Created margraves of Meissen in 1089 and dukes of Saxony in 1423 with the dignity of electors of the Holy Roman Empire, the family also acquired the landgravate of Thuringia in 1263, but divided into two branches in 1485.
The junior Albertine branch ruled as kings of Poland (1697 - 1763) and Saxony (1806 - 1918), and headed the French-backed Duchy of Warsaw (1807 - 1814) after Russian invasion had thwarted its assumption of a hereditary Polish kingship under the Polish Constitution of 1791.
The senior Ernestine branch lost the electorship to the Albertine in 1547, but retained its holdings in Thuringia, dividing the area into a number of smaller states. One of the resulting Ernestine houses, that of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, went on to contribute kings of Belgium (from 1831) and Bulgaria (1908 - 1946), as well as furnishing consorts to queens of Portugal and the United Kingdom (Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria).
As a result of Victoria's marriage, though the British Royal Family's Royal House name was Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the descendants of Victoria and Albert had the personal surname of Wettin until 1917, when both the Royal House name and the personal family surname was changed to Windsor.