Archduchess Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este

Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este
Electress of Bavaria

Archduchess Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este (1776-1848), Electress of Bavaria (wife of Prince Elector Carl Theodor of Bavaria).
Born (1776-12-10)10 December 1776
Milan, Duchy of Milan
Died 23 June 1848(1848-06-23) (aged 71)
Spouse Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria
Count Ludwig Arco
Issue Count Aloys Nikolaus
Count Maximilian Joseph
Countess Caroline
House House of Austria-Este
House of Wittelsbach
Father Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este
Mother Maria Beatrice Ricciarda d'Este

Archduchess Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este (December 10, 1776 – June 23, 1848) was the second wife of Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria.


Early life

Maria Leopoldine was born in Milan, the second eldest daughter of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este and of his wife, Princess Maria Beatrice Ricciarda d'Este.

Marriages and issue

In August 1795, Maria Leopoldine was forced to marry Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria, who was 52 years older. The marriage was arranged with the hope that it would result in a son and heir for the senior line of the House of Wittelsbach, but Maria Leopoldine rejected sexual contact with her husband. Instead, she started to take lovers, among them Maximilian of Palatinate-Zweibrücken and Maximilian von Montgelas. She was described as terrorizing her spouse in front of the Bavarian court. She chose herself to make an alliance with the House of Palatinate-Zweibrücken in opposition to the alliance her husband had forged with her own Habsburg family. When her spouse was dying in 1799, she helped his heir Maximilian of Palatinate-Zweibrücken arrange for his succession and retired to Berg Castle at Lake Starnberg, where she soon became known for a libertine lifestyle with permissive parties. She became pregnant and was exiled to Laibach for some time. Later she became very wealthy through the management of her Bavarian manor in Stepperg.

Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este as Countess of Arco, with her sons Aloys and Maximilian.

On 14 November 1804 in Munich, Maria Leopoldine married Count Ludwig Arco. They had three children:

In 1848, Maria Leopoldine was traveling by carriage from Munich to Vienna. Her carriage overturned near Wasserburg am Inn and she was killed. She left a fortune of 15 million florins to her two sons.[1]


 Electorate of Bavaria : Sovereign of the Order of Saint Elizabeth (feminine order)



  1. The Gentleman's Magazine (1848): 334.


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