Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine

Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine
Prince Charles Alexander
Spouse Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria
Father Leopold, Duke of Lorraine
Mother Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans
Born 12 December 1712(1712-12-12)
Died 4 July 1780(1780-07-04) (aged 67)

Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine (December 12, 1712 in Lunéville – July 4, 1780 in Tervuren) was a Lorraine-born Austrian soldier.


Charles was the son of Leopold Joseph, Duke of Lorraine and Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans. When his elder brother Francis Stephen, Duke of Lorraine, married the Archduchess Maria Theresa, daughter of Emperor Charles VI, Charles Alexander entered the Imperial service in 1737.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, he was one of the principal Austrian military commanders, and was most notable for his defeat by Frederick the Great at the Battle of Chotusitz, fought in 1742, and the Battle of Hohenfriedberg in 1745. He was also defeated by Maurice de Saxe at the Battle of Rocoux in 1746.

On January 7, 1744, he married Maria Theresa's only sister, Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria, thus making him doubly Maria Theresa's brother-in-law, and the pair were jointly made Governors of the Austrian Netherlands. His sister, Anne Charlotte, whom he was very close to, acted as de facto co sovereign.

Coat of arms of Charles Alexander of Lorraine as Grand Master of the Teutonic Order.

Although Maria Anna died later that year, Charles himself continued as governor until his own death in 1780. He was very popular. He also became Grand Master of the Teutonic Order in 1761.

Seven Years War

Despite his record of defeats he was able to retain his position, he was able to attain command ahead of the more popular Marshal Browne because of the support of his brother who had significant influence over military appointments. During the Seven Years' War, he commanded the Austrian army at the Battle of Prague, where he was again defeated. He subsequently defeated a smaller Prussian army in 1757 at the Battle of Breslau before being once again vanquished by Frederick II of Prussia at the Battle of Leuthen. During the battle, he was commander of the Austrian army as appointed by Maria Theresa, who stripped him of his rank forever.

After this last defeat, Charles was replaced by Leopold Josef Graf Daun and retired from military service.


Preceded by
Count Friedrich August von Harrach-Rohrau
Governor of the Austrian Netherlands
Served alongside: Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria
Succeeded by
Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria & Albert of Saxe-Teschen
Preceded by
Klemens August of Bavaria
Grand Master of the Teutonic Order
Succeeded by
Archduke Maximilian Franz of Austria

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