Friedrich-August II (May 18, 1797 in Dresden – August 1854 in Brennbüchel, Karrösten, Tyrol) was King of Saxony and a member of the House of Wettin.
Friedrich-August II, King of Saxony.
He was the son of Hereditary Prince Maximilian of Saxony (1759-1838) was a German prince and a member of the House of Wettin. He was the sixth but third and youngest surviving son of Friedrich-Christian, Elector of Saxony (1722-1763)and the composer Princess Maria-Antonia of Bavaria (1724-1780)
Friedrich-August II’s paternal grandmother was Princess Maria-Antonia of Bavaria who was born at Nymphenburg Palace in Munich to Elector Charles-Albert of Bavaria, later Emperor Charles VII, (1697-1745) and Archduchess Maria-Amalia of Austria (1701-1756). Throughout her life she received an outstanding education, particularly in the arts (including painting, writing poetry, as well as music).
Maximilian, Hereditary Prince of Saxony
The mother of Friedrich-August II was Princess Carolina of Bourbon-Parma (1770-1804) the eldest of nine children born to Ferdinand, Duke of Parma (1751-1802) by his wife Archduchess Maria-Amalia of Austria (1746-1804).
Princess Carolina of Bourbon-Parma Parma
Princess Carolina of Bourbon-Parma’s full baptismal name was Carolina Maria Teresa Giuseppa. She was named after her godparents, her paternal great-uncle King Carlos III of Spain and her maternal grandmother Empress Maria-Theresa.
Friedrich-August’s maternal grandmother was Archduchess Maria-Amalia of Austria was a daughter of Empress Maria-Theresa and Emperor Franz I. She was thus younger sister to Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor and older sister to Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor, Maria-Carolina, Queen of Naples and Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France.
Archduchess Maria-Amalia of Austria
One of the siblings of Friedrich-August II was Maria-Josepha- Amalia of Saxony, Queen Consort of Spain. She died May 18, 1829 and her life will be reviewed next.
March to the Throne
From his birth, it was clear that one day Friedrich-August would become the ruler of Saxony. His father was the only son of the Elector Friedrich-Christian of Saxony who left surviving male issue. His uncle was King Friedrich-August I of Saxony (1750-1827) who reigned also reigned as Elector Friedrich-August III of Saxony from 1763 to 1806 and as King of Saxony from 1806 to 1827. He also served as Duke of Warsaw from 1807 to 1813.
Elector Friedrich-Christian of Saxony
Before 1806, Saxony was an Electorate as part of the Holy Roman Empire, a thousand-year-old entity that had become highly decentralised over the centuries. The rulers of the Electorate of Saxony of the House of Wettin had held the title of elector for several centuries. When the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved in August 1806 following the defeat of Emperor FranzII by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz, the electorate was raised to the status of an independent kingdom with the support of the First French Empire, then the dominant power in Central Europe. The last elector of Saxony became King Friedrich-August I.
King Friedrich-August I-III, Elector and King of Saxony
King Friedrich-August I of Saxony married the Countess Palatine Amalie of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld, the daughter of Count Palatine Frederick Michael of Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld-Bischweiler and his wife, Countess Palatine Maria Francisca of Palatinate-Sulzbach and sister of King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria.
During their marriage, Amalia gave birth to four children, but only one daughter survived to adulthood: Princess Maria-Augusta of Saxony (1782-1863. Though she never married Her family had a claim to the throne of Poland (Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth) and the Constitution of May 3, 1791 named her as a potential successor to the Polish throne if the male line of the Wettin family were to end.
King Friedrich-August I died in 1827 and his brother Anton succeeded him as King. Friedrich-August then became second in line to the throne, preceded only by his father Maximilian.
Friedrich-August was an officer in the War of the Sixth Coalition. However, he had little interest in military affairs.
In Vienna on September 26, 1819 (by proxy) and again in Dresden on October 7, 1819 (in person), Friedrich-August married firstly the Archduchess Maria-Caroline of Austria (1801-1832), a daughter of Franz II, Holy Roman Emperor, later Emperor Franz I of Austria after the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, and Maria-Teresa of the Two Sicilies, and was named after an elder sister who had died in infancy. She belonged to the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. She was educated strictly, standing out in drawing, as proven by several sketches and crayons preserved in Austria.
Archduchess Maria-Caroline of Austria
The marriage was childless and unhappy. Marie-Caroline was sweet and pleasant, but she suffered from epilepsy and her attacks were so frequent that she was barely able to fulfill her duties as Crown Princess; they also seriously affected her marital relationship. Friedrich-August was unfaithful on several occasions. From one of these affairs he had an illegitimate son, the musician Theodor Uhlig (1822–1853). The long-suffering Maria Carolina died from an epileptic attack on May 22, 1832 at Pillnitz Castle near Dresden.
In Dresden on April 24, 1833 Friedrich-August married secondly Princess Maria-Anna of Bavaria (1805–1877), daughter of the King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria, and his second wife Caroline of Baden. There were no children from the marriage.
Princess Maria-Anna of Bavaria
Princess Sophie of Bavaria, Princess Maria-Anna‘s twin sister.
Princess Maria-Anna She the identical twin sister of Princess Sophie of Bavaria, mother of Emperor Franz-Joseph I of Austria and Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico. King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria and his wife had two sets of twins.
Friedrich-August’s brother, Prince Johann of Saxony, was married to Princess Maria-Anna of Bavaria’s sister, Princess Amalie-Auguste of Bavaria (1801-1877).
Princess Amalie-Auguste of Bavaria
Co-Regent of the Kingdom of Saxony
The July Revolution of 1830 in France marked the beginning of disturbances in Saxony that autumn. The people claimed a change in the constitution and demanded a young regent of the kingdom to share the government with the King Anton. On September 1, Hereditary Prince Maximilian renounced his rights of succession in favor of his son Friedrich-August, who was proclaimed Prince Co-Regent of Saxony. On February 2, 1832 Friedrich-August brought Free Autonomy to the cities. Also, by an edict of March of 17, that year, the farmers were freed from the corvée and hereditary submission.
King of Saxony
On June 6, 1836, King Anton died and Friedrich-August succeeded him. As an intelligent man, he was quickly popular with the people as he had been since the time of his regency. The new king solved political questions only from a pure sense of duty. Mostly he preferred to leave these things on the hands of his ministers.
A standardized jurisdiction for Saxony created the Criminal Code of 1836. During the Revolutionary disturbances of 1848 (March Revolution), he appointed liberal ministers in the government, lifted censorship, and remitted a liberal electoral law. Later his attitude changed. On April 28, Friedrich-August II dissolved the Parliament. In 1849, King Friedrich-August II was forced to flee to the Königstein Fortress during the May Uprising which was crushed by Saxon and Prussian troops and Friedrich-August II was able to return after only a few days.
Journey through England and Scotland
In 1844 Friedrich-August II accompanied by his personal physician Carl-Gustaf Carus, made an informal (incognito) visit to England and Scotland. Among places they visited were Lyme Regis where he purchased from the local fossil collector and dealer, Mary Anning, an ichthyosaur skeleton for his own extensive natural history collection. It was not a state visit, but the King was the guest of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Windsor Castle, visited many of the sights in London and in the university cities of Oxford and Cambridge, and toured widely in England, Wales and Scotland.
Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
During a journey in Tyrol, he had an accident in Brennbüchel in which he fell in front of a horse that stepped on his head. On August 8, 1854, he died in the Gasthof Neuner. He was buried on August 16, in the Katholische Hofkirche of Dresden. In his memory, the Dowager Queen Maria arranged to establish the Königskapelle (King’s Chapel) at the accident place, which was consecrated one year later, some of the last members of the Saxon royal family, including Maria-Emanuel, Margrave of Meissen (1926-2012) who was the head of the Royal House of Saxony are buried beside the chapel.
Without legitimate issue, after his death Friedrich-August II was succeeded by his younger brother, Johann.