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Bernhard III, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen

Bernhard III, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen German prince

German prince
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro German prince
A.K.A. Bernard III de Saxe-Hildburghausen, Bernard III de Saxe-Meiningen
Countries Germany
Occupations Military personnel
Type Military
Gender male
Birth 1 April 1851 (Meiningen)
Death 16 January 1928 (Meiningen)
Star sign AriesAries
Mother: Princess Charlotte of Prussia (1831–1855)
Father: Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen
Siblings: Prince Friedrich of Saxe-MeiningenErnst, Prince of Saxe-MeiningenPrincess Marie Elisabeth of Saxe-Meiningen
Spouse: Princess Charlotte of Prussia
Children: Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen
Education Heidelberg University
The details

Bernhard III Friedrich Wilhelm Albrecht Georg, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen (1 April 1851 – 16 January 1928), was the last reigning duke of Saxe-Meiningen.


Bernhard was born on 1 April 1851 at Meiningen in what was then the German Confederation, as the eldest son of Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen and his first wife Princess Charlotte of Prussia.

He had one full sister, Princess Marie Elisabeth, and several half-brothers by his father's second marriage.

From 1860 Berhnard was schooled by a Prof. Rossmann before he went to study at Heidelberg University in 1869. For the war against France he interrupted his studies and served as Ordonnanz-Offizier. After the war ended he resumed his studies at Leipzig. From 1873 he again served in the military and rose into the highest echelons: By 1905 he was Generaloberst and Generalinspekteur der 2. Armeeinspektion (Mitteldeutschland). In 1909, he became Generalfeldmarschall and in 1912 left military service with that rank.

Bernhard of Saxe-Meiningen with Charlotte of Prussia around the time of their engagement, 1876

He married in Berlin on 18 February 1878 Princess Charlotte of Prussia, his second cousin, daughter of Frederick III, German Emperor and granddaughter of the Queen Victoria. They had one daughter: Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen (b. Potsdam, 12 May 1879 - d. Schloß Neuhoff, 26 August 1945), married on 24 September 1898 to Heinrich XXX of Reuss-Köstritz.


Bernhard assumed the Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen after the death of his father in 1914. With the start of World War I Bernhard hoped to be assigned command over an army but was disappointed. In reaction he also withdrew from his role in the Duchy's government.

After Germany lost the war, the German revolution forced Bernhard to abdicate as duke on 10 November 1918. Like all the German princes he lost his title and state. He spent the rest of his life in his former country as a private citizen.

Bernhard died on 16 January 1928 in Meiningen. He is buried next to his wife in the park at Altenstein.


Despite his military career he also took a great interest in the arts. He was active as a composer, poet and translator. He was known in particular as an expert on Modern Greek and was renowned for translating German literature into Greek. For his historical studies, for which he repeatedly travelled to Greece and Asia Minor (today Turkey), the University of Breslau awarded him an honorable doctorate.

Titles, styles, honours, and arms

  • 1 April 1851 - 20 September 1866: His Serene Highness Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Meiningen
  • 20 September 1866 - 25 June 1914: His Highness The Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Meiningen
  • 25 June 1914 - 16 January 1928: His Highness The Duke of Saxe-Meiningen


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