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In he succeeded his first cousin Philipp II as margrave. In he declared that she should be treated as a princely widow after his death and his sons by her should succeed him.

Eduard's finances fell into such disarray that the Emperor put him in receivership and entrusted his estates to the dukes of Bavaria and Lorraine. The trustees were going to sell the margraviate to the Fuggers when Ernst-Friedrich, margrave of Baden-Durlach, asked to exercise his right of preemption and took possession of the margraviate in When Eduard Fortunatus died in allegedly falling down stairs while chasing a young girl , the margrave of Baden-Durlach questioned the status of the issue of that marriage, claiming that the marriage was void, and gave the margraviate of Baden-Baden to his brother Georg Friedrich.

He also obtained a favorable imperial decree on 26 Feb. At the Reichstag of a dispute arose as to the exercise of the Baden-Baden vote.

When the Thirty Years war broke out, the branch of Baden-Durlach, which was protestant, took sides against the Emperor, and Georg Friedrich, who had ceded his estates to his son Friedrich, was beaten by Tilly at Wimpfen on May 6, Not surprisingly, on 4 Sep. By a transaction at Ettlingen in , the 28 years' worth of income was replaced by a sum of , Gulden, with the bailliwicks of Stein and Remchingen as pledge. Wilhelm, son of Eduard Fortunatus, appeared in person in the Reichstag of and and no one questioned his presence.

The peace of Westphalia saw the matter raised again, with the margrave of Baden-Durlach demanding restitution, but in the end Wilhelm retained the margraviate art. British law knew nothing of equality requirements and mismarriages. George III had three brothers who survived to adulthood, the dukes of York who died unmarried in , Gloucester and Cumberland. Gloucester revealed his own marriage to the king on Sept. The king was furious at both of his brothers and pushed through Parliament the Royal Marriages Act of An inquiry into the legality of Gloucester's marriage concluded that it was legal.

The duke of Cumberland died without issue in , having been reconciled with his brother in The duke of Gloucester, who also returned to court in , had two surviving children: Prince William of Gloucester who succeeded his father as duke of Gloucester, and Princess Sophia Mathilda , who never married a third child died in infancy. There is no doubt that they were treated as full members of the British dynasty; their status in Hanover was very much in question.

The official Königlicher Gross-Britannisch- und Chur-Fürstlicher Braunschweig-Lüneburgischer Staats-Kalender did not list the 1st duke of Gloucester's spouse or children either child until when it ceased publication , and the 2nd duke was not asked to sign, like other agnates of the house, the family compacts such as the pact of The status is the Gloucester marriage is discussed by Häberlin in his Staats-Archiv , vol.

See a discussion of the duke of Gloucester in the context of British styles and titles. See also examples of morganatic marriages in the house of Wittelsbach. He had become Catholic in , but married in a Protestant princess who was his second cousin, without seeking papal dispensation for the degree of consanguinity. He was secretly married by the Catholic parish priest of Zweybrücken on Oct 10, Luise Dorothea von Hofmann , son of the ennobled deputy master of the horse unter-Stallmeister of the prince of Nassau-Saarbrücken and of the daughter of a butcher in Metz.

Meanwhile he asked the Pope for an annullment of his first marriage so that he could remarry; the Pope was well disposed toward a prince who might have a Catholic heir, and the matter was promptly referred to the bishop of Metz, who annulled the marriage on Apr 2, , requiring the duke to pay French livres to the churches in his domains as penance for having lived so many years in an invalid marriage.

On May 13, he announced his second marriage. The duke insisted that his servants treat her as a princess and give her the style of "hochgeborene Fürstin. But she was eventually created by the emperor Gräfin von Hoffmann Aug 31, After her husband's death in she used the titles and arms of the Palatine house; she was forbidden to do so by a decree of the Reichshofrat of 13 Feb , confirmed by an imperial resolution of 9 May , and ordered to style herself only as "Gräfin von Hoffmann, hinterlassene Wittib des Verstorbenen Herrn Herzogs zu Pfalz-Zweybrücken Gustav Samuels" [Moser , Pütter ] see a depiction of the offending arms.

Christian IV von Zweibrücken , married on 3 Sep. She had bought the county of Forbach, in Lorraine, in and taken the title of countess of Forbach, which was confirmed by letters patent of Louis XVI in July for her and her children. It was alleged that a secret marriage took place in but it is not documented. The marriage was not revealed publicly until after the death of Christian IV, although he recognized the issue in september The male posterity died out in They had born the arms fusilly per pend argent and azure a lion gules the countess of Forbach had used or a fess gules.

See Annuaire de la Noblesse de France , , p. When the Elector Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria died in , the court of Vienna had been planning to seize a large share of Bavaria for itself, under a variety of complex and dubious legal arguments. It was already negotiating with the heir presumptive, the Elector Palatine Carl Theodor of the Sulzbach line , and when the Bavarian elector died an agreement was rushed and signed on 3 Jan , essentially giving away most of the Bavarian inheritance to Austria.

But the consent of the agnates would have been required, and Frederic II of Prussia prevailed upon the duke of Zweibrücken formerly the Birkenfeld line to refuse; negotiations between Prussia and Austria floundered, war broke out in the summer of and armies were fielded, although little fighting actually took place.

The war of the Bavarian Succession, such as it was, ended with the peace of Teschen of May 13, Its article 8 states:. Wilhelm took on Feb.

From him descends the "ducal line" of Bavaria. The house of Saxe-Meiningen descends from Bernhard, the third son of Ernst of Saxony, duke of Gotha , whose seven children divided his inheritance in In his testament of , he ordered that his lands never be divided, but that they should be owned jointly by all sons until such time as each is able to acquire a principality commensurate with his rank.

He explains at length his opposition to primogeniture, claiming that it was not only contrary to the house laws, testaments, and customs of the house of Saxony, but also that it only brought bad luck to those who introduced it in their families.

At his death, his three sons accordingly succeeded him: Ernst Ludwig disobeyed his father's will and, in his own will of which received imperial confirmation in instituted primogeniture in his own line and required "alter Grafenstand" for marriages see the text below ; but that line became extinct with his son Karl Friedrich in , at which point the two other brothers ruled jointly. When Friedrich Wilhelm died without issue in , Anton Ulrich was left as sole ruler of the Meiningen lands.

Anton Ulrich 's marriage was a milestone in the history of German house laws. In , he secretly married Philippine Elisabeth Cäsar d.

He decided to have his wife and children titled princes by the emperor in order to make them of equal rank and thus apt to succeed him. At that time the dukes of Saxony and Anhalt made a convention against morganatic marriages, and Anton Ulrich was informed by his brother Ernst Ludwig that it would apply to his marriage 1 Aug Anton Ulrich wrote himself a protest, declaring the convention disgraceful, un-christian, erroneous, without force, incoherent, and unlawful; and he went to Vienna in to ask the emperor not to confirm the convention.

In spite of the furious protests of his eldest brother, as well as those of all Saxon agnates and even other German princes, on 21 Feb Emperor Charles VI raised her to the rank of Imperial countess with the style of Hochgeboren , and declared that their children were princes and princesses, dukes and duchesses of Saxony and fully entitled to the same claims and rights as those of any equal marriage:.

After the death of Charles VI in the matter was brought up during the election of the new emperor in Some princes wanted to define Vierahnenadel as equality requirements for members of the upper nobility Abt , n2 , but clearly there was not enough agreement on such a high standard.

Ultimately a clause was inserted in the Electoral Capitulation of the next emperor, Charles VII, according to which the emperor promised never to raise to the status of equal children born of a "notoriously unequal" marriage.

As for Anton Ulrich's marriage, a ruling of the Reichshofrat of 25 Sep. Anton Ulrich appealed to the Reichstag which unanimously upheld the ruling on 24 Jul , confirmed by imperial court decree of 4 Sep. Anton Ulrich did not quite give in. Widowed, he remarried, equally this time to Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Philippsthal, by whom he had four sons andf five daughters. Yet, shortly before his death in , he wrote a will 27 Jan declaring his two eldest sons to be dukes of Saxony, leaving his wife as regent until such time as the emperor resolved the matter in their favor.

His widow dutifully appealed and the Reichshofrat confirmed on 25 Feb that the two sons were ineligible to succeed. In any event all his children by this first marriage died without issue. As early as an agreement between the cousins Eberhard and Eberhard stipulated that if the younger should be widowed and remarried, he should do so with "einer die sein Gnos ist", but that if he should marry with "einer mindern und niedern Person" any children from that marriage would have no claim to his lands ot the lordship of Wurttemberg, but if he should marry with the consent of the elder, the wife would receive Gulden as his first wife had.

The house of Württemberg split in into three branches: The family pact of contracted between the three branches stipulated: Sich ohne der Andern Rath, Vorwissen, Willen und Belieben, zumal aber nicht ausser dem Fürstlichen Stand verheurathen soll noch will.

This is probably the most complex case, involving a morganatic marriage, a divorce, bastards by an adultery later legitimated, a second morganatic marriage with the sister of the adulteress, adoption of the adulteress's children, and intermarriage between children and stepchildren. In he succeeded his father as duke: They had four children of which two survived to adulthood: Leopoldine Eberhardine and Georg Leopold They became separated in On 1 Aug the Emperor created her and their children Gräfinn von Sponeck.

The duke and Henriette had 5 illegitimate children, of which two daughters: Henriette died on 9 Nov In , the duke adopted Henriette's children by her first marriage and gave them the county of Coligny in Bresse which he held from his mother Anne de Coligny.

In , the duke's first marriage to Anna Sabina von Hedwiger was dissolved by the consistorium of Mömpelgard, under the condition that neither one remarry. To make things even worse, the duke's children by his first marriage each married one of Henriette's children by her first marriage in As if the duke hadn't broken enough rules, he then sought to have all of his children declared legitimate and apt to succeed him.

He had signed in in Wildbade a document, admitting to his kinsman Eberhard Ludwig that he had never married equally and that none of his children had any succession rights.

To undo this, he decided to renew the French naturalization granted to his father in , which he obtained in In he asked the emperor for the title of princess for his second wife and named his son by his first marriage Georg Leopold hereditary prince, and the latter's wife his mistress's daughter by her first marriage and his own adoptive daughter as well hereditary princess. This unilateral move did not please the Emperor, who declared these actions null and void 8 Nov as "an open attack on the power and privileges of the emperor and the Holy Roman Empire".

Finally the French courts rejected their claims in and in the duke of Würtemberg came into possession of Mömpelgard.

The dispute dragged on for years and the duke's descendants did not give in until Pütter notes that both Georg Leopold von Sponeck in and the duke of Würtemberg in had become Catholics, so that religion was not a likely issue. Carl Alexander of Würtemberg-Stuttgart d. The marriage was apparently treated as morganatic, and for a number of years neither she nor their three daughters were given any princely rank and titles.

But the absence of male issue of that marriage may have decided the two other brothers to relent and grant her the title of duchess and the daughters that of princesses. The eldest brother Carl ,widowed in , and with no surviving children, himself remarried unequally on Feb 2, Franciske Therese von Bernedin [Bernardin], previously married to a von Leutrum.

She was created by the Emperor Gräfin von Hohenheim. The duke then declared that she should be recognized as duchess, and was accepted as so by the agnates; and after the duke's death she received a duchess's dowage.

They had no issue. Starting around , Hans Otto d. He received assistance in this from Hesse-Darmstadt with whom he made an agreement in The Isenburg cousins and the counts of the Wetterau obtained a rescript from emperor Rudolf II against him 9 Nov forbidding him from using the title of count. As for the suit in the Kammergericht, count Wolfgang Ernst argued that the existence of the marriage needed to be proven first, and the Reichskammergericht agreed in to hear Hans Otto's case if he were able to prove his legitimate birth.

Hans Otto chose the archiepiscopal consistorium of Mainz to rule on his legitimacy, a forum which the counts as Protestants refused to accept, and which the bishop of Würzburg also recused as being immediate under the papal see. In any event the consistorium ruled on 15 Dec that Hans Otto was legitimate.

The Thirty Years War suspended the proceedings, during which time Hans Otto died, leaving three daughters by a noble wife Margaretha Dorothea von Storndorf. The proceedings resumed in the Kammergericht in A preliminary ruling on 4 Feb. The order was stayed at the request of the Isneburg-Birstein counts, but the income was ordered to be paid to the daughters.

The case continued to drag until the last daughter died in She was created on 16 Jan Herzogin von Bernstadt, with the same title and rank for her eventual children, although there was no issue of the marriage. Ludwig Heinrich , younger son of the count of Lippe-Biesterfeld , a captain in the imperial army, married on 30 Mar Elisabeth Kellner , daughter of a master-butcher. She bore him a son less than three months later.

He gave his son comital rank and titles at baptism and in the announcement he sent to his agnates, who obtained from the Reichshofrat an injunction on 19 Oct forbidding his children from bearing name, title or arms of Lippe, and claiming any inheritance see Journal von und für Deutschland , 4. By a treaty with all the agnates on May 11, he renounced any claims and dignities for his issue, in exchange for a pension of Thaler paid by the head of the Biesterfeld line.

In she was created Gräfin von Falkenflucht. Their issue, still extant, bears that title. The house of Schaumburg-Lippe junior branch of Lippe had split in into the lines of Bückeburg and Alverdissen.

In the latter line, count Friedrich Ernst married on Sep 22, and Philippine Elisabeth von Friesenhausen , a lady in waiting of his mother, in the lifetime of his father.

The issue of this marriage outlived that of the senior branch of Bückeburg exinct The landgrave of Cassel, overlord of the county of Schaumburg, claimed that the marriage was not dynastic, having been contracted with a person of inferior rank without parental consent by an officer of the Hessian army without consent of the landgrave.

The letter of investiture issued by Cassel in , when mentioning the eventual rights of Friedrich Ernst and his issue, inserted the word "able to succeed" successionsfähige before the word "heirs of the body in male line".

The count had his wife raised to the rank of countess by the Emperor in and obtained an imperial mandate Jul 12, declaring that the issue of the count would not be hindered from enjoying their inheritance because of the alteration in the text of the letter of investiture.

But in Philipp Ernst died suddenly, leaving a 3-year old successor Georg Wilhelm, and Hessian troops occupied Bückeburg, but withdrew on orders of the Emperor and the Kreis, and Georg Wilhelm was recognized. The suits before the Reichshofrat were still pending when Pütter was writing in [Pütter ; Schulze 2: Carl Wilhelm von Öttingen was the father of three sons who founded the lines of Spielberg, Wallerstein and Katzenstein-Baldern. His son Wolfgang married in Johanna von Molle , of simply nobility.

His father reportedly excluded him from the succession for that reason, and required him to make a solemn renunciation in documents seen by Boehmer in , and which he describes in his Jur. Moser expresses some skepticism since the whole Wallerstein branch is descended from that marriage. He was warned of the consequences and refused to break the marriage; consequently his wife and children were declared by the agnates?

Widowed in , he remarried on 30 Apr Alexandrina Hutten-Czapska, divorced from the secretary of the Russian embassy Alexander v.

Kolemine; but soon decided to divorce. A divorce decree was granted on July 9, but she appealed. The point of law was that the law of Hesse-Darmstadt gave the grand-duke jurisdiction over the dissolution of his own marriage Entscheidungen des Reichsgerichts The case is, however, not relevant to the subject of mismarriages.

Isti in proprietatem non succedunt aliis exstantibus, sed nec in feudo, etiam aliis non exstantibus, qui licet legitimi sint, tamen in beneficio nullatenus succedunt. In proprietate vero succedunt patri prioribus non exstantibus, succedunt etiam fratribus sine legitima prole decedentibus, secundum usum Mediolanensem.

Göttingen ; Dieterich; p. The traditional etymology of the term "morganatic" is the word Morgengabe murgencap in the old texts , which designates the dowry given by the husband to the wife on the first morning Morgen of their marriage, and which is her full property. The idea is that, in a morganatic marriage, the children's claims are limited to their mother's Morgengabe. The text of the law mentions that the term is Milanese. The jurist Odofredo, in his commentaries on the civil code, notes that the Italian word for Morgengabe is murganale.

However, Lehmann in his edition of the Libri Feudorum, says that the morganatic marriage is not mentioned in the book of customs of Milan. Feudal law, particularly as codified by Italian jurists in the Libri Feudorum , was one of the sources of German law along with the whole corpus of Roman law, from the late medieval period. Some writers Dalchow insist that the concept of morganatic marriage is purely Lombard and Italian, and that in its application in German law it became identical with unequal marriage, but that seems very doubtful.

Morgengabskinder are mentioned in the laws of Freiburg Stadtrecht Freiburg , 3. They are children of a first marriage who are in effect adopted by their step-parent upon second marriage of their parent. A morganatic marriage can only be contracted when the law permits it, because it is essentially a deviation or exception from the normal laws governing marriages.

The upper nobility's ability to contract such marriages i. The lower nobility could contract morganatic marriages only where local law allowed this form of marriage, such as Prussia, see below Häberlin , 8. A general purpose was to maintain the "lustre" of a noble family, and specifically to limit the number of claims that could be made on the patrimony by children of various spouses.

The idea was that membership in a certain state or rank carried with it the obligation to maintain a commensurate lifestyle; if the patrimony were divided equally among all children, none would be able to hold their station in an appropriate manner.

Thus some of the children were of lower rank, and had fewer or no claims on the patrimony, at least as long as the older children were still alive. Adolph Friedrich, duke of Mecklenburg specified in his will this his sons who could not marry richly enough should contract morganatic marriages: Another purpose relates the morganatic marriage to the Gewissensehe mariage de conscience, mariage secret which is a secret marriage between a man and his mistress, meant to assuage his conscience without causing scandal.

Morganatic marriages were not secret, but they could be a way to allow a man to sanctify in the eyes of the Church a relation which he already has or will have, without prejudice to children of an earlier marriage or to relatives in general. To illustrate this motive, here is a passage from a Hessian chronicle describing the promise made by landgrave Otto of Hesse d. Aber er enwulde Keynss Fursten, Herrn, noch Graven tochter nemen, uff das durch die tzweyerley Kyndere das lant nicht verdeylt worde, sundern he wulte eyne frumme jung frauwen uss siner ritterschafft zu der ee nemen, unde ob he mit der kindere gewonne, die wulte he mit gelde unde leenschafft unde andern gutern wole versorgen, so das der Furstenthum bynander bliben sulte.

Alsus schribet Johan Ritessel in siner Chroniken. Several morganatic marriages fit the pattern of an aged widower with enough children to ensure the succession: Baden-Durlach in , Hesse-Rheinfeld in , Prussia in For some authors Dalchow , the purpose of a morganatic marriage is to mitigate the legal consequences of a mismarriage by specifying in advance the state, rank, and dowry Morgengabe of the spouse and issue.

I find this difficult to believe, since it would imply that the individual had the autonomous power to prevent the application of laws and customs on mismarriages. Although devoting a substantial section to this institution, it was the drafters' intention to restrict its use as much as possible.

Specific requirements are set forth, the direct approval of the sovereign Landesherr was required such approval had been required for morganatic marriages since a constitution on betrothals and marriages of Dec 15, , art. Articles above were abolished by a law of Feb. Ehen, welche diesem Verbote zuwider geschlossen sind, bedürfen zu ihrer Gültigkeit der nochmaligen feierlichen Vollziehung nicht.

Gegeben Berlin, den 22 Februar Conversely, it seems that Bavarian law by default considered morganatic marriages to be no different from any other marriage, in the absence of specific customs or statutes: Likewise, the code of civil law of the kingdom of Saxony did not allow for morganatic marriages, at least as far as the rank of the spouse was concerned das Bürgerliche Gesetzbuch für das Königreich Sachsen , Die wesentlichen persönlichen Rechtsverhältnisse der Ehegatten können durch Ehestiftungen nicht aufgehoben oder beschränkt werden.

This contract notwithstanding, Leberecht sought and obtained from the Emperor her elevation under the name of Gräfin von Weede with style of "Hoch- und Wohlgebohren" and new arms 1 Aug Leberecht's stepmother fought in vain to have this elevation reversed. The countess von Weede bore her husband three sons who died without issue, although the two surviving sons obtained the bailiwick of Zeiz at the death of their father and three daughters, one of whom married landgrave Wilhelm von Hesse-Philippsthal, the other prince Christian von Schwarzburg-Sondershausen.

On Nov 24, he married Luise Caroline Freiin Geyer von Geyersberg , member of an old family of the imperial nobility, immatriculated as imperial knights. The same day he published a proclamation Versicherungsurkunde on the rank, title, Morgengabe, pension and dowage of his future spouse, on the title and arms of the daughters to be born of that marriage; on the titles, arms and the upkeep of the sons to be born and on their succession rights in case of extinction of the male line of his house.

The name of his spouse as well as daughters was appointed to be Freiin von Hochberg. Oon the subject of the sons he reserved further decision which took place by a disposition of Feb 20, The document was signed by the two eldest sons of the margrave; the third son, absent at the time, later signified his agreement. The disposition of explained further that the marriage should "in no way be seen as morganatic, but rather as a true equal marriage".

The sons were to hold the rank of counts under the name of Grafen von Hochberg, bear the arms of Baden-Hochberg; they were to be called to succeed in all his princely estates by primogeniture after the complete extinction of his male issue from the first marriage. This settlement of the succession raised immediate difficulties.

The reason is that, in the final act of the Congress of Vienna of , both Bavaria and Austria were given reversionary rights to certain territories given to Baden: The reversion to Austria was unspecified, but that to Bavaria was to take place upon the extinction of the line issued from the reigning Grand-Duke which, at the time, was expected to become extinct with his death.

After the grand-duke proclaimed that Baden was impartible, and that it would go to his half-uncles, Bavaria and Austria were understandably unhappy, and testy letters were exchanged in see the texts in Klüber's Acten des Wiener Congresses , vol.

In the end, however, the disputes were settled by treaties signed in Frankfurt on July 10, , whereby Baden ceded part of Wertheim a territory enclaved within Bavaria to Bavaria, and the succession as settled in was recognized by Bavaria and Austria.

The arrangement was included in the Territorialrecess of Frankfurt of July 20, , which settled within-Germany boundaries left unsettled in Since , Baden and the Palatinate held the county of Sponheim in condominium, with reciprocal succession rights in case of extinction of either house.

In , Bavaria asserted its claims to those lands in case of extinction of the male issue from the first marriage of the margrave Carl Friedrich, saying that it recognized the succession of the issue of the second marriage to the grand-duchy of Baden, but not to the lands serving as surrogates for Sponheim.

Abt , n2 disputes that this was a morganatic marriage, on the grounds that Otto had renounced his claim to the principality and settled for an annual income of Gulden before ever meeting Metta von Campe he cites H. He also notes that Otto II married into the high nobility, as did every one of his children who did marry. Wilhelm left in seven sons, who did not wish to split the patrimony and agreed not to do so in a family compact of They also decided that only one of them should marry, and the lot fell to the next-but-youngest of them, duke Georg.

The brothers succeeded each other in ruling Celle: In the meantime, when the senior line of the house of Welf died out in , the principality of Calenberg which should have been united to Celle under the terms of the pact of was given to Georg. Georg died in before his turn to rule Celle came up. He left four sons: He also left them an unusual will. He instituted the rule that Celle which his sons were due to inherit from their unmarried uncle Friedrich and his own principality of Calenberg should never be united, as long as there were two males left in his issue.

Moreover, he laid down the rule that the elder male should have the right to choose which of the two principalities he wished to rule.

His eldest son Christian Ludwig succeeded him in Calenberg, and in , when uncle Friedrich died, he exercised his right to choose and took Celle for himself along with Lüneburg and Grubenhagen, leaving Calenberg and Göttingen to his younger brother Georg Wilhelm.

The other two youngest brothers took up residence in Celle and Hanover respectively. Georg Wilhelm, who liked to travel, became engaged in to Sophia, youngest daughter of the Palatine Elector; but the engagement was broken off in , and Sophia instead married Ernst August, the youngest of the brothers, who was due to receive Osnabrück under the alternating arrangement created for that bishopric by the peace of Westphalia he did so in At the time, the other brothers were unmarried, and Georg Wilhelm promised Ernst August that he would never marry, so that all family lands could be reunited at the next generation.

This promise, made on April 11, the text is reproduced in the Memoirs of Electress Sophia was merely replicating the pact between the brothers at the previous generation. When the eldest Christian Ludwig died in , a dispute arose when Georg Wilhelm decided to exercise his right to choose Celle, and the 3d brother Johann Friedrich.

An agreement was reached in at Hildesheim, whereby Georg Wilhelm received Celle, Diepholz, Hoya, Schauen and Walkenried [the last two received at the peace of Westphalia], and Johann Friedrich took Calenberg, Göttingen and Grubenhagen; the three surviving brothers also decided to abolish the right to choose created by their father's will. Schauen was ceded to the prince of Waldeck in In , upon the extinction of the house of Saxe-Lauenburg, Georg Wilhelm took possession of Lauenburg as president of the circle of Lower Saxony under the pretext of forestalling threats to the public peace from the various contestants, and later in his own name on the basis of a family pact of the claims of electoral Saxony were bought off in When the 3d brother Johann Friedrich died in without male issue, his estates passed to the youngest brother Ernst August.

Ernst August, in , obtained the consent of his older brother Georg II Wilhelm to the introduction of indivisibility and primogeniture by testament of , approved by the Emperor on July 1, thus putting an end to the provisions of Georg's will of With the death of Georg Wilhelm in all estates of the house of Brunswick-Lüneburg were again united in the hands of Ernst August's son, never to be separated again.

Their only child, Sophia Dorothea , was soon after engaged to her cousin August Friedrich of the elder line of Wolfenbüttel, but was killed in battle in She ultimately married in her first cousin Georg Ludwig of Hanover, son of Ernst August, and accordingly took the title of duchess of Brunswick in her own right. Their male-line descent includes the kings of Great Britain to and the royal house of Hanover male and female-line descendants include almost every royal family in Europe.

The marriage ended tragically Sophia Dorothea's lover, Philipp Christoph Graf von Königsmarck, was murdered on July 1, and she was locked up in the castle of Ahlden for the rest of her life; the marriage was dissolved on Dec 28, Sonderbahre Geschicht dieser Zeit. Additional details in Allemagne Dynastique 3: A curious item in the Gazette d'Amsterdam , , n. Landgrave Ernst von Hesse-Rheinfels had two sons by a countess of Solms and a number of grandchildren when he was widowed in He remarried on 3 Feb to the year old daughter of a non-commissioned officer, named Alexandrine von Düriczell [Dürnizl].

The marriage contract describes her has born of the patriciate of Straubingen in Bavaria, and mentions that her father had distinguished himself at the battle of Cochem 25 Aug She took the name of Madame Ernestine see the similar name taken by another morganatic wife. Her entire household consisted of a chamber-maid, a wash-maid and a valet. Her dowage, instead of a standard 3, Thalers, consisted of an annual rent of Thaler; any children born of the marriage of which there were none were to be neither princes nor counts, but counted as part of the nobility of Hesse.

Her father Johann Franz had served as captain in an Austrian cavalry regiment, and later as Hofmeister at the court fof Plön. Later that year, a contract 24 Nov was concluded between Christian Carl and his elder brother Joachim Friedrich. The text explained Christian Carl's intention to conserve the house of Norburg and avoid the division of its estates among many children.

It stipulated a 40, Thaler lump-sum payment to Christian Carl's widow and suspension of the rights of the issue of that marriage to any of the family fiefs until extinction of the male line of Joachim Friedrich.

The king of Denmark approved the contract on 5 Dec and granted to the issue of that marriage the name of von Carlstein and a specific coat of arms. Later the same year, on 4 Nov, the Holstein-Plön line died out and Joachim Friedrich inherited the imperial fief of Plön.

The tutors of young Carlstein, appointed by the king of Denmark, made claims but were rebuffed in and in imperial courts. On 25 Jan Friedrich Joachim died, leaving only daughters and a pregnant wife who gave birth to a daughter.

The next male-line heir, after Carlstein, was Johann Ernst Ferdinand duke of Holstein-Rethwisch, whose father had entered Spanish service and converted to Catholicism; he immediately claimed the Norburg-Plön succession in Imperial and Danish courts. The duke of Holstein-Rethwisch sued, Carlstein counter-sued, and the matter dragged on for years in part because imperial courts refused to countenance young Carlstein's self-style as "duke of Holstein" until past the death without male heirs of the duke of Holstein-Rethwisch in , whereupon Carlstein inherited Rethwisch as well.

Moser says that such suspensive clauses in morganatic marriage contracts were not in common use in Germany until then, and sees a number of reasons why, in this particular case, Friedrich Carl von Carlstein was able to reclaim his status, essentially because the contingency extinction of the senior line of Norburg occurred soon after the pact, so that Carlstein's failure to use his father's titles and rank could not be grounds for prescription since he was a minor and he had not yet gone into a marriage that could have cast doubt on his ducal rank.

In other words, had the status of the morganatic issue remained inferior for a much longer period, it would have been difficult to have the clause of the marriage contract applied after the extinction of the senior, princely issue.

But Moser is well-disposed toward such clauses and argues that an imperial law should be passed to provide a firm ground for them. He also says that, at a minimum, anyone considering such clauses should make sure he secures the consent of the Emperor and of the agnates.

They had three children who died in infancy. In the Usingen branch, Karl , widowed of a duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, married morganatically around Maria Magdalena Gross , daughter of an apothecary and of the daughter of the mayor of Wiesbaden. Friedrich had met in Clara Tott [sometimes written Tettin, Dettin or Tettingen] in Augsburg, the daughter of a Ratsknecht , and had brought her to live with him in Heidelberg. She was the mother of his two children Friedrich and Ludwig b.

At his death in he had left four cities and three castles to his surviving son Ludwig of Bavaria, but the vassals refused to recognize him as overlord, and he had to make do with the lordship of Scharfeneck.

Philipp succeeded his uncle in , and recognized Ludwig as legitimate Klüber , ; he also gave him the county of Löwenstein in [it had been bought from Würzburg by emperor Rudolf in and given to his illegitimate son Albrecht von Schenkenberg; the last of that line had sold it to the elector palatine], and on 27 Feb Emperor Maximilian I made Ludwig an imperial count, as Graf von Löwenstein cited in Moser, 2: He had first married in Luise, Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz , by whom he had four sons and three daughters.

The full text of the edict signed on the same day by the king is here German original and English translation. Was the marriage unequal?

The question is not an easy one. The first point is to determine what the rules were in the Prussian royal family; the other is to determine what rank the spouse had before marriage. The Hohenzollerns margraves of Brandenburg never had a single written house law.

Moreover, the collection of pacts and testaments which formed the house laws of the family contain no specific clause concerning equality. The practice of the house was clearly to apply high standards to marriages. In the descent of Elector Johann Friedrich d. The margraves of Bayreuth ext.

Christian Heinrich of Bayreuth married in Sophie von Wolfstein, whose family had acquired the immediate lordship of Sulzbürg and been created counts in ;Sophie of Brandenburg-Bayreuth married in prince Alexander of Thurn-Taxis, who had bought the immediate lordship of Eglingen in , thus gaining seat on the bench of Swabian counts, and would be admitted as prince with individual vote in his sister married the duke of Wurttemberg, whence the royal house of Wurttemberg.

As to the spouse, Schulze , 1: The reason is that the Harrach, an Austrian family with possessions in Bohemia, were created imperial counts in , but were not parts of the Reichstag until their reception on the bench of Swabia on July 6, , and this without owning an immediate territory of sufficient importance to satisfy the legal requirements. They were "personalists," sitting at the bench in their personal capacity rather than by virtue of a territory.

A number of writers did not consider such personalists as being reichsständisch. Thus Schulze considers that marriages of the Prussian royal family with personalist counted "keineswegs unzweifelhaft" in no way beyond doubt as equal. He does not state, however, that Auguste von Harrach was clearly unequal either: Furthermore, Auguste belonged to a junior branch of the family, descended from Otto Friedrich d.

It was the elder branch, descended from Karl Leonhard d. It was the head of the elder branch who received in Austria in six years after the marriage the qualification of Erlaucht pursuant to the German Confederation's decision of conferring such treatment to mediatized comital families. Auguste was 5th cousins once removed with the head of the elder branch.

On the details of the marriage, see Treitschke: Deutsche Geschichte in Befehlen Ihnen demnach, bey Unserm harten Fluch und väterlichen Unsegen, hiemit nachdrücklich an, sich an keine andere als Fürstliche, oder wenigstens alte Reichs-Gräfliche, Häuser und Familien zu verheurathen: Ob er sich aber mit einer mindern und niedern Person verheirathen würde; überkäme er dann bey derselben Kinder , wenige oder viele; so sollen die an seinem Theile Landes, noch an der Herrschaft Würtemberg keinen Erbtheil haben, empfangen, noch überkommen in keinem Weg, ungefährlich.

The literature on unequal marriages is vast Abt mentions references ; what follows is a selection, of which I have myself seen only a part those books I have seen are marked with an asterisk. Doctoral dissertations on the subject of unequal marriages are particularly abundant in two periods: The revival in interest in the subject in the second period no doubt stems from the series of cases Lippe, Nassau which made the subject both topical and of practical import.

Some dissertations show a certain lack of maturity. Legal briefs Rechtsgutachten were produced and published throughout the 18th and 19th c. I have grouped together briefs and journal articles that relate to specific cases. The "heavyweights" in the late 19th c. Hauptman's theses were strongly disputed by Rehm and Abt among others.

I have relied mostly on Zoepfl for an overall view of the Holy Roman Empire and the law of princes, on Rehm and especially Abt for equality requirements, and on Moser and Pütter for numerous examples and citations. The bibliography for pre works is drawn from Moser and Pütter; I have tried to verify the bibliographic data using online library catalogs such as that of Tübingen. Moser and Pütter were the pre-eminent jurists of the Holy Roman Empire in the late 18th century, and Zoepfl was the pre-eminent jurist of the German Confederation Digital library of the Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte mostly private law online catalog of the Tübingen university library.

Unequal and morganatic marriages 1. Examples of unequal marriages and mismarriages table of contents 4. Examples of morganatic marriages table of contents Appendix 1: Examples of equality requirements in house laws Appendix 2: They represent an important aspect of dynastic and succession laws in German dynasties. The approach I take is legal-historical: I want to understand these concepts as legal concepts in their historical context. Rules on marriages in European royalty From the late 18th c.

The rules varied in their requirements and in their effects, making contravening marriages either null or else imperfect. They have in common that, in almost all cases, they were written rules edicted by a sovereign. Concerning these marriage rules, Germany's history is unique for several reasons. This division later evolved as in other European societies with the emergence of urban residents burghers and the transformation of serfs through emancipation into plain peasantry in the 12th and 13th c.

Where Germany differed from the rest of Europe was in the further distinction between the upper and the lower nobility Hochadel, Niederadel. Whereas in most other European societies, the king stood alone at the apex of the feudal society, distinct from the nobility and the commonalty, in German's fragmented political constitution, sovereignty was shared by dozens of noble families, which together constituted a distinct stratum of the nobility.

In German law, this distinction was almost as important as that between nobility and commonalty. State of the Empire Reichsstand The special status of these families manifested itself in the constitution of the Empire as it evolved in the 16th c. Please see first a general presentation of the constitution of the Holy Roman Empire. To the status of territorial ruler corresponded a seat and vote in one of the colleges of the Reichstag , the Imperial Diet. In the late 16th c.

After the Diet held at Augsburg in , the list of votes remained fixed, notwithstanding further territorial divisions. Furthermore, the right to vote became attached to a land, rather than to a person or family of course, land was inheritable within families.

A member of the Diet with seat and vote individual or shared was called a Reichsstand, or state of the Empire. At some point Abt , n2 cites various possible dates, from the turn of the 16th c. The reason is that the Emperor, as "fons nobilitatium," had the power to create new princes, counts and barons of the Empire, a power which he began to use more frequently.

The existing princes, counts and barons were obviously loathe to see the value of their title diminished. The members of the Diet complained and, after , it became the rule that such new princes and counts would not of right have a seat at the Diet.

In particular, any new member had to possess an immediate territory of sufficient size, and had to be accepted by his peers princes or counts. Thus a distinction emerged between families that were part of the Diet in Those in the third group were titular counts and princes but in no way accepted as part of the Hochadel.

Thus it would seem that having seat and vote in the Reichstag would be a clear criterion for belonging to the Hochadel. But there were further complications: In principle, the possession of a territory was a pre-condition for admission in the Diet. However, in the second half of the 18th century a number of counts sat on the counts' benches without any such territory.

They were called "personalists" because they had been admitted on a personal basis ad personam , and some jurists did not consider them to be part of the upper nobility e.

Possession of a large immediate territory was a condition for entry, but not a condition for remaining in the Diet. It happened that territories became subjected to another state of the Empire, thus losing immediate status; yet the owner remained in the Diet. Consequently, whereas, in the 16th century, it was fairly easy to say who was in the upper nobility and who wasn't, it had become more difficulty by the turn of the 19th century.

Three concepts came into play: The three were "usually" related, in that the sovereign of a territory was a state of the Empire, and a state of the Empire usually had sovereignty over an immediate territory; but there were exceptions both ways. Various authors emphasized one or a combination of these elements. Among 19th century authors, the main division was between those who required all three criteria , and those who considered Reichsstandschaft to be the sole criterion Hohler, Klüber, Zoepf, Rehm.

Imperial knighthood Reichsritterschaft The imperial knights Reichsritter formed the Imperial knighthood Reichsritterschaft or Imperial nobility Reichsadel , a hereditary class that stood in between upper and lower nobility. Concentrated in southwest Germany Swabia, Franconia, Rhine valley, Alsace , in particular the ancient possessions of the Hohenstaufens, they were never considered part of the upper nobility, but they did have a limited special status, being immediate vassals of the Emperor, thus not part of the local nobility, and winning in the 17th c.

They frequently intermarried with the comital families. By the end of the Empire, there were about families of imperial knights. Lower nobility Niederadel The rest of the nobility consisted, by definition, or people who were neither territorially sovereign nor immediate vassals of the Emperor.

They were therefore vassals of someone else e. They enjoyed nobiliary privileges under local law, as did nobles elsewhere in Europe, but their legal status within the Empire was nothing like that of the upper nobility.

A distinction could also be made depending on how many ancestors of a given person had been nobles themselves. One could examine the person's grandparents 4 ancestors , or great-grandparents 8 , or great-great-grandparents 16 and require that they all be nobles. Such degrees of nobility were called Vierahnenadel , Achtahnenadel , Sechszehnahnenadel.

Nobility proofs Ahnenprobe of this type became common from the 15th c. Unequal marriages and morganatic marriages 1. Yet it is clear from the legal literature that the two were originally quite distinct concepts. I follow here the definitions given by Zoepfl In particular, it is an unequal marriage in which the inequality between the spouses by law deprives the lower-ranking spouses and her children by that marriage of the full legal effects of marriage.

An alternative would be to resurrect the English noun "disparage" in its original sense " Inequality of rank in marriage; an unequal match; disgrace resulting from marriage with one of inferior rank" OED2. All three are sub-species of marriages, but they do not coincide. Notice how the concepts fail to overlap exactly: Depending on the context particularly the historical period , yes or no. There is, of course, a gigantic literature on this question.

Notes from Zoepfl Häberlin: Some opinions cited in RGZ 2: Pütter , ; Eichhorn , deutsch. Hochadel and Niederadel unless explicitly forbidden is equal: Heffter Beiträge zum deutschen Staats- und Fürstenrecht I: Pözl die Comptenzfrage in dem Bentinckshen Successionstreite p.

Zöpfl über hohen Adel u Ebenbürtigkeit p. The rules of German law originally prohibited marriages between free and unfree; later, under the influence of Church law which allowed such marriages, they became accepted as marriages, but with the consequence that the children had the status of their unfree parent. But, within the class of free people, customs make no distinction as far as marriage is concerned between nobles and simple free Abt In particular, the 13th c.

Sachsenspiegel explicitly states that a woman's son can be of higher rank than she is I. Abt , 62 concurs and conjectures that this later, less reliable compilation reflects misunderstandings as to the meaning of these words; other passages show that the author used the term Mittelfrei at times to designate free men, at other times to designate ministerials.

Abt , cites one exception: Also, it seems that some feudal laws on inheritance of a knight's fee required four grandparents of knightly rank to inherit. In the 15th century one sees the first appearance of house laws containing rules against marriages outside of the upper nobility. In Johann von Isenburg-Limburg d. Although he was a dynast of the upper nobility, the fief he was restricting was not an immediate territory, and the clause was specific to his children, not a general rule.

But it represents an early example of the trend. The first actual examples of house laws making such prohibitions are the successoral pacts of the counts of Werdemberg and Heiligenberg in and approved by the emperors Friedrich III and Maximilian I ; they specified that only legitimate sons of "grafynen oder frynen" countesses or baronesses would be entitled to succeed. In , a ruling by the emperor on a long-running dispute between the Stuttgart and Urach lines of the counts of Württemberg prescribed that Eberhard VI, should he remarry, should do so only "mit ainer die sin genoss ist", but if he should marry "mit ainer myndern und nydern person" the issue would have no succession rights.

In the second half of the 16th c. The rules that were adopted varied considerably, however: Some rules forbid marriages with persons of lower rank Wittgenstein Others prohibit marriages with the lower nobility will of Viktor Amadeus von Anhalt-Bernburg, Finally, some expressed a preference for equal marriages but allowed marrying for money landgrave Ludwig V of Hessen, will of , told his sons to marry with "solche Personen und Örter The consequences of the marriage also varied.

Usually the issue was deprived of all rights, but not always count Johann zu Nassau-Katzenellenbogen, will of In some families those contracting the unequal marriages themselves saw their rights restricted or taken away Schenken von Limburg , Leiningen Seine Taten bescheren dem Jugendlichen angeblich einen gewissen Bekanntheitsgrad in der internationalen Hacker-Community. WordPress kennt die Schwachstelle schon seit Anfang Ein erster Patch bringt nicht den gewünschten Erfolg.

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