Marie Antoinette Siblings: The Lineage Of Emperors And Queens

Marie Antoinette Siblings.

Marie Antoinette had 15 siblings, many of whom ascended to the positions of emperors and queens.

Her mother’s astute marriage alliances are deeply intertwined with her family’s legacy.

Marie Antoinette, the youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis I of the Holy Roman Empire, hailed from a family of political prowess.

Marie Antoinette Siblings.
Marie Antoinette Siblings.

Maria Theresa von Habsburg, on the other hand, was the eldest daughter of Emperor Charles VI of the Holy Roman Empire.

Maria Theresa succeeded her father Charles VI as Holy Roman Empress, a rare occurrence given the male-dominated succession norms of her time.

Her father, having no male heir, abolished the male-only succession rule and chose her, his eldest daughter, as his successor instead of his brother.

Maria Theresa became the only ruling female of the Habsburg dynasty, which had ruled large parts of Europe for 650 years.

Together, Maria Theresa and Francis Stephen, the son of the Duke of Lorraine, founded the new dynasty of Habsburg-Lorraine.

Unlike many arranged marriages of the era, theirs was based on love and affection.

They had sixteen children over nineteen years.

Maria Theresa took great care to arrange advantageous marriages for her children to form alliances across Europe.

As a result, Marie Antoinette’s siblings all ended up on various thrones across the continent.

However, this did not guarantee their happiness ever after.

Marie Antoinette Siblings.
The imperial family in 1754, painted by Martin van Meytens. Francis and Maria Theresa with eleven children.

Marie Antoinette Siblings: Maria Theresa and Francis I children

An infographic on Marie Antoinette Siblings

Archduchess Maria Anna (6 October 1738 – 19 November 1789):

Maria Anna, the oldest daughter, remained unmarried due to her physical disability. She was highly intelligent and had a keen interest in art and science.

In 1766, she became an abbess and spent her later years living with her sister, Maria Elisabeth.

Archduke Joseph (13 March 1741 – 20 February 1790):

Joseph, who later became Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II from 1765, married Princess Isabella in 1760.

Although he deeply loved his first wife, Isabella, she was closer to her sister-in-law, Archduchess Maria Christina.

Isabella suffered from several miscarriages, and their only surviving daughter, Archduchess Maria Theresa, died young in 1770 from pneumonia.

Isabella herself succumbed to smallpox in 1763.

Following Isabella’s death, Joseph was compelled by his mother, Empress Maria Theresa, to marry again.

His second wife, Maria Josepha of Bavaria, also died from smallpox in 1767, after a short and unhappy marriage.

Joseph, who had no surviving children, succeeded by his brother, Leopold II, upon his death in 1790.

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Marie Antoinette Siblings: Archduchess Maria Christina (13 May 1742 – 24 June 1798):

Maria Christina was the only one of Maria Theresa’s daughters permitted to choose her husband.

She married Prince Albert of Saxony, Duke of Teschen, and the couple had a happy marriage.

However, they had only one daughter who died shortly after birth.

Despite their inability to have more children, they adopted Archduke Charles of Austria, the son of Maria Christina’s brother, Leopold.

Archduchess Maria Elisabeth (13 August 1743 – 22 September 1808)

She was renowned as the most beautiful daughter of Maria Theresa, who had high hopes for her marriage.

There were even discussions of her becoming the second wife of Louis XV after the death of his first wife in 1768.

However, Maria Elisabeth contracted smallpox, leaving her face scarred and diminishing her prospects for a favorable marriage.

Eventually, she became an abbess at the Convent for Noble Ladies, where she spent her final years alongside her older sister, Archduchess Maria Anna.

Archduke Karl Josef (1 February 1745 – 18 January 1761)

Maria Theresa’s second and favored son, harbored resentment towards his older brother, Joseph.

He believed he had a stronger claim to the throne since he was born before their father became Emperor, although historical records refute this.

Sadly, before his sixteenth birthday, Karl Josef succumbed to smallpox, leaving his mother grief-stricken.

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Archduchess Maria Amalia (26 February 1746 – 9 October 1802)

She married Ferdinand, Duke of Parma, at her mother’s behest.

Maria Amalia deeply resented her mother for arranging her marriage while allowing her sister, Maria Christina, to wed her chosen partner.

Despite her prolific fertility, with nine children, most of them did not survive into adulthood.

Only three of her children reached maturity;

With one becoming King Louis I of Etruria, while her daughters entered religious orders and had no offspring.

Archduke Peter Leopold (5 May 1747 – 1 March 1792)

He ascended to become the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1765, eventually crowned as Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II in 1790.

He wed Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain, with whom he had sixteen children, alongside numerous illegitimate offspring due to Leopold’s notorious extramarital affairs.

Initially, Leopold faced an unlikely path to becoming emperor or even Duke of Tuscany, as his elder siblings were earmarked for these titles.

However, circumstances changed when his brother Charles passed away in 1761, leading to Leopold’s appointment as Grand Duke of Tuscany.

After Charles’ demise, Leopold annulled his engagement to Maria Beatrice d’Este, heiress to the Duchy of Modena, to enable him to secure a more advantageous union.

Maria Beatrice subsequently married Leopold’s brother, Archduke Ferdinand.

Leopold’s new bride became Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain, whom he married in 1764.

They spent two decades in Florence as the Grand Duke and Duchess of Tuscany before Leopold’s unexpected ascension to the position of Holy Roman Emperor and Empress in 1790, prompting their relocation to Vienna.

Unfortunately, Emperor Leopold II passed away just two years into his reign, followed by his wife’s demise three months later.

Archduchess Maria Karolina (17 September 1748)

She tragically passed away in infancy, while engaged to Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, but succumbed to smallpox at the age of twelve.

Archduchess Maria Josepha (19 March 1751 – 15 October 1767)

Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies was her intended fiancé.

However, on the day she was slated to journey to meet him for their wedding, she also succumbed to smallpox at the age of sixteen.

Marie Antoinette Siblings: Archduchess Maria Carolina (13 August 1752 – 8 September 1814)

She eventually married Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies after he had been engaged to two of her sisters.

Together, they had eighteen children, eleven of whom died in childhood.

Maria Carolina diligently sought strategic marriages for her surviving offspring, mirroring her mother’s approach with her own children.

In 1816, both thrones were merged.

Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies assumed the title of King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, previously known as Ferdinand III of Sicily and Ferdinand IV of Naples.

Maria Theresa’s strategic matrimonial alliances extended beyond her daughters, encompassing her sons as well.

The union between Archduke Ferdinand and Maria Beatrice d’Este not only exemplified this but also expanded the Habsburg domain with the addition of the Duchy of Modena in Italy.

Their marriage bore fruit in the form of ten children.

Among them, their youngest daughter, Maria Louise, entered into matrimony with her first cousin, Emperor Francis I of Austria, progeny of Leopold II.

Archduchess Maria Antonia (Marie Antoinette) (2 November 1755 – executed 16 October 1793)

The match between Archduchess Maria Antonia (Marie Antoinette) and Louis-Auguste, Dauphin of France, orchestrated by Maria Theresa, marked a diplomatic triumph.

Their nuptials in 1770 heralded a reconciliation between the rival royal houses after years of conflict.

Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s marriage bore four children, none of whom left descendants.

The tragic tale of Marie Antoinette’s offspring remains a somber chapter in history.

Archduke Maximilian Franz (8 December 1756 – 27 June 1801)

Archduke Maximilian Franz’s legacy transcended mere political alliances.

As Archbishop-Elector of Cologne and Prince-Bishopric of Münster, he championed the arts, most notably fostering the talents of Ludwig van Beethoven.

Recognizing Beethoven’s potential, Maximilian sponsored his education in Vienna under the tutelage of Mozart.

Despite making contributions to the arts, Maximilian suffered from ill health throughout his life.

He died prematurely at the age of 45.