Theresa Kunegunda Sobieska

Theresa Kunegunda (Polish: Teresa Kunegunda Sobieska, German: Kurfürstin Therese Kunigunde) (4 March 1676 – 10 March 1730) was a Polish princess, an Electress of Bavaria and of the Electorate of the Palatinate. She also served as Regent of the Palatinate in 1704–05.

Theresa Kunegunda Sobieska
Troy Teresa Kunegunda Sobieska.jpg
Electress of Bavaria
Tenure2 January 1695 – 26 February 1726
Born(1676-03-04)4 March 1676
Wilanów, Poland
Died10 March 1730(1730-03-10) (aged 54)
Munich, Germany
(m. 1694; died 1726)
Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand Maria Onnocent
Clemens August
Johann Theodor
Maria Anna Karoline
Philip Maurice Maria
Prince of Bavaria
Alois John Adolf
Maximilian Emanuel Thomas
HouseHouse of Sobieski
FatherJohn III Sobieski
MotherMarie Casimire Louise de la Grange d'Arquien
ReligionRoman Catholicism


She was a daughter of the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania John III Sobieski and Marie Casimire Louise de La Grange d'Arquien. While her parents had thirteen children she was the only daughter to survive childhood.

Theresa was baptized in Jaworow on July 19, 1676, having for her godfather Charles II, king of England and for her godmother Marie-Thérèse of Austria, wife of Louis XIV.[1]

Theresa was educated in painting and music, Latin, Italian and French. At the beginning of 1692, her father planned to marry her to the Prince of Denmark, but this project was subsequently abandoned.[2]


On August 15, 1694, at the age of nineteen, she married Maximilian II Emanuel, elector of Bavaria, governor of the Spanish Netherlands. He was a former comrade in arms of her father and widower of Maria Antonia of Austria. The marriage took place by proxy in Warsaw, her oldest brother standing in for Max Emanuel. She would not meet the latter until 1 January 1695 in Brussels.[2] Her journey, paid for by her mother, lasted approximately 50 days and was accompanied by splendors.[3] Her dowry was 500,000 thalers.


In the Spanish Netherlands, Theresa gave birth to 6 children before the family moved to Munich in May 1701. Following the evacuation of the Bavarian court from the Spanish Netherlands after the defeat of the Battle of Blenheim (August 13, 1704), she became Regent of the Government of the Elector of Bavaria. The move was smart since, legally, the war was against the Elector and not Theresa. It was the only time a woman ruled the Bavarian Electorate. However, Emperor Leopold I forced her to sign the treaty of Ilbersheim on November 5, 1704. This included a cease-fire and gave Theresa the Munich Rentamt, one of the four administrative districts of the Duchy of Bavaria, while the rest of Bavaria is placed under the military supervision of the Austrian Empire.[4] At the beginning of this phase, Theresa strove to decide in collaboration with Max Emanuel but the courier took too long for this to be effective. She also had to face the defection of part of the Bavarian nobility in favour of the emperor.[5]


On December 21, 1704, she gave birth to the last of her sons. In February 1705, she left to meet her mother in Padua following the discovery of written correspondence between her husband and the Countess of Arco, Agnès Le Louchier, his mistress. Upon her return in May, the imperial army would not allow him to return to Munich, in violation of the treaty of Ilbersheim. Her four sons were looked after by the Austrians in Klagenfurt while her two youngest boys and her daughter were remained in Munich.[2]

After the battle of Ramillies, on May 23, 1706, Max Emanuel was forced to flee the Spanish Netherlands and found refuge at the court of France located in Versailles. Max Emmanuel would live with his French mistress Agnès Le Louchier during his exile from 1704 to 1715.

Theresa negotiated her return to Munich from the Emperor by asking for the help of the Republic of Venice, Pope Clement XI, Prince Eugene of Savoy and Anna, queen of England. She tried to use the Duke of Modena and the Grand Duchess of Tuscany as mediators, but to no avail.[5] On the domestic level, the financial and military retributions imposed by Joseph I created many revolts and she lost a son.[4] Consequently, Theresa spent ten years in exile in Venice, not returning until 1715 when the War of the Spanish Succession ended and Max Emanuel regained his electorate on September 7, 1714 by the Treaty of Baden. Despite a short reign of 7 months, Theresa left a positive balance where in particular the role of the nobility was improved.[5]

Later lifeEdit

April 8, 1715, she finally met her husband. She founded the Servitinnen monastery in Munich dedicated to Saint Elisabeth the same year.

On the death of her husband in February 1726, she did not remarry and once her eldest son Charles VII became emperor, she retired to Venice.[6]

She died in 1730 and rests in the Theatine Church in Munich.


She was the mother of ten children by her husband, including Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII and Clemens August of Bavaria, Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, though only half of them survived till adulthood.


Marek Sobieski
Jakub Sobieski
Jadwiga Snopkowska
Jan III Sobieski
Jan Daniłowicz
Zofia Teofillia Daniłowicz
Zofia Żółkiewska
Theresa Kunegunda Sobieska
Antoine de La Grange d'Arquien
Henri Albert de La Grange d'Arquien
Anne d'Ancienville
Marie Casimire Louise
Baptiste de La Châtre of Bruillebault
Françoise de La Châtre
Gabrielle Lamy[7]


  1. ^ Skalmowski, Wojciech (2003). For East is East: Liber Amicorum Wojciech Skalmowski. Peeters Publishers. ISBN 978-90-429-1298-4.
  2. ^ a b c "Teresa Kunegunda Sobieska". Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  3. ^ "Poznań fireworks of Teresa Kunegunda Sobieska". Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  4. ^ a b Frey, Linda S.; Frey, Linda; Frey, Marsha (1995). The Treaties of the War of the Spanish Succession: An Historical and Critical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-27884-6.
  5. ^ a b c Kägler, Britta (30 June 2009). "zeitenblicke - Weibliche Regentschaft in Krisenzeiten. Zur Interimsregierung der bayerischen Kurfürstin Therese Kunigunde (1704/05)" [The female kingdom in times of crisis. On the interim government of the Bavarian voter Theresa Kunigunde (1704/05)]. zeitenblicke 8 , n ° 2. pp. 10, 12, 15, 17. Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  6. ^ "Teresa Kunegunda Sobieska in Venice". Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  7. ^

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Maria Antonia of Austria
Electress of Bavaria
2 January 1695 – 26 February 1726
Succeeded by
Maria Amalia, Holy Roman Empress