Cecilia Renata of Austria

Cecilia Renata of Austria
Queen of Poland
Tenure 12 September 1637 – 24 March 1644
Coronation 12 September 1637
Born 16 July 1611
Graz, Austria
Died 24 March 1644(1644-03-24) (aged 32)
Vilnius, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Spouse Władysław IV Vasa
Issue Sigismund Casimir
Maria Anna Isabella
House House of Habsburg
Father Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Maria Anna of Bavaria

Archduchess Cecilia Renata of Austria (German: Cäcilia Renata; Polish: Cecylia Renata; 16 July 1611 – 24 March 1644) was Queen of Poland as consort to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's King Władysław IV Vasa.


Cecilia Renata was a daughter of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor, of the House of Habsburg, and Maria Anna of Bavaria. Born in 1611 in Graz, she was chosen as bride by the Polish nobility. She married Władysław on 9 August in Vienna by proxy, and then in Warsaw in person on 12 September 1637, and the same day was crowned at St. John's Cathedral.[1] This was the first royal coronation outside of Kraków, the historic, former capital of Poland, and this greatly angered the Polish nobility. A law was instigated to reserve coronations to Kraków in 1638.

Queen Cecilia Renata by Frans Luycx

Young and energetic, she soon began organising the royal court to her liking. She was popular, especially for her politeness. One noble wrote in his memoirs that she insisted other women sit with her, even though she was queen. Cecilia could not remove her husband's mistress, Hedwig Łuszkowska, by herself, so she arranged a marriage between Hedwig and Starosta Merecki, John Wypyski. In 1638, Cecilia and Władysław visited Vienna.

Cecilia advocated the Habsburg and pro-Catholic point of view and allied herself with the pro-Habsburg faction of chancellor Jerzy Ossoliński and pro-Catholic Albrycht Stanisław Radziwiłł. Her political opponent at the court was the faction of Adam Kazanowski, whose influence over King Władysław, his childhood friend, diminished after her marriage. Kazanowski was allied with Chancellor Piotr Gembicki, who thus became one of her opponents. Her influence was strong for the first 2–3 years of marriage, and she had much to say about the royal nominations for important official positions. After 1638/1639 when Władysław realised that Habsburgs were prepared to give him little assistance, her power waned, and he started to disregard her advice.

Cecilia kept in contact with her brothers and continued an intimate attachment with them; she also became friends with her sister-in-law Anna Catherine. She enjoyed music, concerts, theatre performances and this may have greatly influenced her husband, who was one of the founders of Polish national theatre and brought many famous and well-known artists and performers from all around Europe to the country.

During her marriage she became pregnant three times: Her first child, a son Sigismund Casimir was born on 1 April 1640 and died aged seven, on 9 August 1647; her second child, a daughter Maria Anna Isabella was born on 8 January 1642 and died one month later, on 7 February 1642. On 23 March 1644 Cecilia Renata gave birth her third child, a stillborn daughter.[2] She died next day as a consequence of an infection, likely related to her recent childbirth. Following her sudden death, Cecilia Renata was deeply mourned by both Władysław and the Royal Polish court. She also left a good impression on the public, mostly for her piety and good will.



  1. Podhorodecki, Leszek (1985). Wazowie w Polsce. Warszawa: Ludowa Spółdzielnia Wydawnicza. pp. 264–265. ISBN 83-205-3639-1.
  2. S. Ochmann-Staniszewska, Dynastia Wazów w Polsce, Warsaw 2006, p. 141.

See also

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Cecilia Renata of Austria
Born: 16 July 1611 Died: 24 March 1644
Royal titles
Preceded by
Constance of Austria
Queen consort of Poland
Grand Duchess consort of Lithuania

Succeeded by
Marie Louise Gonzaga
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