Rinaldo d'Este

Rinaldo d'Este

Rinaldo d'Este (April 26 1655 - October 26 1737) was Duke of Modena and Reggio from 1695 until his death.


Born in Modena, he was the only son of the third marriage of Francesco I d'Este.

Created cardinal in 1685, he left the ecclesiastical career in 1694 to succeed his nephew Francesco II as duke. He married Charlotte Felicity(1671-1710), eldest daughter of Johann Friedrich, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, allying in this way to numerous German houses, including the Habsburg. His first move was to reduce the price of the grain and to improve the conditions of life of the peasants.

At the outbreak of the War of Spanish Succession (1702) he declared neutrality, but this did not prevent the French troops from capturing Modena. The Duke was forced to flee to Bologna. In 1707, after a long siege in which Rinaldo took part, German troops ousted the French from his capital. By the treaty of peace, Rinaldo could also acquire the Duchy of Mirandola, but lost Comacchio. He also attempted to near France by marrying his son Francesco with Charlotte Aglae, the daughter of Philip II of Orleans. However the marriage proved troublesome, mainly due to Charlotte's licentious behaviour, and Rinaldo had to build for them a separate residence in Rivalta. Also a failure was the attempt to obtain the Duchy of Parma through the marriage of his daughter Enrichetta with Duke Antonio Farnese: the latter died heirless, and the House of Bourbon acquired his lands.

In 1733 the War of Polish Succession began. Rinaldo, though nominally neutral, sided secretly for Austria. Again French troops forced him to move to Bologna, but a peace in 1736 was again favourable for the Este, who obtained the county of Novellara and Bagnolo.

Rinaldo was succeeded by his son Francesco.

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