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Adelaide of Austria

Adelaide of Austria

Archduchesse of Austria, queen consort of Sardinia
The basics
A.K.A. Maria Adelaide d'Asburgo-Lorena
Gender female
Birth June 3, 1822 (Milan, Province of Milan, Lombardy, Italy)
Death January 20, 1855 (Turin, Province of Turin, Piedmont, Italy)
Mother: Princess Elisabeth of Savoy
Father: Archduke Rainer Joseph of Austria
Siblings: Archduke Rainer Ferdinand of AustriaArchduke Leopold Ludwig of AustriaHeinrich Anton of AustriaArchduke Ernest of AustriaSigismund of Austria
Spouse: Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy
Children: Amadeo I of SpainPrincess Maria Clotilde of SavoyUmberto I of ItalyPrince OddoneDuke of MontferratMaria Pia of Savoy
Authority VIAF id
The details

Adelaide of Austria (Adelheid Franziska Marie Rainera Elisabeth Clotilde; 3 June 1822 – 20 January 1855) was the Queen of Sardinia by marriage to Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia, future King of Italy, from 1849 until 1855 when she died as a result of childbirth. She was the mother of Umberto I of Italy.


Archduchess of Austria

Archduchess Adelaide as queen-consort

She was born at the Royal Palace of Milan to Rainer Joseph of Austria and his wife Elisabeth of Savoy. Named Adelaide, or known as Adele in the family, she held the title of Archduchess of Austria. Her father was the Viceroy of Lombardy-Venetia and was a son of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria Luisa of Spain. Her mother was a member of the House of Savoy and a daughter of the Prince of Carignano, the head of the junior branch of the House of Savoy who ruled the Kingdom of Sardinia. Her younger brother Archduke Rainer Ferdinand later acted as Minister President of Austria. Both of her brothers contracted morganatic marriages.

Duchess of Savoy

On 12 April 1842, at the Palazzina di caccia di Stupinigi, she married Victor Emmanuel of Savoy. The marriage was used to cement relations between the House of Savoy and that of the House of Habsburg but was viewed by many people of the time to increase Austrian power in Italy.

Victor Emmanuel was her first cousin and heir apparent to the King of Sardinia. He was styled the "Duke of Savoy" prior to succession. Adelaide thus took on the style of "Duchess of Savoy". She maintained her style of Imperial & Royal Highness till she became Queen.

Her husband's mother Maria Theresa of Austria retained great influence over her son throughout his life. Her mother-in-law was also her first cousin, both she and Adelaide being grandchildren of Emperor Leopold II. Adelaide and her husband of thirteen years had eight children. Four of these went on to have further progeny. Her husband had various extramarital affairs throughout the marriage. Adelaide was a quiet and pious woman and had had a strict upbringing. She was a loving wife and frequently would give to charity.

Queen of Sardinia

In March 1849 her father-in-law King Charles Albert abdicated after the events of the Revolutions of 1848. Her husband succeeded as Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia. During her tenure as queen consort she had three further children all of which died in infancy. On 8 January 1855 she gave birth to a son who was styled the Count of Genevois. Days later Queen Maria Theresa died on 12 January 1855. Adelaide went to the late queens funeral on 16 January and returning to the palace caught a cold. She died four days later at the Royal Palace of Turin having had an acute attack of Gastroenteritis. Another story says that Adelaide died of her burns after stepping on a match that set fire to her clothes. She was buried at the Royal Basilica of Superga. In 1861 her husband would become the first post-unification King of Italy. Her husband wed again to Rosa Vercellana in a morganatic marriage. The present Italian pretender is her direct great great grandson.


Queen Adelaide with her husband and six older children, ca. 1854
  • Princess Maria Clotilde of Savoy (2 March 1843 – 25 June 1911) married Prince Napoleon Joseph Bonaparte and had issue.
  • Umberto I of Italy (14 March 1844 – 29 July 1900) married Princess Margherita of Savoy and had issue.
  • Amadeo I of Spain (30 May 1845 – 18 January 1890) married Princess Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo and later Princess Maria Letizia Bonaparte and had issue.
  • Prince Oddone of Savoy (11 July 1846 – 22 January 1866) died unmarried.
  • Princess Maria Pia of Savoy (14 February 1847 – 5 July 1911) married King Luís I of Portugal and had issue.
  • Prince Carlo Alberto of Savoy (2 June 1851 – 22 June 1854) Duke of Chablais, died in infancy.
  • Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy (6 July 1852) died at birth.
  • Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy (18 January 1855 – 17 May 1855) Count of Genevois, died in infancy.


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 3 June 1822 – 12 April 1842 Her Imperial and Royal Highness Archduchess Adelaide of Austria
  • 12 April 1842 – 23 March 1849 Her Imperial and Royal Highness The Duchess of Savoy
  • 23 March 1849 – 20 January 1855 Her Majesty The Queen of Sardinia


  • Dame of the Order of the Starry Cross
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Biography Issue Ancestry Titles, styles, honours and arms
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