Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor

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Francis I
Martin van Meytens 006.jpg
Portrait by Martin van Meytens, 1745.
Holy Roman Emperor
King in Germany
Reign13 September 1745 – 18 August 1765
Coronation 4 October 1745, Frankfurt
Predecessor Charles VII
Successor Joseph II
Archduke of Austria
Reign21 November 1740 – 18 August 1765
Predecessor Maria Theresa
Successor Joseph II
Co-monarch Maria Theresa
Grand Duke of Tuscany
Reign12 July 1737 – 18 August 1765
Predecessor Gian Gastone
Successor Leopold I
Duke of Lorraine
Reign27 March 1729 – 9 July 1737/18 August 1765 (titular only)
Predecessor Leopold
Successor Stanisław I
Born(1708-12-08)8 December 1708
Ducal Palace of Nancy, Lorraine, Holy Roman Empire
Died18 August 1765(1765-08-18) (aged 56)
Palace of Innsbruck, Austria
Burial
Spouse
Issue
Full name
Francis Stephen
House Lorraine
Father Leopold, Duke of Lorraine
Mother Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans
Religion Roman Catholicism

Francis I (German: Franz Stefan, French: François Étienne; 8 December 1708 – 18 August 1765) [1] was Holy Roman Emperor and Grand Duke of Tuscany, though his wife Maria Theresa effectively executed the real powers of those positions. They were the founders of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty. From 1728 until 1737 he was Duke of Lorraine. Francis traded the duchy to the ex-Polish king Stanisław Leszczyński in exchange for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany as one of the terms ending the War of the Polish Succession in November 1738. The duchy and the ducal title to Lorraine and Bar passed to King Louis XV of France upon Leszczynski's death in 1766, though Francis and his successors retained the right to style themselves as dukes of Lorraine and Bar.

Holy Roman Emperor Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire

The Holy Roman Emperor, officially the Emperor of the Romans, and also the German-Roman Emperor, was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The title was, almost without interruption, held in conjunction with title of King of Germany throughout the 12th to 18th centuries.

Tuscany Region of Italy

Tuscany is a region in central Italy with an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.8 million inhabitants (2013). The regional capital is Florence (Firenze).

Maria Theresa Holy Roman Empress

Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Transylvania, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands, and Parma. By marriage, she was Duchess of Lorraine, Grand Duchess of Tuscany and Holy Roman Empress.

Contents

Early life

Francis was born in Nancy, Lorraine (now in France), the oldest surviving son of Leopold, Duke of Lorraine, and his wife Princess Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans. He was connected with the Habsburgs through his grandmother Eleonore, daughter of Emperor Ferdinand III. He was very close to his brother Charles and sister Anne Charlotte.

Nancy, France Prefecture and commune in Grand Est, France

Nancy is the capital of the north-eastern French department of Meurthe-et-Moselle, and formerly the capital of the Duchy of Lorraine, and then the French province of the same name. The metropolitan area of Nancy had a population of 434,565 inhabitants at the 2011 census, making it the 20th largest urban area in France. The population of the city of Nancy proper was 104,321 in 2014.

Duchy of Lorraine former state

The Duchy of Lorraine, originally Upper Lorraine, was a duchy now included in the larger present-day region of Lorraine in northeastern France. Its capital was Nancy.

Leopold, Duke of Lorraine Duke of Lorraine, Bar and of Teschen

Leopold, surnamed the Good, was Duke of Lorraine and Bar from 1690 to his death. He is the ancestor of all rulers of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty, including all Emperors of Austria.

Emperor Charles VI favoured the family, who, besides being his cousins, had served the house of Austria with distinction. He had designed to marry his daughter Maria Theresa to Francis' older brother Leopold Clement. On Leopold Clement's death, Charles adopted the younger brother as his future son-in-law. Francis was brought up in Vienna with Maria Theresa with the understanding that they were to be married, and a real affection arose between them.

Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and Bohemia

Charles VI succeeded his elder brother, Joseph I, as Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia, King of Hungary and Croatia, Serbia and Archduke of Austria in 1711. He unsuccessfully claimed the throne of Spain following the death of his relative, Charles II. In 1708, he married Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, by whom he had his two children: Maria Theresa, the last Habsburg sovereign, and Maria Anna, Governess of the Austrian Netherlands.

Austria Federal republic in Central Europe

Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a land-locked country in Central Europe composed of nine federated states (Bundesländer), one of which is Vienna, Austria's capital and its largest city. Austria occupies an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi) and has a population of nearly 9 million people. It is bordered by Germany and the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. While German is the country's official language, many Austrians communicate informally in a variety of Bavarian dialects.

Léopold Clément, Hereditary Prince of Lorraine Hereditary Prince of Lorraine

Léopold Clément, Hereditary Prince of Lorraine was heir apparent to the throne of the sovereign Duchy of Lorraine.

At the age of 15, when he was brought to Vienna, he was established in the Silesian Duchy of Teschen, which had been mediatised and granted to his father by the emperor in 1722. Francis succeeded his father as Duke of Lorraine in 1729. In 1731 he was initiated into freemasonry (Grand Lodge of England) by John Theophilus Desaguliers at a specially convened lodge in The Hague at the house of the British Ambassador, Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield. [2] During a subsequent visit to England, Francis was made a Master Mason at another specially convened lodge at Houghton Hall, the Norfolk estate of British Prime Minister Robert Walpole. [3]

Silesia Historical region

Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with small parts in the Czech Republic and Germany. Its area is about 40,000 km2 (15,444 sq mi), and its population about 8,000,000. Silesia is located along the Oder River. It consists of Lower Silesia and Upper Silesia.

Duchy of Teschen former country

The Duchy of Teschen, also Duchy of Cieszyn or Duchy of Těšín (Czech: Těšínské knížectví, was one of the Duchies of Silesia centered on Cieszyn in Upper Silesia. It was split off the Silesian Duchy of Opole and Racibórz in 1281 during the feudal division of Poland and was ruled by Silesian dukes of the Piast dynasty from 1290 until the line became extinct with the death of Duchess Elizabeth Lucretia in 1653.

In politics and law, mediatisation is the loss of immediacy, the status of persons not subject to local lords but only to a higher authority directly, such as the Holy Roman Emperor. In a feudal context, it is the introduction of an intervening level of authority between a lord and his vassal so that the former is no longer the immediate lord of the latter, but rather his lordship is mediated by another.

Francis at the age of 15 in his hunting attire Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor at the age of 15.jpeg
Francis at the age of 15 in his hunting attire

Maria Theresa arranged for Francis to become "Lord Lieutenant" (locumtenens) of Hungary in 1732. He was not excited about this position, but Maria Theresa wanted him closer to her. In June 1732 he agreed to go to Pressburg.

When the War of the Polish Succession broke out in 1733, France used it as an opportunity to seize Lorraine, since France's prime minister, Cardinal Fleury, was concerned that, as a Habsburg possession, it would bring Austrian power too close to France.

War of the Polish Succession war in Europe 1734–1738

The War of the Polish Succession (1733–35) was a major European war sparked by a Polish civil war over the succession to Augustus II, which the other European powers widened in pursuit of their own national interests. France and Spain, the two Bourbon powers, attempted to check the power of the Austrian Habsburgs in western Europe, as did the Kingdom of Prussia, whilst Saxony and Russia mobilized to support the eventual Polish victor. The slight amount of fighting in Poland resulted in the accession of Augustus III, who in addition to Russia and Saxony, was politically supported by the Habsburgs.

A preliminary peace was concluded in October 1735 and ratified in the Treaty of Vienna in November 1738. Under its terms, Stanisław I, the father-in-law of King Louis XV and the losing claimant to the Polish throne, received Lorraine, while Francis, in compensation for his loss, was made heir to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, which he would inherit in 1737.

Although fighting stopped after the preliminary peace, the final peace settlement had to wait until the death of the last Medici Grand Duke of Tuscany, Gian Gastone de' Medici in 1737, to allow the territorial exchanges provided for by the peace settlement to go into effect.

In March 1736 the Emperor persuaded Francis, his future son-in-law, to secretly exchange Lorraine for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. France had demanded that Maria Theresa's fiancé surrender his ancestral Duchy of Lorraine to accommodate the deposed King of Poland. The Emperor considered other possibilities (such as marrying her to the future Charles III of Spain) before announcing the engagement of the couple. If something were to go wrong, Francis would become governor of the Austrian Netherlands.

Elisabeth of Parma had also wanted the Grand Duchy of Tuscany for her son Charles III of Spain; Gian Gastone de' Medici was childless and was related to Elisabeth via her great-grandmother Margherita de' Medici. As a result, Elisabeth's sons could claim by right of being a descendant of Margherita.

On 31 January 1736 Francis agreed to marry Maria Theresa. He hesitated three times (and laid down the feather before signing). Especially his mother Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans and his brother Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine were against the loss of Lorraine. On 1 February, Maria Theresa sent Francis a letter: she would withdraw from her future reign, when a male successor for her father appeared.

Marriage

Francis I and his family (by Martin van Meytens) Maria Theresia Familie.jpg
Francis I and his family (by Martin van Meytens)

They married on 12 February in the Augustinian Church, Vienna. The wedding was held on 14 February 1736. The (secret) treaty between the Emperor and Francis was signed on 4 May 1736. In January 1737, the Spanish troops withdrew from Tuscany, and were replaced by 6,000 Austrians. [4] On 24 January 1737 Francis received Tuscany from his father-in-law. [5] Until then, Maria Theresa was Duchess of Lorraine.

Gian Gastone de' Medici, who died on 9 July 1737, was the second cousin of Francis (Gian Gastone and Francis' father Leopold were both great-grandchildren of Francis II, Duke of Lorraine), who also had Medici blood through his maternal great-great-grandmother Marie de' Medici, Queen consort of France and Navarre. In June 1737 Francis went to Hungary again to fight against the Turks. In October 1738 he was back in Vienna. On 17 December 1738 the couple travelled south, accompanied by his brother Charles to visit Florence for three months. They arrived on 20 January 1739.

In 1744 Francis' brother Charles married a younger sister of Maria Theresa, Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria. In 1744 Charles became governor of the Austrian Netherlands, a post he held until his death in 1780.

Reign

Maria Theresa secured in the Treaty of Füssen his election to the Empire on 13 September 1745, in succession to Charles VII, and she made him co-regent of her hereditary dominions.

Francis was well content to leave the wielding of power to his able wife. He had a natural fund of good sense and brilliant business capacity and was a useful assistant to Maria Theresa in the laborious task of governing the complicated Austrian dominions, but he was not active in politics or diplomacy. However, his wife left him in charge of the financial affairs, which he managed well until his death. [6] Heavily indebted and on the verge of bankruptcy at the end of the Seven Years' War, the Austrian Empire was in a better financial condition than France or England in the 1780s. He also took a great interest in the natural sciences. He was a member of the Freemasons. [7]

Francis was a serial adulterer, many of his affairs well-known and indiscreet, notably one with Maria Wilhelmina, Princess of Auersperg, who was thirty years his junior. This particular affair was remarked upon in the letters and journals of visitors to the court and in those of his children. [8]

He died suddenly in his carriage while returning from the opera at Innsbruck on 18 August 1765. He is buried in tomb number 55 in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna.

Maria Theresa and Francis I had sixteen children, amongst them the last pre-revolutionary queen consort of France, their youngest daughter, Marie Antoinette (1755–1793). Francis was succeeded as Emperor by his eldest son, Joseph II, and as Grand Duke of Tuscany by his younger son, Peter Leopold (later Emperor Leopold II). Maria Theresa retained the government of her dominions until her own death in 1780.

Issue

NameBirthDeathNotes
1 Archduchess Maria Elisabeth of Austria 5 February 17376 June 1740died in childhood, no issue
2 Archduchess Maria Anna 6 October 173819 November 1789died unmarried, no issue
3 Archduchess Maria Carolina of Austria 12 January 174025 January 1741died in childhood likely from smallpox, no issue
4 Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II 13 March 174120 February 1790married 1) Princess Isabella Maria of Parma (1741–1763), married 2) Princess Marie Josephe of Bavaria (1739–1767) – second cousin, had issue from his first marriage (two daughters, who died young)
5 Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria 13 May 174224 June 1798married Prince Albert of Saxony, Duke of Teschen (1738–1822), her second cousin, had issue (one stillborn daughter)
6 Archduchess Maria Elisabeth of Austria 13 August 174322 September 1808died unmarried, no issue
7 Archduke Charles Joseph of Austria 1 February 174518 January 1761died of smallpox, no issue
8 Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria 26 February 17469 June 1804married Ferdinand, Duke of Parma (1751–1802), had issue.
9 Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II 5 May 17471 March 1792married Infanta Maria Luisa 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.
10Archduchess Maria Carolina of Austria17 September 174817 September 1748died hours after baptism
11 Archduchess Maria Johanna of Austria 4 February 175023 December 1762died of smallpox, no issue
12 Archduchess Maria Josepha of Austria 19 March 175115 October 1767died of smallpox, no issue
13 Archduchess Maria Carolina of Austria 13 August 17527 September 1814married King Ferdinand IV of Naples and Sicily (1751–1825); had issue
14 Archduke Ferdinand of Austria 1 June 175424 December 1806married Maria Beatrice d'Este, Duchess of Massa, heiress of Breisgau and of Modena, had issue (Austria-Este). Duke of Breisgau from 1803.
15 Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria 2 November 175516 October 1793married Louis XVI of France and Navarre (1754–1793) and became Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and Navarre.
16 Archduke Maximilian Franz of Austria 8 December 175627 July 1801 Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, 1784.

Ancestry

Titles

Coat of arms of Francis I Coat of Arms of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor.svg
Coat of arms of Francis I

Francis I, by the grace of God elected Holy Roman Emperor, forever August, King in Germany and of Jerusalem, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Lorraine, Bar, and Grand Duke of Tuscany, Duke of Calabria, in Silesia of Teschen, Prince of Charleville, Margrave of Pont-à-Mousson and Nomeny, Count of Provence, Vaudémont, Blâmont, Zütphen, Saarwerden, Salm, Falkenstein, etc. etc.

Award

The Francis Stephen Award pays homage to the interest that Francis I had in science, arts and culture of Austria. It honors works of excellence in the 18th century or the Habsburg monarchy. The award gives rise to the award of a diploma at a ceremony at the University of Vienna.

See also

Related Research Articles

House of Habsburg Austrian dynastic family

The House of Habsburg and alternatively called the House of Austria, was one of the most influential and distinguished royal houses of Europe. The throne of the Holy Roman Empire was continuously occupied by the Habsburgs from 1438 until their extinction in the male line in 1740. The house also produced kings of Bohemia, Hungary, Croatia, Galicia, Portugal and Spain with their respective colonies, as well as rulers of several principalities in the Netherlands and Italy. From the 16th century, following the reign of Charles V, the dynasty was split between its Austrian and Spanish branches. Although they ruled distinct territories, they nevertheless maintained close relations and frequently intermarried.

House of Medici Renaissance Italian noble family

The House of Medici was an Italian banking family and political dynasty that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the first half of the 15th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of Tuscany, and prospered gradually until it was able to fund the Medici Bank. This bank was the largest in Europe during the 15th century, and it facilitated the Medicis' rise to political power in Florence, although they officially remained citizens rather than monarchs until the 16th century.

Anna Maria Luisa de Medici Electress palatine

Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici was a Tuscan noblewoman who was the last lineal descendant of the main branch of the House of Medici. A patron of the arts, she bequeathed the Medici's large art collection, including the contents of the Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti and the Medicean villas, which she inherited upon her brother Gian Gastone's death in 1737, and her Palatine treasures to the Tuscan state, on the condition that no part of it could be removed from "the Capital of the grand ducal State....[and from] the succession of His Serene Grand Duke."

Gian Gastone de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany Grand Duke of Tuscany

Gian Gastone de' Medici was the seventh and last Medicean Grand Duke of Tuscany.

House of Lorraine Royal house of Europe

The House of Lorraine originated as a cadet branch of the House of Metz. It inherited the Duchy of Lorraine in 1473 after the death of duke Nicholas I without a male heir. By the marriage of Francis of Lorraine to Maria Theresa in 1736, and with the success in the ensuing War of the Austrian Succession, the House of Lorraine was joined to the House of Habsburg, and was now known as Habsburg-Lorraine. Francis, his sons Joseph II and Leopold II, and grandson Francis II were the last four Holy Roman Emperors from 1745 to the dissolution of the empire in 1806. Habsburg-Lorraine inherited the Habsburg Empire, ruling the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary until the dissolution of the monarchy in 1918.

Grand Duchy of Tuscany Former Italian state (1569–1801; 1815–1859)

The Grand Duchy of Tuscany was a central Italian monarchy that existed, with interruptions, from 1569 to 1859, replacing the Duchy of Florence. The grand duchy's capital was Florence. Tuscany was nominally a state of the Holy Roman Empire until the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797.

Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine Elector Palatine

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Cosimo III de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany Grand Duke of Tuscany

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The Treaty of Vienna or Peace of Vienna was signed on 18 November 1738. It was one of the last international treaties written in Latin. It ended the War of the Polish Succession. By the terms of the treaty, Stanisław Leszczyński renounced his claim on the Polish throne and recognized Augustus III, Duke of Saxony. As compensation he received instead the duchies of Lorraine and Bar, which was to pass to France upon his death. He died in 1766. Francis Stephen, who was the Duke of Lorraine, was indemnified with the vacant throne of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the last Medici having died in 1737. France also agreed to the Pragmatic Sanction in the Treaty of Vienna. In another provision of the treaty, the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily were ceded by Austria to Duke Charles of Parma and Piacenza, the younger son of King Philip V of Spain. Charles, in turn, had to cede Parma to Austria, and to give up his claims to the throne of Tuscany in favor of Francis Stephen.

Maria Luisa of Spain Czech queen

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Archduchess Maria Maddalena of Austria Grand Duchess consort of Tuscany

Maria Maddalena of Austria was Grand Duchess of Tuscany from the accession of her husband, Cosimo II, in 1609 until his death in 1621. With him, she had eight children, including a duchess of Parma, a grand duke of Tuscany, and an archduchess of Further Austria. Born in Graz, she was the youngest daughter of Charles II, Archduke of Inner Austria, and his wife Maria Anna of Bavaria. During the minority of her son, Grand Duke Ferdinando, she and her mother-in-law acted as regents from 1621 to 1628. She died on 1 November 1631 in Passau.

Élisabeth Charlotte dOrléans Duchess consort of Lorraine

Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans was a petite-fille de France, and duchess of Lorraine and Bar by marriage to Leopold, Duke of Lorraine. She was regent of Lorraine and Bar during the minority (1729–1730) and absence of her son (1730–1737), and suo jure Princess of Commercy 1737–1744. Among her children was Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, a co-founder of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.

Elisabeth Therese of Lorraine Queen consort of Sardinia

Elisabeth Therese of Lorraine was born a Princess of Lorraine and was the last queen consort of Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia. The sister of Francis Stephan, Duke of Lorraine, she died as a result of giving birth to Benedetto of Savoy.

Princess Anne Charlotte of Lorraine Abbess of Remiremont, Mons and Essen

Anne Charlotte of Lorraine was the Abbess of Remiremont and Mons. She was the thirteenth of fifteen children of Leopold, Duke of Lorraine, and his spouse Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans. Her mother was the niece of Louis XIV of France and sister of Philippe II, Duke of Orléans and Regent of France during the minority of Louis XV.

Anna Maria Franziska of Saxe-Lauenburg Grand Duchess consort of Tuscany

Anna Maria Franziska of Saxe-Lauenburg was the legal Duchess of Saxe-Lauenburg in the eyes of the Holy Roman Emperor, the overlord of Saxe-Lauenburg, from 1689 until 1728; however, because her distant cousin George William, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, conquered the duchy by force in 1689, she exercised no control over the territory, instead living in her manors in Bohemia.

Grand Ducal Crown of Tuscany

The Grand Ducal Crown of Tuscany was a ducal crown created by the Medicean Grand Dukes of Tuscany.

References

  1. Encyclopedia of Austria: Franz I
  2. Audrey Carpenter, John Theophilus Desaguliers: A Natural Philosopher, Engineer and Freemason in Newtonian England, (London : Continuum, 2011), ISBN   978-1-4411-2778-5, p. 47
  3. Maclolm Davies, The masonic muse : songs, music, and musicians associated with Dutch freemasonry, 1730–1806. (Utrecht : Koninklijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis, 1995), ISBN   90-6375-199-0, pp. 22–23
  4. Hale, Florence and the Medici, Orion books, p 192. London, 1977, ISBN   1-84212-456-0.
  5. Maria Theresia und ihre Zeit. Exhibition from 13 May till October 1980 in Vienna, Schloss Schönbrunn, p. 28, see also pp. 37, 38, 41, 47, 52, 53 for the other details described here.
  6. Maria-Theresa, Jean-Paul Bled
  7. "In Mozart's Vienna, Freemasonry had flourished under the Habsburgs mainly due to the influence of Francis Stephen, Duke of Lorraine, who, himself, was a Freemason." Wolfgang Amedeus Mozart – Master Mason Archived 13 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine .
  8. Farquhar, Michael (2001). A Treasure of Royal Scandals, p.89. Penguin Books, New York. ISBN   0-7394-2025-9.
  9. Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 81.
Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
Born: 8 December 1708 Died: 18 August 1765
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Gian Gastone de' Medici
Grand Duke of Tuscany
1737–1765
Succeeded by
Leopold II
Preceded by
Leopold
Duke of Lorraine
1729–1737
Succeeded by
Stanisław I
Duke of Teschen
1729–1765
Succeeded by
Joseph II
Preceded by
Charles VII
King in Germany
1745–1764
Holy Roman Emperor
1745–1765
Preceded by
Maria Theresa
as sole ruler
Archduke of Austria
Ruler of the Austrian Netherlands

21 November 1740–1765
with Maria Theresa
Succeeded by
Maria Theresa
as sole ruler