Herzog Ignaz von der Pfalz-Kognat-Obersayn is the son of Karl Moritz von der Pfalz (1671-1702), who was created Duke of Pfalz-Kognat-Obersayn in 1693 by Emperor Leopold I, after the Gallian devastation of Heidelberg during the War of Palatine Succession, with the notion of offering a union between the young, Protestant, Karl Moritz and the Princess Palatine’s daughter Elisabeth Charlotte (1676-1744) with the duchy itself as the brideprice to be paid to Monsieur, with a view to eventually permitting its reunion into Gallian sovereignty.
Unfortunately, the deal fell apart upon Elisabeth Charlotte’s failure to recognize Duke Karl Moritz as a nobleman (due to his morganatic parentage) at their prenuptial introduction and subsequent refusal—supported by her redoubtable mother—to go through with the match. The scandal was smoothed over by Karl Moritz’s appointment to a position as aide-de-camp to the army of the Emperor in Hungary, a tenure which included service to both Ludwig von Baden and Prince Eugene of Savoy, and the subsequent marriage of Elisabeth Charlotte to the significantly wealthier Duke of Lorraine.
In Hungary, Karl Moritz embraced Catholicism and was married in 1694 to the Countess Vittoria von Thurn und Taxis, just before the elevation of her family to princely rank which would have placed her, and her sizable dowry, beyond Duke Karl's reach. After the Habsburg victory at Zenta, Duke Karl and his new bride returned to the Rheinland to commence the reconstruction of the devastated lands of his duchy, a task completely overthrown by the outbreak of the War of Spanish Succession. The combined strain of reconstruction, the threat of Gallian occupation, excessive snuff and the rich food provided by his wife's Italian chefs proved too much for Duke Karl Moritz, and he died in 1702, assisting the Imperial army at the siege of Kaiserswerth.
His eldest son, Ignaz, born in 1695, was educated in Vienna as a ward of the Emperor, served as an aide-de-camp to Prinz Eugen as well, and came into his inheritance in 1716. He now carries on his father’s vision of a reconstructed duchy important enough to merit notice in its own right, not in the continous confusion with the other Wittelsbach families under which it now labours.