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Albert of Saxony

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Albert of Saxony

Albert
King of Saxony
Albert of Saxony by Nicola Perscheid, c. 1900
King of Saxony
Reign 29 October 1873 – 19 June 1902
Predecessor John
Successor George
Born (1828-04-23)23 April 1828
Dresden
Died 19 June 1902(1902-06-19) (aged 74)
Sibyllenort
Burial Katholische Hofkirche
Spouse Carola of Vasa
Full name
German: Friedrich August Albrecht Anton Ferdinand Joseph Karl Maria Baptist Nepomuk Wilhelm Xaver Georg Fidelis
English: Frederick Augustus Albert Anthony Ferdinand Joseph Charles Maria Baptist Nepomuk William Javier George Fidelis
House House of Wettin
Father John of Saxony
Mother Amalie Auguste of Bavaria
Religion Roman Catholicism

Albert (Frederick Augustus Albert Anton Ferdinand Joseph Karl Maria Baptist Nepomuk Wilhelm Xaver Georg Fidelis;, 23 April 1828 – 19 June 1902) was a King of Saxony and a member of the House of Wettin.

He was the eldest son of Prince John, (who succeeded his brother Frederick Augustus II on the Saxon throne as King John in 1854) by his wife Amalie Auguste of Bavaria.

Albert had a successful military career leading Saxon troops which participated in the First Schleswig War, the Austro-Prussian War, and the Franco-Prussian War. His reign as king was largely uneventful.

Life

Military career

Albert's education, as usual with German princes, concentrated to a great extent on military matters, but he attended lectures at the University of Bonn. His first experience of warfare came in 1849, when he served as a captain in the First War of Schleswig against Denmark.

When the Austro-Prussian War broke out in 1866, Albert then Crown Prince (German: Kronprinz), took up the command of the Saxon forces opposing the Prussian Army of Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia. No attempt was made to defend Saxony; the Saxons fell back into Bohemia and effected a junction with the Austrians. They took a prominent part in the battles by which the Prussians forced the line of the Jizera and in the Battle of Jičín. The Crown Prince, however, succeeded in effecting the retreat in good order, and in the decisive Battle of Königgrätz (3 July 1866) he held the extreme left of the Austrian position. The Saxons maintained their post with great tenacity, but were involved in the disastrous defeat of their allies.

During these operations the Crown Prince won the reputation of a thorough soldier; after peace was made and Saxony had entered the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 he again commanded the Saxons, who were included in the 2nd army under Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia, his old opponent. At the Battle of Gravelotte, they formed the extreme left of the German army, and with the Prussian Guard carried out the attack on St Privat, the final and decisive action in the battle.

In the re-organisation of the army which accompanied the march towards Paris the Crown Prince gained a separate command over the 4th army (Army of the Meuse) consisting of the Saxons, the Prussian Guard corps, and the IV (Prince George, who had served under him in Bohemia.

Albert took a leading part in the operations which preceded the battle of Sedan, the 4th army being the pivot on which the whole army wheeled round in pursuit of Mac-Mahon; and the actions of Buzancy and Beaumont on 29 and 30 August 1870 were fought under his direction; in the Battle of Sedan itself (1 September 1870), with the troops under his orders, Albert carried out the envelopment of the French on the east and north.

Albert's conduct in these engagements won for him the complete confidence of the army, and during the Siege of Paris his troops formed the north-east section of the investing force. After the conclusion of the Treaty of Frankfurt (1871), he was left in command of the German army of occupation, a position which he held till the fall of the Paris Commune. On the conclusion of peace he was made an inspector-general of the army and a field marshal.

King

On the death of his father King John on 29 October 1873, the Crown Prince succeeded to the throne as King Albert. His reign proved uneventful, and he took little public part in politics, devoting himself to military affairs, in which his advice and experience were of the greatest value, not only to the Saxon corps but to the German army in general.

In the 1870s Albert initiated the build of a Dresden suburb, the Albertstadt. At that time it was the biggest coherent barrack arrangement of Germany. Near the former suburb other buildings and places are still named after him until now: the Albertbrücke, the Alberthafen, the Albertplatz and the Albertinum.

In 1879 he initiated the re-building of the Saint Afra School in Meissen. In 1897 he was appointed arbitrator between the claimants for the Principality of Lippe.

Also, during his government, the Saxon monarchy became constitutional.

He was the 954th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Austria in 1850, the 776th Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1882 and the 95th Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword.

Marriage and succession

In Dresden on 18 June 1853 Albert married Princess Carola, daughter of Gustav, Prince of Vasa and granddaughter of Gustav IV Adolf, the second to last king of Sweden of the House of Holstein-Gottorp.

Albert died childless and was succeeded by his brother, who became King George.

Ancestors

Decorations and awards

Grand Master of the following Saxon Orders:
Foreign Honours

The King of Saxony bird-of-paradise was named in Albert's honour; the Queen Carola's parotia was named for his wife.

References

  • Konrad Sturmhoefel: König Albert von Sachsen. Ein Lebensbild. Voigtländer, Leipzig 1898. (German)
  • Georg von Schimpff: König Albert: Fünfzig Jahre Soldat. Baensch, Dresden 1893. (German)
  • Joseph Kürschner (Hrsg.): König Albert und Sachsenland : eine Festschrift zum 70. Geburtstage und 25jährigen Regierungsjubiläum des Monarchen. Schwarz, Berlin 1898. (German)
  • Dem Gedächtnis König Alberts von Sachsen, Dresden: v. Zahn & Jaensch, 1902 (German)
  • Ernst von Körner: König Albert von Sachsen: der Soldat und Feldherr. Oestergaard, Berlin-Schöneberg 1936. (German)
  • Bernd Rüdiger: Wahre Geschichten um König Albert, Taucha: Tauchaer Verl., 1994 (German)
  • ; (full text online)
  • Albert Herzog zu Sachsen: Die Wettiner in Lebensbildern. Styria-Verlag, Graz/Wien/Köln 1995, ISBN 3-222-12301-2. (German)
  • Thomas Eugen Scheerer (Hrsg.): Albert von Sachsen – Kronprinz, Soldat, König. Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr, Dresden 2002. (German)
  • Arbeitskreis sächsische Militärgeschichte (Hrsg.): Sibyllenort und König Albert von Sachsen: Sonderheft zum 100. Todestag von König Albert. Arbeitskreis Sächsische Militärgeschichte, Dresden 2003. (German)
Albert of Saxony
Born: 23 April 1828 Died: 19 June 1902
Regnal titles
Preceded by
John
King of Saxony
1873–1902
Succeeded by
George


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