Archduchess Gisela of Austria

Archduchess Gisela of Austria

Infobox Austrian Royalty|archduchess
name = Archduchess Gisela of Austria
title =Princess Gisela of Bavaria

caption = Gisela as a child
spouse =Prince Leopold of Bavaria
issue =Princess Elisabeth
Princess Auguste
Prince Georg
Prince Konrad
royal house =House of Habsburg-Lorraine
father =Franz Joseph I of Austria
mother =Elisabeth of Bavaria
date of birth =birth date|df=yes|1856|7|15
place of birth =Laxenburg, Austria
date of death =death date and age|df=yes|1932|7|27|1856|7|15
place of death =Munich, Bavaria
buried =St.Michaelskirche, Munich |

Gisela Louise Marie, Princess Imperial and Archduchess of Austria, Princess of Hungary and Bohemia, Princess of Bavaria (15 July 1856 - 27 July 1932) was the second daughter and eldest surviving child of Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria and Emperor Franz Josef of Austria. Her German title was "Gisela Louise Marie, Erzherzogin von Österreich, Prinzession von Bayern".


Although christened "Gisella" (with a double L) she only ever wrote her name with one L. She was named after a 10th century Habsburg ancestress. Just like her older sister and her brother, Gisela was raised by her paternal grandmother, Archduchess Sophie of Austria . She had a very close relationship with her younger brother Crown Prince Rudolf whose apparent suicide hit her hard.Her father collected some the family's personal items, such as the first pair of shoes worn by each of his children. Among these keepsakes was a poem written for him by a young Gisela one Christmas - the poem was said to be the most treasured item among this collection. Archduchess Gisela was also known to paint in her later years.

On April 20, 1873 she was married to Prince Leopold of Bavaria in Vienna, a son of Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria and Auguste Ferdinande of Austria and second cousin to Gisela. According to a letter to his mother written in 1872, Emperor Franz Josef wanted the match between his daughter and Prince Leopold as there were so few Catholics princes available at that time and they had to secure the only one to whom they can give Gisela (whom he called "our darling girl" during the wedding rites) with confidence. A year later gave a birth to her first child Elisabeth Marie and had four children in total. She was made welcome in Munich by her husband's family and lived in the Palais Leopold in Schwabing where the street opposite the Palais was named "Giselastraße" in her honour in 1873.

She was deeply involved in a variety of social and political issues and founded charities to support the poor, blind and deaf people where she took an active role herself. During the First World War she ran a military hospital in her Palais while her husband was a field marshal on the eastern front. When the Revolution broke out in 1918, all of her family fled the city but Gisela remained and took part in the 1919 elections for the Weimar National Assembly where women above the age of 20 were allowed to vote for the first time.

Such was the esteem in which she was held that she was commonly known as the "Good Angel from Vienna" and unsurprisingly, she became patron for a number of institutions such as the Giselabahn (a train running from Salzburg to Tirol), the still active paddle steamer Gisela on the Traunsee and the Gisela Gymnasium in Munich.

Gisela and her husband celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1923. Her husband died in 1930 and Gisela only survived him by two years and died aged 76 in Munich on July 27, 1932 and is buried next to Prince Leopold at the "Colombarium" in the St.Michaelskirche, Munich.

Among her notable relatives was her uncle, Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico, who was her father's brother.


Gisela and Prince Leopold of Bavaria had four children:
* Princess Elisabeth Marie of Bavaria (1874-1957), who married Otto Ludwig Philipp Graf von Seefried auf Buttenheim
* Princess Auguste Maria of Bavaria (1875-1964), who married Joseph August, Archduke of Austria
* Prince Georg of Bavaria (1880-1943)
* Prince Konrad of Bavaria (1883-1969)


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boxstyle_3=background-color: #ffc;
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1= 1. Archduchess Gisela of Austria
2= 2. Franz Joseph I of Austria
3= 3. Elisabeth in Bavaria
4= 4. Archduke Franz Karl of Austria
5= 5. Princess Sophie of Bavaria
6= 6. Maximilian Joseph, Duke in Bavaria
7= 7. Princess Ludovika of Bavaria
8= 8. Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
9= 9. Maria Teresa of the Two Sicilies
10= 10. Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria
11= 11. Caroline of Baden
12= 12. Duke Pius August in Bavaria
13= 13. Princess Amélie Louise of Arenberg
14= 14. Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria (= 10)
15= 15. Caroline of Baden (= 11)


* Leopold Prinz von Bayern: "Lebenserinnerungen"
* Martha Schad: "Kaiserin Elisabeth und ihre Töchter", Piper 2006
* Friedrich Weissensteiner: "Liebeshimmel und Ehehöllen", Heyne 2000

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