Maria Leopoldine of Austria

For the Empress of Brazil, see Maria Leopoldina of Austria.
Maria Leopoldine of Austria

Portrait by by Lorenzo Lippi, 1649.
Holy Roman Empress; German Queen;
Queen consort of Hungary and Bohemia;
Archduchess consort of Austria
Tenure 2 July 1648 – 19 August 1649
Born (1632-11-28)28 November 1632
Innsbruck, Tyrol
Died 19 August 1649(1649-08-19) (aged 16)
Vienna, Austria
Spouse Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor
Issue Archduke Charles Joseph of Austria
House Habsburg
Father Leopold V, Archduke of Further Austria
Mother Claudia de' Medici
Religion Roman Catholicism

Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Tyrol (28 November 1632 19 August 1649),[1] was by birth Archduchess of Austria and member of the Tyrolese branch of the House of Habsburg and by marriage the second spouse of her first cousin, Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III. As such, she was Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, German Queen and Queen consort of Hungary and Bohemia. She died in childbirth.


Early years

Maria Leopoldine was born in Innsbruck[2] on 28 November 1632 as the third (but second surviving) daughter and the fifth and youngest child of Leopold V, Archduke of Further Austria, and Claudia de' Medici. She was born posthumously, because her father died two months before her birth, on 13 September 1632.[2][3] On her father's side, her grandparents were Charles II, Archduke of Inner Austria and his wife Princess Maria Anna of Bavaria and on her mother's side her grandparents were Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and his wife Princess Christina of Lorraine.[4] In addition to her full-siblings, she had and older half-sister, Vittoria della Rovere, born from her mother's first marriage with Federico Ubaldo della Rovere, Duke of Urbino.[5]

Maria Leopoldine's oldest brother, Ferdinand Charles, inherited Further Austria, but Dowager Archduchess Claudia assumed regency because of her son's minority. In a letter written to his mother, Elizabeth of England, on 8 September 1641, Charles Louis of the Palatinate (later Elector Palatine) described the intentions of his uncle, King Charles I of England, and Maria Leopoldine's first cousin, Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III, to arrange a marriage between the 9-years-old Archduchess and himself; the marriage between them was to end "all grudges betweene our families".[6] However, the union never took place.

Marriage and death

Maria Leopoldine's coffin at the Imperial Crypt, Vienna.

In Linz on 2 July 1648 Maria Leopoldine married the widowed Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III, thereby becoming empress of the Holy Roman Empire, Queen of the Germans, Queen of Hungary and Queen of Bohemia. The wedding ceremony was splendid;[7] The composer Andreas Rauch celebrated the marriage as "anticipating (with the help of Divine Providence) the most beautiful end of the Thirty Years' war"[8] and an opera titled I Trifoni d'Amore, produced by Giovanni Felice Sances, was meant to commemorate the event, but the Prague premiere was canceled at the last moment when King Vladislaus IV of Poland (Ferdinand III's brother-in-law) died within two months of the wedding; the planned Pressburg performance apparently never took place.[8] The new Empress was as closely related to her husband as her cousin and predecessor, Maria Anna of Spain; both marriages were means by which the House of Habsburg, from time to time, reinforced itself.[9]

Soon after her wedding, Maria Leopoldine became pregnant, and was depicted as such in the 1649 painting by the Italian painter and poet Lorenzo Lippi. The Imperial couple's only child, Archduke Charles Joseph of Austria, was born on 7 August 1649.[10] The childbirth was extremely difficult, ending in the death of the 16-year-old Empress.[11] Her husband remarried within two years, while their son died childless aged 15.[2][8][12] She is buried in tomb 21 in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna. The writer Wolf Helmhardt von Hohberg, then at the beginning of his career, sent to Emperor Ferdinand III a poem written in honour of the late Empress, called "Poem of tears" (de: Klag-Gedicht).[13]



  1. Hartland 1854, p. 84.
  2. 1 2 3 Wurzbach 1861, p. 52.
  3. Hartland 1854, p. 69.
  4. Lundy, Darryl (20 February 2010). Maria Leopoldina Erzherzogin von Österreich. ThePeerage.Com. cites Louda, Jirí; MacLagan, Michael (1999). Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe (2nd ed.). London, U.K.: Little, Brown and Company. table 80.
  5. Lundy, Darryl (20 February 2010). Claudia de Medici, Principessa di Toscana. ThePeerage.Com. cites Louda, Jirí; MacLagan, Michael (1999). Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe (2nd ed.). London, U.K.: Little, Brown and Company. table 80.
  6. Akkerman, Nadine (2011). The Correspondence of Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199551081.
  7. Barthold, Friedrich Wilhelm (1843). Geschichte des großen deutschen Krieges vom Tode Gustav Adolfs. Liesching. ISBN 1409421198.
  8. 1 2 3 Weaver, Andrew H. (2012). Sacred Music as Public Image for Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III: Representing the Counter-Reformation Monarch at the End of the Thirty Years' War. Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 1409421198.
  9. Wedgwood, Cicely Veronica (1967). The thirty years war. Jonathan Cape.
  10. Hartland 1854, p. 24.
  11. Coxe, William (1807). History of the House of Austria, from the Foundation of the Monarchy by Rhodolph of Hapsburgh, to the Death of Leopold the Second.
  12. Martin Mutschlechner: Ferdinand III - Ehen und Nachkommen in: [retrieved 03 November 2016].
  13. Kunisch, Hermann (1971). Literarisches Jahrbuch. Duncker & Humblot.

Further reading

Maria Leopoldine of Austria
Born: 28 November 1632 Died: 19 August 1649
Royal titles
Preceded by
Maria Anna of Spain
Empress of the Holy Roman Empire
German Queen, Archduchess consort of Austria

Title next held by
Eleanor of Mantua
Queen consort of Hungary and Bohemia
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