Rüdiger, Margrave of Meissen

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His Royal Highness
The Margrave of Meissen
Head of the Royal House of Saxony (disputed)
Tenure 6 October 2012 – 6 October 2012
Predecessor Albert
Successor Prince Daniel
Born (1953-12-23)23 December 1953
Mülheim an der Ruhr, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany
Died 29 March 2022(2022-03-29) (aged 68)
Moritzburg, Saxony, Germany
Astrid Linke
(m. 1974; died 1989)
Diana Dorndorf
(m. 2004; div. 2008)
House Wettin
Father Prince Timo of Saxony
Mother Margrit Lucas
Religion Protestant

Rüdiger Ernst Karl Timo Aldi, Prince of Saxony, Duke of Saxony, Margrave of Meissen (23 December 1953 – 29 March 2022)[1] was briefly a disputed head of the Royal House of Saxony, and the only agnatic (male line or paternal) great-grandson of the last King of Saxony, Frederick Augustus III.

Early life[edit]

Prince Rüdiger Karl Ernst Timo Aldi was born in Mülheim,[2] the only son of Prince Timo of Saxony (1923–1983) and his first wife Margrit Lucas (1932–1957), the daughter of Carl Lucas, a butcher, and his wife Hildegard Stube.[3] Prince Rüdiger's parents were married in Muelheim on 7 August 1952 in what was reported at the time as a "fairytale wedding" between a prince and a butcher's daughter.[4] However, as Lucas was a commoner the marriage was considered morganatic.[5]

Prince Rüdiger had a difficult childhood. His father Prince Timo, who became addicted to morphine after sustaining serious injuries during an autumn 1945 bombing raid on Dresden,[6] had a number of failed jobs. When Rüdiger was aged just 18 months old he was taken by his penniless mother to her father's home in Muelheim. The marriage proved difficult and Rüdiger's mother was in process of divorcing Prince Timo when she found out she was pregnant,[7] later giving birth to a daughter, Princess Iris of Saxony, on 21 September 1955.[3]

Having failed to pay child support for his wife and two children, shortly before her death in 1957 the family of Rüdiger's mother had Prince Timo placed under legal guardianship by the courts, meaning that following the death of their mother the children were placed in the care of their maternal grandparents,[4] Rüdiger and his sister's paternal family, grandfather Prince Ernst Heinrich the youngest son of King Frederick Augustus III, and uncles Prince Dedo of Saxony (1922–2009) and Prince Gero of Saxony (1925–2003) had emigrated to the Republic of Ireland following the loss of their vast properties in Saxony which became part of communist East Germany.[4]

The widowed Prince Timo's difficulties continued as after residing for a time in homeless shelters and dwellings to escape his creditors, the guardianship court had him admitted into a mental hospital in 1958. He was then treated by psychiatrists for the next seven years until 15 December 1965 when the ruling placing him under legal guardianship was lifted.[4]


After working as a psychologist[2] in 2003, Prince Rüdiger left his home in Westerwald in order to move to Moritzburg, Saxony where he founded with his eldest son Prince Daniel of Saxony the Wettinische Forstverwaltung (Wettin Forest service).[8] The forest, which is owned as well as run by the Saxon Royal Family, is approximately 1200 hectares in size.[9]

Saxon succession[edit]

The headship of the Royal House of Saxony is an area of dispute in the Saxon Royal Family. The dispute stems from the fact that the last undisputed head of the house Maria Emanuel, Margrave of Meissen, and the other princes of his generation either had no children or, in the case of Prince Timo, had children who were not recognised as being members of the Royal House of Saxony. The first adopted dynastic heir of Maria Emanuel was his nephew Prince Johannes of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, son of his youngest sister Princess Mathilde of Saxony.[10]

After the early death of Prince Johannes, the heirless Maria Emanuel then began to look at his eldest nephew Alexander Afif, the eldest son of Princess Anna of Saxony and her husband Roberto Afif, despite the Afif-Saxony marriage being against the traditional laws of the House of Saxony in the same way as the marriage of Rüdiger's parents was.[10][11] In 1997 the Margrave of Meissen proposed his nephew Alexander Afif as heir and drew up a document that was signed by the other male and female members of the Royal House (including previously morganatic spouses of princes who were now treated as dynasts being attributed the style of Royal Highness; Rüdiger, his sons, and sister were not involved) setting out that Alexander Afif would succeed on his death. The document was signed by Anastasia, Margravine of Meissen; Prince Dedo (for himself, his brother Prince Gero and for their stepmother Princess Virginia); Prince Albert and his wife Princess Elmira; the Princesses Maria Josepha, Anna, and Mathilde; and Princess Erina the third wife and widow of Prince Timo.[12] Two years later on 1 July 1999 the Margrave adopted his nephew Alexander Afif giving him the family name Prinz von Sachsen Herzog zu Sachsen.[10]

The 1997 agreement proved to be controversial and in the summer of 2002 three of the signatories (Princes Albert, Dedo and Gero, who did not personally sign the document)[13] retracted their support for the agreement.[6] The following year Prince Albert wrote that it is through Prince Rüdiger and his sons that the direct line of the Albertine branch of the House of Wettin will continue, and thus avoid becoming extinct.[14] Prince Rüdiger himself never accepted the 1997 agreement and when asked for his opinion on who the eventual successor to Maria Emanuel should be he replied that it should be himself.[15]

Following the death of Maria Emanuel in July 2012, Prince Rüdiger recognised Prince Albert (who died three months later) as the new Margrave of Meissen and head of the Royal House of Saxony. The former Alexander Afif citing the 1997 agreement also assumed those positions.[16] According to the family website prior to his death Albert determined Rüdiger to be his successor and instituted a clear succession plan.[17] On this basis following Albert's death in October 2012 Prince Rüdiger assumed the headship of the house[18] and title of Margrave of Meissen,[19] but then passed the headship to his eldest son Prince Daniel.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Prince Rüdiger was married twice. His first wife was Astrid Linke (1949–1989), the daughter of Heinz Linke and Elvira Wandke. They were married at Willich on 14 June 1974 and had three sons.[2]

  • Prince Arne Benjamin of Saxony, Duke of Saxony (b. 1977); divorced from Sarah Schneider (b. 1979) with whom he had two daughters.
  • Prince Nils Sebastian of Saxony, Duke of Saxony (b. 1978); married Jedida Taborek, a lawyer (b. 1975) and has one son, Prince Moritz (b. 2009)[22] and two daughters.

After his first wife's death, Prince Rüdiger married for a second time in January 2004 to Diana Dorndorf. The marriage was short-lived, however, as the couple divorced in 2008. During his second marriage, Prince Rüdiger placed a lonely hearts advertisement in the German newspaper Bild in the hope of finding a princess to marry.[23]


In 2005 Prince Rüdiger was appointed an honorary knight of the Order of Henry the Illustrious.[24]



  1. Rüdiger Prinz von Sachsen ist tot: Trauer im Hause Wettin (in German)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Saxony". Almanach de Gotha (186th ed.). Almanach de Gotha. 2003. p. 342. ISBN 0-9532142-4-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 von Ehrenkrook, Hans Friedrich (1991). Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels. Frankfurt: Starke Verlag. p. 586.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Guter Oberförster". Der Spiegel. 15 April 1968. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  5. Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels. Starke Verlag. 1978. p. 521.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Würdelos und widerlich" (in German). Spiegel. 21 December 2002. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  7. "Margrit". Der Spiegel. 8 June 1955. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  8. "Was lesen und essen Sie gern, Herr Daniel von Sachsen?" (in German). Sächsische Zeitung. 13 May 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
  9. "Der Betrieb" (in German). Wettinische Forstverwaltung. Archived from the original on July 16, 2006. Retrieved 20 July 2009.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Chantal de Badts de Cugnac ; Guy Coutant de Saisseval (2003). Le Petit Gotha (in French). pp. 127–129. ISBN 2-9507974-0-7.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. Les Maisons Impériales et Royales d'Europe. Éditions du Palais-Royal. 1966. pp. 524–526.
  12. "Dieses geheime Papier regelt die Wettiner-Nachfolge" (in German). Bild. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  13. Eggert, Hans (15 December 2009). "Von der schwierigen Suche der Wettiner nach einem Kronprinzen" (in German). Sächsische Zeitung. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  14. "Geschichte des Hauses Wettin von seinen Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart" (in German). Prince Albert of Saxony. 5 March 2003. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
  15. Mallek, Ulf (4 June 2005). "Geschichte Prinzliche Flucht" (in German). Sächsische Zeitung. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
  16. "Wettiner spalten sich in zwei Lager" (in German). Bild. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  17. "Der Hauschef" (in German). Haus-Wettin.de. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  18. Locke, Stefan (12 October 2012). "Sächsischer Hochadel Und wer wird nun Wettiner-Chef?" (in German). Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  19. Biography of Prince Rüdiger. Haus-Wettin.de
  20. Erklaerung des Hauses Wettin Albertinscher Linien (4 July 2015). Haus-Wettin.de
  21. Helfricht, Jurgen (31 July 2011). "Traumhochzeit auf Schloss Moritzburg Prinz von Sachsen sagt JA!" (in German). Bild. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  22. Klein, Ronny (24 March 2009). "Wettiner-Spross Moritz macht Königs Glück perfekt" (in German). Sächsische Zeitung. Retrieved 16 July 2009.
  23. "Germany's Most-Eligible Bachelor?". Deutsche Welle. 31 May 2005. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
  24. "Bilder" (in German). Ritterorden Heinrich III. der Erlauchte. Retrieved 22 March 2010.

External links[edit]

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