Anthony of Saxony

King of Saxony
Reign 5 May 1827 – 6 June 1836
Predecessor Frederick Augustus I
Successor Frederick Augustus II
Born (1755-12-27)27 December 1755
Died 6 June 1836(1836-06-06) (aged 80)
Burial Katholische Hofkirche
Spouse Maria Carolina of Savoy
Maria Theresia of Austria
Issue Princess Maria Ludovika
Prince Frederick Augustus
Princess Maria Johanna
Princess Maria Theresia
Full name
Anton Clemens Theodor Maria Joseph Johann Evangelista Johann Nepomuk Franz Xavier Aloys Januar
House Wettin
Father Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony
Mother Maria Antonia of Bavaria
Religion Roman Catholicism

Anthony (Dresden, 27 December 1755 – Dresden, 6 June 1836), also known by his German name Anton (full name: Anton Clemens Theodor Maria Joseph Johann Evangelista Johann Nepomuk Franz Xavier Aloys Januar),[1] was a King of Saxony (1827–1836) from the House of Wettin. He became known as Anton der Gütige,[2] (en: "Anthony the Kind").[3]

He was the fifth but third surviving son of Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony, and Maria Antonia of Bavaria.

Early life

With few chances to take part in the politics of the Electorate of Saxony or receive any land from his older brother Frederick Augustus III, Anton lived under the shadows. No Elector of Saxony after Johann Georg I gave appananges to his younger sons.

During the first years of the reign of his older brother as Elector, Anton was the third in line, preceded only by his older brother Karl. The death of Karl (8 September 1781) make him the next in line to the Electorate as Crown Prince (de: Kronprinz); this was because all the pregnancies of the Electress Amalie, except for one daughter, ended in a stillbirth.

His aunt, the Dauphine of France, had wanted to engage her daughter Marie Zéphyrine of France to Anthony; Marie Zéphyrine died in 1755 abandoning plans. Another French candidate was Marie Zéphyrine's sister Marie Clothilde (later Queen of Sardinia) but again nothing happened.

In Turin on 29 September 1781 (by proxy) and again in Dresden on 24 October 1781 (in person), Anton married firstly with the Princess Caroline of Savoy (Maria Carolina Antonietta Adelaida), daughter of the King Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia and Maria Antonietta of Spain. Caroline died after only one year of marriage, on 28 December 1782 having succumbed to smallpox. They had no children.

In Florence on 8 September 1787 (by proxy) and again in Dresden on 18 October 1787 (in person), Anton married a second time with the Archduchess Maria Theresia of Austria (Maria Theresia Josephe Charlotte Johanna), daughter of the Grand Duke Leopold I of Tuscany, later Emperor Leopold II. Mozart's opera Don Giovanni was originally intended to be performed in honor of Anton and his wife for a visit to Prague on 14 October 1787, as they traveled between Dresden and Vienna, and librettos were printed with dedication to them. The premiere could not be arranged in time, however, so the opera The Marriage of Figaro was substituted on the express orders of the bride's uncle, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II. The choice of The Marriage of Figaro was considered improper for a new bride by many observers, and the couple left the opera theater early without seeing the entire work performed. Mozart complained bitterly of the intrigues surrounding this incident in a letter to his friend Gottfried von Jacquin that was written in stages between 15 October and 25 October 1787. Anthony was also present in Prague in September 1791 for the first performance of Mozart's opera La clemenza di Tito, which was written as part of the coronation ceremonies of his father-in-law, Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor, as King of Bohemia.[4]

The couple had four children, but none survived to the age of two:

  1. Maria Ludovika Auguste Fredericka Therese Franziska Johanna Aloysia Nepomucena Ignatia Anna Josepha Xaveria Franziska de Paula Barbara (b. Dresden, 14 March 1795 – d. Dresden, 25 April 1796)
  2. Frederick Augustus (b. and d. Dresden, 5 April 1796)
  3. Maria Johanna Ludovica Anna Amalia Nepomucena Aloysia Ignatia Xaveria Josepha Franziska de Chantal Eva Apollonia Magdalena Crescentia Vincentia (b. Dresden, 5 April 1798 – d. Dresden, 30 October 1799)
  4. Maria Theresia (b. and d. Dresden, 15 October 1799)

The Electress gave birth for last time in 1799 to another stillborn child. After this Anton became, officially, the Heir to the Electorate and, from 1806, the Kingdom of Saxony.

King of Saxony

Medal of the introduction the Constitution of 1831. The obverse shows the conjoined heads of King Anton and Co-Regent Friedrich August.
Pewter Medal of the new constitution, reverse.

Anton succeeded his brother Frederick August I as King of Saxony when he died, on 5 May 1827. The 71-year-old new king was completely inexperienced in government, thus he had no intention of initiating profound changes in foreign or domestic policy.

Prussian diplomats discussed granting the Prussian Rhineland (predominantly Catholic) to Anton (a Catholic) in exchange for Lutheran Saxony in 1827, but nothing came of these talks.[5]

After the July Revolution of 1830 in France, disturbances in Saxony began in autumn. These were directed primarily against the old Constitution. Therefore, on 13 September the cabinet dismissed Count Detlev von Einsiedel, followed by Bernhard von Lindenau. Because the people wished a younger regent, Anton agreed to appoint his nephew Frederick Augustus Prince Co-Regent (de: Prinz-Mitregenten). As another consequence of the disturbances, a new constitution was accepted in 1831 which came into effect on 4 September of that year.[6] With it Saxony became a Constitutional monarchy and obtained a bi-cameral legistature and a responsible ministry, which replaced the old feudal estates.[7] The constitution was more conservative than other constitutions existing at this time in the German Union. Still the constitution served Saxony until 1918.[8] The king kept his exclusive sovereignty but was bound by the Government Business to cooperate with the Ministers and the decisions of both Chambers of the States (de: Kammern der Ständeversammlung) meeting. The entry of Saxony into the Zollverein in 1833 let trade, industry and traffic blossom farther.

Without surviving male issue, Anton was succeeded as king by his nephew, Frederick Augustus II.



  1. Holborn, p. 24
  2. Quinger p. 35
  3. "The Kings of Saxony". Accessed 27 January 2007.
  4. Anthony's presence at performances of Mozart's music is detailed in Daniel E. Freeman, Mozart in Prague (2013) ISBN 0979422310.
  5. Freitag, p. 216
  6. James K. Pollock & Homer Thomas, Germany in Power and Eclipse D. Van Nostrand Co.: New York, 1952, p. 510.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.


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Anthony of Saxony
Born: 27 December 1755 Died: 6 June 1836
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Frederick Augustus I
King of Saxony
Succeeded by
Frederick Augustus II
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