Maria of Austria, Holy Roman Empress
Archduchess Maria of Austria (21 June 1528 – 26 February 1603) was the empress consort and queen consort of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia and Hungary. She served as regent of Spain in the absence of her father Emperor Charles V from 1548 until 1551.
|Maria of Austria|
|Holy Roman Empress|
Archduchess consort of Austria
|Tenure||25 July 1564 – 12 October 1576|
|Queen consort of Germany and Bohemia|
|Tenure||20 September 1562 – 12 October 1576|
|Queen consort of Hungary|
|Tenure||8 September 1563 – 12 October 1576|
|Born||21 June 1528|
|Died||26 February 1603 (aged 74)|
Convent of Las Descalzas Reales, Madrid, Spain
(m. 1548; died 1576)
|Father||Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor|
|Mother||Isabella of Portugal|
Maria was born in Madrid, Spain to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, and Isabella of Portugal. She grew up mostly between Toledo and Valladolid with her siblings, Philip and Joanna. They built a strong family bond despite their father's regular absences. Maria and her brother, Philip, shared similar strong personal views and policies which they retained during the rest of their lives.
Regent of SpainEdit
While her father was occupied with German affairs, Maria and Maximilian acted as regents of Spain from 1548 to 1551 during the absence of Prince Philip. Maria stayed at the Spanish court until August 1551, and in 1552, the couple moved to live at the court of Maximilian's father in Vienna.
In 1558, Maria returned to Madrid and acted as regent of Spain during the absence of her brother, now King Philip II, from 1558 to 1561.
Maria was a devout Catholic and frequently disagreed with her religiously ambiguous husband about his religious tolerance.
During her life in Austria, Maria was reportedly ill at ease in a country which was not entirely Catholic, and she surrounded herself with a circle of strictly Catholic courtiers, many of whom she had brought with her from Spain. Her court was organized by her Spanish chief lady-in-waiting Maria de Requenes in a Spanish manner, and among her favorite companions was her Spanish lady-in-waiting Margarita de Cardona.
Return to SpainEdit
Maria returned to Spain in 1582, taking her youngest surviving child Archduchess Margaret with her, promised to marry Philip II of Spain, who had lost his fourth wife, her oldest daughter, Archduchess Anna in 1580. Margaret finally refused and took the veil as a Poor Clare. Commenting that she was very happy to live in "a country without heretics", Maria settled in the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales in Madrid, where she lived until her death in 1603.
Maria exerted some influence together with Queen Margaret, the wife of her grandson/nephew, Philip III of Spain. Margaret, the sister of the future Emperor Ferdinand II, would be one of three women at Philip's court who would apply considerable influence over the king. Margaret was considered by contemporaries to be extremely pious – in some cases, excessively pious, and too influenced by the Church, and 'astute and very skillful' in her political dealings, although 'melancholic' and unhappy over the influence of the Duke of Lerma over her husband at court. Margaret continued to fight an ongoing battle with Lerma for influence until her death in 1611. Philip had an 'affectionate, close relationship' with Margaret, and paid her additional attention after she bore him a son, also named Philip, in 1605.
Maria, the Austrian representative to the Spanish court – and Margaret of the Cross, Maria's daughter – along with queen Margaret, were a powerful Catholic and pro-Austrian faction in the court of Philip III of Spain. They were successful, for example, in convincing Philip to provide financial support to Ferdinand from 1600 onwards. Philip steadily acquired other religious advisors. Father Juan de Santa Maria, the confessor to Philip's daughter, Maria Anna, was felt by contemporaries to have an excessive influence over Philip at the end of his life, and both he and Luis de Aliaga, Philip's own confessor, were credited with the overthrow of Lerma in 1618. Similarly Mariana de San Jose, a favoured nun of Queen Margaret's, was also criticised for her later influence over the King's actions.
Maria and Maximilian had sixteen children of whom only five were still alive at the time of her death:
- Anne of Austria (2 November 1549 – 26 October 1580), married her uncle Philip II of Spain
- Ferdinand of Austria (28 March 1551 – 16 June 1552 Vienna)
- Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor (18 July 1552 – 20 January 1612)
- Archduke Ernest of Austria (15 June 1553 – 12 February 1595), served as Governor of the Low Countries
- Elisabeth of Austria (5 July 1554 – 22 January 1592), married Charles IX of France
- Maria of Austria (27 July 1555 Vienna – 28 June 1556 Linz )
- Matthias, Holy Roman Emperor (24 February 1557 – 20 March 1619)
- A son (born and died 20 October 1557)
- Maximilian III, Archduke of Austria (12 October 1558 – 2 November 1618), served as grandmaster of the Teutonic Order and Administrator of Prussia
- Albert VII, Archduke of Austria (15 November 1559 – 13 July 1621), served as Governor of the Low Countries
- Wenceslaus of Austria (9 March 1561 – 22 September 1578)
- Frederick of Austria (21 June 1562 – 25 January 1563)
- Maria of Austria (19 February 1564 Vienna – 26 March 1564 Vienna)
- Charles of Austria (26 September 1565 Vienna – 23 May 1566)
- Margaret of Austria (25 January 1567 – 5 July 1633), a nun
- Eleonore of Austria (4 November 1568 Vienna – 12 March 1580 Prag)
|Ancestors of Maria of Austria, Holy Roman Empress|
- "Maximilian II | Holy Roman emperor".
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- Wurzbach, Constantin, von, ed. (1861). . Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich [Biographical Encyclopedia of the Austrian Empire] (in German). 7. p. 112 – via Wikisource.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. .
- "Maria (D.). Rainha de Portugal". Portugal - Dicionário Histórico, Corográfico, Heráldico, Biográfico, Bibliográfico, Numismático e Artístico (in Portuguese). IV. pp. 823–824.
- Kamen, Henry (1998). Philip of Spain. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-07800-8.