Archduchess Eleanor of Austria (1582–1620)

Portrait of Archduchess Eleanor, by Frans Pourbus the younger, ca. 1603.

Eleanor of Austria (25 September 1582 – 28 January 1620), was an Austrian princess and a member of the House of Habsburg.

She was the daughter of Archduke Charles II of Austria, the son of Emperor Ferdinand I, and Maria Anna of Bavaria. Her elder brother Archduke Ferdinand, succeeded as Holy Roman Emperor in 1619.


Born in Graz and like all of her siblings, Eleanor suffered of the famous Habsburg inferior lip.[1] She was regarded as intelligent but moody, mainly for her frail health after suffered from smallpox in her childhood.

Together with her sisters Gregoria Maximiliana and Margaret, Eleanor was a prospective bride for the future King Philip III of Spain. After the portraits of the three sisters were sent to the Spanish court, Eleanor however wasn't selected.[2] After this, she was involved in marriage projects with several Italian princes, but all were dashed.

Finally, together with her sister Maria Christina (who returned to Austria after her disastrous marriage), in 1607 Eleanor took the veil in the Haller Convent (Haller Damenstift) in Hall in Tirol,[3] where she died aged thirty-seven, after spent her last years blind. Eleanor was buried in the Haller Jesuit Church (Haller Jesuitenkirche).



  1. German Society for Racial Hygiene, Archiv für Rassen- und Gesellschafts-Biologie, einschliesslich Rassen- und Gesellschafts-Hygiene, vol. VIII, p. 779. On-line
  2. Karl Acham, Kunst und Geisteswissenschaften aus Graz, vol. II, Böhlau Verlag Wien, 2009, p. 88.
  3. Jahrbuch fur Europaische Geschichte 2007, vol. VIII, Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, 2007, p. 35. On-line
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