Abdication, Archduchess Louise of Tuscany, crown princess of Saxony, Dresden, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, German Empire, Grand Duke of Tuscany, King Frederick Augustus III of Saxony, King George of Saxony, Kingdom of Saxony
Friedrich August III (May 25, 1865 – February 18, 1932) was the last King of Saxony(1904–1918) and a member of the House of Wettin.
Born in Dresden, Friedrich August was the first son of King Georg and his wife, Maria Anna of Portugal. Friedrich August served in the Royal Saxon Army before becoming king, He remained in command of the corps until October 1904, when he became king. His military career effectively ended with his accession to the throne, but he was promoted subsequently to Generaloberst and then to Generalfeldmarschall (on September 9, 1912). Following his father’s accession, he was in July 1902 appointed à la suite of the German Marine Infantry by German Emperor Wilhelm II during a visit to Kiel.
Friedrich August married Archduchess Luise, Princess of Tuscany, in Vienna on November 21, 1891. Archduchess Luise, Princess of Tuscany was the second child of Ferdinand IV, the last Grand Duke of Tuscany and his second wife, Princess Alice of Bourbon-Parma. Through her mother, she was a great-great-granddaughter of Charles X of France.
Luise fulfilled her royal duties, however, she did not follow etiquette at the strict Dresden court, which resulted in arguments with her father-in-law, King Georg of Saxony, the Interior Minister Georg von Metzsch-Reichenbach and especially with her sister-in-law Princess Mathilde.
They had six children, possibly seven children. Their two eldest sons, Friedrich August and Friedrich Christian were born in the same year, 1893, but were not twins. Friedrich August was born in January 15, while Friedrich Christian was born in December 31.
Archduchess Luise, Princess of Tuscany
Threatened by her father-in-law, King Georg of Saxony, to being interned at Sonnestein Mental Asylum for life, on December 9, 1902 and with the help of two of her maids, sisters Sidonie and Maria Beeger –daughters of the royal court architect Eduard Beeger–, Louise (pregnant with her seventh child) fled from Dresden towards Lake Geneva, where André Giron, her lover, was waiting for her. Crown Princess Luise was supported in her fleeing Saxony by her brother Archduke Leopold Ferdinand of Austria who had fallen in love with a prostitute, Wilhelmine Adamovicz.
The escape of the Crown Princess of Saxony was the first scandal of the German nobility in the 20th century, especially hurtful for the Saxon Royal Family, who were deeply Catholic.
Without consulting his son, King Georg of Saxony officially declared the civil divorce of the Crown Princely couple on February 11, 1903 by a special court, which he had set up on December 31, 1902. One year later, on October 15, 1904, King Georg of Saxony died after demanding his son and new King Friedrich August III to forbade the return of Luise to the Dresden court. In Geneva, the former Crown Princess led a happy life and even dared to show up with her lover in public, but unexpectedly a few days before the divorce was declared she separated from Giron for unknown reasons. Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary refused to recognize the divorce.
Princess Anna Monika Pia of Saxony and her first husband Joseph Franz of Austria
However, the paternity of her daughter Anna Monika Pia, born on May 4, 1903 at Lindau remained unclear. The Saxon court sent the director of the Dresden maternity hospital, Dr. Leopold, to Lindau to examine the newborn and establish her true parentage. Due to her physical appearance and the bright color of eyes and hair, he declared that the Crown Prince was the father of the child. The doctor, however, refused to admit further medical opinions.
In consequence, Anna Monika Pia was recognized by Friedrich August as his own. King Georg gave Luise an allowance and granted her the title of Countess of Montignoso (in allusion of her Tuscan ascendancy) on July 13, 1903; in turn, he demanded that Anna Monika Pia must be returned Dresden to be raised with the other royal children, but Luise adamantly refused. In 1908 King Friedrich August III finally located Anna Monika Pia, and was sent to Dresden to live with her siblings and be raised as a member of the Saxon royal house.
When the German Republic was proclaimed in November of 1918, King Friedrich August III was asked by telephone whether he would abdicate willingly. He said: “Oh, well, I suppose I’d better.” Though well-loved by his subjects, King Friedrich August III voluntarily abdicated as king on November 13, 1918, after the defeat of the German Empire in World War I. When cheered by a crowd in a railroad station several years after his abdication, he stuck his head out of the train’s window and shouted “Ihr seid mer ja scheene Demogradn!” (German for “You’re a fine lot of republicans, I’ll say!”)
King Friedrich August III died in Sibyllenort (now Szczodre) in Lower Silesia on February 18, 1932 aged 66 and was buried in Dresden.