Maria Antonia of Austria

Maria Antonia of Austria
Maria Antonia of Austria
Electress of Bavaria
Reign 15 July 1685 – 24 December 1692
Spouse Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria
Joseph Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias
Father Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Margaret Theresa of Spain
Born 18 January 1669
Hofburg Palace, Vienna
Died 24 December 1692(1692-12-24) (aged 23)
Hofburg Palace, Vienna
Burial 25 December 1692
Imperial Crypt Vaults, Vienna

Maria Antonia of Austria (Maria Antonia Theresia Josefa; 18 January 1669 – 24 December 1692) was the eldest daughter and only surviving child of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I and his wife Margaret Theresa of Spain. She became Electress of Bavaria in 1685, but ruled for only seven years before her premature death in 1692.



Her birth was the result of the inbreeding chronic in the Habsburg family during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Her father Leopold was her mother's maternal uncle and paternal first cousin once removed. Also, her maternal grandparents, King Philip IV of Spain and Queen Mariana, were uncle and niece. Since her childhood, Maria Antonia was an intelligent and cultivated girl, sharing her parents' passion for music.

The last Habsburg king of Spain, Charles II, never fathered any children. According to the laws of succession in Spain, Maria Antonia would have had the right to inherit the crown had she lived long enough, because she was the only surviving child of Empress Margaret Theresa, Charles II's sister. During her childhood, it was decided that she would marry her maternal uncle, Charles II, but this plan came to nothing due to political circumstances.

As an alternative, she became a candidate for marriage to Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia, the Duke of Savoy, but nothing came of these plans either.


Maria Antonia finally did marry Maximilian II, the Elector of Bavaria, on 15 July 1685 in Vienna. Their marriage was very unhappy, but they did have three children, all of whom died in childhood. One of them, Joseph Ferdinand of Bavaria, Prince of Asturias (1692–1699), was of central importance to European politics at the end of the seventeenth century, in spite of his youth, as a claimant to the throne of Spain in anticipation of the extinction of the House of Habsburg in that country. Joseph Ferdinand's death before that of Charles II, the last Habsburg king of Spain, helped to trigger the War of the Spanish Succession. If he had survived Charles, the European powers likely would have permitted him to accede to the throne of Spain.

Maria Antonia did not live to see the problems created by her son's prospects, as she died when he was less than two months old. After her death her husband soon married again to Theresa Kunegunda Sobieska, daughter of John III Sobieski, King of Poland, and Marie Casimire Louise de La Grange d'Arquien.


  1. Leopold Ferdinand of Bavaria (22 May 1689) died at birth.
  2. Anton of Bavaria (19 November 1690) died at birth.
  3. Joseph Ferdinand of Bavaria (28 October 1692 – 6 February 1699), Prince of Asturias.



  • Friedrich Weissensteiner: Liebeshimmel und Ehehöllen - Heyne Taschenbuchverlag 1999 - ISBN 3-453-17853-X

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