Gertrude, Duchess of Austria

Gertrude, Duchess of Austria

Gertrude of Austria (also named "Gertrude of Babenberg") (b. 1226 – d. 24 April 1288), was a member of the House of Babenberg, Duchess of Mödling and later Titular Duchess of Austria and Styria, she was the niece of Duke Frederick II of Austria, the last male member of the Babenberg dynasty. She was, according to the Privilegium Minus the first in line to inherited the Duchies of Austria and Styria after the death of childless Frederick, but these claim were disputed by her aunt Margaret.


She was the only child of Henry of Austria, Duke of Mödling by his wife Agnes, daughter of Hermann I, Landgrave of Thuringia. Henry was, in turn, the second son of Duke Leopold VI of Austria, but in 1216, after the death of his older brother Leopold, he became in the heir of his father.

Henry died on 26 September 1228, with only twenty years and without male issue. Two years later (28 July 1230) Duke Leopold II died and was succeded by his third son, Frederick II. Because the Babenberg Austria was inheritable by females according to provisions of Privilegium Minus, she claimed the inheritance first -on basis of she was the only child of the eldest son- against her uncle, but she was finally bypassed in Frederick's favor.

Gertrude inherited his father's Duchy of Mödling and was placed under the guardianship of his uncle. After two unhappy marriages, Frederick II remained childless. This made Gertrude the primogenitural heiress of the entire Babenberg line of Dukes of Austria and Styria now as heir of both her father and uncle.

Duke Frederick had a long quarrel with Emperor Frederick II, during which he had even been under imperial ban. In 1245, in a spectacular change in imperial politics, Duke Frederick however became one of the emperor's most important allies. Negotiations about the elevation of Vienna to a bishopric and of Austria (including Styria) to a Kingdom were initiated. However, a condition for those were that the 19-years-old Duke's niece Gertrude would have had to marry the 51-year-old and three times widowed Emperor. But at the same time, the King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia claim the validity of the old engagement of Gertrude with his eldest son and heir Vladislaus, who was never broken.

Gertrude, by the other hand, refused a marriage with the old Emperor, apparently, because he was excomunicated by the Pope. Other sources claimed the fact she truly in love of Vladislav since many years ago. On June 1245 in Verona, the contract of marriage between Gertrude and Vladislaus was signed.

Wenzel wanted by all costs that wedding; that is why even sent an army to Austria in order to presure Duke Frederick; however, he suffered a difficult defeat near Staatz.

On 15 June 1246 Duke Frederick II was killed in battle. King Wenceslaus quickly arranged the formal marriage ceremony of Gertrude and Vladislaus. "Per hoc Wladislaus habebat Austriae ducatum" cheered Bohemia and, supported by the rights of his wife and the prospective to inherited some day the Bohemian throne, Vladislaus was quickly recognized as Duke by the Austrian aristocracy. Now Gertrude had become in the ruling Duchess of Austria. However, after a short disease, her husband died on 3 January 1247.

The then 22-year-old Duchess married again in 1248 with Herman VI, Margrave of Baden; the next year (1249) Gertrude gave birth her first child, a son, in Alland; he was called Frederick after his mother's uncle. From joy at the happy birth, she gave 30 people of that town extended farm lands, which are to this day, a basis of the agrarian community of the "Allander Urhausbesitzer". In 1250 Gertrude had a second child, a daughter, called Agnes after her maternal grandmother.

Herman was able to hold some control in the duchies; however, he can't defeat the opposition of the aristocracy; for this, Gertrude and her children fled to Meissen in Saxony. The relationship between Gertrude and Herman fell out after this; apparently, she was involved in the alleged poisoning of her husband on the 4 October 1250.

Gertrude lost the favour of the curia and with it the chance of recover her dominion over Austria and Styria when she refused to marry with the brother of the Count William II of Holland, Floris, who was also the wish of Pope Innocent IV.

In the meantime, her aunt and competitor for the duchies of Austria and Styria, Margaret, married with Prince Ottokar of Bohemia -the second son and new heir of King Wenceslaus-; the aristocracy accepted the newlyweds as the rulers of Austria. Having lost all support, Gertrude formed an alliance with the King Bela IV of Hungary and married on 12 July 1252 with his relative, Prince Roman Danylovich of Halicz, member of the Rurikid dinasty. In 1253, their only daughter, Maria, was born.

However, after unsuccessfully attempts to established himself as Duke of Austria, Roman left Gertrude and their daughter to return to Hungary. The marriage was formally dissolved soon before.

Finally, in 1254 Gertrude received as a consolation parts of Styria, 400 silver marks annually, and the towns of Voitsberg and Judenburg as her residences. However, because neither she or ther son Frederick never give up their legal right to the duchies Styria and Austria, King Ottokar II (who now wanted to remarry into the Hungarian royal house because he could expect no successor with the several years older and barred Margaret) dispossesses her in 1267 from his lands. That year, the death of her aunt made Gertrude the only and general heiress of the Babenberg dinasty.

Her son Frederick, who accompanying Conradin on his Italian expedition, was captured on 8 September 1268 at Astura to the south of Anzio. Handed over to Charles of Anjou, he remained in degrading imprisonment in the Castel dell'Ovo in Naples until publicly beheaded in the Piazza del Mercato in Naples on 29 October. One year after (1269), Gertrude was exiled and lost also that her state of Windisch-Feistritz. Again, she found refuge with her family in Meissen.

Their rights were ultimately lost quite fully as Rudolf I of Germany granted her duchies to his own sons in 1282. Six years later, Gertrude died as an Abbess of the Poor Clare convent of Saint Afra near Seusslitz in Meissen.

Her daughter Agnes of Baden became in the general heiress of her mother and brother, but in 1279 she renounced to her rights over Baden and the Duchies of Austria and Styria. From her second marriage with Count Ulrich III of Heunburg she had five children, two sons (Frederick and Herman) and three daughters (Margaret, Elisabeth and Katharina), who continued her line.

Gertrude's youngest daughter, Maria Romanovna of Halicz, born from her third marriage, married with a son of Ban Stephan IV of Zagreb. The date of her death of she left any descendants is unknown.

ee also

*List of rulers of Austria

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Margaret, Duchess of Austria — Margaret of Austria (b. ca. 1204 d. Krumau am Kamp, 29 October 1266), was a Queen Consort of the Romans 1225 35, titular Duchess of Austria in 1252 60, and Queen consort of Bohemia 1253 60.She was the eldest daughter of Leopold VI, Duke of… …   Wikipedia

  • Gertrude of Hohenburg — (c. 1225 ndash; 16 February, 1281, Vienna) was the first Queen consort of Rudolph I of Germany. FamilyShe was born to Burchard V, Count of Hohenberg (d. 1253) and his wife Mechtild of Tübingen.Her paternal grandparents were Burchard IV, Count of… …   Wikipedia

  • Duchess of Brabant — The Coat of arms of the Duke and Duchess of Brabant …   Wikipedia

  • Gertrude Michael — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Gertrude et Michael. Gertrude Michael …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Margaret of Austria, Queen of Bohemia — For other people named Margaret of Austria, see Margaret of Austria (disambiguation). Margaret of Austria Queen consort of Germany Tenure 1225–1235 Duchess consort of Austria …   Wikipedia

  • Leopold VI, Duke of Austria — Leopold VI (1176 ndash; 28 July 1230), called the Glorious, from the House of Babenberg, was Duke of Austria from 1198 to 1230 and of Styria from 1194 to 1230.Leopold was the younger son of Duke Leopold V. In contravention of the provisions of… …   Wikipedia

  • Empress Elisabeth of Austria — For other people of the same name, see Elisabeth of Austria (disambiguation). Elisabeth of Bavaria redirects here. For other uses, see Elisabeth of Bavaria (disambiguation). Elisabeth of Austria Empress consort of Austria; Apostolic queen …   Wikipedia

  • Margaret of Bohemia, Duchess of Bavaria — For other people named Margaret of Bohemia, see Margaret of Bohemia (disambiguation). Margaret of Bohemia (1313–1341) was the daughter of King John of Bohemia by his first wife Elisabeth of Bohemia (1292–1330). Family Margaret was an elder sister …   Wikipedia

  • Wenceslaus I of Bohemia — For the earlier duke of Bohemia, see Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia. Wenceslaus I of Bohemia King of Bohemia Seal of Wenceslaus I Reign 1230–1253 Coronation …   Wikipedia

  • Roman Danylovich — (b. ca 1230, d. ca 1261), Prince of Black Ruthenia (Navahradak) 1254 ndash;1258, Prince of Slonim?.He was born as a younger son of Danylo of Halych, a powerful prince of lands east from Cracow and later king of those regions, whatever it was… …   Wikipedia