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Karl Alexander
Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Reign8 July 1853 – 5 January 1901
PredecessorCharles Frederick
SuccessorWilliam Ernest
Born(1818-06-24)24 June 1818
Died5 January 1901(1901-01-05) (aged 82)
SpouseSophie of the Netherlands
IssueCharles Augustus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Marie, Princess Heinrich VII Reuss
Princess Anna Sophia
Elisabeth, Duchess Johann Albrecht of Mecklenburg
Charles Alexander Augustus John
German: Karl Alexander August Johann Großherzog von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach
FatherCharles Frederick, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
MotherMaria Pavlovna of Russia

Charles Alexander (Karl Alexander August Johann; 24 June 1818 – 5 January 1901) was the ruler of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach as its grand duke from 1853 until his death.


Born in Weimar, he was the second but eldest surviving son of Karl Frederick, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia. His mother engaged as tutor for Karl the Swiss scholar Frédéric Soret who became a close acquaintance to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

When he was the Hereditary Grand Duke, Karl Alexander established a strong friendship with Fanny Lewald and Hans Christian Andersen, but this close relationship stopped in 1849 for the war against Denmark over the duchies of Schleswig-Holstein (the First German-Danish War). On 8 July 1853 his father died, and Karl Alexander became Grand Duke; but he stopped his constitutional accession until Goethe's birthday, on 28 August 1853.

The Danish author and poet Hans Christian Andersen was reportedly infatuated with Karl Alexander, writing "I quite love the young duke, he is the first of all princes that I really find attractive".[1]

Karl Alexander renovated Wartburg Castle, and left his traces in many places in Eisenach. He was the protector of Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt, retained the tradition of Weimar's classical period, and gave the old part of Weimar a new and better appearance with the establishment of the Herder monument, and the double monument for Goethe and Schiller. In 1860, he founded the Weimar Saxon-Grand Ducal Art School (with Arnold Böcklin, Franz von Lenbach and the plastic artist Reinhold Begas). As Grand Duke he was automatically rector, president of Jena University where he supported especially the collections among them prominently the Oriental Coin Cabinet.

In the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), Karl Alexander participated only in "Samaritan"; stressed, however, for his war entrance in favor of Schleswig in 1849. The Weimar Congress of the Goethe Federation (opposing the Lex Heinze) occurred towards the end of his reign, in November 1900 - that congress described his government as the Silver Age of Weimar.

He died at Weimar in 1901. Following his death, he was succeeded as Grand Duke by his grandson Wilhelm Ernst, his only son Carl August having predeceased him.

Family and children

At Kneuterdijk Palace in The Hague, on 8 October 1842, Karl Alexander married with his first cousin, Princess Sophie of the Netherlands, daughter of William II and Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna of Russia, sister of his mother. They had four children:

  1. Karl August Wilhelm Nicolaus Alexander Michael Bernhard Heinrich Frederick Stefan, Hereditary Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (b. Weimar, 31 July 1844 – d. Cap Martin, France, 20 November 1894).
  2. Marie Anna Alexandrine Sophie Auguste Helene (b. Weimar, 20 January 1849 – d. Trebschen, 6 May 1922), known as Marie; married on 6 February 1876 to Prince Heinrich VII Reuss of Köstritz.
  3. Maria Anna Sophia Elisabeth Bernhardine Ida Auguste Helene (b. Weimar, 29 March 1851 – d. Weimar, 26 April 1859), known as Anna.
  4. Elisabeth Sibylle Maria Dorothea Anna Amalie Luise (b. Weimar, 28 February 1854 – d. Wiligrad, 10 July 1908), known as Elisabeth; married on 6 November 1886 to Duke Johann Albrecht of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

Honours and awards

He received the following awards:[2][3]

German honours
Foreign honours



  1. ^ His dark materials Archived 2007-03-14 at the Wayback Machine, The Independent, 27 March 2005.
  2. ^ Staatshandbuch für das Großherzogtum Sachsen / Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1900), "Genealogie" pp. 1-2
  3. ^ Justus Perthes, Almanach de Gotha (1901) page 84
  4. ^ Staatshandbuch für das ... Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1851), "Großherzoglicher Hausorden" p. 7
  5. ^ Staatshandbücher für das Herzogtum Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha (1847), "Herzogliche Sachsen-Ernestinischer Hausorden" p. 26
  6. ^ Staatshandbuch für den Freistaat Sachsen: 1870. Heinrich. 1870. p. 3.
  7. ^ Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Herzogtum Anhalt (1867) "Herzoglicher Haus-orden Albrecht des Bären" p. 17
  8. ^ Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Großherzogtum Baden (1865), "Großherzogliche Orden" p. 54
  9. ^ Hof- und Staatshandbuch des Königreichs Bayern: 1877. Landesamt. 1877. p. 8.
  10. ^ Braunschweigisches Adreßbuch für das Jahr 1896. p. 3
  11. ^ Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Großherzogtum Hessen (1879), "Großherzogliche Orden und Ehrenzeichen" p. 10
  12. ^ Staat Hannover (1865). Hof- und Staatshandbuch für das Königreich Hannover: 1865. Berenberg. pp. 38, 76.
  13. ^ Staats- und Adreß-Handbuch des Herzogthums Nassau (1866), "Herzogliche Orden" p. 8
  14. ^ Staat Oldenburg (1873). Hof- und Staatshandbuch des Großherzogtums Oldenburg: für ... 1872/73. Schulze. p. 29.
  15. ^ a b Königlich Preussische Ordensliste (in German), 1, Berlin, 1886, pp. 4, 934
  16. ^ Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Königreich Württemberg (1896), "Königliche Orden" p. 27
  17. ^ "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ H. Tarlier (1854). Almanach royal officiel, publié, exécution d'un arrête du roi (in French). 1. p. 37.
  19. ^ Jørgen Pedersen (2009). Riddere af Elefantordenen, 1559–2009 (in Danish). Syddansk Universitetsforlag. p. 469. ISBN 978-87-7674-434-2.
  20. ^ M. & B. Wattel (2009). Les Grand'Croix de la Légion d'honneur de 1805 à nos jours. Titulaires français et étrangers. Paris: Archives & Culture. p. 523. ISBN 978-2-35077-135-9.
  21. ^ Italia : Ministero dell'interno (1898). Calendario generale del Regno d'Italia. Unione tipografico-editrice. p. 54.
  22. ^ 刑部芳則 (2017). 明治時代の勲章外交儀礼 (PDF) (in Japanese). 明治聖徳記念学会紀要. p. 143.
  23. ^ "Real y distinguida orden de Carlos III", Guía Oficial de España (in Spanish), 1887, p. 158, retrieved 21 March 2019
  24. ^ "Caballeros de la insigne orden del toisón de oro", Guía Oficial de España (in Spanish), 1887, p. 146, retrieved 21 March 2019
  25. ^ Sveriges statskalender (in Swedish), 1877, p. 369, retrieved 2018-01-06 – via
  26. ^ "Norges Statskalender" (in Swedish). 1890. pp. 595–596. Retrieved 2018-01-06 – via
German royalty Preceded byKarl Frederick Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach1853–1901 Succeeded byWilhelm Ernst