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The Margrave of Meissen as Head of the Royal House

On 13 November 1918 the last King of Saxony, Friedrich August III, abdicated and the monarchy in Saxony was abolished. After his death, his second-born son, Prince Friedrich Christian Duke of Saxony, succeeded him as Head of the Royal House of Wettin Albertine Line (A.L.); the first-born son, Crown Prince Georg, had been ordained as Jesuit priest in 1924. Prince Friedrich Christian decided to bear the title of the Margrave of Meissen in order to mark the particular Head of the House of Wettin A.L. After his death in 1968, his oldest son Margrave Maria Emanuel continued this tradition.

The role as Head of the House has its origin in the House Laws of the formerly reigning Royal Houses. The Royal House Law of Saxony of 1837 named the particular king to be the Head of the family, equipped with widespread competences (§§ 1 lit. a, 4). After the monarchy had been abolished, Friedrich August III, together with all the agnatic members of the Royal Family who lived at that time, founded a family association, the “Verein Haus Wettin Albertinische Linie e.V.” (House of Wettin Albertine Line Association). The family association’s objectives were defined in its statute of 1922, with addenda of 1925 and 1927. According to this statute, the family association has, inter alia, to preserve the family’s honour and tradition (§ 1 (1)). Therefore, the family association’s statute is a valid substitution of the former House Law of 1837. The chairman and thus, Head of the House, was in his lifetime Friedrich August III, after his death the particular chairman is succeeded as such by his agnatic relative who would have been heir of the Throne according to the former House Law of 1837 (§ 18 (1)). An alteration is that, according to § 5 (3), the membership in the association and thereby, in the House of Wettin, can be acquired by adoption by a family association’s member if the other members agree. Being a fully-fledged member of the family association, the adopted son of an agnate is eligible to become chairman and Head of the House (§ 18 (1), (3)).

As Margrave Maria Emanuel and his only brother, Doctor Prince Albert Prince of Saxony Duke of Saxony, had no biological issue, Margrave Maria Emanuel as Head of the House of Wettin decided in 1997 to propose his nephew Prince Alexander of Saxe-Gessaphe to the other family association’s members as his immediate successor as chairman and thereby, Head of the House of Wettin. He made use of the possibility provided by § 18 of the family association’s statute, which is to arrange the succession with consent of all family association’s members.
By a unanimous, notarially certified agreement of 14 May 1997, all members of the association, in person or validly represented , gave their consent to the Margrave’s decision. In execution of this agreement and according to the family association’s statute, Margrave Maria Emanuel legally adopted his nephew Prince Alexander of Saxe-Gessaphe on 26 September 1999, from adoption known as Prince Alexander of Saxony Duke of Saxony. On 23 July 2012, Margrave Maria Emanuel died and Alexander of Saxony succeeded him. One-sided revocations of the agreement of 14 May 1997, which are claimed by some people, are irrelevant because they don’t have any effect, neither according to the family association’s statute nor according to German civil law. Therefore, Prince Alexander of Saxony is entitled to bear the title Margrave of Meissen and to exercise the hereto connected functions as Head of the House and chairman.



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