- Carl Christian Joseph of Saxony, Duke of Courland
Dresden, he was the fifth but third surviving son of Augustus III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, and Maria Josepha of Austria.
Causes of his election as Duke of Courland
The Duke of Courland and guardian of the Russian Tsar Ivan VI,
Ernst Johann von Biron— because of his extravagances and autocratic government, was hated by the Russian aristocracy — was removed from the regency upon the agreement of the Tsar's mother Anna Leopoldovnain 1740 and arrested. The attempts of Anna Leopoldovna in making herself a popular regent failed and her Prime Minister Burkhard Christoph von Munnich—who had organized the conspiracy against Biron— was dismissed because of political and personal differences between both. Afterwards, a plot surrounding the Grand Duchess Elisabeth Petrovna against the regent was a complete success: in 1741 Anna Leopoldovna, her son Ivan and the rest of their family were exiled to Riga.
Now, certainly, the Tsarina Elisabeth gave her pardon to Biron; however, because of fear that he could again return to great power such as he had obtained during his old reign, she refused to restore to him his old dignities and the Duchy of Courland. To occupy the new headship of the Duchy, the local knighthood —under pressure from Saxony and Poland— chose the favorite son of the Polish king Prince Karl Christian in 1758 as their new Duke. The young prince had previously travelled to St. Petersburg from which came the agreement of Tsarina Elisabeth, confirming these plans from their part.
Duke of Courland and Semigallia
Most of Evangelic Courland aristocracy had big doubts about Karl —largely because they feared a Roman Catholic Duke would drive back his influence in favor of the Polish-Roman Catholic State— and tried to limit Karl’s means by a contract formulated electoral surrender. Before these negotiations could come to their conclusion, his father appointed him as Duke on
10 November 1758and formally invested him on 8 January 1759with the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia. Thereupon Karl who had signed now only a very much generally regarded assurance to religious questions and aristocratic privileges traveled to Courland and, on 29 March 1759, he solemnly entered the capital of his duchy, Mitau. After the Courland Diet (" Landtag") and the States had met, they lost their hope of wringing a statement from Karl, nevertheless, they still favored him. Appropriately many aristocrats refused to homagethe duke’s appointment on 3 November 1759and instead waged protest in Warsaw and St. Petersburg.
Renunciation of the Duchy and later life
When in July 1762 the Tsarina
Catherine the Great—who had been unapproving of Duke Karl on the basis of his lacking interest in the mental education of his subjects— took the Russian throne after a coup d'état. She allowed the now entirely rehabilitated Biron to return from his exile and exercised a substantial diplomatic pressure on Saxony with the purpose of restoring him to his old office as Duke. Finally, a sickly Augustus III —not only for his declined health but also by the by the consequences of the Seven Years' War— accepted the fate of his son and denied his support to him. Without any support, Karl had to renounce the Duchy in 1763 and he then returned to Saxony.
His hopes to win back the Duchy of Courland scattered after the quick death of his father and the loss of the Polish Crown for the Saxon Electors. Thereupon Karl lived in Dresden; however, dedicated himself farther to the hunt in the
Karl died in Dresden at age sixty-two. He was buried in the Marienstern Monastery (Kloster Marienstern) of
ecret Marriage and Issue
Warsawon 21 March 1760Karl married secretly with Franciscka of Corvin-Krasinska, daughter of the Count Stanislaus of Corvin-Krasinski. Because Franziska belonged to a simple Polish aristocracy, the marriage was considered firstly morganatic. However, on pursuing of Karl and the Saxon court, she was raised in June 1775 by the Emperor Joseph II to the rank of Princess, with all the rights of a born-equal wife of a Saxon Prince.Verify source|date=May 2008 They had only one daughter:
#Maria Christina Albertina Carolina (b. Dresden,
7 December 1779- d. Paris, 24 November 1851), married firstly on 24 October 1797to Carlo Emanuele of Savoy, 6th Principe di Carignano, and after his death, she married secondly on 1 February 1816to Jules Maximilien Thibaut, Prince de Montléart.
By his daughter's first marriage, Karl was a direct ancestor of the later Kings of Italy.
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1= 1. Carl Christian Joseph of Saxony, Duke of Courland
Augustus III of Poland
Maria Josepha of Austria
4= 4. Augustus II of Poland
Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor
Wilhelmina Amalia of Brunswick
John George III, Elector of Saxony
Anne Sophie of Denmark
Christian Ernst, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
11= 11. Sofie Luise of Württemberg
Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
Eleonore-Magdalena of Neuburg
John Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
15= 15. Benedicta-Henrietta of Simmern
John George II, Elector of Saxony
17= 17. Magdalene Sibylle of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Frederick III of Denmark
Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Erdmann August of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
21= 21. Sophie of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Eberhard III, Duke of Württemberg
23= 23. Anna Katharina of Salm-Kyrburg
Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor
Maria Anna of Spain
Philipp Wilhelm, Elector Palatine
Landgravine Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt
George, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Anne Eleonore of Hesse-Darmstadt
Edward, Count Palatine of Simmern
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