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Augustus, Grand Duke of Oldenburg

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Title: Augustus, Grand Duke of Oldenburg  
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Augustus, Grand Duke of Oldenburg

Grand Duke of Oldenburg
Reign 17 January 1829 – 27 February 1853
Predecessor Peter I
Successor Peter II
Spouse Adelheid of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym
Ida of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym
Cecilia of Sweden
Issue Amalia, Queen of Greece
Duchess Frederica
Peter II
Duke Alexander
Duke August
Duke Elimar
Full name
German: Paul Friedrich August
House House of Holstein-Gottorp
Father Peter I
Mother Frederica of Württemberg
Born (1783-07-13)July 13, 1783
Died February 27, 1853(1853-02-27) (aged 69)
Burial Ducal Mausoleum, Gertrudenfriedhof, Oldenburg
Religion Lutheranism

Augustus, Grand Duke of Oldenburg (13 July 1783 – 27 February 1853) was the Grand Duke of Oldenburg from 1829 to 1853.


  • Birth and family 1
  • Early life 2
    • First marriage 2.1
  • Hereditary Prince 3
    • Second marriage 3.1
  • Reign 4
    • Third marriage 4.1
  • Death and succession 5
  • Legacy 6
  • Titles and styles 7
  • Ancestry and descent 8
    • Ancestry 8.1
    • Issue 8.2
  • References 9
  • Sources 10

Birth and family

Augustus was born on 13 July 1783 at Schloss Rastede near Oldenburg, to the then Prince Peter Frederick Louis of Holstein-Gottorp and his wife Duchess Frederica of Württemberg, a daughter of Frederick II Eugene, Duke of Württemberg.

Augustus had one younger brother, Duke George of Oldenburg, who was a year younger than him. In 1785, at the age of twenty, his mother died in childbirth. His father never remarried.

Early life

Augustus with his brother George in the 1790s.

In 1785, when Augustus was two years old, his father became Prince-Bishop of Lübeck and was furthermore appointed regent of the Duchy of Oldenburg for his incapacitated cousin William, Duke of Oldenburg.

From 1788 to 1803, the two princes were educated at home under the supervision of their father. Together with his brother, he studied at the University of Leipzig from 1803 to 1805. From 1805 to 1807 he and his brother travelled extensively in England and Scotland.[1]

In 1808, he accompanied his father to the Congress of Erfurt, the meeting between Emperor Napoléon I of France and Tsar Alexander I of Russia. Between 1810 and 1814, Oldenburg was occupied by Napoleonic France.

In December 1810, the Duchy of Oldenburg was annexed by the French Empire and Augustus and his father travelled to Russia to stay in exile with their relatives, the Russian imperial family.[2] This annexation was one of the causes for the diplomatic rift between former allies France and Russia, a dispute that would lead to war in 1812 and eventually to Napoleon's downfall.

From 1811 to 1816 he was Governor of Estonia where he led the work to prepare the abolition of serfdom. He participated in the Napoleonic Wars from 1812 to 1814.[3] After the end of the Napoleonic Wars, he returned to Russia to finish his work as governor of Estonia. He returned to Oldenburg in 1816.[4]

First marriage

On 24 July 1817, at the age of 34, Augustus married Princess Adelheid of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym. She was a daughter of Victor II, Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym and his wife Princess Amalie Charlotte of Nassau-Weilburg.

Augustus and Adelheid had two daughters; George Washington. However, Princess Adelheid died suddenly in 1820.

Hereditary Prince

In 1823, his father succeeded as Duke of Oldenburg after the death of his cousin William, Duke of Oldenburg and Augustus became Heir apparent.

Although Oldenburg, like many other German duchies, had been elevated from a mere duchy to a grand duchy in 1815 at the Congress of Vienna, his father chose to continue the use of the lesser title of Duke, making Augustus the Hereditary Prince rather than the Hered itary Grand Duke of Oldenburg.[5]

As Hereditary Prince, he participated extensively in the government of the duchy.[6]

Second marriage

On 24 June 1825, after five years as a widower, Augustus married secondly Princess Ida of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym, a younger sister of his first wife.

Augustus and Ida had one son, Peter, who was born in 1827 and would later succeed Augustus as Grand Duke. Just like her sister, however, Princess Ida died after three years of marriage, in 1828.


Grand Duke Augustus on a Thaler coin from 1846
Augustus succeeded his father, Grand Duke Peter I, to the throne of Oldenburg on 21 May 1829. Unlike his father, Augustus assumed the title of Grand Duke, and Augustus was thus the first to use the title Grand Duke of Oldenburg.

As Grand Duke, Augustus was employed in reforming the administration of his small state and showed himself a patriarchal ruler who cared for agriculture, transport, social welfare, art and science. Trade flourished along the lower Weser and Jade, and the city of Oldenburg developed into one of Northwestern Germany's cultural centres.[7]

The Grand Duke however was reluctant to follow popular demands to introduce a constitution for the Grand Duchy. Although article 13 of the constitution of the German Confederation obliged Oldenburg to have a constitution, following the advice of his Russian relatives, the Grand Duke again and again postponed the promise of a constitution given in 1830.

Only as a consequence of the Revolutions of 1848 did the Grand Duke reluctantly give in under pressure from his advisers. On 18 February 1849, he signed the Oldenburg constitution which had already been revised by 1852.[8]

Third marriage

On 5 May 1831, Augustus married thirdly his second cousin once removed Princess Cecilia of Sweden, a daughter of the deposed King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden. He had become Grand Duke two years earlier, making her the first Grand Duchess of Oldenburg.

Augustus and Cecilia had three sons, of which just one, Elimar, survived to adulthood.

Grand Duchess Cecilia died on 27 January 1844 in Oldenburg.

Death and succession

Grand Duke Augustus died on 27 February 1853 in Oldenburg. He was buried in the Ducal Mausoleum in the Churchyard of Saint Gertrude in Oldenburg. Augustus was succeeded as Grand Duke by his eldest son, Peter.


The settlement Augustfehn in Ammerland in Lower Saxony, Germany is named after Grand Duke Augustus.

Titles and styles

  • 13 July 1783 – 2 July 1823: His Highness Duke Augustus of Oldenburg
  • 2 July 1823 – 17 January 1829: His Royal Highness The Hereditary Prince of Oldenburg
  • 17 January 1829 – 27 February 1853: His Royal Highness The Grand Duke of Oldenburg

Ancestry and descent



Name Birth Death Notes
Duchess Amalia 21 December 1818 20 May 1875 married Otto of Bavaria, the elected King of Greece, and thus became Queen consort of Greece.
Duchess Frederica 8 June 1820 20 March 1891 married George Washington.
Duke Peter 8 July 1827 13 June 1900 succeeded his father as Grand Duke of Oldenburg; married Princess Elisabeth of Saxe-Altenburg; had issue
Duke Alexander 16 June 1834 6 June 1835
Duke August 15 February 1836 30 April 1837
Duke Elimar 23 January 1844 17 October 1895 married morganatically Baroness Natalie Vogel von Friesenhof


  1. ^ ADB, p. 667-68.
  2. ^ ADB, p. 668
  3. ^ ADB, p. 668.
  4. ^ ADB, p. 668
  5. ^ Oakes, p. 57.
  6. ^ NDB, p. 447.
  7. ^ NDB, p. 447
  8. ^ NDB, p. 447


  • Oakes, Augustus Henry (1921). The Great European Treaties of the Nineteenth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
  • Hermann Lübbing (1953), "",  
  • Theodor Merzdorf (1875), "Paul Friedrich August (Großherzog von Oldenburg)",  
Augustus, Grand Duke of Oldenburg
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 13 July 1783 Died: 27 February 1853
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Peter I
Grand Duke of Oldenburg
Succeeded by
Peter II
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