Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily

Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily (6 June 1772 – 13 April 1807) was the last Holy Roman Empress and the first Empress of Austria by marriage to Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor. She was the eldest daughter of Ferdinand IV & III of Naples and Sicily (later Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies) (1751–1825) and Marie Caroline of Austria (1752–1814).

Maria Theresa of Naples
Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily, Holy Roman Empress
Holy Roman Empress,
Queen consort of the Romans
Tenure 1 March 1792 – 6 August 1806
Tenure 11 August 1804 – 2 March 1807
Born 6 June 1772
Royal Palace, Naples
Died 13 April 1807 (aged 34)
Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria
Burial Imperial Crypt, Vienna, Austria
Spouse Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
Issue
Detail
Full name
Maria Teresa Carolina Giuseppina di Borbone
House Bourbon-Two Sicilies
Father Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
Mother Maria Carolina of Austria
Religion Roman Catholicism

Life

Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily - miniature Hofburg
Maria Theresa of Naples as a young child

Born Maria Teresa, and named after her maternal grandmother Maria Theresa of Austria, she was the eldest of 17 children born to her parents, the King and Queen of Naples and Sicily. She was her mother's favourite child from birth until she left the Neapolitan court to marry.

In February 1790, Duchess Elisabeth of Württemberg, it was announced that Archduke Francis of Austria would marry one of the princesses of Naples. This was in accordance with the traditional Habsburg marriage policy. Maria Theresa and her sister Princess Luisa of Naples and Sicily where both considered for the match. In the end, Luisa was chosen to marry Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany instead, and Maria Theresa selected to marry Francis.

Empress

Josef Kreutzinger - Kaiserliche Familie
Maria Theresa with her husband and children.

On 15 September 1790 she married her double first cousin Archduke Francis of Austria, who would later become Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, and then Emperor Francis I of Austria.

The marriage is described as a happy one, despite differences in personality. While Francis was described as a melancholic character, shy and reserved, serious and with a preference for a spartan lifestyle and duty, and with a pale and haggard appearance. Maria Theresa, on the other hand, was described as a vivacious personality with a hot temper and with a sensual nature. To her appearance, she was viewed as a gracious blue eyed blonde with full lips, though to big of a nose. Despite these differences in appearance and personality, however, they where reported to have a good understanding of each other and have a very good relationship.

Maria Theresa reportedly accustomed well with her new home in Vienna and did not suffer from homesickness. She loved entertainment, and participated with enthusiasm in court life, and it was noted that she enjoyed dancing, participating in every carnival ball at court even while being pregnant. She particularly enjoyed the Waltz, which was recently introduced as an innovation during her life in Vienna and became fashionable during her time as empress.

Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp described the view of Maria Theresa and the relationship between the couple in her famous diary during her visit to Vienna in 1798–99:

The Empress is reputed to be so jealous that she does not allow him to take part in social life or meet other women. Vicious tongues accuse her of being so passionate that she exhausts her consort and never leaves him alone even for a moment. Although the people of Vienna cannot deny that she is gifted, charitable and carries herself beautifully, she is disliked for her intolerance and for forcing the Emperor to live isolated from everyone. She is also accused of interesting herself in unimportant matters and socializing exclusively with her lady-companions. With them she spends her evenings singing, acting out comedies and being applauded.[1]

In February 1799, her seeming indifference to the revolution against her parents in Naples attracted some disfavour in Vienna.[2] Hedwig Elisabeth Charlotte also recounts a scene described to her by a foreigner, who bribed his way into the private park at Laxenburg and came to witness a scene between the couple:

"He saw the Emperor sitting on a bench, alone in his thoughts. Immediately, the Empress came to fetch him, and he exlaimed: "Can't you ever leave me alone, so that I may breathe for one moment? For God's sake, don't follow me around all the time."[3]

Empress Maria Theresa was interested in politics and cam to play a certain role in state affairs due to her influence over her spouse, to whom she acted as an adviser. She was a conservative force and belonged to the critics of Napoleon I, and was reported to have encouraged Francis in an anti-French position during the Napoleon Wars. She has also been pointed out for being partially responsible for the dismissal of Johann Baptist Freiherr von Schloissnigg and Graf Franz Colloredo.

An important patron of Viennese music, she commissioned many compositions for official and private use. Joseph Haydn wrote his Te Deum for chorus and orchestra at her request. He also composed numerous masses to celebrate her reign. Her favourite composers included Paul Wranitzky and Joseph Leopold Eybler, a composer of sacred music.

She died due to complications after her last premature childbirth.

Issue

Children of Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily
Name Picture Birth Death Notes
By Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
Archduchess Marie Louise Jean-Baptiste Isabey 003 12 December 1791 17 December 1847 (aged 56) Married first Emperor Napoleon I of France, had issue, married second Adam, count of Neipperg, had issue, married third to Charles, Count of Bombelles, no issue.
Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria Kaiser Ferdinand I von %C3%96sterreich in ungarischer Adjustierung mit Ordensschmuck c1830 19 April 1793 29 June 1875 (aged 82) Married Maria Anna of Savoy, Princess of Sardinia, no issue.
Archduchess Maria Caroline 8 June 1794 16 March 1795 (aged 0) Died in childhood, no issue.
Archduchess Caroline Ludovika 22 December 1795 30 June 1797 (aged 1) Died in childhood, no issue.
Archduchess Caroline Josepha Leopoldine Maria Leopoldina 1815 22 January 1797 11 December 1826 (aged 29) Renamed Maria Leopoldina upon her marriage; married Pedro I of Brazil, had issue.
Archduchess Maria Clementina Franziska Josepha Maria Clementine Austria Salerno 1798 1881 1 March 1798 3 September 1881 (aged 83) Married her maternal uncle Leopold, Prince of Salerno, had issue.
Archduke Joseph Franz Leopold JosephFranzofAustria 9 April 1799 30 June 1807 (aged 8) Died some weeks after his mother in childhood, no issue.
Archduchess Marie Caroline 1801 MKaroline 8 April 1801 22 May 1832 (aged 31) Married Crown Prince (later King) Frederick Augustus II of Saxony, no issue.
Archduke Franz Karl Waldm%C3%BCller Erzherzog Franz Carl 1839 17 December 1802 8 March 1878 (aged 75) married Princess Sophie of Bavaria; father of Franz Joseph I of Austria and Maximilian I of Mexico.
Archduchess Marie Anna Maria Anna 1804 8 June 1804 28 December 1858 (aged 54) Born intellectually disabled (like her eldest brother, Emperor Ferdinand I) and to have suffered from a severe facial deformity. Died unmarried.
Archduke Johann Nepomuk 30 August 1805 19 February 1809 (aged 3) Died in childhood, no issue.
Archduchess Amalie Theresa 6 April 1807 9 April 1807 (aged 0) Died in childhood, no issue.

Titles and styles

  • 6 June 1772 – 15 September 1790: Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily
  • 15 September 1790 – 1 March 1792: Her Royal Highness Archduchess Francis of Austria
  • 1 March 1792 – 11 August 1804: Her Imperial Majesty The Holy Roman Empress, German Queen, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia
    • simplified: Her Imperial Majesty The Holy Roman Empress
  • 11 August 1804 – 6 August 1806: Her Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty The Holy Roman Empress, Empress of Austria, German Queen, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia
  • 6 August 1806 – 13 April 1807: Her Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty The Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia

Ancestry

Ancestors of Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily
16. Louis, Dauphin of France
8. Philip V of Spain
17. Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria
4. Charles III of Spain
18. Odoardo Farnese, Hereditary Prince of Parma
9. Elisabeth Farnese
19. Dorothea Sophie of Neuburg
2. Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
20. Augustus II of Poland
10. Augustus III of Poland
21. Christiane Eberhardine of Bayreuth
5. Maria Amalia of Saxony
22. Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor
11. Maria Josepha of Austria
23. Wilhelmine Amalia of Brunswick
1. Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily
24. Charles V, Duke of Lorraine
12. Leopold, Duke of Lorraine
25. Eleanor of Austria
6. Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
26. Philippe I, Duke of Orléans
13. Élisabeth Charlotte of Orléans
27. Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate
3. Maria Carolina of Austria
28. Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
14. Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor
29. Eleonor Magdalene of Neuburg
7. Maria Theresa of Austria
30. Louis Rudolph, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
15. Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick
31. Christine Louise of Oettingen

References

  1. ^ Charlottas, Hedvig Elisabeth (1927) [1797-1799]. af Klercker, Cecilia, ed. Hedvig Elisabeth Charlottas dagbok [The diary of Hedvig Elizabeth Charlotte] (in Swedish). VI 1797-1799. Translated by Cecilia af Klercker. Stockholm: P.A. Norstedt & Söners förlag. pp. 160–61. OCLC 14111333. (search for all versions on WorldCat)
  2. ^ Charlottas, Hedvig Elisabeth (1927) [1797-1799]. af Klercker, Cecilia, ed. Hedvig Elisabeth Charlottas dagbok [The diary of Hedvig Elizabeth Charlotte] (in Swedish). VI 1797-1799. Translated by Cecilia af Klercker. Stockholm: P.A. Norstedt & Söners förlag. pp. 171–72. OCLC 14111333. (search for all versions on WorldCat)
  3. ^ Charlottas, Hedvig Elisabeth (1927) [1797-1799]. af Klercker, Cecilia, ed. Hedvig Elisabeth Charlottas dagbok [The diary of Hedvig Elizabeth Charlotte] (in Swedish). VI. Translated by Cecilia af Klercker. Stockholm: P.A. Norstedt & Söners förlag. pp. 171–72. OCLC 14111333. (search for all versions on WorldCat)
  • This article is based on its equivalent on German Wikipedia

Literature

  • Richard Reifenscheid, Die Habsburger in Lebensbildern, Piper 2006
  • John A. Rice, Empress Marie Therese and Music at the Viennese Court, 1792–1807, Cambridge 2003
  • Friedrich Weissensteiner: Frauen auf Habsburgs Thron – die österreichischen Kaiserinnen, Ueberreuter Wien, 1998, ISBN 3-8000-3709-2

External links

Media related to Maria Teresa of the Two Sicilies at Wikimedia Commons

Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily
Cadet branch of the House of Bourbon
Born: 6 June 1772 Died: 13 April 1807
German royalty
Preceded by
Maria Luisa of Spain
Holy Roman Empress
1792–1806
Holy Roman Empire
dissolved
Queen of the Romans
1792–1806
Vacant
Title next held by
Augusta of Saxe-Weimar
as German Empress
Archduchess consort of Austria
1792–1807
Succeeded by
Maria Ludovika of Austria-Este
Queen consort of Hungary and Bohemia
1792–1807
New title
Creation of Austrian Empire
Empress consort of Austria
1804–1807

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