Princess Agnes of Anhalt-Dessau

Princess Agnes
Duchess consort of Saxe-Altenburg
Born (1824-06-24)24 June 1824
Died 23 October 1897(1897-10-23) (aged 73)
Spouse Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg
Issue Marie, Princess Albert of Prussia
Prince Georg
Full name
German: Friederike Amalie Agnes
House Ascania
Father Leopold IV, Duke of Anhalt
Mother Frederica Wilhelmina of Prussia

Princess Agnes of Anhalt-Dessau (Frederica Amalia Agnes; 24 June 1824 – 23 October 1897) was the eldest daughter of Leopold IV, Duke of Anhalt by his wife Frederica Wilhelmina of Prussia.[1][2] She was a member of the House of Ascania, and by her marriage to Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg, Duchess consort of Saxe-Altenburg.


Agnes' father Duke Leopold was a child of Frederick, Hereditary Prince of Anhalt-Dessau by his wife Landgravine Amalie of Hesse-Homburg. Her mother Princess Frederica was the daughter of Prince Louis Charles of Prussia (brother of King Frederick William III of Prussia) by his wife Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Agnes was an older sister of Frederick I, Duke of Anhalt and Maria Anna, Princess Frederick Charles of Prussia. Through Maria Anna, Agnes was an aunt of Elisabeth Anna, Grand Duchess of Oldenburg and Louise Margaret, Duchess of Connaught and Strathearn.


Agnes with her husband Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg

On 28 April 1853, Agnes married Ernst of Saxe-Altenburg.[2][3] He was a son of Georg, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg and Marie Luise of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and succeeded his father as Duke of Saxe-Altenburg later that year. They had two children:

As their only son died as an infant, the duchy would be inherited by their nephew Ernst upon Ernst I's death in 1908.


Agnes was regarded as a talented painter.[4]

Like many noblewomen of her time, she took an interest in charity, especially in nursing and the care of troops wounded in the Franco-German war.

In 1878 on the 25th anniversary of the couple's marriage, Ernst gave his wife the miniature newly created Knight's Cross First Class of the Saxe-Ernestine House Order, the so-called "Princesses Cross". On the occasion of the anniversary, the Ernst-Agnes-Stiftung (Ernst-Agnes Foundation) was established.

Agnes died on 23 October 1897, at the age of 73.[5] In the city of Altenburg, Agnesplatz is named after her. She is buried in the Herzogin-Agnes-Gedächtniskirche (Duchess Agnes Memorial Church).


She was the author of Ein Wort an Israel ("A Word to Israel") (Leipzig, 1893), a book which dealt with antisemitism and Christianity in Germany.[6][7][8] The book, published 1893 in German as Ein Wort an Israel as no. 37-38 of the academic series Institutum Judaicum zu Leipig. Schriften, was also translated into Italian as Una parola ad Israele.[9]



  1. Marek, Miroslav. "Ascania 7 - The House of Ascania". GENEALOGY.EU. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  2. 1 2 Martin, p. 188.
  3. Marek, Miroslav. "Wettin 7 - The House of Wettin". GENEALOGY.EU. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  4. Heinrich Ferdinand Schoeppl: Die Herzoge von Sachsen-Altenburg. Bozen 1917, Neudruck Altenburg 1992.
  5. "Duchess of Saxe-Altenburg Dead", The New York Times, Berlin, 24 October 1897
  6. "Women of Note". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif. March 13, 1898. "The reigning Duchess Agnes of Saxe-Altenburg, who recently died, was the author of a book entitled "A Word to Israel," that was once well known and has been ..."
  7. Sachsen-Altenburg, Agnes Herzogin von, geborne Prinzessin von Anhalt (1893). Ein Wort an Israel. Schriften des Institutum Judaicum in Leipzig ; Nr. 37/38. Leipzig: Akademische Buchhandlung (W. Faber).
  8. "Sachsen-Altenburg, Agnes Herzogin von". Lexikon deutscher Frauen der Feder. Eine Zusammenstellung der seit dem Jahre 1840 erschienenen Werke weiblicher Autoren, nebst Biographien der lebenden und einem Verzeichnis der Pseudonyme, Herausgegeben von Sophie Pataky, 2. Band: M-Z. Berlin: C. Pataky, 1898 (in German). Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  9. WorldCat


Princess Agnes of Anhalt-Dessau
Born: 24 June 1824 Died: 23 October 1897
German royalty
Preceded by
Marie Louise of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Duchess Consort of Saxe-Altenburg
3 August 1853 – 23 October 1897
Succeeded by
Adelaide of Schaumburg-Lippe
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