Ernst, Prince of Saxe-Meiningen (Ernst, Prinz von Sachsen-Meiningen; 27 September 1859 – 29 December 1941) was the head of the house of Saxe-Meiningen from 1928 until his death.
He was born in Meiningen, the eldest son of the heir apparent to the duchy of Saxe-Meiningen, Prince Georg and his second wife, HSH Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. His father succeeded to the throne in 1866. Ernst pursued a career in the army and retired as colonel in the Prussian cavalry. He received an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the University of Jena.
Ernst was married, morganatically, in Munich on 20 September 1892, to Katharina Jensen, daughter of the painter Marie and the poet Wilhelm Jensen. Not permitted to share her husband's dynastic title, his wife was created Baroness von Saalfeld on their wedding day by Ernst's father, Georg II. Despite his unequal marriage, Ernst retained his succession rights to the duchy of Saxe-Meiningen.
When his older half-brother, the last reigning duke of Saxe-Meiningen, Bernhard III, died on 16 January 1928, Ernst succeeded him as head of the ducal house, but never reigned, since the monarchy was abolished at the end of World War I in 1918. Rather than his own son, Ernst's nephew Georg, Prince of Saxe-Meiningen, succeeded him as head of the house following his death at Schloss Altenstein.
Ernst and Katharina had six children:
Baron Georg Wilhelm von Saalfeld (11 June 1893-29 April 1916) killed in action at the age of twenty-two.
Baroness Elisabeth Helen Adelheid Marie von Saalfeld (2 February 1895-4 June 1934) she married Dr. Johann Duken on 25 April 1917.
Baron Ernst Friedrich Heinrich Paul von Saalfeld (4 July 1896-28 May 1915) killed in action at the age of eighteen.
Baron Ralf Erich von Saalfeld (28 March 1900-22 July 1947) married Marie Seitz on 11 October 1925, by whom he had issue, and married Melanie von Bismarck on 16 August 1936, by whom he had further issue.
Baron Sven Hans Heinrich Bernhard von Saalfeld (18 September 1903) married Elisabeth Faust 20 March 1936, the couple divorcing on 6 November 1952, with issue.
Baron Enzio Heinrich Waldemar Carl von Saalfeld (7 July 1908-31 March 1941) married Rut Viererbe on 28 February 1936, and had issue.
Ancestors of Ernst, Prince of Saxe-Meiningen
16. Anton Ulrich, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen
8. Georg I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen
17. Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Philippsthal
4. Bernhard II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen
18. Christian Albert, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
9. Princess Luise Eleonore of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
19. Princess Caroline of Stolberg-Gedern
2. Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen
20. William I, Elector of Hesse
10. William II, Elector of Hesse
21. Princess Wilhelmina Caroline of Denmark and Norway
5. Princess Marie Frederica of Hesse-Kassel
22. Frederick William II of Prussia
11. Princess Augusta of Prussia
23. Frederika Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt
1. Prince Ernst of Saxe-Meiningen
24. Christian Albert, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (= 18)
12. Charles Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
25. Princess Caroline of Stolberg-Gedern (= 19)
6. Ernst I, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
26. John Christian II, Count of Solms-Baruth
13. Countess Amalie Henriette of Solms-Baruth
27. Countess Friederike Louise Reuss-Köstritz
3. Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
28. Carl, Prince of Leiningen
14. Emich Carl, 2nd Prince of Leiningen
29. Countess Christiane of Solms-Rödelheim und Assenheim