Princess Elmira: Wife of the Last Royal Grandson

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The Duchess of Saxony was the wife of Albert Prince of Saxony (†2012), the youngest grandson of the last Saxon King August III (1865-1932). She died on June 14 in a Munich clinic at the age of 91. Princess Elmira passport

Princess Daniel (47), Arne (45) and Nils (43) of Saxony accompanied Elmira of Saxony on her last journey with around 60 family members, friends, representatives of the Order of the Knights of Henry III and supporters of the monarchy.

The Protestant found her resting place in the crypt of her Catholic husband, Albert Prince of Saxony (†77), right next to the famous composer Carl Maria von Weber. “Neither of the couples converted,” explains Daniel von Sachsen.

Wettins came under criticism Princess Elmira passport

Princess Elmira and husband
The royal couple: Albert Prince of Saxony and his wife Elmira in 2004.

Elmira’s husband, who worked as a historian and author, had died ten years earlier. After the fall of communism, he had mainly dealt with his family’s restitution claims in Saxony. The Wettin family came under fire when they sold precious porcelain immediately after receiving it.

Princess Elmira assisted her husband with his research and work in the study group for Saxon history and culture. She even made appearances at social events. Elmira was by no means a noblewoman by birth. The daughter of a Lodz merchant, she only married “her prince” in 1980 – at the age of 50! The couple’s marriage remained childless.

Princess Elmira’s death is the second loss that the Wettin royal family has had to mourn in 2022. Prince Rüdiger of Saxony (†68) died of a heart attack at his residence in Weinböhla at the end of March.


The Passport Princess Elmira passport

Princess Elmira passport
Elmira von Sachsen, German passport 1992

The document was offered in 2023 and sold on eBay instantly.

Nobility Titles in Germany

Titles of nobility were abolished in Germany after the end of the First World War (1918).

German Empire

In the German Empire, the last title of nobility was conferred on November 12, 1918, by Leopold IV zur Lippe, who elevated Kurt von Kleefeld (1881-1934) to the nobility on the day of his abdication.

Weimar Republic Princess Elmira passport

With the transition to the Weimar Republic and the entry into force of the Weimar Reich Constitution (WRV) of 1919 (Constitution of the German Reich), Art. 109 WRV placed all citizens on an equal footing before the law and excluded privileges of birth, gender, status, class and confession. The titles of nobility (the titles of nobility and the predicates such as “von” and “zu”) became part of the name and may no longer be conferred since then.

Prussian States

On June 23, 1920, the Prussian State Assembly passed the Prussian Law on the Abolition of the Prerogatives of the Nobility and the Dissolution of the Household Property. According to this nobility law, which was also adopted in a similar form by the other states of the German Empire, the primogeniture titles, which had previously only been granted to the heads of families and rulers, were abolished. The general titles borne by the other family members, which differed from family to family, became part of the family name. Princess Elmira passport

This meant that former titles such as Prince or Count, which were previously available to all family members, were retained as parts of the name, while titles such as King, Grand Duke, etc., which were only available to the ruling persons (ruler titles) or heads of family, were dropped completely. This led to very different surnames. For example, the descendants of the former royal House of Württemberg bear the surname “Duke of Württemberg” or the descendants of the former Electoral House of Hesse the surname “Prince and Landgrave of Hesse”.

A transitional regulation granted individuals holding a primogeniture title at the enactment of the Weimar Constitution the right to keep it.

The Reichsgericht decision of March 10, 1926 (RGZ 113, 107 et seq.) modified former noble titles based on gender.

Federal Germany

The Weimar Constitution persisted in parts, not absorbed by the Basic Law in post-war Germany. Following a legal revision in the 1960s, only Article 109 para. 3 sentence 2 of the Weimar Constitution (“Noble titles shall only be considered part of the name and may no longer be conferred”) is still in force under ordinary law.

In 1920, Prussia erased noble titles. All citizens were equal in address. Abolishing aristocracy, the Free State united society. This regulation was adopted by the Federal Republic of Germany. German citizens with aristocratic titles no longer receive special privileges in salutations or correspondence under current protocol. This follows from the principle of equality in the Basic Law. This regulation does not apply to foreign aristocrats. According to German protocol, they are entitled to a special form of address depending on their title. Princess Elmira passport

Titles, ranks, and forms of address matter officially only where nobility persists. Germans with noble heritage choose such forms voluntarily, not following official protocol.

Today, a title of nobility no longer has any further legal consequences. Despite official rules, some still use historical titles socially. Legal insignificance; no right to address with titles like “Serene Highness.”

German Law Princess Elmira passport

German authorities decide if your aristocratic title merits inclusion in your passport or ID card. Hence, it’s your responsibility to elucidate the importance to the authorities and substantiate its credibility.

Outstanding Bavarian Passport 1806


FAQ Passport History
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1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?

The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?

Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...

3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?

"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?

Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?

Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.

6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?

A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?

During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?

Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?

Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?

A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?

First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...

Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.

Question? Contact me...