Maria Theresa of Austria (1816–1867)

Maria Theresa of Austria (31 July 1816 – 8 August 1867) was the second wife of King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, making her Queen of the Two Sicilies. She was the eldest daughter of Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen and Princess Henrietta of Nassau-Weilburg.

Maria Theresa of Austria
Maria Teresa d'Austria.jpg
Portrait of Maria Theresa by an unknown artist
Queen consort of the Two Sicilies
Tenure27 January 1837 – 22 May 1859
Born(1816-07-31)31 July 1816
Vienna, Empire of Austria
Died8 August 1867(1867-08-08) (aged 51)
Albano Laziale, Kingdom of Italy
(m. 1837; died 1859)
German: Maria Theresia Isabella
Italian: Maria Teresa Isabella
FatherArchduke Charles, Duke of Teschen
MotherPrincess Henrietta of Nassau-Weilburg
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Maria Theresa was Princess-Abbess of the Theresian Royal and Imperial Ladies Chapter of the Castle of Prague (1834–1835).[1]

Her paternal grandparents were Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria Luisa of Spain. Her maternal grandparents were Frederick William of Nassau-Weilburg and his wife Burgravine Louise Isabelle of Kirchberg.

Early life (1816–1837)Edit

Maria Theresa was born on 31 July 1816 in Vienna, Austria. She was the eldest child of Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen and Princess Henrietta of Nassau-Weilburg.

On 29 December 1837, Maria Theresa’s mother died after contracting scarlet fever and pneumonia. Maria Theresa took on a motherly role for her siblings.[2]

Queen consort (1837–1859)Edit

On 9 January 1837 in the Augustinian Church in Vienna, Maria Theresa married Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies. The bride was almost twenty-one years old and the groom twenty-seven. Upon her marriage, Maria Theresa became the Queen consort of the Two Sicilies.

Queen Maria Theresa is described as badly dressed and did not answer to the ideal image of a regal person.[2] She disliked her public role and life at court, and preferred to confine herself in her private rooms dedicated to needlework and her children.[2] She had a good relationship with both her spouse and her stepson Francis: her stepson respected her and she used to demonstratively call him her son. Maria Theresa was interested in politics; she is known to have acted as the king's advisor and to have influenced him to be strict, and when she could not be present at the reception of officials and wished to hear the conversation, she listened to the talk behind the door. She nursed Ferdinand on his death bed.

Queen Dowager (1859–1867)Edit

At the death of her spouse in 1858, she intended to continue her political activity by being the advisor to her stepson Francis, who was the new monarch. Francis was willing, and her authoritarian policy has been considered to contribute to the public discontent which led to the abolishment of the Kingdom of Naples. Francis' spouse Duchess Maria Sophia in Bavaria, however, disputed her influence and Francis had a difficult position in the conflict between his wife and stepmother, without being able to satisfy either. Maria Sophia informed Francis about a plot created by Maria Theresa with the attempt to put the biological son of Maria Theresa on the throne, but Francis chose to believe Maria Theresa when she swore her innocence. It was not until the revolts against the monarchy had already begun that Francis decided to listen to the advice of his wife rather than his stepmother. Maria Theresa was among the first to leave Naples during the revolt: first to Gaeta with her children and advisors, and then to Rome. She resided in the same palace that Francis and Maria Sophia would use when they arrived. She died from cholera, nursed by her stepson Francis, who mourned her greatly.


Coat of arms Maria Theresa, Queen of the Two Sicilies
Portrait of Queen Maria Theresa of the Two Sicilies (by Franesco Torr, 1837)
The Queen Dowager Maria Therese in 1862 (photograph by an unidentified photographer)

Maria Theresa gave birth to twelve children, but only seven of them lived to mature adulthood:

Children Birth Death Notes
Lodovico, Count of Trani 1 August 1838 8 June 1886 Married Mathilde Ludovika, Duchess in Bavaria, sister of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Their only daughter, Princess Maria Teresa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, married Prince Wilhelm of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.
Alberto, Count of Castrogiovanni 17 September 1839 12 July 1844 Died in childhood.
Alfonso, Count of Caserta 28 March 1841 26 May 1934 Married his first cousin Princess Antonietta of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and had issue. The current lines of Bourbon-Two Sicilies descend from him.
Maria Annunciata of the Two Sicilies 24 March 1843 4 May 1871 Married Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria.
Maria Immaculata of the Two Sicilies 14 April 1844 18 February 1899 Married Archduke Karl Salvator of Austria, Prince of Tuscany.
Gaetano, Count of Girgenti 12 January 1846 26 November 1871 In 1868, he married Isabel, Infanta of Spain (eldest daughter of Queen Isabella II of Spain) and was created Infante of Spain.
Giuseppe, Count of Lucera 4 March 1848 28 September 1851 Died in childhood.
Maria Pia of the Two Sicilies 21 August 1849 29 September 1882 Married Robert I, Duke of Parma.
Vincenzo, Count of Melazzo 26 April 1851 13 October 1854 Died in childhood.
Pasquale, Count of Bari 15 September 1852 21 December 1904 Married morganatically to Blanche Marconnay.
Maria Louisa of the Two Sicilies 21 January 1855 23 August 1874 Married Prince Henry of Bourbon-Parma, Count of Bardi. Died in adolescence, no issue.
Gennaro, Count of Caltagirone 28 February 1857 13 August 1867 Died in childhood.



  1. ^ "Czech Eccleastical".
  2. ^ a b c Flantzer, Susan (16 August 2021). "Maria Theresa of Austria, Queen of the Two Sicilies". Unofficial Royalty. Retrieved 3 January 2023.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Maria Theresa of Austria (1816–1867) at Wikimedia Commons.

Maria Theresa of Austria (1816–1867)
Born: 31 July 1816 Died: 8 August 1867
Italian royalty
Title last held by
Princess Maria Cristina of Savoy
Queen consort of the Two Sicilies
27 January 1837 – 22 May 1859
Succeeded by