Augusta's grandparents were ardent admirers of this religious movement. Augusta's great-aunt Countess Erdmuthe Dorothea, by marriage Countess of Zinzendorf was married to the founder of the Moravian Church. This background explains the deep religious feelings of Princess Augusta in later years.

Marriage[edit]

Augusta was one of the most beautiful women of her time. Her father commissioned a portrait of Augusta as Artemisia by the painter Johann Heinrich Tischbein. Count Heinrich XXIV showed this painting during the Perpetual Diet so potential marriage candidates were aware of his beautiful daughter.

In Ebersdorf on 13 June 1777 Augusta married Franz Frederick Anton, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Duke Franz previously acquired the Artemisia painting for four times the original price because he was deeply in love with Augusta, but he had to marry a relative, Princess Sophie of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Princess Sophie died seven months after the wedding, so the Duke was free to pursue the hand of his beloved.

During her marriage, Augusta bore her husband ten children; some of them played important roles in European history: Victoria, Duchess of Kent, and King Leopold I of Belgium.

Issue[edit]

Name Date of birth Date of death Age at death Notes
Sophie Fredericka Caroline Luise 19 August 1778, in Coburg 8 July 1835, in Tušimice, Bohemia 56 years Married on 23 February 1804 to Emmanuel von Mensdorff-Pouilly (later Count von Mensdorff-Pouilly).
Antoinette Ernestine Amalie 28 August 1779, in Coburg 14 March 1824, in St. Petersburg 44 years Married on 17 November 1798 to Alexander of Württemberg.
Juliane Henriette Ulrike (upon her marriage, she took the name Anna Feodorovna in a Russian Orthodox baptism) 23 September 1781, in Coburg 15 August 1860, in Elfenau, near Berne, Switzerland 78 years Married on 26 February 1796 to Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia, the younger brother of Czar Alexander I of Russia (they divorced in 1820).
Stillborn son 1782 1782 -
Ernst I Anton Karl Ludwig, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha 2 January 1784, in Coburg 29 January 1844, in Gotha 60 years Married on 31 July 1817 to Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1800–1831) the father of Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria.
Ferdinand Georg August 28 March 1785, in Coburg 27 August 1851, in Vienna 66 years Married on 30 November 1815 to Maria Antonia Koháry de Csábrág the father of Ferdinand II of Portugal and Victoria, Duchess of Nemours, and the grandfather of Ferdinand I of Bulgaria. By his marriage he became the founder of the Koháry branch of the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha line.
Marie Luise Victoria 17 August 1786, in Coburg 16 March 1861, in Frogmore House 74 years Married on 11 July 1818 to Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III of Great Britain, the mother of Queen Victoria.
Marianne Charlotte 7 August 1788, in Coburg 23 August 1794, in Coburg 6 years
Leopold Georg Christian Frederick 16 December 1790, in Coburg 10 December 1865, in Laeken 75 years Married on 9 August 1830 to Louise of Orléans and his children included Leopold II of Belgium and Empress Carlota of Mexico. First king of the Belgians under the name of Leopold I.
Franz Maximilian Ludwig 12 December 1792, in Coburg 3 January 1793, in Coburg 22 days

Notable descendants[edit]

Countess Augusta is the grandmother of many notable monarchs of Europe, including both Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom (through her mother Victoria) and her husband, Prince Albert (through his father Ernst), King Consort of Portugal Ferdinand II (through his father Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha), and also Empress Carlota of Mexico and her brother Leopold II of Belgium (through their father Leopold I who was elected King of the Belgians on 26 June 1831.)

Elevation to Princess[edit]

The House of Reuss became princes on 9 April 1806, and all the surviving members of the Ebersdorf-Lobenstein line (including Augusta) bore the title Prince(ss) Reuss of Ebersdorf (German: Fürst/Fürstin Reuß zu Ebersdorf, Jüngere Linie) . Augusta died in Coburg on 16 November 1831, aged seventy-four, five months after the election of her son Leopold as King of the Belgians.

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 19 January 1757 - 13 June 1777: Her Illustrious Highness Countess Augusta Reuss-Ebersdorf
  • 13 June 1777 - 8 September 1800: Her Ducal Serene Highness The Hereditary Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
  • 8 September 1800 - 6 December 1806: Her Highness The Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
  • 6 December 1806 - 16 November 1831: Her Highness The Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  • Gertraude Bachmann: Natur und Kunst in den Reisetagebüchern der Herzogin Auguste Caroline Sophie von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld (text of the lecture from the 175th anniversary of Duchess Augusta's death on 16 November 2006 at the Naturkunde-Museum Coburg), Coburg 2006.
Countess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf
Cadet branch of the House of Reuss
Born: 19 January 1757 Died: 16 November 1831
German royalty
Preceded by
Sophia Antonia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Duchess consort of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
8 September 1800 – 9 December 1806
Vacant
Title next held by
Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg