Author Topic: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family  (Read 206733 times)

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Offline Norbert

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #60 on: May 15, 2008, 11:33:41 AM »
Marie Anna built the Bischofliche Residencz in 1776 and bur in St Elisabeth's church next door. Philanthropic and enlightened, she was connected to the Masonic Lodge that bears her name.

Offline Prince_Christopher

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #61 on: June 18, 2008, 10:30:21 AM »
Yes. You're right, I think. This is a very nice picture!! It's a pity that Archduchess Maria Elisabeth got an illness and because of her looks then could not marry anymore, I have read that she had been very beautiful before! A pity! At least she survived the illness, many did not...

I have never quite understood this.  A talented, educated archduchess, a daughter of the empress, should have been able to find a husband.  I understand that because of smallpox, her face was disfigured, but was it so horribly so that no man would consider her for a bride? Or was it more like her mother removed her from the marriage market, considering the girl "damaged." 
Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing.
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Offline britt.25

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #62 on: June 21, 2008, 01:55:47 AM »
Might it be that it was not important enough or anymore that Archduchesses like Maria Anna and Maria Elisabeth married because empress Maria Theresia already made enough good matches with the other daughters??  It's horrible but they only thought politically at that time, imperial daughters only were child-machines and a thing to improve the political relations to other countries via marriage, so it seems...

There is a good part concerning Archduchess Maria Anna in the book "Habsburgs vergessene Kinder" by Thea Leitner. I think she was a "problem child" of the empress....
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Offline Mari

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #63 on: June 21, 2008, 02:27:17 AM »
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I have never quite understood this.  A talented, educated archduchess, a daughter of the empress, should have been able to find a husband.  I understand that because of smallpox, her face was disfigured, but was it so horribly so that no man would consider her for a bride? Or was it more like her mother removed her from the marriage market, considering the girl "damaged."
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   Also on Maria Josepha.....


Donald R. Hopkins in the Greatest Killer: Smallpox in History states that Maria Josepha had to be infected before She accompanied her Mother to the Vault. He bases this on the fact Small Pox takes a week to two weeks to show a rash. Maria Josepha's rash showed up two days later. For the rest of her life he mentions Empress Maria Theresa blamed herself.

He also states that Maria Elizabeth was infected by her Sister Maria Josepha and that She was the most beautiful but most vain of the Daughters. Both She and Mary Anna he states were ravaged pock marked victims to the disease. He mentions Maria Elizabeth when She heard the prognosis asked for a mirror knowing that her features which had garnered such praise would never look the same. As devout Catholics always dedicate Children to the Church particularly in other era's perhaps they took this way. And when considering Brides perhaps the Small Pox Ravaging would have discouraged Suitors who had other options.

http://books.google.com/books?id=z2zMKsc1Sn0C&pg=PA64&dq=Maria+Elizabeth+daughter+of+Maria+Theresa++and+small+pox&ei=1KhcSMG4KoHsiQG-zpTFCg&sig=--lcLPz_etQ-7gYpaGW44Rvl4JY

Offline Prince_Christopher

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #64 on: June 21, 2008, 05:41:34 AM »
Although being infected and scarred for life from smallpox was a terrible blow to the young women, I'm sure, I can't help but think they may have been relieved somewhat.  Marriage to foreign prince or king had its own problems, and the dangers that came every other year with pregnancies lay heavily on the minds of women of the age....
Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing.
--Cicero

Offline Norbert

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #65 on: June 21, 2008, 02:26:49 PM »
obviously the younger girls could be trained easier in their adopted lands. The Habsburgs conquored the world at the bridal alter rather than the battle field. I'm sure disfigurement would not have debarred the elder ADsses from marriage ...most catholic princes would have wanted to ally themselves to the greatest european dynasty. i presume there were no suitable princes for them to marry...and it seems that the Viennese government were set on marriages to ruling princes to cement alliances.

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #66 on: June 24, 2008, 01:44:25 PM »
Indeed...Maria Anna and Maria Elisabeth could have beenh married much sooner to other German Dukes had the Empress so wished.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #67 on: June 25, 2008, 07:43:39 AM »
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Maria Anna and Maria Elisabeth could have beenh married much sooner to other German Dukes had the Empress so wished

I'm not sure that's quite true.  There weren't that many Catholic princes in the running who were of a suitable age match who would have been considered sufficiently politically important at the time when Marianna and Maria Elizabeth were the right ages for marrying off.  The only suitable Saxon was Frederick Christian, the heir and llater ruler, and he married a Bavarian princess in 1747, when Marianna was 9 and Maria Elizabeth was 4.(That his younger brother Albrecht married Maria Christina very much later was the exception that proves the rule!).  Maximillian III Joseph of Bavaria was the son of Maria Theresa's great rival for the Holy Roman Empire and the dynasties were fighting at the time a marriage might have been arranged.  In any case, Maximillian Joseph was the same age as Frederick Christian, so the ages didn't match.  Neither of these princes' families would have wanted them to wait for an archduchess to grow up to a suitable age for childbearing - so Maximillian Joseph married a sister of Frederick Christian.  The sons of Felipe V of Spain were too old for Marianna or Maria Elizabeth and his grandsons were too young (though Ferdinand of Parma was married to Maria Amalia though he was 5 years younger than she - so Maria Elizabeth, 8 years older, would have been considered a really bad discrepancy, in an age when there was a very strong prejudice for the man to be older in a marriage, and Marianna at 13 years older, simply wasn't in the running).  The Dauphin Louis, son of Louis XV, was too old for Marianne or Maria Elizabeth (by which I mean, as an only son, he had to be married off early to a potentially fertile princess to ensure the succession).  He married, first a Spanish princess of the right age and when she died in childbirth, he married yet another sister of Frederick Christian.  Their son, of course, married their youngest sister Marie Antoinette when they were both of a suitable age (or at least, an age Maria Theresa and Louis XV considered suitable).  Protestants wouldn't have been considered for any of the Archduchesses.  Maria Elizabeth was briefly considered as Louis XV's second wife, but he had three male grandsons in the direct line so didn't need to marry a foreign princess and put a bit of effort into a new relationship rather than continuing on with his mistresses. 

You can see from the above that there was a very small circle of eligible Catholic prospective spouses around at the time - and for various reasons, Marianna and Maria Elizabeth missed out.  In fact, Marianna seems to have been eliminated from the start because of poor health - whatever was wrong with her seemed likely to affect her potential for childbearing, which was of course a huge drawback and one even an Archduchess couldn't overcome.  Maria Elizabeth might have fared better, had anyone of suitable standing been available at the right time - but there wasn't anyone Maria Theresa thought would be appropriate, and only Maria Christina was allowed to choose a younger, peniless (though royal) son for herself. 

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #68 on: July 11, 2008, 04:53:52 AM »
I would love to know about Amalia. If anyone can answer, I would be most delighted.....

I read that Amalia didn't feel much loved by mother and in one book on Maria Theresia, she was described as the child least loved by her.  I read somewhere that her mother would compare her to her older sisters, who were either more beautiful, intelligent or artistically gifted than her (I saw a picture of a painting of hers, she was quite talented). Of course, I would think their mother thought Mimi was 'best' among her children. Was she close to Elisabeth, the sister nearest in age? What about to Johanna or Josepha? I read that Antoinette could 'cope' with Amalia but not with Mimi so I guess she was kind to the younger ones, unlike Mimi.   

What exactly did she dislike about her husband? I know Ferdinand was younger and she was in love with someone else (Charles August of Zweibrucken who asked for her hand) but how bad was their marriage? How did her husband find her? They managed to be together for more than 30 years..... 

I wonder what Amalia felt when her daughter Caroline married Maximilian of Saxony, the younger brother of Amelia who became the wife of her old love.... I'm surprised she agreed to it, it must have been painful to be reminded of what might have been. And does anyone know what happened to her 4th child, Charlotte of Parma?   
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Offline ivanushka

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #69 on: July 15, 2008, 12:24:16 PM »
I think one of the great tragedies of Amalia's life was the death of her sister, Josepha.  As Josepha and Caroline were almost exactly the same ages as Ferdinand of Naples and Ferdinand of Parma, Maria Theresa had probably earmarked Caroline to marry Ferdinand of Parma once Josepha had married Ferdinand of Naples.  However, with Josepha dying, and with Antoinette the best choice for a French marriage in terms of her age and beauty, Maria Theresa had to bring in Amalia to make up the numbers.  Consequently Amalia loses all chance of marrying the man she loves and instead has to make a political marriage far less grand than that of either of her two youngest sisters.  No wonder she was furious!

I've always felt rather sorry for Amalia.  It can't have been easy being Maria Theresa's daughter.  Maria Theresa was beautiful and extremely intelligent.  Though Amalia was attractive she wasn't as beautiful as Antoinette or Elizabeth.  Though presumably bright she didn't have the exceptional intelligence of Mimi or Caroline.  All in all, she must have felt something of a poor relation in the family and being pulled in at the last minute to make a comparatively humble political marriage must have only exacerbated the feeling.  I guess that a lot of her more outrageous behavior in Parma was a way of getting back at a mother whom she felt had never paid her as much attention or valued her as highly as she would have wished.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #70 on: July 16, 2008, 10:16:04 PM »
It would be hard for anyone to have such beauties, great intellectuals or outstanding talents in the family.  There seems nothing to distinguish her from her sisters although she's pretty, bright and decent in the arts. Perhaps her glamor?  ;D Their mother also would also not have much time for them, being always pregnant and immersed in state affairs and I presume her free time would be spent with the favorites. I wonder if Amalia and her siblings were able to spend more time with their father?

I would like to read the contents of such letters too!  I can't imagine Maria Theresia being 'nice' in her letters to Amalia (perhaps when she gave birth to her son); she was very harsh in her letters to Marie Antoinette (one letter criticized her beauty as not being much and that she had neither great intellect nor talent--ouch!) so I can imagine perhaps how much harsher she was with Amalia and her antics in Parma.  I also read that Amalia and her mother were 'deceived' by very favorable reports on Ferdinand (much better than the reports on Fedinand of Naples), that he was cultured and well-educated but turned out to be otherwise.  No wonder Amalia went wild there!  (although I wish she could've accepted things gracefully like Caroline)

Does anyone know how Ferdinand was, besides being eccentric and simple? One of Maria Theresia's letters supposedly showed 'contempt' for Ferdinand and that she couldn't believe how gentle Isabella could have a brother like that...and that some men liked mistresses, others gambling, but this one... (she didn't continue so I presume she was too outraged or at a loss for words).  I'm very curious as to what she was referring to.  ;) 

I haven't come across anything that says Amalia was already eccentric before her marriage.  But their aunt Charlotte was so I guess being eccentric isn't that unheard of in their family.   
« Last Edit: July 16, 2008, 10:17:39 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline Marc

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #71 on: July 17, 2008, 09:38:42 AM »
You mean her aunt Anna Charlotte?I what way was she eccentric?

In all the portraits I have seen of them,I really don't see that Amalia was less beautiful of all her sisters...in my opinion(based on the portrais though) she was the prettiest of them all,but that's just my opinion...

About her eccentric behaviour in Vienna:I really don't think she was much allowed to be eccentric,so I think as much as she was bored in Parma,she also felt free from every ''chain'' that she felt every day i Vienna and developed into an eccentric person..if you are bored,it's har not to be eccentric :-)

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #72 on: July 18, 2008, 12:44:32 AM »
You mean her aunt Anna Charlotte?I what way was she eccentric?

In all the portraits I have seen of them,I really don't see that Amalia was less beautiful of all her sisters...in my opinion(based on the portrais though) she was the prettiest of them all,but that's just my opinion...

About her eccentric behaviour in Vienna:I really don't think she was much allowed to be eccentric,so I think as much as she was bored in Parma,she also felt free from every ''chain'' that she felt every day i Vienna and developed into an eccentric person..if you are bored,it's har not to be eccentric :-)

Yes, Anna (Anne) Charlotte, the sister of her father. In one book (by Mrs. Bearne on Maria Carolina) she was described as kind-hearted and eccentric but I'm not too sure in what way (it wasn't mentioned why).... perhaps because she spent too much time hunting and never ceased regretting the loss of Lorraine profoundly.  She was even willing to walk barefoot to Lorraine (presumably from Vienna)!  :o

I agree that Amalia would not have the opportunities to be eccentric in Vienna. I think their mother would not have permitted it. I read that the girls were raised almost nun-like and much of their time was spent in prayers and having lectures/instructions on obedience and docility.

I find Amalia's features a bit 'haughty' looking but beautiful nevertheless.  It seems to me that she was indeed the most glamorous-looking of the sisters, if not rated as the prettiest, especially in that portrait by Meytens. 

Her brother Joseph upon visiting Versailles commented on Amalia (he just finished describing Maria Carolina as) " this sister of mine  is a proficient Queen in the art of man-training. My other sister, the Duchess of Parma, is equally scientific in breaking-in horses for she is constantly at the stables with her grooms, by which she grooms a pretty sum yearly in buying, selling and breaking-in horses; while the simpleton, her husband, is ringing the bells with the friars of Colorno to call his good subjects to mass." (from the Secret Memoirs of the Princesse de Lamballe)
« Last Edit: July 18, 2008, 12:59:31 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline Mari

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #73 on: July 18, 2008, 03:39:41 AM »
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One of Maria Theresa's letters supposedly showed 'contempt' for Ferdinand and that she couldn't believe how gentle Isabella could have a brother like that...and that some men liked mistresses, others gambling, but this one... (she didn't continue so I presume she was too outraged or at a loss for words).  I'm very curious as to what she was referring to.  Wink



Well, as Bearne mentions Ferdinand wore a Monk's robe quite often, had fits of asceticism and occupied himself with ecclesiastical matters and Church music. He doesn't sound like the type of Man to have Mistresses or gamble!  ;) Not the type they could understand either! Perhaps the contempt was n the fact He should have been a Monk.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Empress Maria Theresa and her large family
« Reply #74 on: July 22, 2008, 07:25:46 AM »
I've always thought the 'eccentricity' of princesses like Maria Amalia was actually a refusal to do what was expected of them, rather than genuine mental instability.  They had so little room to be themselves and were so closely scutinised that any small deviation was exaggerated and loomed very large.  A good part of Maria Amalia's eccentricity seemed to consist in being ungrateful to her mother and grandfather-in-law for being married against her will and being interested in horses and power rather than traditionally feminine things like clothes and babies and her husband.