One of the problems in royal families that no longer rule, surrounds the ability to change the house laws that governed the family. Often, though not always, these house laws also formed parts of the constitution of the State. The problem becomes that when the house laws are no longer functional or realistic yet amending the constitution is impossible for the throne is gone and the constitution which governed the country is frozen in time and not amenable.
The old Royal House of Saxony is a prime example of this problem. HRH Prince Maria Emanuel, Margrave of Meissen became head of the Royal House of Saxony upon the death of his father, HRH Prince Friedrich Christian, Margrave of Meissen on August 9th, 1968. Since Prince Maria Emanuel fathered no legitimate children, he chose as his eventual heir Prince Alexander of Saxe-Gessaphe, the son of his eldest sister Princess Anna and her late husband Prince Robert of Gessaphe a descendants of a Lebanese Christian family which ruled a province north of Beirut). On June 1st, 1999 Prince Maria Emanuel formally adopted Alexander who had married Princess Gisela of Bavaria in 1987. In 1997 the surviving male dynasts of the Albertine line of Wettins (House of Saxony) consented to the Margrave’s decision. On July 23rd, 2012 HRH Prince Maria Emanuel, Margrave of Meissen passed away at the age of 86 having been head of the Royal House of Saxony for 44 years.
Immediately after Maria Emanuel’s death, his brother, Prince Albert of Saxony, ignored the 1997 agreement and assumed headship of the House of Saxony with the title Margrave of Meissen. Prince Alexander of Saxe-Gessaphe also assumed the headship to the Royal House of Saxony with the title Margrave of Meissen. However, Prince Albert’s claim were short lived for he died a few months after his brother dying on October, 6 20112. Since this time the claims to the headship of the house have been disputed.
Recently as a joint statement was issued by the three heads of the Ernestine branch of the House of Wettin: Prince Michael of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Duke of Saxony, Count of Wettin, Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Duke of Saxony, Duke Conrad of Saxe-Meiningen, Duke of Saxony: The statement makes three announcements in reference to Alexander Prinz von Sachsen:
1. as an adopted Prinz von Sachsen he does not belong to the nobility, but is a non-noble bearer of the name; 2. he is not a blood member of the House of Wettin; 3. he is not the head of the Albertine branch of the House of Wettin, nor the bearer of the customary title Margrave of Meissen.
This statement places another throne and the headship of the House in dispute. However, not only is the headship of the House in dispute, but the power and ability to alter the succession is in question. There are other cases I could site but the Royal House of Saxony is a prime example of the problem. Next week I will discuss my opinion on these problems and discuss other examples and why I think the way I do.
Until then, I would like to hear from readers what your thoughts on this issue is. You may leave your comments below.