Duchy of Anhalt: Leopold IV Friedrich, the first Duke of Anhalt inherited three duchies: the Duchy of Anhalt-Dessau from his grandfather, the Duchy of Anhalt-Köthen from a distant cousin, and the Duchy of Anhalt-Bernburg from another distant cousin. The three duchies were united as the Duchy of Anhalt on August 30, 1863.
Joachim Ernst was the last Duke of Anhalt. He came to the throne in September 1918 when he was 17-years-old. As he was underage, his father’s brother Prince Aribert of Anhalt served as Regent. With the German Empire crumbling at the end of World War I, Aribert abdicated on Joachim Ernst’s behalf on November 12, 1918. Today the territory that encompassed the Duchy of Anhalt is in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt.
Eduard, Duke of Anhalt
Eduard, Duke of Anhalt ruled for less than five months, just before the end of World War I and the end of the German Empire. Prince Eduard Georg Wilhelm was born in Dessau, Duchy of Anhalt, now in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, on April 18, 1861, the third son and fourth child of Friedrich I, Duke of Anhalt and Princess Antoinette of Saxe-Altenburg. He had five siblings:
- Leopold, Hereditary Prince of Anhalt (1855-1886) – married Princess Elisabeth of Hesse-Kassel
- Friedrich II, Duke of Anhalt (1856-1918) – married Princess Marie of Baden
- Princess Elisabeth (1857-1933) – married Adolf Friedrich V, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
- Prince Aribert of Anhalt (1866-1933) – married Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, marriage dissolved
- Princess Alexandra (1868-1958) – married Sizzo, Prince of Schwarzburg
Eduard married Princess Luise Charlotte of Saxe-Altenburg on February 6, 1895, in Altenburg, Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg, now in the German state of Thuringia. She was the daughter of Prince Moritz of Saxe-Altenburg and Princess Auguste of Saxe-Meiningen. Eduard and Luise Charlotte were second cousins, through their mutual descent from Friedrich, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg. They had six children:
- Princess Friederike (born and died 1896) – died in infancy
- Prince Leopold (1897-1898) – died in infancy
- Princess Marie-Auguste (1898-1983) – married Prince Joachim of Prussia, had issue
- Joachim Ernst, Duke of Anhalt (1901-1947) – married (1) Elisabeth Strickrodt, no issue (divorced); (2) Edda-Charlotte von Stephani-Marwitz, had issue
- Prince Eugen (1903-1980) – married Anastasia Jungmeier, had issue
- Prince Wolfgang (1912-1936) – unmarried
Eduard and Luise Charlotte were divorced on January 26, 1918, just a few months before he succeeded to the ducal throne.
Eduard became Duke of Anhalt upon the death of his older brother, Friedrich II, on April 21, 1918. Less than five months later, on September 13, 1918, Eduard died in Berchtesgaden, Kingdom of Bavaria, now in the German state of Bavaria. He was succeeded by his son Joachim. As Joachim was not yet of age, Eduard’s brother Aribert served as Regent.
Eduard, Duke of Anhalt was buried in the Ducal Mausoleum (link in German) in Dessau, Duchy of Anhalt, now in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. In 1958, the remains of members of the House of Anhalt were removed from the Ducal Mausoleum secretly by night for political reasons (Dessau was then in Communist East Germany) and reburied in the Ziebigker Cemetery in Dessau in a common grave, marked only by a simple wooden cross. In 2019, Eduard’s remains were moved a second time and reinterred in the Marienkirche (link in German) in Dessau, the traditional burial site of the Dukes of Anhalt-Dessau dating back to the 15th century. The Marienkirche was destroyed during World War II and has since been rebuilt.