Archduchess Eleanor of Austria

Eleanor of Austria
Duchess of Mantua and Montferrat
Born (1534-11-02)2 November 1534
Died 5 August 1594(1594-08-05) (aged 59)
Spouse William I, Duke of Mantua
Issue Vincent I, Duke of Mantua
Margherita, Duchess consort of Ferrara
Anna Caterina, Archduchess of Austria
House House of Habsburg (by birth)
House of Gonzaga (by marriage)
Father Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Anna of Bohemia and Hungary

Archduchess Eleanor of Austria (2 November 1534 – 5 August 1594) was the daughter of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary.


Eleanor as a child

Eleanor was the eighth child and sixth daughter out of fifteen children born to Archduke Ferdinand of Austria (before his election as Holy Roman Emperor) and his wife Anna of Bohemia and Hungary. She was a sister of Johanna of Austria, who married Francesco I de' Medici, thus making Eleonora the aunt of Marie de' Medici, Queen of France.

Marriage and children

She married William I, Duke of Mantua on 26 April 1561. Their children were:

At about age 5, Eleanor's daughter Anne Catherine became severely ill and nearly died. She contracted a high fever and her extremities began to swell. For two years she was ill. Finally Eleanor and William appealed to the Virgin Mary with deep prayer, promising to raise Anne as a child of Mary if she lived on. Soon Anne became healthy again. Eleanor and William told their daughter of the Virgin Mary's intervention on her behalf and the promise they had made. From there out Eleanor educated and guided Anne Catherine in the cultivation of devotion to Mary. Throughout childhood Anne Catherine displayed a consistent sense of piety.

Eleonora died on 5 August 1594 at the age of 59, she had been a widow since 1587 when her husband died. She was one of the last children of Ferdinand and Anna alive at the time, the only other sibling alive at the time of her death was her brother Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria who only died one year later.


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