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Family: The Habsburgs

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Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Elena on Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:47 pm

The House of Austria.

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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  May on Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:43 pm

Is it true that the Empress Maria Theresa thought that Maria Carolina, of all her daughters, resembled her the most?

I think Marie-Antoinette also had alot of her mother's force of character, although perhaps not as much political prudence.
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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Sophie on Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:26 am

I always thought that it's only the historians' evaluation about Carolina's attitude and behaviour as a politician. She tried hard to "fight" for her country, the Two Sicilies, until her sudden death. She was maybe more talented than her sisters and resembled her mother the most from this point of view. But Maria Theresa died in 1780 and never knew how her daughter handled with the problems, for example during the Napoleonic Wars. I've read somewhere that she feared because Carolina was a bit naughty and hard-headed as a girl, she warned her to behave better. So IMO Maria Theresa didn't know that her daughter will be evaluated this way... but who knows? scratch
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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Elena on Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:56 am

That sounds like an accurate assessment to me, Sophie Smile Thank you. And thanks to you, Matterhorn for the question. Smile Marie-Antoinette was actually quite astute in her understanding of political situations, but we must remember that Louis deliberately kept her out of politics until during the Revolution when he was ill, and then she had to intervene. The following is an excerpt of a letter from Marie-Antoinette to her mother Empress Maria Theresa, written on February 17, 1777. Marie-Antoinette was twenty-one years old and had been Queen of France for almost three years. It demonstrates that in spite of the popular perception of being a nitwit, the young Queen had an awareness of the political situation in Europe. At the time the letter was written, Marie-Antoinette was at the height of the partying phase of her life, and not actively engaged in political affairs; Louis XVI encouraged her not to become involved. He knew that his Queen, as an Austrian Archduchess, was pressured by her family to influence him to undertake policies favorable to Austrian interests. He tried to keep her from meddling by isolating her at Petit Trianon, surrounding her by a circle of friends (the Polignacs) who owed everything to himself. That she had a basic sense of what was going on, long before the Revolution when she played a larger role in the political scene, shows that she had inherited some of her mother's astuteness.

When she says that "it would be the greatest good fortune if these two sovereigns [her husband and her brother Joseph]...could trust each other" she is referring primarily to the fact that Louis did not trust the Emperor and would not go along with his plans. She was also acutely aware of the intrigues of the court and accurately predicted that the appointment of Cardinal Prince Louis de Rohan as Grand Almoner would bring "many intrigues;" it certainly brought about the Diamond Necklace fiasco.
Although I have very little experience of politics, I cannot help being worried about what is happening everywhere in Europe. It would be very terrible if the Turks and the Russians went back to war. At least here I am very sure they want to keep the peace. If my brother had come, I think, like my dear Mama, that his acquaintance with the King would have been very useful for the general good and quiet. It would be the greatest good fortune if these two sovereigns, who are so close to me, could trust each other, they could settle many things together and would be protected from the lack of skill and the personal interests of their ministers.

The Grand Almoner is at death's door; Prince Louis [de Rohan] will replace him in that office. I am really annoyed by this, and it will be much against his own inclination that the King will appoint him; but two years ago he allowed himself to be surprised by M. de Soubise and Mme de Marsan into a half promise, which they converted into a full one by thanking him, and which they have just now used to the full. If he [Rohan] behaves as he always did, we will have many intrigues.
(~from Secrets of Marie Antoinette: A Collection of Letters, edited by Olivier Bernier. New York: Fromm International, 1986, pp. 211-212)

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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  May on Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:27 pm

Very interesting, thank you! sunny
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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Duchess Lylia on Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:04 am

It strikes me that, had she been born an English princess/queen, she could have fared very well indeed. Her correspondence shows that she was indeed far from being a "nitwit," and her personal charm and charisma, combined with her tender-heartedness and strength of character, would all have stood her in excellent stead in another time and place.

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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Elena on Sat Oct 29, 2011 8:10 am

That is quite true, Duchess, especially since she had a fascination with everything English, including horse racing. Wink

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Empress Maria Theresa

Post  Elena on Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:52 pm

The Empress Maria Theresa (1717-1780) was Marie-Antoinette's mother. I believe Maria Theresa can be counted among the greatest of Christian monarchs. She was born an Archduchess of Austria and became Queen of Hungary and Queen of Bohemia when her Habsburg father died, but held the title of Holy Roman Empress because her husband, Francis Stephen of Lorraine, had been elected Emperor. The marriage was a love match, although not without problems, and produced sixteen children. Here is a list of her children:

* Archduchess Maria Elisabeth (1737-1740). Maria Theresa's heiress presumptive between 1737 and 1740.
* Archduchess Maria Anna (1738-1789). Maria Theresa's heiress presumptive between 1740 and 1741.
* Archduchess Maria Caroline (1740-1741).
* Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II (1741-1790), married Infanta Isabel of Spain (1741-1763), then Princess Marie Josephe of Bavaria (1739-1767); no surviving issue. Holy Roman Emperor from 1765; Archduke of Austria, King of Hungary and King of Bohemia and from 1780.
* Archduchess Maria Christina, Duchess of Teschen (1742-1798), married Prince Albert of Saxony, Duke of Teschen (1738-1822); no surviving issue
* Archduchess Maria Elisabeth (1743-1808)
* Archduke Charles Joseph (1745-1761)
* Archduchess Maria Amalia (1746-1804), married Ferdinand, Duke of Parma (1751-1802); had issue
* Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II (1747-1792), married Infanta Maria Louisa of Spain (1745-1792); had issue. Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1765 (abdicated 1790); Holy Roman Emperor from 1790; Archduke of Austria, King of Hungary and King of Bohemia from 1790.
* Archduchess Maria Caroline (1748)
* Archduchess Johanna Gabriela(1750-1762)
* Archduchess Maria Josepha (1751-1767)
* Queen Maria Caroline of Naples and Sicily (1752-1814), married King Ferdinand IV of Naples and Sicily (1751-1825); had issue
* Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este, Duke of Breisgau (1754–1806), married Maria Beatrice d'Este, heiress of Breisgau and of Modena; had issue (Austria-Este). Duke of Breisgau from 1803.
* Queen Marie Antoinette of France and Navarre, born Maria Antonia (1755-1793); married Louis XVI of France (1754-1793)
* Archduke Maximilian Francis (1756-1801), Archbishop-Elector of Cologne: 1784

People have accused Maria Theresa of betraying her motherhood by marrying her children all over Europe in order to forge alliances, but she was not doing anything different from other royal parents. Furthermore, she was the mother of her people as well, and allying the empire with foreign nations was a way to promote peace. Especially it was important to cement an alliance with France, the traditional enemy of Austria. (Marie-Antoinette was the sacrificial lamb for that project, but that is what it was to be a princess, an Archduchess of Austria.)

One noblewoman described being presented to Empress Maria Theresa:
Her Majesty entered followed by the three princesses. My husband and myself each sank upon the left knee and kissed the noblest, the most beautiful hand that has ever wielded a scepter. The Empress gently bade us rise. Her face and her gracious manner banished all the timidity and embarrassment we naturally felt in the presence of so exalted and beautiful a figure as hers. Our fear was changed to love and confidence.
The Emperor and Empress made occasional pilgrimages to the Marian shrine of Mariazell in the Austrian alps, accompanied by their numerous offspring. They once left two gold hearts, symbolic of the hearts of Maria Theresa and Francis Stephen, at the feet of the miraculous statue of the Virgin.

When Francis died in 1765, Maria Theresa was inconsolable, but she kept herself busy governing the Empire and writing letters to all of her daughters, telling them what to do. She was worried about Marie-Antoinette, and when she was dying, wept as she mentioned her youngest daughter's name. Maria Theresa passed away on November 29, 1780. Her nemesis, Frederick the Great of Prussia, who had given her no end of trouble, upon hearing of her death, said: "She has done honor to the throne and to her sex; I have warred with her but I have never been her enemy." (New Advent)

Maria Theresa was buried in the Capuchin crypt in Vienna, the traditional burial place of the Habsburgs. I visited the crypt in 1995 and was able to pray at her tomb. My heart was touched in a way which is difficult to describe. It was shortly after my return from Austria that I found in the cellar the beginning of a novel about Marie-Antoinette that I had begun writing about a decade earlier. I decided to finish the book and called it Trianon.






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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Duchess Lylia on Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:41 am

Elena, many thanks for this informative summary. It is painful to see how many children were lost in infancy, or at very young ages.

Which sibling(s) was Marie Antoinette closest to?

Also, and I am sure this is a terminally dopey question, but did she speak English? I am very intrigued by her friendship with Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and, while I'm virtually certain that they must have corresponded and spoken in French, I am curious as to what degree (if any) of proficiency Marie Antoinette had in the English language.


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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Elena on Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:33 am

Great questions! I love you Marie-Antoinette was closest to her sister Maria Carolina, Queen of Naples, with whom she was reared. She also corresponded a great deal with Amalia, the Duchess of Parma, and of course, she became close to Joseph since he was determined that her marriage should succeed for the sake of the Austrian alliance. I'll be posting on her siblings soon. Smile

Yes, Marie-Antoinette spoke English, and loved to practice with English guests such as Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. There are no extant letters from their correspondence, if there was one. Many people question how friendly they actually were. Although MA received Georgiana when the latter was in France, I don't think Georgiana was part of the Queen's inner circle. If there had been any letters at all from MA to Georgiana, surely they would have been preserved at Chatsworth. But who knows? Here is a review of the recent bio on Georgiana:

http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2008/09/biography-of-duchess.html

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Marie-Antoinette's sisters

Post  Mata Hari on Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:19 am

She had quite a few. Here is a post on them from the Madame Guillotine blog.
http://madameguillotine.org.uk/2010/02/10/marie-antoinettes-sisters/




Archduchess Maria Anna. The eldest surviving child of Emperor Francis and Empress Maria Theresa. Most people do not know that Marie-Antoinette had a sister who became an abbess.





Archduchess Maria Christina, called "Mimi." She was the favorite of her mother and allowed to marry for love.





Archduchess Maria Elisabeth. She was once considered the most beautiful of the sisters and seen as a potential bride for Louis XV, until her face was marred by small pox. She, too, became a nun.





Archduchess Maria Amalia, Duchess of Parma. More about her, here: http://madameguillotine.org.uk/2010/01/14/a-royal-romance/



Archduchess Maria Johanna. Died of smallpox at the age of 12.



Archduchess Maria Josepha. Died of small pox at the age of 16, right before she was supposed to marry Ferdinand of Naples.







Archduchess Maria Carolina, Queen of Naples, the favorite sister of Marie-Antoinette. More about her, here:
http://madmonarchist.blogspot.com/2011/02/consort-profile-maria-carolina-of.html

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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Elena on Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:03 am

Thank you! That was a lot of work! Very Happy

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Joseph II

Post  Elena on Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:21 am


Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor

About 14 years ago, I went to Austria with my friend Kathleen to visit her daughter Rose, who was spending a semester at the Franciscan University of Steubenville's campus in Gaming. The Austrian campus is on the grounds of what was formerly a Carthusian monastery. Like many monastic communities in what was once the Holy Roman Empire, the monastery in Gaming was closed down in the late 1700's by the orders of Emperor Joseph II, who did not tolerate any contemplative orders, those who were not doing "practical" work.

Joseph was Marie-Antoinette's bossy oldest brother, as different from her as night from day, although he claimed to be fond of his little sister. Joseph was an "enlightened despot." He was a liberal, and like many liberals today he could be quite tyrannical when it came to imposing his ideas of freedom upon everyone else. He tried to secularize his country by making the Church subservient to the state, influenced as he was by new ideas. Strange that he had the same goal as many of the revolutionaries in France, although he was intent upon keeping the imperial power.

Joseph was particularly concerned about the Austrian influence at the French court, and his minister Count Mercy-Argenteau constantly pressured Marie-Antoinette to intervene with her husband on behalf of the political goals of her family. Louis XVI, however, did not allow his queen to meddle and he thwarted Joseph's plans. Joseph, like his mother the Empress Maria Teresa before him, hoped that becoming the mother of an heir would enhance Marie-Antoinette's power and prestige at the French court, as well as her influence with her husband, all for the cause of Austria.

It was this preoccupation with Louis XVI's and Marie-Antoinette's intimate matters that caused Joseph to come himself to France to urge the young couple to beget an heir. It is doubtful that Louis XVI, being intensely secretive, would ever have confided any private bedroom matters to Joseph, and I doubt that Marie-Antoinette would have spoken of it either with him, prudish as she was about such things. Joseph wrote a graphic letter to his brother Leopold, making a joke at Louis' expense, as Vincent Cronin surmises in his biography Louis and Antoinette. He was undoubtedly annoyed with Louis for not making certain political concessions. Nevertheless, Joseph was able to persuade the young couple to sleep together more often, and so a child, Madame Royale, was at last conceived.

Some people speculate that if Joseph had lived, he may have done more to help his sister the Queen of France in her hour of need than either his brother Leopold or his nephew Francis did as emperors. But that is speculation. No matter how much he loved his sister, he was an emperor first, and would have done what he thought was best for Austria. However, because he died young, we will never really know.

Sources:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08508b.htm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/aug/04/humanities.books
http://staff.gps.edu/mines/Age%20of%20Absol%20-%20Enlightend%20Despots.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_II,_Holy_Roman_Emperor
http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2007/07/joseph-ii.html

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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  May on Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:30 am

That demeaning letter about Louis is quoted so often...
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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Elena on Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:34 am

I know, when it was probably no more than a joke between Joseph and Leopold. Embarassed

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Joseph's Wives

Post  Elena on Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:43 am


Isabella of Parma, Joseph's controversial first wife, and mother of his only child. Isabella was Marie-Antoinette's sister-in-law and Louis XVI's first cousin. Much more about her, here: http://madameguillotine.org.uk/2010/03/22/isabella-of-parma/




Maria Josepha of Bavaria, Holy Roman Empress. The second wife of Joseph II, unloved and neglected. More about her, here: http://madmonarchist.blogspot.com/2010/03/consort-profile-maria-josepha-of.html

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Marie-Antoinette's French Grandmother

Post  Elena on Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:34 pm


From Madame Guillotine:
http://madameguillotine.org.uk/2011/09/14/marie-antoinettes-french-grandmother/
Marie Antoinette’s French grandmother, Élisabeth Charlotte d’Orléans was born to Monsieur and Liselotte on the 13th September 1676 at the Château de Saint-Cloud, which had been perfected by her father over the years and had a commanding view from its terrace towards Paris. Later, this beautiful summer château would cause controversy when it became the personal possession of Marie Antoinette, but at the time of Élisabeth’s birth it was still, along with the Palais Royal in Paris, the primary seat of the Orléans family.

As niece of Louis XIV, the little girl was one of the first ladies in France and was given the courtesy title of Mademoiselle de Chartres, which she would use until the marriages of her elder half sisters, the daughters of Henrietta of England were married and she was given the title of Madame Royale to signify that she was now the premier unmarried princess in the country.

Élisabeth’s childhood was a happy one and was divided between Saint Cloud, the Palais Royal and the residences of her dread uncle, Louis: Versailles, Marly and Fontainebleau where she was an honoured denizen. Pretty and gloriously dressed in shimmering silks, velvets and brocades, Élisabeth was every inch the French princess, however beneath the gorgeous clothes there beat a rebellious heart which made her fond parents frequently despair of her frankness, wild behaviour and tomboyish escapades.

Like all princesses at this time, Mademoiselle de Chartres would have been raised in the full knowledge that she was no doubt destined to one day marry a man that she had never met and travel abroad to preside over his court, probably to never see France ever again. The fates of Louis XIV’s bevy of beautiful indolent illegitimate daughters by Louise de la Vallière and Athénaïs de Montespan must surely have aroused envy in the breasts of many French princesses as, unable by the stigma of their birth to marry foreign princelings, they alone had been permitted to remain at Versailles and had been married off to the most high ranking noblemen of their father’s court, including Élisabeth’s brother, much to her mother’s fury.

It is said that Liselotte was so enraged that Philippe had agreed to their eldest son and heir, the Duc de Chartres marrying the daughter of Athénaïs de Montespan, who had once been lady in waiting to Philippe’s first wife, Henrietta, that she slapped her son’s face in front of the entire court then, worse still by the standards of the day, pointedly turned her back on Louis XIV and stomped off, ignoring him, when he wished her a good day.

Luckily, the marriage of her only daughter, Élisabeth was a bit more to her liking and in fact she must have felt some relief when a match with Joseph of Bavaria, the younger brother of Madame la Dauphine was suggested to the girl and, outraged, she declared that she had no intention of marrying a younger son.

Fortunately for Élisabeth there were several suitors for her hand, including the Emperor Joseph I and William III of England, the widower of her cousin, Mary II of England. It was also tentatively suggested that the Princess marry her cousin, the Duc de Maine, another one of La Montespan’s good looking, merry, witty children but her mother nipped this in the bud.

Élisabeth was eventually married at the age of twenty two, which was absolutely elderly by the standards of the day, to the Duc de Lorraine, who was a bit of a step down for a Princess who had been considered a suitable bride for a King and Emperor. The wedding was a very grand affair and took place on the 13th of October 1698 in the chapel at Fontainebleau in front of her family and the entire court, who were probably relieved to have her married at last and also to someone who wouldn’t prompt her terrifying mother to lose her temper with the King.

It wasn’t a love match and had been engineered by necessities of state, but Élisabeth and her new husband, Leopold fell deeply in love and were to be immensely happy together bar a rough patch in the middle of their years together when he had a bit of a mid life crisis and took up with a glamorous French noblewoman. Their chief residence was the Château de Lunéville, which her husband extensively rebuilt and which became known as ‘the Versailles of Lorraine’.

The proximity of Lorraine to Versailles and Paris meant that Élisabeth was a lot more fortunate than many other Princesses, including her own grand-daughters, the daughters of her son Francis and Maria Theresa, who were sent away from home at an early age never to return. Élisabeth, on the other hand, was still able to see her family if not as much as previously then more often than perhaps she could have hoped for before her marriage. She was even a guest at all the great events of the time, including the coronation of her cousin, Louis XV at Rheims Cathedral.

Astonishingly, the marriage of Leopold and Élisabeth produced thirteen children over the years although, like her son and his wife, they would know the extreme sorrow of losing several of them in infancy, including three in the same week to an outbreak of smallpox, which would also be the scourge of the Imperial court.

Francis, the couple’s eldest surviving son and heir to the Duchy of Lorraine was born in Nancy, Lorraine on the 8th of December 1708 after the couple had suffered a temporary estrangement when Leopold had briefly taken up with a mistress and poor Élisabeth, suffering agonies of jealousy and hurt, had pretended to look the other way while they carried on under the same roof.

Francis would go on to capture the heart and then hand in marriage in February 1736, of his cousin, the young Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and would become father of Marie Antoinette, who was said to be his favourite child and like all of the Imperial children bore the name Hapsburg-Lorraine in tribute to their father’s duchy, which he had, much to his sorrow been forced to give up in exchange for the Duchy of Tuscany as part of the terms of his marriage. It’s said that despite being madly in love with Maria Theresa, he had hesitated while in the very act of signing the marriage contract and had in fact put down the pen several times before finally signing so unhappy was he about giving up his duchy to France (it’s complicated but there was a war and the French had always had their eye on Lorraine and so decided to nab it and so on).

His mother was deeply aggrieved about the loss of Lorraine and took up residence in Commercy, which the French made a Principality in an attempt to appease her. She was to die in the Château there on the 23rd of December 1744, at the age of sixty eight and was buried in Nancy beside her husband. http://madameguillotine.org.uk/2011/09/14/marie-antoinettes-french-grandmother/

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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  monica17 on Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:30 am

This might be of interest to people at this forum....

On Marie Antoinette and Maria Amalia's relationship, an Italian source on the former states that the non-consummation of Marie Antoinette's and Maria Amalia's marriages (7 years for MA and 3 months for Amalia, respectively) brought the sisters closer, they shared the same misfortune. As for the jokes on the non-consummation of MA and Louis XVI's marriage, the courier from France rarely left Parma without Amalia sending letters to her (unhappy) sister.

It also says that Giuseppe Pezzana, friend of the minister Du Tillot (and presumably an enemy of Amalia's), went into exile in France and was welcomed by Marie Antoinette as her Italian language teacher. He gave her lessons while he combed her hair! The author thought it strange that MA would welcome her sister's (presumed) enemy, but from all I have read, Amalia (and her Ferdinand as well) was not known to keep grudges, except maybe with Du Tillot and his mistress, Marchesa Malaspina (the latter was never welcomed back at court of Parma). Also perhaps Napoleon. But if it were true that Pezzana continued to be one of Amalia's enemies, Marie Antoinette also did well in not mixing with her sister's conflicts.


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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Elena on Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:25 pm

Thank you, Monica, for this information. Please do post anything you think would be of interest! sunny

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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Elena on Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:57 pm

Portraits of the daughters of Francis Stephen and Maria Theresa.
http://vivelareine.tumblr.com/post/41666726714

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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Elena on Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:23 pm

The Imperial Family. Marie-Antoinette and Max are the babies. They look so close in age; they must have been Irish twins, born close together.
http://tiny-librarian.tumblr.com/post/45852695281/maria-theresa-francis-i-and-all-13-of-their


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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Tiny-Librarian on Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:29 pm

Here's a portrait of 7 of Marie Antoinette's siblings, from approximately 1750



Joseph II sits in the centre, and around him are brothers Leopold and Charles Joseph, and sisters Maria Anna, Maria Elisabeth, Maria Amalia, and Maria Christina.
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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Elena on Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:00 pm

C'est merveilleuse!

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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Tiny-Librarian on Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:21 pm

Here's an engraving I found a little while ago of Maria Theresa/Francis I with all 13 of the children who survived infancy:



Here is the original on my blog with closeups, it gets a wee bit distorted on here.
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Re: Family: The Habsburgs

Post  Elena on Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:33 pm

Phenomenal! Thank you!! Very Happy

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