Alexander von Mensdorff-Pouilly, Prince Dietrichstein von Nicolsburg

Alexander Konstantin Albrecht Graf von Mensdorff-Pouilly

Lithograph by Josef Kriehuber, 1854
4th Chairman of the Austrian Ministers' Conference
In office
26 June 1865  27 July 1865
Monarch Francis Joseph I
Preceded by Erzherzog Rainer Ferdinand von Österreich
Succeeded by Richard Graf von Belcredi
8th Foreign Minister of the Austrian Empire
In office
27 October 1864  30 October 1866
Preceded by Johann Bernhard Graf von Rechberg und Rothenlöwen
Succeeded by Friedrich Ferdinand Graf von Beust
Personal details
Born (1813-08-04)4 August 1813
Died 14 February 1871(1871-02-14) (aged 57)

Count Alexander Mensdorff-Pouilly (4 August 1813, Coburg – 14 February 1871) was an Austrian general, diplomat and politician, including two years as Minister of Foreign Affairs (1864-1866) and one month's service as Minister-President of Austria. He was a first cousin of Queen Victoria of the UK. Their mothers were sisters.

Early life

He was born as a son of Princess Sophie of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Count Emmanuel von Mensdorff-Pouilly, a member of the House of Mensdorff-Pouilly. He entered the Austrian army in 1829 and was promoted to captain in 1836 and major in 1844. In 1848-49 he fought in the First Italian War of Independence and against the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. In 1849 he was promoted to colonel and the following year to major general. In 1851 he was appointed as the Austrian commissioner to Schleswig-Holstein. In 1852 he became the Austrian ambassador to Russia. Mensdorff-Pouilly was promoted to Feldmarschallleutnant in 1858. During the Polish Uprising of 1863, Mensdorff-Pouilly served as the governor of Austrian Galicia.

Foreign Minister

Mensdorff-Pouilly was appointed as the Austrian Foreign Minister on 23 October 1864. Mensdorff-Pouilly's policies during his tenure as Foreign Minister for Emperor Franz Joseph were often largely a continuation of the conservative traditionalism of Rechberg, his predecessor. Mensdorff, like Rechberg, sought to maintain conservative dominance of the German Confederation through an alliance between Austria and Prussia (in which Prussia was the junior partner), and he steadfastly refused to consider British suggestions that Austria surrender Venetia to Italy.[1] He was also a first cousin of Queen Victoria their mothers being sisters. After Austria's defeat in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Mensdorff-Pouilly resigned his functions in November of that year. After his resignation he was appointed commanding general in Zagreb and Prague.


He married Alexandrine "Aline" von Dietrichstein, heiress of Prince Joseph von Dietrichstein, with whom he had two sons:


  1. F. R. Bridge, The Habsburg Monarchy Among the Great Powers, 1815-1918.
Preceded by
Archduke Rainer Ferdinand of Austria
Minister-President of Austria
Succeeded by
Count Belcredi
Preceded by
Count Rechberg
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Count Beust
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