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15 June 2010

Emil Leopold August Herzog von Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg.(1772 - 1822) Duke, novelist.

Emil was the second son of Ernst II who gave shelter to Illuminati founder Adam Weishaupt. His brother died in 1779, and Emil became Duke (Herzog) of Saxe-Gotha and Altenburg from 1804 on the death of his father. Emile August was an admirer of Napoleon, and joined his Duchy to the pro-French Rhine Confederation in 1806.

In 1805 he wrote a poetic novel, Kyllenion - Ein Jahr in Arkadien.
Magnus Hirschfelt describes him as 'one of the most opalescent princes of all time'. The composer, Karl Maria von Weber, who was a friend of the duke and dedicated his Second Piano Concerto to him, wrote; 'His appearance has something uncommonly noble about it, and in spite of his high stature, something soft, almost womanly, which also has to do with his preference for women's articles of clothing.'

He was averse to hunting and riding which were expected of men of his class. Several commented on his womanly features and on his wont to appear in female clothing, and to be called Emilie. Hirschfeld mentions a picture of him as a Greek woman with a little lap dog on a sofa in a womanly pose. In 1817, Emile wrote in a letter to a friend: 'I felt much better, and self-love and self-esteem flared up in me more strongly when I shed that miserable, burdensome, and clinging slush of the manliness which has been forced upon me.'

One of his grandsons was Albert von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha, spouse of Victoria Hanover, Queen of the British Empire.
  • Magnus Hirschfeld translated from the German by Michael A. Lombardi-Nash. Transvestites: The Erotic Drive to Cross-Dress Prometheus Books. 1991: 375.
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