Maria Theresa of Austria-Este, Queen of Sardinia

Maria Theresa of Austria-Este (Maria Theresia Josefa Johanna; 1 November 1773 – 29 March 1832) was born an archduchess of Austria-Este and a princess of Modena. She was later queen of Sardinia as wife of Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia.

Maria Theresa of Austria-Este
Maria Theresa of Austria-Este - Santuario e Sacro Monte di Oropa.png
Queen consort of Sardinia
Tenure4 June 1802 – 12 March 1821
Born(1773-11-01)1 November 1773
Royal Palace of Milan, Milan
Died29 March 1832(1832-03-29) (aged 58)
Geneva, Switzerland
SpouseVictor Emmanuel I of Sardinia
among others...
Maria Beatrice, Duchess of Modena
Maria Teresa, Duchess of Parma
Maria Anna, Empress of Austria
Maria Cristina, Queen of the Two Sicilies
Full name
Maria Theresia Josefa Johanna
FatherFerdinand Karl, Archduke of Austria-Este
MotherMaria Beatrice d'Este, Duchess of Massa
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Family and infancyEdit

She was born at the Royal Palace of Milan, a daughter of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, governor of Milan and son of Empress Maria Theresa after whom she was named. Her mother was Maria Beatrice d'Este, heir to the Duchy of Modena.


Maria Theresa married on 25 April 1789 at the age of 15 with the 29-year-old Victor Emmanuel, Duke of Aosta future King Victor Emmanuel I. Their relationship was a happy one. She was a good friend of Marie Clotilde of France, the childless consort of Charles Emmanuel, Prince of Piedmont. She was also close to the Duchess of Chablais. At the time of her marriage, her spouse was the Duke of Aosta as such she was styled as Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Aosta till she became queen. The couple had six daughters and one son, who died young. Upon the invasion of Savoy by Napoleon in 1798, she left with her family first to Tuscany and then to Sardinia.

After the abdication of Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia in 1802, Maria Theresa became queen consort, but she had to wait on the island of Sardinia for the end of the war in 1814 to return to the capital Turin. Maria Theresa was initially enthusiastically welcomed in Turin, but she soon aroused great discontent among the public. She was accused of wishing to undermine and abolish so much as possible of the reforms initiated during the French occupation, and was additionally said to treat all whom cooperated with the French with contempt. Her conduct has been suggested as one of the reasons behind the discontent which led to the rebellions of 1821 which led to her consort's abdication. After the outbreak of a liberal revolution in 1821, her husband Victor Emmanuel abdicated in favor of his brother, Charles Felix. During the riots, she declared herself willing to assume regency if necessary. Instead, she followed her abdicated spouse to Nice.

Maria Theresa survived Victor Emmanuel by eight years. She was accused of having tried to convince her childless brother-in-law Charles Felix to assign Francis IV, duke of Modena (her brother and the husband of her eldest daughter Maria Beatrice), as heir to the throne. Due to the hostility directed toward her, she was not allowed to return to Turin until 1831. She was buried in the Basilica of Superga.


Maria Theresa with her husband and their daughters Maria Anna, Maria Teresa and Maria Cristina.
  1. Princess Maria Beatrice Vittoria Josepha of Savoy (Maria Beatrice Vittoria Giuseppina; 6 December 1792 – 15 September 1840), married Francis IV, Duke of Modena, had issue.
  2. Princess Maria Adelaide of Savoy (Maria Adelaide Clothilde Xaveria Borbonia; 1 October 1794 – 9 March 1802) died in childhood.
  3. Prince Charles Emmanuel of Savoy (Carlo Emanuele; 3 September 1796 – 9 August 1799) died of smallpox.
  4. A daughter (November 1800 – 10 January 1801) died in infancy.
  5. Maria Teresa of Savoy (Maria Teresa Fernanda Felicitas Gaetana Pia; 19 September 1803 – 16 July 1879) married Charles II, Duke of Parma, had issue.
  6. Princess Maria Anna of Savoy (Maria Anna Ricciarda Carolina Margherita Pia; 19 September 1803 – 4 May 1884) married Ferdinand I of Austria, no issue.
  7. Princess Maria Cristina of Savoy (Maria Cristina Carlotta Giuseppina Gaetana Elise; 14 November 1812 – 21 January 1836) married Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, had issue.


Further readingEdit

  • Festorazzi, Roberto. La regina infelice: Lettere d'amore segrete di Maria Teresa di Savoia. Milano: Mursia, 2002. ISBN 88-425-3060-3.
  • Hamann, Brigitte. Die Habsburger: Ein biographisches Lexikon. Wien: Carl Ueberreuter, 1988, page. 345f.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Maria Theresa of Austria-Este at Wikimedia Commons

Queen Maria Theresa
Cadet branch of the House of Habsburg and House of Este
Born: 1 November 1773 Died: 29 March 1832
Italian royalty
Title last held by
Marie Clotilde of France
Queen consort of Sardinia
4 June 1802 – 12 March 1821
Succeeded by
Maria Cristina of Naples and Sicily