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Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily

Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily

Czech queen
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Czech queen
Countries Austrian Empire
Occupations Politician
A.K.A. of Naples-Sicily, Empress, consort of Francis I, Emperor of Austria Maria Theresa, Queen consort of Hungary, Italy and Bohemia Maria Theresa, Empress, consort of Francis I Maria Theresa, Maria Theresa of the Two Sicilies, Maria Theresa of Naples-Sicily, Consort of Francis I, Emperor of Austria Maria Theresa, of the Two Sicilies, Empress, consort of Francis I, Emperor of Austria Maria Theresa, Archduchess Maria Theresa, of Naples-Sicily, Empress, consort of Francis I, Emperor of Austria Maria Theresia, Empress Marie Therese, of Naples-Sicily, Empress, consort of Francis I, Emperor of Austria Marie Therese, Empress, consort of Francis I, Emperor of Austria Maria Theresa, of Naples, Empress, consort of Francis I, Emperor of Austria Maria Theresa
Gender female
Birth June 6, 1772 (Naples, Metropolitan city of Naples, Campania, Italy)
Death April 13, 1807 (Vienna, Austria)
Mother: Maria Carolina of Austria
Father: Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
Siblings: Francis I of the Two SiciliesCarloDuke of CalabriaPrince Gennaro of Naples and SicilyPrince Giuseppe of Naples and SicilyPrince Alberto of Naples and SicilyLeopoldPrince of SalernoPrincess Maria Antonia of Naples and SicilyMaria Amalia of Naples and SicilyPrincess Luisa of Naples and SicilyMaria Cristina of Naples and SicilyMaria Henrietta of Naples and SicilyMaria Anna of Naples and SicilyPrincess Maria Cristina Amelia of Naples and SicilyMaria Clotilde of Naples and SicilyMaria Isabelle of Naples and Sicily
Spouse: Francis I of Austria
Children: Marie LouiseDuchess of ParmaFerdinand I of AustriaMaria Leopoldina of AustriaArchduchess Clementina of AustriaArchduke Joseph Franz of AustriaArchduchess Marie Caroline of AustriaArchduke Franz Karl of AustriaArchduchess Maria Anna of AustriaArchduke Johann Nepomuk of AustriaArchduchess Amalie Theresa of AustriaArchduchess Caroline Ludovika of Austria
The details

Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily (6 June 1772 – 13 April 1807) was the last Holy Roman Empress and the first Empress of Austria by marriage to Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor. She was the eldest daughter of Ferdinand IV & III of Naples and Sicily (later Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies) (1751–1825) and his wife, Marie Caroline of Austria (1752–1814).


Born Maria Teresa, and named after her maternal grandmother Maria Theresa of Austria, she was the eldest of 17 children born to her parents, the King and Queen of Naples and Sicily. Her father was a son of Charles III of Spain and Princess Maria Amalia of Saxony. Through her mother she was a niece of Marie Antoinette; through her father she was a niece of Maria Luisa of Spain and Charles IV of Spain. She was her mother's favourite child from birth until she left the Neapolitan court to marry.

Her brothers included the future King Francis and Leopold, Prince of Salerno. Another, Carlo, Duke of Calabria died in 1778 aged 3 of smallpox.

Her sisters included Grand Duchess of Tuscany. Her younger sister Princess Maria Cristina, was the wife of the future Charles Felix of Sardinia as Queen of Sardinia. Maria Cristina's twin Princess Maria Cristina Amelia died in 1783 of smallpox. Another sister was the Queen of the French as the wife of Louis Philippe I and the youngest was the future Princess of Asturias.


Maria Theresa with her husband and children.

On 15 September 1790 she married her double first cousin Archduke Francis of Austria, who would later become Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, and then Emperor Francis I of Austria. The marriage is described as a happy one, despite differences in personality.

Maria Theresa was described as easy-going with a sensuous appearance. She loved masquerades and carnivals, and participated in every ball even while she was pregnant.

Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp described the view of Maria Theresa and the relationship between the couple in her famous diary during her visit to Vienna in 1798–99:

The Empress is reputed to be so jealous that she does not allow him to take part in social life or meet other women. Vicious tongues accuse her of being so passionate that she exhausts her consort and never leaves him alone even for a moment. Although the people of Vienna cannot deny that she is gifted, charitable and carries herself beautifully, she is disliked for her intolerance and for forcing the Emperor to live isolated from everyone. She is also accused of interesting herself in unimportant matters and socializing exclusively with her lady-companions. With them she spends her evenings singing, acting out comedies and being applauded.

In February 1799, her seeming indifference to the revolution against her parents in Naples attracted some disfavour in Vienna. Hedwig Elisabeth Charlotte also recounts a scene described to her by a foreigner, who bribed his way into the private park at Laxenburg and came to witness a scene between the couple:

"He saw the Emperor sitting on a bench, alone in his thoughts. Immediately, the Empress came to fetch him, and he exlaimed: "Can't you ever leave me alone, so that I may breathe for one moment? For God's sake, don't follow me around all the time."

She did have some political influence, as she was interested in politics. She gave her husband advice and is believed to have been partially responsible for the dismissal of Johann Baptist Freiherr von Schloissnigg and Graf Franz Colloredo; she was also critical of Napoleon and encouraged her husband in the wars against him.

An important patron of Viennese music, she commissioned many compositions for official and private use. Joseph Haydn wrote his Te Deum for chorus and orchestra at her request. He also composed numerous masses to celebrate her reign. Her favourite composers included Paul Wranitzky and Joseph Leopold Eybler, a composer of sacred music.


Titles and styles

  • 6 June 1772 – 15 September 1790: Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily
  • 15 September 1790 – 1 March 1792: Her Royal Highness Archduchess Francis of Austria
  • 1 March 1792 – 11 August 1804: Her Imperial Majesty The Holy Roman Empress, German Queen, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia
    • simplified: Her Imperial Majesty The Holy Roman Empress
  • 11 August 1804 – 6 August 1806: Her Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty The Holy Roman Empress, Empress of Austria, German Queen, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia
  • 6 August 1806 – 13 April 1807: Her Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty The Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia



  • Richard Reifenscheid, Die Habsburger in Lebensbildern, Piper 2006
  • John A. Rice, Empress Marie Therese and Music at the Viennese Court, 1792–1807, Cambridge 2003
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