Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Birthday: July 19, 1884
Nationality: British, German
Died At Age: 69
Sun Sign: Cancer
Also Known As: Carl Eduard
Born Country: England
Born in: Claremont House, Surrey, England
Famous as: Politician
Spouse/Ex-: Princess Victoria Adelaide of Schleswig-Holstein
father: Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany
mother: Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont
siblings: Countess of Athlone, Princess Alice
children: Friedrich Josias, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Johann Leopold, Prince Hubertus of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Princess Caroline Mathilde of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Died on: March 6, 1954
place of death: Coburg
City: Surrey, England
education: Eton College
awards: Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
Charles Edward was the last ''Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha,'' who later became a patron of Hitler's 'Nazi Party,' which eventually led to his downfall. He belonged to the lineage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Edward held British royal titles since birth as his father had died before he was born. After Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha died, none of his possible heirs succeeded, hence, Edward, by default, received the title. He, however, reigned under a regent till he attained the eligible age, after which he received full authority. In his initial period of reign, he displayed virtuous conduct but took a completely different path over time. Edward's controversial image ultimately cost him his titles. He then served in the German Army during WWI and gained prominence in the 'Nazi Party.' Edward was labeled as a c due to his closeness to Hitler. He was hence sentenced house arrest and a heavy fine that left him bankrupt. Edward's final years were spent in seclusion, and he died of cancer.
Childhood & Early Life
Charles Edward was born on 19 July 1884 at 'Claremont House,' Surrey, England to Prince Leopold, ''Duke of Albany,'' and Princess Helena, Edward's older sister was Princess Alice of Albany.
Leopold had died before Edward was born, so he received the royal titles, ''His Royal Highness the Duke of Albany'' at birth itself.
On 4 August 1884, he was baptized privately at Claremont, and on 4 December 1884, a public ceremony was held in Esher Parish Church. His baptized name was Leopold Charles Edward George Albert.
Edward and Alice were homeschooled by governess Miss Jane Potts. He later attended 'Sanroyd School,' a preparatory school at Lyndhurst, and finally, 'Eton College.'
In 1899, he moved to Germany, where he attended 'Leichterfelde Military Cadet Academy.'
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Duke of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha
Edward's godmother and paternal grandmother Queen Victoria's brother in law, the elder brother of her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, became the ''Ernst II,'' ''Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.'' Ernst II's marriage to the Princess Alexandrine of Baden could not produce children; thus, the succession became a concern.
None agreed on the association of the United Kingdom and the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. After Albert's death in 1861, his elder son, the ''Prince of Wales,'' refused to take the title, making his second son Alfred an heir presumptive.
Alfred ultimately became ''Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha,'' who died in July 1900, making succession a concern once again. His son Young Affie was involved in a scandal and died on February 6, 1899.
Albert's third son, Prince Arthur, ''Duke of Connaught,'' and only grandson Prince Arthur of Connaught both rejected to succeed. Hence Charles succeeded by default.
Even after receiving the title of ''Duke,'' he continued his law and political science studies at the 'University of Bonn.' Therefore, from 1900 to 1905, he functioned under the regency of Duke Alfred's third daughter, Alexandra's husband, ''Ernst,'' ''Hereditary Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.''
Assuming Full Power
Edward was granted full constitutional power on 19 July 1905. Initially, he conducted as a constitutionally-minded prince with utmost loyalty to the Emperor. His liberal views accounted for his popularity.
However, he eventually leaned toward autocracy and relied too much on advisers at Gotha and Coburg courts, (the two were rivals.)
Reign & Loss of Title
Edward was a patron of the court theatres and had an interest in Zeppelin and airplane technology. He highly supported the aircraft industry at Gotha.
He divided his times between two towns. He supervised the renovation of the abandoned ducal residence 'Veste Coburg, ' which in turn strained the ducal economy that lasted from 1908 until 1924.
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Under Edward's reign, the 'Gotha Coach Factory' was transformed into an airplane manufacturer.
In 1915, Edward's first cousin King George V ordered to take away the honor of the ''Most Noble Order of the Garter.'' He was inducted as a ''Knight of the Garter'' in 1902.
As per the 1917 'Titles Deprivation Act,' Edward lost his British royalties, the ''Dukedom of Albany,'' ''Earldom of Clarence,'' and ''Barony of Arklow'' on March 28, 1919. His children, too, lost their royal titles.
In November 1918, the 'Workers' and Soldiers Council of Gotha' canceled Edward's title of ''Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.'' Five days later, he surrendered his rights to the throne too.
World War I & II
In December 1914, he became the ''General of Infantry'' but was not given the absolute authority during WWI. The conflict of loyalties resulted from the war ended when he signed a law on March 12, 1917, to prove his unconditional allegiance to the German Empire.
He even cut off ties with his family at the British and Belgian courts.
During WWI, Edward served as a General on the staff of the General Command of the 3rd Army of the German Empire. He served the '6thThuringian Infantry Regiment No. 95' to the front.
The June 1917 London attack triggered anti-German sentiments across the UK. The bomber aircraft used in the attack were built at Edward's 'Gotha Coach Factory.'
After he had renounced his titles in 1918, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha became two different republics. Edward, who was now seen as a traitor, got scared of the threat of communism.
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Edward met Adolf Hitler on October 14, 1922, and the two subsequently had around 21 meetings. Edward's support to Hitler earned him positions in the 'Nazi Party' while he became an ambassador of the party in Germany and abroad.
In 1932, Edward participated in the establishment of 'Harzburg Front,' which marked the new alliance between the 'German National People's Party' and the 'Nazi Party.' He supported Hitler's 1932 presidential campaign. He joined the 'Nazi Party' in March 1933.
He also served as an ''Obergruppenführer'' at the 'Sturmabteilung,' a paramilitary section of the 'Nazi Party' and as the President of the 'German Red Cross' (1933 to 1945).
In December of 1935, Edward became the President of the 'German-English Society.'
Edward's failing health reduced his chances to serve in WWII. His three sons, however, continued to serve the German armed forces.
Final Years & Death
On June 4, 1945, after WWII had ended, Edward and his family were under house arrest at the 'Veste Coburg' to protect himself from the probable attacks due to his support to the 'Nazi Party.'
Alice and her husband made an unsuccessful attempt to end the house arrest but was, however, granted improved living conditions only.
Edward's trial for his 'Nazi' connection ended in 1949 when he was finally stamped as a ''Nazi Follower,'' Category IV. He was heavily penalized, which made him almost bankrupted.
On March 6, 1954, Edward died of cancer, in Coburg. He is resting at his family cemetery in the forest of Schloss Callenberg.
Family & Personal Life
On October 11, 1905, Edward married Princess Viktoria Adelheid of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg in 'Glücksburg Castle' and had five children.
His daughter, Princess Caroline Mathilde, had accused him of sexual abuse, and one of her brothers supported the allegation.
The 'Channel 4' documentary 'Hitler's Favourite Royal' about Edward's life was aired in December 2007.