Ernest Augustus, Elector of Hanover

Ernest Augustus (German: Ernst August; 20 November 1629 – 23 January 1698), Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, was Prince of Calenberg from 1679 until his death, and father of George I of Great Britain. He was appointed as the ninth prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire in 1692.

Ernest Augustus
Elector of Hanover
Reign19 December 1692 – 23 January 1698
SuccessorGeorge I
Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Prince of Calenberg
Reign18 December 1679 – 23 January 1698
PredecessorJohn Frederick
SuccessorGeorge I
Born(1629-11-20)20 November 1629
Herzberg Castle, Herzberg am Harz, Principality of Grubenhagen, Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Holy Roman Empire
Died23 January 1698(1698-01-23) (aged 68)
Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, Germany
Burial18 March 1698
Leine Palace, Hanover; later Herrenhausen, Hanover
(m. 1658)
FatherGeorge, Duke of Brunswick-Calenberg
MotherAnne Eleonore of Hesse-Darmstadt

He was also ruler of the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück from 1662 until his death.

Early life and marriage

Herrenhausen Great Garden, Hanover
Osnabruck Palace

Ernest Augustus was born on 20 November 1629 at Herzberg Castle near Göttingen, Principality of Calenberg, the youngest son of George, Duke of Brunswick-Calenberg and Prince of Calenberg, and Anne Eleonore of Hesse-Darmstadt.

On 30 September 1658, he married Sophia of the Palatinate in Heidelberg.[1] She was the daughter of Frederick V, Elector Palatine and Elizabeth Stuart of England, and granddaughter of King James I of England. Sophia had been betrothed to Ernest Augustus's older brother, George William, who did not want her. When she married Ernest Augustus instead, releasing George William from this obligation, George William ceded to Ernest Augustus his claim to Lüneburg.



As the fourth son, Ernest Augustus had little chance of succeeding his father as ruler. Therefore, the couple had to live in the Leineschloss at the Hanover court of Ernest Augustus' eldest brother Christian Louis. However, in the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, it had been agreed between the Catholic and Protestant powers that the rulership of the Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück should alternate between the two churches, and that the respective Protestant bishops should be members of the House of Welf. When the Osnabruck throne became vacant in 1662, the family appointed Ernest Augustus Prince-Bishop. Ernest Augustus and Sophia moved to Iburg Castle, together with their two living sons and Sophia's niece Princess Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate (future sister-in-law of Louis XIV of France). In 1667 they began to build a more up-to-date residence, Osnabruck Palace, and in 1673 they moved there. Their youngest son was born there in 1674.

Christian Louis died childless in 1665, leaving Lüneburg to the second brother, George William, who had ceded his right to Ernest Augustus, who thus succeeded to that title. George William kept the district of Celle for himself.

In 1679, Ernest Augustus inherited the Principality of Calenberg from the third brother John Frederick. In 1680 the family moved back to Hanover.


Arms of Ernest as Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg 1679–1692
Arms of Ernest August as Elector-designate 1692–1698

In 1683, against the protestations of his five younger sons, Ernest Augustus instituted primogeniture, so that his territory would not be further subdivided after his death, and also as a pre-condition for obtaining the coveted electorship. He participated in the Great Turkish War on the side of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor. In 1692, he was appointed Prince-elector by the Emperor, thus raising the House of Hanover to electoral dignity, the elevation becoming effective in 1708 when confirmed by the Imperial Diet. He was nonetheless recognized as Elector of Hanover, the very first.

Death, succession, and legacy


Ernest Augustus died in 1698 at Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover. He was succeeded as ruler by his eldest son, George Louis, later King George I of Great Britain.

His main residences were the Leineschloss, in Hanover, and the Herrenhausen, a summer residence a short distance outside the city. Ernest Augustus and Sophia had the Great Garden at Herrenhausen enlarged after Italian and Dutch models, creating one of the most distinguished baroque formal gardens of Europe.


Name Birth Death Notes
By his wife, Sophia of the Palatinate
George Louis 28 May 1660 11 June 1727 First, succeeded his mother Sophia as heir presumptive to the throne of Great Britain
Second, succeeded Anne, Queen of Great Britain as King George I of Great Britain, the first member of Britain's Hanoverian dynasty.
Frederick Augustus 3 October 1661 10 June 1691 Died at the Battle of St. Georgen
Stillborn twin sons February 1664 February 1664
Maximilian William 13 December 1666 27 July 1726
Stillborn son 13 December 1666 13 December 1666 Twin of Maximilian
Sophia Charlotte 2 October 1668 21 January 1705 Married King Frederick I of Prussia
Charles Philip 13 October 1669 1 January 1690 Died at the Battle of Pristina
Christian Henry 29 September 1671 31 July 1703 Died during the Battle of Munderkingen when drowned in the Danube
Ernest Augustus 7 September 1674 14 August 1728 Duke of York and Albany
By his mistress, Clara Elisabeth von Platen
Ernest August von Platen 1674 1726 Had issue
Sophie Charlotte von Platen 10 April 1675 1 May 1725 Married 1701 Johann Adolf Baron von Kielmansegg, had issue




  1. ^ Cavendish, Richard. "Sophia of Hanover Dies". History Today, Vol. 64 Issue 6, June 2014
Ernest Augustus, Elector of Hanover
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 20 November 1629 Died: 23 January 1698
Religious titles
Preceded by Administrator of the
Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück

Succeeded by
Regnal titles
Preceded by Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Prince of Calenberg

Succeeded by
Preceded by
New Creation
Elector of Hanover

Succeeded by