Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony

Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony
Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony
Archduchess and Princess Maria Josepha of Austria; Princess Maria Josepha of Hungary, Bohemia, and Tuscany
Spouse Archduke Otto Francis of Austria
Charles I of Austria
Archduke Maximilian Eugen
Full name
German: Maria Josepha Luise Philippine Elisabeth Pia Angelika Margarete
House House of Wettin
House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Father George of Saxony
Mother Maria Anna of Portugal
Born 31 May 1867(1867-05-31)
Dresden, Kingdom of Saxony
Died 28 May 1944(1944-05-28) (aged 76)
Erlangen, Bavaria, Germany
Religion Roman Catholicism

Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony (31 May 1867 – 28 May 1944) was the mother of Emperor Charles I of Austria and the fifth child of George of Saxony and Infanta Maria Anna of Portugal.


Early life

Maria Josepha Louise Philippina Elisabeth Pia Angelica Margaret was the daughter of the future King George of Saxony (1832–1904) and Infanta Maria Anna of Portugal (1843–1884). Her maternal grandparents were Queen Maria II and King Ferdinand II of Portugal.

She was a younger sister of the last king of Saxony, Frederick Augustus III. Her maternal first cousins included (among others) Charles I of Portugal; Infante Afonso, Duke of Porto; Prince Wilhelm of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen; and Ferdinand I of Romania. Her paternal second cousin was the ill-fated Crown Prince Archduke Rudolf while George V of the United Kingdom was her third cousin.


On 2 October 1886 at age nineteen, she married Archduke Otto Franz of Austria, "der Schöne" (the handsome), younger brother of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand who was killed in Sarajevo.

A pious woman, only her strength of religion enabled her to bear the burdens of marriage to the notoriously womanizing "gorgeous Archduke". His frequent absences from his family helped her goal of keeping her children away from his bad influence succeed. Eventually, however, she herself enterred in to a relationship to the actor Otto Tressler, who had been presented to her by the emperor Franz Joseph, who felt sorry for her because of the adultery of her spouse. Maria Josepha often invited Tressler to her home; he sometimes met her husband and his friends in the doorway. When her husband died, her ability to avoid extravagant displays of grief was much admired. As a widow, she ended her relationship with Tressler, probably because of her sense of what was appropriate beahaviour for a widow.

During World War I she nursed the wounded in the Augarten Palace of Vienna, which had been converted into a hospital.

In 1919 she left Austria with her son Emperor Charles I of Austria and his wife, Zita of Bourbon-Parma, and went into exile with them. She lived first in Switzerland and from 1921 in Germany.

She died at Schloss Wildenwart, Upper Bavaria, a property owned by some members of the Royal Family of Bavaria. She is buried in the New Vault of the Imperial Crypt in Vienna, beside her husband.


Princess Maria Josepha with her two sons, 1910.

With Archduke Otto Franz she had issue:

  • Archduke Karl Franz of Austria, the last Emperor of Austria.
  • Archduke Maximilian Eugen of Austria (1895–1952), who married Princess Franziska von Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst and had issue.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 31 May 1867 – 2 October 1886: Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony, Duchess in Saxony
  • 2 October 1886 – 28 May 1944: Her Imperial and Royal Highness Archduchess and Princess Maria Josepha of Austria, Princess of Hungary, Bohemia, and Tuscany, Princess and Duchess of Saxony



  • This page is a translation of its German equivalent.
  • Robert Seydel: Die Seitensprünge der Habsburger. Ueberreuterverlag Wien, 2005


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