- Maria Christina, Duchess of Teschen
Maria Christina Duchess of Teschen Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria, Duchess of Teschen Spouse Prince Albert of Saxony, Duke of Teschen House House of Habsburg-Lorraine Father Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor Mother Maria Theresa of Austria Born 13 May 1742
Died 24 June 1798(aged 56)
Religion Roman Catholicism
Maria Christina, Duchess of Teschen (Maria Christina Johanna Josepha Antonia; 13 May 1742 – 24 June 1798), called "Mimi", was the fourth daughter and fifth child of Maria Theresa of Austria and Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor. She was the Regent (governor) of the Austrian Netherlands in 1781-1793.
Born in 13 May 1742 at Vienna, Austria, Maria Christina was the fourth but second surviving daughter of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia and ruler of all dominions. She was her mother's favourite child because they shared the same birthday. Mimi was not only beautiful but she was also highly intelligent and artistically gifted. The doting partiality that the Empress showed her caused intense jealousy in her brothers and sisters, especially the Emperor Joseph II. His first wife, Isabella of Parma became her best friend, and named her second daughter after her.
A proposed husband was Prince Benedetto Maria Maurizio of Savoy, her first cousin and a member of the House of Savoy.
Maria Christina was a very intelligent woman who knew how to manipulate her parents, especially her mother. The sudden death of her father, Francis I, and the depression that overcame Maria Theresa following her widowhood meant that Maria Christina was able to convince her vulnerable and sentimental mother into permitting her to marry for love rather than for reasons of state. She was the only child allowed to do so. She chose her second cousin Prince Albert of Saxony, who had neither had great wealth nor a throne to offer; he was made Archduke, governor of Hungary and the couple was given the duchy of Teschen. In 1780, the couple was appointed joint governors of the Austrian Netherlands. The marriage was described as happy.
Relationship with siblings
One of her sisters, the Archduchess Maria Amalia, was also in love with a minor prince, Charles of Zweibrücken, but was forcibly married off to Ferdinand of Parma rather than to her sweetheart. Maria Christina's luck in being permitted to marry the man she loved embittered Maria Theresa's other daughters, who already resented their mother's favouritism. Not only was she able to marry her prince of choice, but her mother also provided for a huge dowry and presented the couple with the Duchy of Teschen. Maria Amalia, the daughter most affected, remained estranged from her mother for the rest of the Empress's life. Although Marie Antoinette wrote her letters later on from France, Mimi did not enjoy the same closeness Marie Antoinette accorded to her other sisters, Maria Amalia and Maria Carolina, who all exchanged not only letters but also dresses, portraits and other gifts. It is interesting to note that it wasn't only her sisters who were affected by their mother's favouritism. Their brother Leopold also disliked Mimi for her scolding ways, her sharp tongue and above all, her habit of telling everything to the Empress, clearly indicating that Mimi used her paramount influence with their mother to tell on her siblings, make trouble, and treat her siblings unkindly. She used the preference and weakness that her sister in law, Isabella, had for her, to have some sort of control and ascendency over her brother and mother's heir, Joseph.
Maria Christina's siblings, especially her sisters, never reconciled with her, even after the death of their mother. Queen Marie Antoinette of France, her youngest sister, pointedly ignored her during her visit to France and treated her as just another state guest when she visited Versailles. Marie Christine's request to see the Petit Trianon, her sister's private retreat, was ignored. In her turn, when Marie Antoinette was guillotined in 1793, Maria Christina was reported to have remarked coolly that her sister ought never to have married.
Regent of the Austrian Netherlands
In 1780, after the death of Charles Alexander of Lorraine, Maria Christina and her spouse Prince Albert of Saxony, were appointed joint governors of the Austrian Netherlands. She kept her position as governor of the Austrian Netherlands for a period of twelve years; from 1781 until 1793.
The couple shared an interest for art, and ordered the construction of the palace of Laeken in 1782-84 for their residence, where they kept a great art collection. They were faced with many political difficulties, such as the Brabant Revolution. In 1793, they were forced to leave for Vienna during the French revolution.
Maria Christina had only one child, Princess Maria Theresa of Saxony, who died on 17 May 1767, the day after her birth. She was unable to have other children. The couple then became the adoptive parents of Mimi's nephew - son of her brother Leopold and Maria Ludovika of Two Sicilies (both died 1792 very young) - Archduke Charles of Austria.
Name Birth Death Notes Maria Theresa of Saxony 16 May 1767 17 May 1767 Died shortly after her birth, is buried in the Imperial Crypt
Death and burial
Maria Christina is buried in the Tuscan Vault of the Imperial Crypt in Vienna, along with her husband and daughter. The famous and moving monument by Canova that her husband erected to her memory is in the Augustinerkirche.
Titles, honours and arms
- Her Royal Highness Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria; Princess of Hungary and Bohemia; Princess of Tuscany; Duchess of Teschen (1766–1798); Governor of the Austrian Netherlands (1781–1793)
The personal coat of arms of the Duchess of Teschen impales Consort's shield, the arms of King Augustus II of Poland – Quarterly, I and IV gules, a eagle argent, armed, beaked, langued, liée, and crowned Or (for Poland); II and III Gules, a knight armed cap-à-pie mounted on a horse salient argent, brandishing a sword proper and maintaining a shield azure charged with a cross of Lorraine Or (for Lithuania); overall and inescutcheon barry sable and Or, a crancelin vert (for Saxony); - enté en point azure a eagle or (for Teschen) (her husband's shield) to the dexter (viewer's left) with her brother's shield, the arms of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II – Quarterly, I barry of eight, gules and argent, impaling gules a patriarchal cross argent on a trimount vert (for Hungary); II gules a lion rampant argent, queue fourchée crossed in saltire, armed, langued, and crowned Or (for Bohemia); III bendy of six Or and azure, a bordure gules (for Burgundy); IV Or, in annulo six torteaux, the torteau in chief replaced by a roundel azure charged with three fleurs-de-lis Or (for the Medici family); overall and inescutcheon gules a fess argent (for Austria) impaling Or a bend gules three alerions argent (for Lorraine); - enté en point azure a eagle or (for Teschen).
- Hanns Schlitter, Briefe der Erzherzogin Marie Statthalterin der Niederlande an Leopold II. nebst einer Einleitung zur Geschichte der französischen Politik Leopolds II. Gerold, Vienna 1896 on-line
- Friedrich Weissensteiner, Die Töchter Maria Theresias, Heyne 1999 (German Book)
- This page is a translation of its French equivalent.
AncestryMaria Christina, Duchess of TeschenCadet branch of the House of LorraineBorn: 13 May 1742 Died: 24 June 1798
Regnal titles Preceded by
Duchess of Teschen
Political offices Preceded by
Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine
Governor of the Austrian Netherlands
Archduke Charles of Austria
Austrian archduchesses by birth 1st generationnone 2nd generationArchduchess Helena · Kunigunde, Duchess of Bavaria 3rd generation 4th generation 5th generationElisabeth, Queen of Poland · Maria, Holy Roman Empress* · Anna, Duchess of Bavaria · Archduchess Isabella* · Maria, Duchess of Jülich-Cleves-Berg · Archduchess Magdalena · Catherine, Queen of Poland · Eleanor, Duchess of Mantua · Archduchess Margaret · Joan, Princess of Portugal* · Barbara, Duchess of Ferrara · Archduchess Ursula · Archduchess Helena · Joanna, Grand Duchess of Tuscany 6th generationAnna, Queen of Spain · Elisabeth, Queen of France · Archduchess Maria · Archduchess Maria · Isabella Clara Eugenia, Co-sovereign of the Habsburg Hetherlands* · Archduchess Margaret · Catherine Michelle, Duchess of Savoy* · Archduchess Eleanor · Archduchess Maria* · Archduchess Martha · Archduchess Anna Eleanor · Archduchess Maria · Anna, Holy Roman Empress · Anna, Queen of Poland · Maria Christina, Princess of Transilvania · Archduchess Catherine Renata · Archduchess Elisabeth · Archduchess Gregoria Maximiliana · Archduchess Eleanor · Margaret, Queen of Spain · Constance, Queen of Poland · Maria Maddalena, Grand Duchess of Tuscany 7th generationArchduchess Christine · Anna, Queen of France* · Archduchess Maria · Maria Anna, Holy Roman Empress* · Archduchess Anna Mauritia · Maria Anna, Electress of Bavaria · Archduchess Margarita Francisca* · Cecilia Renata, Queen of Poland · Archduchess Maria Eleanor · Isabella Clara, Duchess of Mantua · Maria Leopoldine, Holy Roman Empress 8th generationArchduchess Maria Margarita* · Archduchess Margarita Maria Catalina* · Archduchess Maria Eugenia* · Archduchess Isabella Maria Teresa* · Maria Anna, Queen of Spain · Archduchess Maria Anna Antonia* · Maria Theresa, Queen of France* · Archduchess Maria · Margarita Teresa, Holy Roman Empress* · Archduchess Theresia Maria Josepha · Eleanor, Queen of Poland, Duchess of Lorraine · Claudia Felicitas, Holy Roman Empress · Maria Anna Josepha, Electoral Princess of the Palatinate · Archduchess Maria Ambrosia de la Concepción* · Archduchess Maria Magdalena 9th generationMaria Antonia, Electress of Bavaria · Archduchess Maria Anna Antonia · Archduchess Anna Maria · Archduchess Maria Josepha · Archduchess Christina · Archduchess Maria Elisabeth · Maria Anna, Queen of Portugal · Archduchess Maria Theresa · Archduchess Maria Josepha · Archduchess Maria Magdalena · Archduchess Maria Margaretha 10th generationMaria Josepha, Queen of Poland · Maria Amalia, Holy Roman Empress · Maria Theresa · Maria Anna, Princess Charles Alexander of Lorraine · Archduchess Maria Amalia 11th generationArchduchess Maria Elisabeth** · Archduchess Maria Anna** · Archduchess Maria Carolina** · Maria Christina, Duchess of Teschen** · Archduchess Maria Elisabeth** · Maria Amalia, Duchess of Parma** · Archduchess Maria Carolina** · Archduchess Johanna** · Archduchess Maria Josepha** · Maria Carolina, Queen of Naples** · Marie Antonia, Queen of France** 12th generationArchduchess Maria Theresa · Archduchess Marie Christine · Maria Theresia, Queen of Saxony** · Archduchess Maria Anna** · Maria Theresa, Queen of Sardinia*** · Archduchess Maria Josepha*** · Maria Leopoldine, Electress of Bavaria*** · Maria Clementina, Duchess of Calabria** · Archduchess Maria Amalia** · Archduchess Maria Antonia*** · Maria Ludovika, Empress of Austria*** 13th generationArchduchess Ludovika Elisabeth · Marie Louise, Empress of the French · Archduchess Carolina Ferdinande** · Archduchess Maria Caroline · Archduchess Caroline Ludovika · Maria Leopoldina, Empress of Brazil · Clementina, Princess of Salerno · Archduchess Maria Luisa** · Archduchess Alexandrine · Maria Theresa, Queen of Sardinia** · Marie Caroline, Crown Princess of Saxony · Archduchess Maria Anna · Archduchess Amalia Theresa · Maria Theresa, Queen of the Two Sicilies · Maria Theresa, Countess of Chambord*** · Archduchess Hermine · Archduchess Franziska · Archduchess Maria Caroline · Adelaide, Queen of Sardinia · Maria Beatrix, Countess of Montizón*** · Archduchess Maria Caroline · Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska · Marie Henriette, Queen of the Belgians 14th generationArchduchess Maria Anna · Archduchess Maria Carolina** · Auguste Ferdinande, Princess Luitpold of Bavaria** · Archduchess Maria Maximiliana** · Maria Isabella, Countess of Trapani** · Archduchess Maria Theresia** · Archduchess Maria Cristina** · Archduchess Maria Anna** · Maria Theresa, Duchess Philipp of Württemberg · Archduchess Mathilda · Maria Christina, Queen of Spain · Archduchess Maria Eleonora · Archduchess Elisabeth · Maria Dorothea, Duchess of Orléans · Margaretha Klementine, Princess of Thurn and Taxis · Archduchess Elisabeth Henriette · Archduchess Klotilde · Maria Theresa, Queen of Bavaria*** 15th generationArchduchess Sophie · Gisela, Princess Leopold of Bavaria · Archduchess Marie Valerie · Margarete Sophie, Duchess of Württemberg · Archduchess Maria Annunziata · Elisabeth, Princess Aloys of Liechtenstein · Archduchess Maria Antonietta** · Luise, Crown Princess of Saxony** · Anna, Princess of Hohenlohe-Bartenstein** · Archduchess Margareta** · Archduchess Germana** · Archduchess Agnes** · Archduchess Maria Theresa** · Karoline Marie, Princess Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha** · Archduchess Maria Antonietta** · Maria Immaculata, Duchess of Württemberg** · Archduchess Henriette** · Maria Christina, Princess Emmanuel of Salm-Salm · Maria Anna, Princess Elias of Bourbon Parma · Maria Henrietta, Princess of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst · Archduchess Natalie · Archduchess Stephanie · Archduchess Gabrielle · Isabella, Princess Georg of Bavaria · Alice, Baroness Waldbott of Bassenheim · Archduchess Eleonora, Mrs. Alfons von Kloss · Renata, Princess Hieronymus Radziwill · Mechthildis, Princess Olgierd Czartoryski · Archduchess Gisele · Archduchess Sophie · Archduchess Magdalena 16th generationElisabeth Marie, Princess of Windisch-Graetz · Helena, Duchess Philipp of Württemberg** · Rosa, Duchess of Württemberg** · Archduchess Dolores** · Maria Inmaculada, Nobile Inigo Neri Sereneri** · Margarita, Marchioness Taliani di Marchio** · Princess Maria Antonia, Mrs. Luis Pérez** · Archduchess Assunta, Mrs. Joseph Hopfinger** · Elisabeth, Countess of Waldburg-Zeil** · Hedwig, Countess of Stolberg-Stolberg** · Gertrud, Countess of Waldburg-Zeil-Trauchburg** · Archduchess Maria Elisabeth** · Archduchess Agnes** · Archduchess Margarethe, Mrs. Alexander Cech · Ilona, Duchess of Mecklenburg · Archduchess Anna Theresia · Archduchess Maria Kynga, Mrs. Joachim Krist 17th generationArchduchess Adelheid · Charlotte, Duchess of Mecklenburg · Elisabeth, Princess Heinrich of Liechtenstein · Elisabeth, Edle Hubert von Braun** · Alice, Baroness Vittorio Manno** · Marie Antoinette, Baroness of Proff in Irnich** · Archduchess Marie Christine** · Archduchess Walburga, Mrs. Carlos Tasso** · Archduchess Verena** · Archduchess Katharina, Mrs. Roland Huber** · Agnes, Baroness Peter of Fürstenberg** · Maria Ileana, Countess Adam Kottulinski** · Alexandra, Baroness Viktor of Baillou** · Maria Magdalena, Baroness of Holzhausen** · Archduchess Elisabeth, Mrs. Friedrich Sandhofer** · Agnes, Princess Karl Alfred of Liechtenstein** · Archduchess Maria Margaretha** · Archduchess Ludovica** · Archduchess Allix** · Josepha, Countess Clemens of Waldstein-Wartenberg** · Valerie, Margravine of Baden** · Alberta, Baroness Alexander of Kottwitz-Erdödy** · Theresa, Princess Rasso of Bavaria** · Maria Inmakulata, Countess Reinhart of Hoensbroech** · Archduchess Monika, Mrs. Charles de Rambures · Archduchess Marie Christine, Mrs. Raymond van der Meide · Archduchess Maria, Mrs. Wilhelm de Witt · Margherita, Countess Benedikt of Piatti 18th generationAndrea, Hereditary Countess of Neipperg · Monika, Duchess of Maqueda · Michaela, Countess Hubertus of Kageneck · Archduchess Gabriela, Mrs. Christian Meister · Walburga, Countess Archibald Douglas · Maria Beatrix, Countess Riprand of Arco-Zinneberg*** · Isabella, Countess Andrea Czarnocki-Lucheschi*** · Maria del Pilar, Edle Vollrad-Joachim von Poschinger · Kinga, Baroness Wolfgang of Erffa · Archduchess Marie Adelheid, Mrs. Jaime Corcuerra · Archduchess Viridis, Mrs. Karl Dunning-Gribble · Archduchess Alexandra, Mrs. Héctor Riesle · Maria Constanza, Princess of Auersperg-Trautson · Maria Anna, Princess Peter Galitzine · Catharina, Countess Maximiliano Secco d'Aragona · Archduchess Elisabeth, Mrs. James Litchfield · Sophie, Princess of Windisch-Grätz · Archduchess Marie Christine, Mrs. Clemens Guggenberg · Archduchess Marie Bernadette, Mrs. Rupert Wolff** · Archduchess Katharina, Mrs. Niall Brooks** · Archduchess Alicia** · Archduchess Maria Christina** · Archduchess Margaretha, Mrs. Andreas Baumgartner** · Archduchess Marie Valerie, Mrs. Martin Josef Wagner** · Archduchess Hedwig** · Archduchess Veronika** · Archduchess Johanna · Archduchess Elisabeth · Archduchess Celina · Archduchess Maria Floriana · Archduchess Sofía · Archduchess Anna Carolina · Archduchess Theresa · Archduchess Sophie · Archduchess Ladislaya 19th generationArchduchess Eleonore · Archduchess Gloria · Archduchess Sophie · Archduchess Hilda · Archduchess Maria Laura*** · Archduchess Luisa Maria*** · Archduchess Laetitia Maria*** · Archduchess Sophia · Archduchess Maria Theresa · Archduchess Margherite · Archduchess Priscilla · Archduchess Marie des Neiges · Marie Christine, Countess Rodolphe of Limburg-Stirum · Archduchess Gabriella · Archduchess Antonia · Archduchess Isabelle · Archduchess Carlotta · Archduchess Paulina · Archduchess Lara · Archduchess Katharina · Archduchess Tatyana** · Archduchess Anabella** · Archduchess Tara** · Archduchess Amaya 20th generationArchduchess Zita · Archduchess Anežka*also an infanta of Spain
**also a princess of Tuscany
***also a princess of Modena
2nd Generation 3rd GenerationPrincess Maria Cristina · Margherita, Duchess of Parma · Anna, Archduchess of Further Austria · Catherine, Duchess of Mantua and Montferrat 4th Generationnone 5th Generation 6th Generationnone 7th Generation 8th GenerationMaria Theresia, Queen of Saxony* · Princess Maria Anna* · Princess Maria Amalia* · Maria Clementina, Duchess of Calabria* 9th GenerationPrincess Carolina Ferdinande* · Princess Maria Luisa* · Maria Theresa, Queen of Sardinia* 10th GenerationPrincess Maria Carolina* · Auguste Ferdinande, Princess Luitpold of Bavaria* · Princess Maria Maximiliana* · Maria Isabella, Countess of Trapani* · Princess Maria Theresia* · Princess Maria Cristina* · Princess Maria Anna* · Maria Luisa, Princess of Ysenburg and Büdingen* 11th GenerationPrincess Maria Antonietta* · Luise, Crown Princess of Saxony* · Anna, Princess of Hohenlohe-Bartenstein* · Princess Margareta* · Princess Germana* · Princess Agnes* · Maria Theresa, Archduchess Charles Stephen of Austria* · Karoline Marie, Princess Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha* · Princess Maria Antonietta* · Maria Immakulata, Duchess Robert of Württemberg* · Princess Henriette* 12th GenerationHelena, Duchess Philipp of Württemberg* · Rosa, Duchess of Württemberg* · Princess Dolores* · Maria Immaculada, Nobile Inigo Neri Sereneri* · Margarita, Marchioness Taliani di Marchio* · Princess Maria Antonia, Mrs. Luis Pérez* · Princess Assunta, Mrs. Joseph Hopfinger* · Elisabeth, Countess of Waldburg-Zeil-Hohenems* · Hedwig, Countess of Stolberg-Stolberg* · Gertrud, Countess of Waldburg-Zeil-Trauchburg* · Princess Maria Elisabeth* · Princess Agnes* 13th GenerationElisabeth, Edle Hubert von Braun* · Alice, Baroness Vittorio Manno* · Marie Antoinette, Freifrau von Proff zu Irnich* · Princess Marie Christine* · Princess Walburga, Mrs. Carlos Tasso* · Princess Verena* · Princess Katharina, Mrs. Roland Huber* · Agnes, Freifrau Peter von Fürstenberg* · Maria Ileana, Countess Adam Kottulinski* · Alexandra, Freifrau Viktor von Baillou* · Maria Magdalena, Freifrau von Holzhausen* · Princess Elisabeth, Mrs. Friedrich Sandhofer* · Agnes, Princess Karl Alfred of Liechtenstein* · Princess Maria Margaretha* · Princess Ludovica* · Princess Allix* · Josepha, Countess Clemens of Waldstein-Wartenberg* · Valerie, Margravine of Baden* · Alberta, Freifrau Alexander von Kottwitz-Erdödy* · Theresa, Princess Rasso of Bavaria* · Maria Inmakulata, Countess Reinhart of Hoensbroech* 14th GenerationPrincess Marie Bernadette, Mrs. Rupert Wolff* · Princess Katharina, Mrs. Niall Brooks* · Princess Alicia* · Princess Maria Christina* · Princess Margaretha, Mrs. Andreas Baumgartner* · Princess Marie Valerie, Mrs. Martin Josef Wagner* · Princess Hedwig* · Princess Veronika* 15th GenerationPrincess Tatyana* · Princess Anabella* · Princess Tara** also an archduchess of Austria
^did not have a royal or noble birth
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