Alexandra Louise Olga Victoria was born at Rosenau Castle, Coburg, on 1 September 1878 and was the fourth child and third daughter of Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and Maria Alexandrovna of Russia.
Known as Sandra in the family, Alexandra spent the early part of her childhood in England and in Malta where her father was stationed with the Royal Navy, but Alexandra and her siblings moved with their mother to Coburg when the duke was posted to Devonport. In 1893, Ernst II died without issue and since his brother, Albert, was already dead and Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, had already renounced the title, Alfred became Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Alexandra lived in the shadow of her older sisters, Marie and Victoria Melita, who were considered more beautiful. Alexandra and her sisters had been raised principally by their mother whose main aim was to marry her daughters as young as possible before they started thinking for themselves. In 1895, Alexandra found herself engaged to Prince Ernst of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, the grandson of Feodora of Leiningen, the older half-sister of Queen Victoria. The duke did not care for his wife’s choice of husband, believing he was too low ranked for his daughter and Queen Victoria argued her granddaughter was far too young, however Maria Alexandrovna got her way and the marriage went ahead as planned on 20 April 1896 in Coburg.
Alexandra and Ernst went on to have five children and remained in Germany for the rest of their lives. After the death of Alexandra’s older brother, Affie, the duke appointed his nephew, Charles Edward, the posthumous son of Prince Leopold, as his heir, but he was still only sixteen when the duke died of cancer in 1900. Ernst acted as regent until Charles Edward reached his majority but the duchy was eventually abolished after the First World War.
In the years leading up to the Second World War, both Alexandra and Ernst supported the Nazi Party, becoming members in 1937, along with several of their children. During the war, Alexandra’s health began to deteriorate and she died on 16 April 1942 at Schwäbisch Hall, Germany.