Maria Christina of Austria

Maria Christina of Austria
Maria Christina of Austria
Queen consort of Spain
Tenure 29 November 1879 – 25 November 1885
Spouse Alfonso XII of Spain
Mercedes, Princess of Asturias
Infanta Maria Teresa
Alfonso XIII of Spain
House House of Bourbon
House of Habsburg-Lothringen
Father Archduke Karl Ferdinand of Austria
Mother Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria
Born 21 July 1858(1858-07-21)
Židlochovice Castle, Brno, Moravia, Austrian Empire
Died 6 February 1929(1929-02-06) (aged 70)
Palacio Real, Madrid, Spain
Burial El Escorial
Religion Roman Catholicism

Maria Christina of Austria (Maria Christina Désirée Henriette Felicitas Rainiera; 21 July 1858 – 6 February 1929) was Queen consort of Spain as the second wife of King Alfonso XII of Spain. She was regent of Spain during the minority of her son Alfonso XIII and the vacancy of the throne before between her husband's death and her son's birth.



Early life

Known to her family as Christa, she was born at Židlochovice Castle (Groß Seelowitz), near Brno, in Moravia, a daughter of Archduke Karl Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria.

Her paternal grandparents were Archduke Charles of Austria and Princess Henriette Alexandrine of Nassau-Weilburg.

Various sources attributed good traits to Maria Christina before her marriage. One states she was "tall, fair, sensible, and well educated".[1]

Marriage and issue

Maria Christina married King Alfonso XII of Spain on 29 November 1879 at the Basilica of Atocha in Madrid, and became the mother of his only three legitimate children:

His previous wife was Mercedes of Orléans, who had died half a year after their marriage, leaving no issue. She lived a discreet life as queen.

Queen Dowager

Maria Christina with her three children

When the King died, Maria Christina was pregnant, so the throne was vacant, depending on whether Maria Christina's unborn child was a male or a female; a male would make that child king, while a female would place her elder daughter, Infanta María Mercedes, on the throne. During this period, Maria Christina ruled as regent until her child, a son, was born, who was Alfonso XIII of Spain from birth. Maria Christina continued as regent until Alfonso XIII attained his majority in 1902. Her chief advisor was Práxedes Mateo Sagasta. Her rule is described as well balanced and in accordance with respect for the constitutional rights, and many political reforms were instated during her regency to prevent political conflicts and chaos. Her role was mostly ceremonial, and her purpose was to preserve the crown for her son until he became an adult. After her son's marriage in 1906, she lost her position as first lady at court and became Queen dowager and Queen Mother.

She was the 805th Dame of the Royal Order of Queen Maria Luisa.

She died at the Royal Palace in Madrid and is buried at El Escorial.



Coat of Arms of Maria Christina as Queen Consort
Coat of Arms of Maria Christina as Queen Dowager


  1. ^ Wormeley Latimer, p. 382.


  • Campos y Fernández de Sevilla, Francisco-Javier. María Cristina de Habsburgo y la Regencia, 1885-1902. San Lorenzo de El Escorial: Estudios Superiores del Escorial, Real Colegio Universitario "María Cristina", 1994.
  • Cancio R. Capote, Rita Maria. The Function of Maria Christina of Austria's Regency, 1885-1902, in Preserving the Spanish Monarchy. México: Ediciones Botas, 1957.
  • Figueroa y Torres, Alvaro de, Conde de Romanones. Doña María Cristina de Habsburgo Lorena, la discreta regente de España. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1934.
  • Martín Alonso, Aurelio. Diez y seis años de regencia, María Cristina de Hapsburgo-Lorena, 1885-1902. Barcelona: L. Tasso, 1914.
  • Thoma, Helga. Habsburgs letzte Herrscherin: Maria Christine, Erzherzogin von Österreich, Königin-Regentin von Spanien. Wien-Klosterneuburg: Edition Va Bene, 2003.
  • Wormeley Latimer, Elizabeth (1907). Spain in the Nineteenth Century. Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co. 

External links

Maria Christina of Austria
House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Cadet branch of the House of Lorraine
Born: 21 July 1858 Died: 6 February 1929
Spanish royalty
Preceded by
Mercedes of Orléans
Queen consort of Spain
29 November 1879 – 25 November 1885
Succeeded by
Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg

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