Ernst II, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Ernst II, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (Ernst Wilhelm Friedrich Carl Maximilian) was the husband of Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. He was born on September 13, 1863 in Langenburg, the eldest child of Hermann, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and Princess Leopoldine of Baden. Ernst had two younger sisters:
- Princess Elise (1864-1929) – married Heinrich XXVII, Prince Reuss of Schleiz
- Princess Feodore (1866-1932) – married Emich, 5th Prince of Leiningen
He was educated in Karlsruhe, and then studied law in Paris, Bonn, Tübingen and Leipzig, graduating in 1885. Following his military training, he was appointed Secretary of the Imperial German Embassy in St Petersburg and London. He also worked for his father when he served as Imperial Governor of Alsace-Lorraine.
On April 20, 1896, Ernst married Princess Alexandra at Schloss Ehrenburg in Coburg. She was the daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (a son of Queen Victoria), and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia (a daughter of Tsar Alexander II). The couple were second cousins – their grandmothers, Queen Victoria and Princess Feodora of Leiningen, were half-sisters. Ernst and Alexandra had five children:
- Gottfried, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1897-1960) – married Princess Margarita of Greece and Denmark, had issue
- Princess Maria Melita (1899-1967) – married Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, had issue
- Princess Alexandra (1901-1963) – unmarried, no issue
- Princess Irma (1902-1986) – unmarried, no issue
- Prince Alfred (1911-1911) – died at 2 days old
In 1900, his father-in-law died, and the ducal throne of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha passed to Alexandra’s cousin, Charles Edward, Duke of Albany. Because Charles Edward was just 16 at the time, Ernst was appointed as Regent until the new Duke reached his majority in 1905.
He later tried to get into politics in the German Empire. He served as Head of the Colonial Department of the Foreign Office, and Deputy, and later Vice President, of the Reichstag. Following his father’s death in 1913, Ernst became the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and took his seat in the Kammer der Standesherren (House of Lords) in Württemberg. During World War I, he served as General Delegate to the Eastern Front, and also served as a special envoy to Constantinople and the Balkans in 1915.
In 1936, Ernst joined the Nazi Party. Following World War II, Ernst retired from official service and lived a quiet and more private life. He spent his remaining years working with charities and organizations in Württemberg, including the Order of Saint John and the Red Cross.
Ernst II, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, died on December 11, 1950 in Langenburg. He is buried alongside his wife in the family cemetery at Schloss Langenburg.