Joanna of Pfirt

Joanna of Pfirt

Joanna in a medieval stained glass window in Switzerland
Spouse(s) Albert II, Duke of Austria
Noble family House of Habsburg
Father Ulrich III of Pfirt
Mother Joanna of Burgundy
Born 1300
Died 15 November 1351(1351-11-15)

Countess Joanna of Pfirt (1300 – 15 November 1351) was Duchess consort of Austria and a member of the House of Habsburg by marriage. She was the elder daughter of Ulrich III of Pfirt and his wife, Joanna of Burgundy.


Joanna's maternal grandparents were Reginald of Burgundy and his wife Guillemette of Neufchâtel. Reginald was the son of Hugh III, Count of Burgundy and his wife Adelaide, Countess Palatine of Burgundy.

Adelaide was daughter of Otto I, Duke of Merania and his wife Beatrice II, Countess of Burgundy.

Beatrice was a daughter of Otto I, Count of Burgundy and his wife Margaret, Countess of Blois.

Margaret was a daughter of Theobald V, Count of Blois and Alix of France.

Alix herself was the daughter of Louis VII of France and his famous first wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, who later married Henry II of England and was mother to two Kings of England, Richard and John.



When Reginald of Burgundy died in 1322, his daughter, Joanna (Joanna of Pfirt's mother) inherited her father's domains. Joanna and Ulrich had 4 daughters and no sons. When Ulrich died in 1324, Joanna sold her domains (including Belfort) to Albert II, Duke of Austria.[1] Ulrich's surviving legacy was his two surviving daughters Joanna and Ursula.

Joanna's mother was however remarried to Rudolf Hesso, Margrave of Baden-Baden and had two more daughters: Margaret and Adelaide.

When Albert's brother, Leopold I, Duke of Austria found out that the late Count of Pfirt's daughter, Joanna was still unmarried and with the lands of Pfirt, Joanna was an attractive party. He had his brother, Albert who had taken away Joanna's inheritance, marry her.


Joanna married Albert II, Duke of Austria, son of Albert I of Germany and Elisabeth of Gorizia-Tyrol in Vienna on 26 March 1324.

At first the marriage was not very good. Albert and Joanna didn't have children for many years into the marriage and Joanna was not as young as she once was so they needed to have children quickly. The couple did have children earlier on in their marriage, but they were all short-lived, they are all buried in St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna. In total, Albert and Joanna had five short-lived children throughout their marriage. Then Albert had an accident and paralyzed his legs. It seemed impossible after that for Albert and Joanna to ever have surviving children. In 1339, however, when Joanna was in her late thirties, she gave birth to a son and continued to have children.

In total Albert and Joanna had six surviving children:

  1. Rudolf IV, Duke of Austria (November 1, 1339, Vienna July 27, 1365, Milan). Married but line extinct.
  2. Catherine (1342, Vienna 10 January 1381, Vienna), Abbess of St. Klara in Vienna.
  3. Margaret (1346, Vienna 14 January 1366, Brno), married:
    1. in Passau 4 September 1359 Count Meinhard III of Gorizia-Tyrol;
    2. in Vienna 1364 Margrave Johann Heinrich of Moravia.
  4. Frederick III, Duke of Austria (1347, Vienna 1362, Vienna). Died unmarried.
  5. Albert III, Duke of Austria (September 9, 1349, Vienna August 29, 1395, Castle Laxenburg).
  6. Leopold III (November 1, 1351, Vienna July 9, 1386, Sempach).

Joanna was described as wise and prudent.[2] She was said to be politically talented and smart. In 1336, Joanna mediated the peace between the Habsburg family and the House of Luxembourg. The Habsburgs later gained possession of Adria. Through Joanna, Albert and the Habsburgs gained more lands since she was an heiress. Even though there was peace, wars could break out if it promised benefits for Albert and the Habsburgs, whom were growing to be one of the most powerful royal families in Europe. After Albert purchased Carinthia and Carniola, he did not need allies anymore.

Joanna had children unusually late. When she was fifty-one, she gave-birth to her final child, a son, Leopold III, Duke of Austria, and died soon after.[3] She is buried in the Gaming Charterhouse with her husband and daughter-in-law, Elisabeth of Bohemia.


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