Schloss Rosenau is a former castle, converted into a ducal country house, near the town of Rödental. Schloss Rosenau was the birthplace and boyhood home of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who, in 1840, became the husband and consort of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
The main fabric of the Rosenau is a medieval structure which was first built at some time before 1439. For three centuries the estate was owned by the Rosenau family. In 1704, the Rosenau family finally lost the property when it was sold as a summer residence to the Austrian Freiherr Ferdinand Johann Adam von Pernau (1660-1731), who had been a member of the Privy Council of Albert V, Duke of Saxe-Coburg. Pernau was a pioneering student of bird behaviour. As a long-term experiment, he released a large number of young common chaffinches in and around Rosenau between 1704 and 1720, after first teaching them to sing like tree pipits.
In 1731, after Pernau's death, the estate was bought by Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Due to the debts of a successor, the Rosenau passed out of the family, but in 1805 Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, bought it back as a summer residence for his own son and heir, Ernest, who later became Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Between 1808 and 1817 the main house was fully renovated and reconstructed in the Gothic Revival style. Its Marble Hall (Marmorsaal), with three aisles, takes up half of the ground floor and is so called from its decoration with grey marble. At the same time as the reconstruction of the house, the park was redesigned in the style of an English garden.
In the park are an orangery, a 'Tournament Column' sun-dial, the ruins of a hermitage, and waters called the Swan Lake and the Prince's Pond.
At each end of the Rosenau, Schinkel added crow-stepped gables of an early Gothic style. The windows took on a later Gothic form, while small balconies and coats of arms in stone were added to decorate the main front. The principal tower, which in 1700 had been topped by a domed Welsche Haube, similar to an onion dome, was crenellated, while a ruined tower was left in romantic ruins.
On 26 August 1819, Ernest's first wife, Princess Louise, gave birth in the house to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819 – 1861). In 1840, he became the husband of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.
The last reigning Duke, Charles Edward, whose father had been Victoria and Albert's youngest son, Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, abdicated on 14 November 1918, a few days after the end of the First World War. On 7 June 1919, he concluded with the new Free State of Coburg a termination agreement on his assets in Coburg, receiving some 1,500,000 Marks for about 4,500 hectares of land and for various art treasures and buildings, including Rosenau.
From 1941, during the Second World War, the house was used as accommodation for the Reichsarbeitsdienst (National Labour Service). In 1945, it became a convalescent home of the Commission for Refugees, and from 1948 was a nursing home for more than twenty years. The house was then empty for a few years, before in 1972 the Free State of Bavaria bought it, by now in a poor condition, with the aim of restoring it.
This restoration work took place in 1985–90. It aimed at returning the house, both in external appearance and in the division of the rooms, to the condition it was in when Victoria and Albert stayed here. To that purpose, watercolours of the Rosenau at Windsor Castle were used.
The Rosenau is now in the care of the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen (Bavarian Administration of State Palaces, Gardens, and Lakes), a department of the state government of Bavaria. Since 1990, the house and its landscape park have been open to the public.
All rooms on the lower two floors of the house are open to visitors. A small eleven-sided library is decorated with paintings of Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué's The Travels of Thiodolf the Icelander. During the Grand Duchess Maria's era it was used as the Russian Orthodox chapel. Each summer, there is a program of concerts in the Marble Hall.
Upstairs, the other principal rooms have brightly decorated walls and Biedermeier furniture. Among the remaining family heirlooms is a cradle that is said to have been Prince Albert's.
The orangery building used to house the Museum Of Modern Glass (Europäisches Museum für modernes Glas), a museum of modern art glass.References:
The Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is situated in a strategic area on a rocky spur overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain, it was used by successive powers from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years' War when it was abandoned. From 1900 to 1908 it was rebuilt at the behest of the German kaiser Wilhelm II. Today it is a major tourist site, attracting more than 500,000 visitors a year.
The first records of a castle built by the Hohenstaufens date back to 1147. The fortress changed its name to Koenigsburg (royal castle) around 1157. The castle was handed over to the Tiersteins by the Habsburgs following its destruction in 1462. They rebuilt and enlarged it, installing a defensive system designed to withstand artillery fire.
The fortification work accomplished over the 15th century did not suffice to keep the Swedish artillery at bay during the Thirty Years War, and the defences were overrun.