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Marie Henriette of Austria

Marie Henriette of Austria

Belgian Queen
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Belgian Queen
Gender female
Birth August 23, 1836 (Pest)
Death September 19, 1902 (Spa)
Mother: Duchess Maria Dorothea of Württemberg
Father: Archduke JosephPalatine of Hungary
Spouse: Leopold II
Children: Princess Louise of BelgiumPrince LeopoldDuke of BrabantPrincess Stéphanie of BelgiumPrincess Clémentine of Belgium
Marie Henriette of Austria
The details

Marie Henriette of Austria (Marie Henriette Anne; 23 August 1836 – 19 September 1902) was queen consort of the Belgians. She was married to King Leopold II of Belgium.
Marie Henriette was one of five children from the marriage of Archduke Joseph, Palatine of Hungary, and Duchess Maria Dorothea of Württemberg. Marie Henriette was a cousin of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, and granddaughter of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor through her father.

Marriage and issue

Marie Henriette and Leopold II of Belgium
Twenty-fifth wedding anniversary of King Leopold II and Queen Marie-Henriette, Royal Palace (Brussels), 22 August 1878.

When she was 16, she married 18-year-old Prince Leopold of Belgium, the heir to the throne, on 22 August 1853. Leopold was the second-surviving son of Leopold I of Belgium and his French wife, Louise of Orléans; Marie Henriette was the sister-in-law of Charlotte of Belgium, future Empress of Mexico and a cousin by marriage to Victoria of the United Kingdom and Maria II of Portugal.

The marriage was arranged to strengthen the status of the Belgian Monarchy. As the former Protestant monarch of a newly established monarchy, the Belgian king wished his son to marry a member from a Roman Catholic and prestigious dynasty, and the name Habsburg was one of her more important qualities.

Henriette was a vivid and energetic person interested in riding. Pauline de Metternich wrote that theirs was a marriage "between a stable-boy and a nun, and by nun I mean the Duke of Brabant". Henriette is said to have had a terrible temperament. The marriage became unhappy, and the couple lived more or less separate lives. She became queen in 1865. After the death of their son in 1869, the couple separated completely after having made a last attempt to have another son, which, however, resulted in their daughter Clementine. She gave her daughters a very strict upbringing. Her main interest was in her Hungarian horses. She lived most of her life unhappy and discontented. In 1895 she retreated to Spa; her youngest daughter Clementine replaced her as first lady at the Court in Brussels for the remainder of her husband's life.

Marie Henriette died at the Hôtel du Midi in Spa; she had bought the house in 1895 after separating with her husband. She was buried in the Royal Crypt at the Church of Our Lady of Laeken in Brussels. Her husband later married (though illegally under Belgian law) his mistress Caroline Delacroix.

She was the 607th Dame of the Royal Order of Queen Maria Luisa. Marie Henriette also held the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert.


  • Princess Louise of Belgium (1858–1924) married to Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
  • Prince Léopold, Duke of Brabant (1859–1869); died young;
  • Princess Stéphanie of Belgium (1864–1945) married to Prince Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, son of Franz Joseph I of Austria and Elisabeth of Bavaria;
  • Princess Clémentine of Belgium (1872–1955) married to Prince Victor, Prince Napoléon


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 23 August 1836 – 22 August 1853 Her Imperial and Royal Highness Archduchess Marie Henriette of Austria
  • 22 August 1853 – 17 December 1865 Her Imperial and Royal Highness The Duchess of Brabant
  • 17 December 1865 – 19 September 1902 Her Majesty The Queen of the Belgians



  • Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold


  • Dame of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert
  • Golden Rose
  • Dame of the Order of Queen Maria Luisa
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Charles
  • Dame Royal Order of Saint-Michaël Bavaria,
  • Dame Noble Order of the Starry Cross
  • Dame Royal order of Saint Isabella
  • Dame Louise Orde Prussian
  • Dame grand cross Chefakat Order
  • Golden Rose by pope Leo XIII 1893


Alliance Coat of Arms of King Leopold II and Queen Marie Henriette.svg
Alliance Coat of Arms of King Leopold II
and Queen Marie Henriette of Belgium
Royal Monogram of Queen Marie-Henriette of Belgium.svg
Royal Monogram of Queen Marie-Henriette
of Belgium

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