Princess Marie Auguste of Thurn and Taxis

Princess Marie Auguste Anna of Thurn and Taxis (11 August 1706 – 1 February 1756) was a Regent of Württemberg. She was a member of the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis as a daughter of Anselm Franz, 2nd Prince of Thurn and Taxis and his wife Maria Ludovika Anna Franziska, Princess of Lobkowicz.[1] Through her marriage to Karl Alexander, Duke of Württemberg, she became Duchess consort of Württemberg.

Princess Marie Auguste of Thurn and Taxis
Duchess of Württemberg
900-232 Maria Augusta von Württemberg.jpg
Born(1706-08-11)11 August 1706
Frankfurt am Main, Hesse
Died1 February 1756(1756-02-01) (aged 49)
Göppingen, Duchy of Württemberg
SpouseCharles Alexander, Duke of Württemberg
IssueCharles Eugene, Duke of Württemberg
Louis Eugene, Duke of Württemberg
Frederick II Eugene, Duke of Württemberg
Auguste, Princess of Thurn and Taxis
Names
German: Marie Auguste Anna
HouseThurn and Taxis
FatherAnselm Franz, 2nd Prince of Thurn and Taxis
MotherMaria Ludovika Anna Franziska, Princess of Lobkowicz
ReligionRoman Catholic

Early lifeEdit

Marie Auguste was born on 11 August 1706. She grew up in the Austrian Netherlands and later moved to Frankfurt, where her family's wealth and economic interests were based.[2] Her only brother was Alexander Ferdinand, 3rd Prince of Thurn and Taxis, whose son Karl Anselm would marry Marie Auguste's only daughter in 1753.

Marriage and childrenEdit

Marie Auguste was chosen as a bride for Karl Alexander, Duke of Württemberg-Winnental (later Duke of Württemberg) because of her Roman Catholic religion. They were married on 1 May 1727 in Frankfurt am Main. Despite their Catholicism, the couple's children were all raised in the Lutheran faith. They had four surviving children:

Their ten-year marriage was turbulent, and they were generally felt to be each other's match in every way (as both were masters of intrigue and secret diplomacy).[2] He often used a trusted servant to spy on his wife to ensure that she would not interfere in government or criticize the Duke's ministers. After a particularly serious dispute in 1736, her husband even had her promise in writing to stay out of government affairs.[2]

RegentEdit

Marie Auguste's husband died suddenly on 12 March 1737 on the eve of his departure on a military inspection tour.[3] This meant that their nine-year-old son Karl Eugen succeeded as Duke of Württemberg. After experiencing initial trouble from the regency council in trying to hold power for her son, she was finally successful on 5 November 1737. She was granted a large allowance and was recognized as co-regent with control over her son's education.[4]

 
Marie Auguste's eldest son Karl Eugen

From 1739 to the following year, she had an affair with a captain in the army. Rumors of a possible pregnancy became so widespread that the privy council began an investigation; the captain was discharged and she was forced to stay in Brussels for five months (beginning in April 1740). Her exile removed her from direct power, especially when crucial policy decisions and preparations for her son's education were being made.[5] For instance, she was unable to prevent a disastrous alliance with Prussia that would leave Württemberg exposed at the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession.

By 1744, however, Marie Auguste had again achieved a position of considerable influence. She arranged military careers for her two eldest sons, allowing them to receive commissions in the Prussian army. In 1748, she encouraged her eldest son, the reigning Duke Karl Eugen, to enter into a marriage with the Hohenzollern Elisabeth Fredericka Sophie of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, a niece of Frederick the Great.[5] As a Catholic, she prepared her youngest son Frederick Eugen for a life in the Imperial Church.[5] Her dreams for a life of religion for him fell apart, however, when in 1753 he became engaged to another niece of Frederick the Great, Friederike Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt; he also became one of Frederick's most important cavalry commanders.[5]

Marie Auguste's influence would decline as her son grew increasingly more independent by 1749. She died on 1 February 1756 in Göppingen, Württemberg.

Personal attributesEdit

Marie Auguste was often praised by contemporaries for her beauty. However, she was also often criticized for her lack of judgment and resolve.[2] She also liked to openly demonstrate her rank as Duchess of Württemberg by spending lavishly, which set her at odds with her thrifty subjects.[2] For instance, her wardrobe contained 228 dresses; the most expensive cost 500 florins, which was more than 30 times a servant's annual income.[2]

Although often portrayed as an intellectual lightweight, she owned a large library that contained the latest novels, plays, and philosophy. She maintained a correspondence with Voltaire,[3] and also was a friend of the philosopher Marquis d'Argens.[6]

AncestryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Lundy, Darryl, The Peerage: Marie–Auguste Prinzessin von Thurn und Taxis. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Wilson, p. 240.
  3. ^ a b Wilson, p. 242.
  4. ^ Wilson, p. 243.
  5. ^ a b c d Wilson, p. 244.
  6. ^ Marquis d'Argens, biography timeline

SourcesEdit

  • Wilson, Peter H. (2004). "Women and Imperial Politics: The Württemberg Consorts 1674–1757" in Queenship in Europe 1660–1815: The Role of the Consort. Clarissa Campbell Orr (ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-81422-7.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Maria Augusta of Thurn and Taxis at Wikimedia Commons

Princess Marie Auguste of Thurn and Taxis
Cadet branch of the House of Tassis
Born: 11 August 1706 Died: 1 February 1756
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Eleonore Juliane of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Duchess consort of Württemberg-Winnental
1 May 1727 – 12 March 1737
Succeeded by
Elisabeth Fredericka Sophie of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Preceded by
Joanna Elisabeth of Baden-Durlach
Duchess consort of Württemberg-Stuttgart
31 October 1733 – 12 March 1737