Archduchess Maria Carolina of Austria (Maria Carolina Ernestina Antonia Johanna Josefa; 12 January 1740 – 25 January 1741), was the third child and daughter of Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria, later Holy Roman Empress and Duke Francis of Lorraine.
|Archduchess Maria Carolina|
Extract from a portrait of Martin van Meytens, who represented the three daughters of Maria Theresa who died in infancy
|Born||12 January 1740|
Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Archduchy of Austria, Holy Roman Empire
|Died||25 January 1741 (aged 1)|
Vienna, Archduchy of Austria, Holy Roman Empire
|Father||Prince Francis, Duke of Lorraine|
|Mother||Empress Maria Theresa I, Holy Roman Empress|
In Maria Theresa's third pregnancy expectations for a male heir were intense. The disappointment was correspondingly great when, on 12 January 1740, a third daughter was born. She was immediately baptized in the evening of her birth.
After the death of her older sister Maria Elisabeth on 7 June, she became in the second in line of succession, preceded only by her other older sister Maria Anna. Five months later, on 20 October, her grandfather Emperor Charles VI died and her mother inherited the Austrian and Bohemian lands, and with this began the War of the Austrian Succession.
On 24 January 1741 the young Archduchess suddenly became gravely ill with violent seizures, dying around noon of the next day. The cause of death was believed to be either tetany or spasmophilia; however, at the time of her death an autopsy was carried out on the corpse, but no explanation was given for her demise. She was buried in the Maria Theresa Vault at the Imperial Crypt, Vienna.
Two other sisters were named after her: another short-lived one (born and died in 1748) and another (born in 1752), later Queen of Naples and Sicily.