Caroline Augusta of Bavaria

Princess Caroline Augusta of Bavaria (German: Karoline Auguste; Mannheim, 8 February 1792 – 9 February 1873 in Vienna) was Empress of Austria by marriage to Francis I of Austria.[1] She was a daughter of King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria and Princess Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt. She married Crown Prince William of Württemberg, whom she divorced, and Emperor Francis I of Austria.

Caroline Augusta of Bavaria
Crown Princess of Württemberg
Caroline Augusta of Bavaria empress of Austria.jpg
Empress consort of Austria
Queen consort of Hungary
Tenure29 October 1816 – 2 March 1835
Coronation25 September 1825, St. Martin's Cathedral
Born(1792-02-08)8 February 1792
Mannheim, Electoral Palatinate
Died9 February 1873(1873-02-09) (aged 81)
Vienna, Austria-Hungary
(m. 1808; div. 1814)

(m. 1816; died 1835)
FatherMaximilian I Joseph of Bavaria
MotherPrincess Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt
ReligionRoman Catholicism
The imperial family (by Leopold Fertbauer, 1826)

First marriageEdit

On 8 June 1808, at Munich, Caroline Augusta married Crown Prince William (1781–1864) becoming Crown Princess of Württemberg. They had no children and were divorced on 31 August 1814.

Her first marriage was arranged to avoid a political marriage arranged by Napoleon. After the marriage ceremony, her spouse said to her: We are victims to politics. She spent her time writing letters to her brother Louis, and learning Italian and English. The couple never bonded with each other and the marriage was finally annulled by Pope Pius VII to enable both of them to make remarriages that were valid in the Catholic Church. At the time of the annulment, it was claimed by them that they had lived separately in the palace and that the marriage had never been consummated.


After the annulment of her marriage, Caroline Augusta was considered as a bride for both the Emperor Francis II and his younger brother, Ferdinand. Later, Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany withdrew his proposal and Caroline Augusta became the Emperor's bride.

On 29 October 1816, Caroline Augusta married Francis II, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia.[2] She became the fourth wife of the emperor, who was 24 years older than her and had fathered thirteen children by two of his previous wives. The English diplomat Frederick Lamb called the new empress "ugly, clever and amiable," and the emperor her husband had this to say of her: "She can stand a push, the other was nothing but air."[3] The wedding, and indeed their married life, was very simple due to the strict economy favoured by the Emperor. Prior to this marriage, Caroline Augusta had always been known as Charlotte, but now she began using the name Caroline.

This marriage, which lasted until the emperor's death almost 20 years later, was harmonious but remained childless. She became popular in Austria and was active in social work; she founded several hospitals and residences for the poor. After the death of her spouse in 1835, she moved to Salzburg and lived there in quiet dignity until her own death nearly four decades later. The dowager empress died in February 1873, one day after her 81st birthday.

Like her husband Francis II, who was devoted to his family and exhorted his heir in his last testament to "Preserve unity in the family and regard it as one of the highest goods," Caroline Augusta also was close to her relatives, especially her sister and niece who were also married into the imperial family. She was good friends with her half-sister, the Archduchess Sophie, who was married in 1824 to Caroline's step-son Archduke Franz Karl of Austria and would become the mother of two emperors, Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, and Maximilian of Mexico. She was also close to her half-niece, the Empress Elisabeth, who was Sophie's niece and daughter-in-law.

A pearl brooch formerly owned by Caroline Augusta was auctioned at Sotheby's in 2012.[4]



  1. ^ Elisabeth Katharina Rath: Kaiserin Caroline Augustes Wirken in Salzburg. Ein Beitrag zur Sozialgeschichte Salzburgs in der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts. phil.Diss, Salzburg 1988.
  2. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica
  3. ^ Frederick Lamb to his mother, 31 October 1816, in British Library, Add. MS. 45546, f. 156v.
  4. ^ "Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels" (PDF).

External linksEdit

  Media related to Caroline Augusta of Bavaria at Wikimedia Commons

Caroline Augusta of Bavaria
Born: 8 February 1792 Died: 9 February 1873
Royal titles
Preceded by Empress consort of Austria
Queen consort of Dalmatia
Queen consort of Galicia and Lodomeria
Queen consort of Illyria
Queen consort of Lombardy-Venetia

Succeeded by
Queen consort of Hungary
Queen consort of Croatia
Queen consort of Slavonia

Queen consort of Bohemia