Caroline Augusta of Bavaria

Princess Caroline Augusta
Crown Princess of Württemberg
Empress consort of Austria
Tenure 29 October 1816 – 2 March 1835
Born (1792-02-08)8 February 1792
Mannheim, Electoral Palatinate
Died 9 February 1873(1873-02-09) (aged 81)
Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Spouse William, Crown Prince of Württemberg
Francis I of Austria
House Wittelsbach
Father Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria
Mother Princess Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt
Religion Roman Catholicism

Princess Caroline Augusta of Bavaria (German: Karoline Auguste von Bayern; Mannheim, 8 February 1792 – 9 February 1873 in Vienna) was a daughter of Maximilian I Joseph, King of Bavaria (1756–1825) and his wife, Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt (1765–1796), and a member of the House of Wittelsbach. She was married to Crown Prince William of Württemberg, whom she divorced, and to Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor. From 1816–1835, she was Empress of Austria in her second marriage.

First marriage

On 8 June 1808, at Munich, Caroline Augusta married Crown Prince William (1781–1864) becoming Crown Princess of Württemberg. They had no children and were divorced on 31 August 1814.

Her first marriage was arranged to avoid a political marriage arranged by Napoleon. After the marriage ceremony, her spouse said to her: We are victims to politics. She spent her time writing letters to her brother Louis, and learning Italian and English. The couple never bonded with each other and the marriage was finally annulled by Pope Pius VII to enable both of them to make remarriages that were valid in the Catholic Church. At the time of the annulment, it was claimed by them that they had lived separately in the palace and that the marriage was never been consummated.

Second marriage

After the annulment of her marriage, Caroline Augusta was considered as a bride for both the Emperor Francis II and his younger brother, Ferdinand. Later, Ferdinand withdrew his proposal and Caroline August became the Emperor's bride.

On 29 October 1816, Caroline Augusta married Francis II, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia.[1] She became the fourth wife of the emperor, who was 24 years older than her and had fathered thirteen children by two of his previous wives. The English diplomat Frederick Lamb called the new empress "ugly, clever and amiable," and the emperor her husband had this to say of her: "She can stand a push, the other was nothing but air."[2] The wedding, and indeed their married life, was very simple due to the strict economy favoured by the Emperor. Prior to this marriage, Caroline Augusta has always been known as Charlotte, but now she began using the name Caroline.

This marriage, which lasted until the emperor's death almost 20 years later, was harmonious but remained childless. She became popular in Austria and was active in social work; she founded several hospitals and residences for the poor. After the death of her spouse in 1835, she moved to Salzburg and lived there in quiet dignity until her own death nearly four decades later. The dowager empress died in February 1873, on the day after her 81st birthday.

Like her husband Francis II, who was devoted to his family and exhorted his heir in his last testament to "Preserve unity in the family and regard it as one of the highest goods," Caroline Augusta also was close to her relatives, especially her sister and niece who were also married into the imperial family. She was good friends with her half-sister, the Archduchess Sophie, who was married in 1824 to Caroline's step-son Archduke Franz Karl of Austria and would become the mother of two emperors. She was also close to her half-niece, the Empress Elisabeth, who was Sophie's niece and daughter-in-law.

A pearl brooch formerly owned by Caroline Augusta was auctioned at Sotheby's in 2012.[3]

Titles and styles



  1. Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. Frederick Lamb to his mother, 31 October 1816, in British Library, Add. MS. 45546, f. 156v.
  3. "Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels" (PDF).
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Caroline Augusta of Bavaria
Born: 8 February 1792 Died: 9 February 1873
German royalty
Preceded by
Maria Ludovika of Austria-Este, Princess of Modena
Empress consort of Austria
Queen consort of Bohemia

Succeeded by
Maria Anna of Sardinia
Queen consort of Hungary
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