Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor

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Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor by Friedrich von Amerling 003.jpg
Francis II by Friedrich von Amerling
Holy Roman Emperor
King in Germany
Reign5 July 1792 – 6 August 1806
Coronation 14 July 1792, Frankfurt
Predecessor Leopold II
SuccessorMonarchy abolished
Emperor of Austria
Reign11 August 1804 – 2 March 1835
PredecessorMonarchy established
(partly himself as Archduke of Austria and Holy Roman Emperor)
Successor Ferdinand I
Chancellor Klemens von Metternich
King of Hungary and Croatia
King of Bohemia
Reign1 March 1792 – 2 March 1835
Coronations
Predecessor Leopold II
Successor Ferdinand V
King of Lombardy–Venetia
Reign9 June 1815 – 2 March 1835
PredecessorMonarchy established
Successor Ferdinand I
Born(1768-02-12)12 February 1768
Florence, Tuscany
Died2 March 1835(1835-03-02) (aged 67)
Vienna, Austria
Burial
Spouses
Elisabeth of Württemberg
(m. 1788;died 1790)

Maria Teresa of Naples and Sicily
(m. 1790;died 1807)

Maria Ludovika Beatrix of Modena
(m. 1808;died 1816)

Caroline Augusta of Bavaria
(m. 1816;died 1835)
Issue
Detail
Full name
Franz Joseph Karl
House Habsburg-Lorraine
Father Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Maria Luisa of Spain
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature Francis II signature.jpg

Francis II (German: Franz; 12 February 1768 – 2 March 1835) was the last Holy Roman Emperor, ruling from 1792 until 6 August 1806, when he dissolved the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation after the decisive defeat at the hands of the First French Empire led by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz. In 1804, he had founded the Austrian Empire and became Francis I, the first Emperor of Austria, ruling from 1804 to 1835, so later he was named the one and only Doppelkaiser (double emperor) in history. [1] For the two years between 1804 and 1806, Francis used the title and style by the Grace of God elected Roman Emperor, ever Augustus, hereditary Emperor of Austria and he was called the Emperor of both the Holy Roman Empire and Austria. He was also Apostolic King of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia as Francis I. He also served as the first president of the German Confederation following its establishment in 1815.

The Holy Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire during the medieval and early modern periods. The title was, almost without interruption, held in conjunction with title of King of Germany throughout the 12th to 18th centuries.

Holy Roman Empire varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.

First French Empire empire of Napoleon I of France between 1804-1815

The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852-1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.

Contents

Francis II continued his leading role as an opponent of Napoleonic France in the Napoleonic Wars, and suffered several more defeats after Austerlitz. The proxy marriage of state of his daughter Marie Louise of Austria to Napoleon on 10 March 1810 was arguably his severest personal defeat. After the abdication of Napoleon following the War of the Sixth Coalition, Austria participated as a leading member of the Holy Alliance at the Congress of Vienna, which was largely dominated by Francis's chancellor Klemens Wenzel, Prince von Metternich culminating in a new European map and the restoration of Francis's ancient dominions (except the Holy Roman Empire which was dissolved). Due to the establishment of the Concert of Europe, which largely resisted popular nationalist and liberal tendencies, Francis became viewed as a reactionary later in his reign.

Napoleonic Wars series of wars between Napoleons French Empire and the 2nd to the 7th coalition of European powers

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), Fifth (1809), Sixth (1813), and the Seventh and final (1815).

War of the Sixth Coalition Part of the Napoleonic Wars

In the War of the Sixth Coalition, sometimes known in Germany as the War of Liberation, a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States defeated France and drove Napoleon into exile on Elba. After the disastrous French invasion of Russia of 1812, the continental powers joined Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal and the rebels in Spain who were already at war with France.

Holy Alliance military alliance

The Holy Alliance was a coalition created by the monarchist great powers of Russia, Austria and Prussia. It was created after the ultimate defeat of Napoleon at the behest of Tsar Alexander I of Russia and signed in Paris on 26 September 1815. The intention of the alliance was to restrain liberalism and secularism in Europe in the wake of the devastating French Revolutionary Wars, and the alliance nominally succeeded in this until the Crimean War (1853–1856). Otto von Bismarck managed to reunite the Holy Alliance after the unification of Germany but the alliance again faltered by the 1880s over Austrian and Russian conflicts of interest with regard to the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire.

Early life

Archduke Francis at the age of 2, 1770. by Anton Raphael Mengs Archduke Franz Joseph Karl (1770).jpg
Archduke Francis at the age of 2, 1770. by Anton Raphael Mengs

Francis was a son of Emperor Leopold II (1747–1792) and his wife Maria Luisa of Spain (1745–1792), daughter of Charles III of Spain. Francis was born in Florence, the capital of Tuscany, where his father reigned as Grand Duke from 1765 to 1790. Though he had a happy childhood surrounded by his many siblings, [2] his family knew Francis was likely to be a future Emperor (his uncle Joseph had no surviving issue from either of his two marriages), and so in 1784 the young Archduke was sent to the Imperial Court in Vienna to educate and prepare him for his future role. [3]

Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor Austrian king

Leopold II was Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary, and Bohemia from 1790 to 1792, and Archduke of Austria and Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1765 to 1790. He was a son of Emperor Francis I and his wife, Empress Maria Theresa, and the brother of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor. Leopold was a moderate proponent of enlightened absolutism. He granted the Academy of Georgofili his protection.

Maria Luisa of Spain Czech queen

Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain was Holy Roman Empress, German Queen, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Grand Duchess of Tuscany as the spouse of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor.

Charles III of Spain King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788

Charles III was King of Spain (1759–1788), after ruling Naples as Charles VII and Sicily as Charles V (1734–1759). He was the fifth son of Philip V of Spain, and the eldest son of Philip's second wife, Elisabeth Farnese. A proponent of enlightened absolutism, he succeeded to the Spanish throne on 10 August 1759, upon the death of his half-brother Ferdinand VI, who left no heirs.

Emperor Joseph II himself took charge of Francis's development. His disciplinarian regime was a stark contrast to the indulgent Florentine Court of Leopold. The Emperor wrote that Francis was "stunted in growth", "backward in bodily dexterity and deportment", and "neither more nor less than a spoiled mother's child". Joseph concluded that "the manner in which he was treated for upwards of sixteen years could not but have confirmed him in the delusion that the preservation of his own person was the only thing of importance". [3]

Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Emperor

Joseph II was Holy Roman Emperor from August 1765 and sole ruler of the Habsburg lands from November 1780 until his death. He was the eldest son of Empress Maria Theresa and her husband, Emperor Francis I, and the brother of Marie Antoinette. He was thus the first ruler in the Austrian dominions of the House of Lorraine, styled Habsburg-Lorraine. Joseph was a proponent of enlightened absolutism; however, his commitment to modernizing reforms subsequently engendered significant opposition, which resulted in failure to fully implement his programmes. He has been ranked, with Catherine the Great of Russia and Frederick the Great of Prussia, as one of the three great Enlightenment monarchs. His policies are now known as Josephinism. He died with no sons and was succeeded by his younger brother, Leopold II.

Joseph's martinet method of improving the young Francis were "fear and unpleasantness". [4] The young Archduke was isolated, the reasoning being that this would make him more self-sufficient as it was felt by Joseph that Francis "failed to lead himself, to do his own thinking". Nonetheless, Francis greatly admired his uncle, if rather feared him. To complete his training, Francis was sent to join an army regiment in Hungary and he settled easily into the routine of military life. [5]

The martinet is a punitive device traditionally used in France and other parts of Europe. The word also has other usages, described below.

Kingdom of Hungary (1526–1867) Crownland of the Habsburg Monarchy and the Austrian Empire between 1526 and 1867

The Kingdom of Hungary between 1526 and 1867, while outside the Holy Roman Empire, was part of the lands of the Habsburg Monarchy that became the Empire of Austria in 1804. After the Battle of Mohács of 1526, the country was ruled by two crowned kings. Initially the exact territory under Habsburg rule was disputed because both rulers claimed the whole kingdom. This unsettled period lasted until 1570 when John Sigismund Zápolya abdicated as King of Hungary in Emperor Maximilian II's favor.

After the death of Joseph II in 1790, Francis's father became Emperor. He had an early taste of power while acting as Leopold's deputy in Vienna while the incoming Emperor traversed the Empire attempting to win back those alienated by his brother's policies. [6] The strain tolled on Leopold and by the winter of 1791, he became ill. He gradually worsened throughout early 1792; on the afternoon of 1 March Leopold died, at the relatively young age of 44. Francis, just past his 24th birthday, was now Emperor, much sooner than he had expected.

Emperor

Francis II – the last Holy Roman Emperor, by Ludwig Streitenfel Ludwig Streitenfeld 001.jpg
Francis II – the last Holy Roman Emperor, by Ludwig Streitenfel

As the leader of the large multi-ethnic Habsburg Empire, Francis felt threatened by Napoleon's social and political reforms, which were being exported throughout Europe with the expansion of the first French Empire. Francis had a fraught relationship with France. His aunt Marie Antoinette, the wife of Louis XVI and Queen consort of France, was guillotined by the revolutionaries in 1793, at the beginning of his reign. Francis, on the whole, was indifferent to her fate (she was not close to his father, Leopold, and although Francis had met her, he had been too young at the time to have any memory of his aunt). Georges Danton attempted to negotiate with the Emperor for Marie Antoinette's release, but Francis was unwilling to make any concessions in return. [7]

Later, he led Austria into the French Revolutionary Wars. He briefly commanded the Allied forces during the Flanders Campaign of 1794 before handing over command to his brother Archduke Charles. He was later defeated by Napoleon. By the Treaty of Campo Formio, he ceded the left bank of the Rhine to France in exchange for Venice and Dalmatia. He again fought against France during the Second and Third Coalition, when after meeting a crushing defeat at Austerlitz, he had to agree to the Treaty of Pressburg, weakening the Austrian Empire and reorganizing Holy Roman Empire (Germany) under a Napoleonic imprint that would be called the Confederation of the Rhine.

Francis I as Austrian Emperor, undated, Salzburg Museum. Pörträt Kaiser Franz I von Österreich.jpg
Francis I as Austrian Emperor, undated, Salzburg Museum.

At this point, he believed his position as Holy Roman Emperor to be untenable, so on 6 August 1806, he abdicated the throne, declaring the empire to be already dissolved in the same declaration. This was a political move to impair the legitimacy of the Confederation of the Rhine. [8] He had anticipated losing the Holy Roman crown, however. Two years earlier, as a reaction to Napoleon making himself an emperor, he had raised Austria to the status of an empire. Hence, after 1806, he reigned as Francis I, Emperor of Austria. [9]

In 1809, Francis attacked France again, hoping to take advantage of the Peninsular War embroiling Napoleon in Spain. He was again defeated, and this time forced to ally himself with Napoleon, ceding territory to the Empire, joining the Continental System, and wedding his daughter Marie-Louise to the Emperor. The Napoleonic wars drastically weakened Austria, making it entirely landlocked and threatened its preeminence among the states of Germany, a position that it would eventually cede to the Kingdom of Prussia.

In 1813, for the fourth and final time, Austria turned against France and joined Great Britain, Russia, Prussia and Sweden in their war against Napoleon. Austria played a major role in the final defeat of France—in recognition of this, Francis, represented by Clemens von Metternich, presided over the Congress of Vienna, helping to form the Concert of Europe and the Holy Alliance, ushering in an era of conservatism in Europe. The German Confederation, a loose association of Central European states was created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to organize the surviving states of the Holy Roman Empire. The Congress was a personal triumph for Francis, who hosted the assorted dignitaries in comfort, [10] though Francis undermined his allies Tsar Alexander and Frederick William III of Prussia by negotiating a secret treaty with the restored French king Louis XVIII. [11]

Domestic policy

Medallion of Francis I, the first Emperor of Austria, designed by Philipp Jakob Treu in Basel, Switzerland on 13 January 1814. This was the date in the War of the Sixth Coalition when the allied monarchs of Russia, Austria and Prussia crossed the Rhine at Basel on their way to fight Napoleon in France. Basel, Switzerland, Napoleonic Wars Medal of Francis II by P. J. Treu (better version).jpg
Medallion of Francis I, the first Emperor of Austria, designed by Philipp Jakob Treu in Basel, Switzerland on 13 January 1814. This was the date in the War of the Sixth Coalition when the allied monarchs of Russia, Austria and Prussia crossed the Rhine at Basel on their way to fight Napoleon in France.

The violent events of the French Revolution impressed themselves deeply into the mind of Francis (as well as all other European monarchs), and he came to distrust radicalism in any form. In 1794, a "Jacobin" conspiracy was discovered in the Austrian and Hungarian armies. [12] The leaders were put on trial, but the verdicts only skirted the perimeter of the conspiracy. Francis's brother Alexander Leopold (at that time Palatine of Hungary) wrote to the Emperor admitting "Although we have caught a lot of the culprits, we have not really got to the bottom of this business yet." Nonetheless, two officers heavily implicated in the conspiracy were hanged and gibbeted, while numerous others were sentenced to imprisonment (many of whom died from the conditions). [13]

Francis was from his experiences suspicious and set up an extensive network of police spies and censors to monitor dissent [13] (in this he was following his father's lead, as the Grand Duchy of Tuscany had the most effective secret police in Europe). [3] Even his family did not escape attention. His brothers, the Archdukes Charles and Johann had their meetings and activities spied upon. [14] Censorship was also prevalent. The author Franz Grillparzer, a Habsburg patriot, had one play suppressed solely as a "precautionary" measure. When Grillparzer met the censor responsible, he asked him what was objectionable about the work. The censor replied, "Oh, nothing at all. But I thought to myself, 'One can never tell'." [15]

Emperor Francis I of Austria in Field Marshal's uniform, decorated with the Order of the House of Austria, c.1820. Kaiser Franz I von Österreich in Feldmarschallsuniform c1820.jpg
Emperor Francis I of Austria in Field Marshal's uniform, decorated with the Order of the House of Austria, c.1820.

In military affairs Francis had allowed his brother, the Archduke Charles, extensive control over the army during the Napoleonic wars. Yet, distrustful of allowing any individual too much power, he otherwise maintained the separation of command functions between the Hofkriegsrat and his field commanders. [16] In the later years of his reign he limited military spending, requiring it not exceed forty million florins per year; because of inflation this resulted in inadequate funding, with the army's share of the budget shrinking from half in 1817 to only twenty-three percent in 1830. [17]

Francis presented himself as an open and approachable monarch (he regularly set aside two mornings each week to meet his imperial subjects, regardless of status, by appointment in his office, even speaking to them in their own language), [18] but his will was sovereign. In 1804, he had no compunction about announcing that through his authority as Holy Roman Emperor, he declared he was now Emperor of Austria (at the time a geographical term that had little resonance). Two years later, Francis personally wound up the moribund Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. Both actions were of dubious constitutional legality. [19]


Later years

His sarcophagus in the Imperial Crypt, Vienna Sarcophagus Emperor Franz II.(I.) Vienna Austria.jpg
His sarcophagus in the Imperial Crypt, Vienna

On 2 March 1835, 43 years and a day after his father's death, Francis died in Vienna of a sudden fever aged 67, in the presence of many of his family and with all the religious comforts. [20] His funeral was magnificent, with his Viennese subjects respectfully filing past his coffin in the chapel of Hofburg Palace [21] for three days. [22] Francis was interred in the traditional resting place of Habsburg monarchs, the Kapuziner Imperial Crypt in Vienna's Neue Markt Square. He is buried in tomb number 57, surrounded by his four wives.

Francis left a main point in the political testament he left for his son and heir Ferdinand to; "preserve unity in the family and regard it as one of the highest goods." In many portraits (particularly those painted by Peter Fendi) he was portrayed as the patriarch of a loving family, surrounded by his children and grandchildren. [20]

After 1806 he used the titles: "We, Francis the First, by the Grace of God Emperor of Austria; King of Jerusalem, Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia and Lodomeria; Archduke of Austria; Duke of Lorraine, Salzburg, Würzburg, Franconia, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola; Grand Duke of Cracow; Grand Prince of Transylvania; Margrave of Moravia; Duke of Sandomir, Masovia, Lublin, Upper and Lower Silesia, Auschwitz and Zator, Teschen and Friule; Prince of Berchtesgaden and Mergentheim; Princely Count of Habsburg, Gorizia and Gradisca and of the Tirol; and Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia and in Istria".

Heraldry

Ancestors

Marriages

Francis II married four times:

  1. On 6 January 1788, to Elisabeth of Württemberg (21 April 1767 – 18 February 1790).
  2. On 15 September 1790, to his double first cousin Maria Teresa of the Two Sicilies (6 June 1772 – 13 April 1807), daughter of King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies (both were grandchildren of Empress Maria Theresa and shared all of their other grandparents in common), with whom he had twelve children, of whom only seven reached adulthood.
  3. On 6 January 1808, he married again to another first cousin, Maria Ludovika of Austria-Este (14 December 1787 – 7 April 1816) with no issue. She was the daughter of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este and Maria Beatrice d'Este, Princess of Modena.
  4. On 29 October 1816, to Karoline Charlotte Auguste of Bavaria (8 February 1792 – 9 February 1873) with no issue. She was daughter of Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria and had been previously married to William I of Württemberg.

Children

From his first wife Elisabeth of Württemberg, one daughter, and his second wife Maria Teresa of the Two Sicilies, eight daughters and four sons: Children of Francis II

NamePictureBirthDeathNotes
By Elisabeth of Württemberg
Archduchess Ludovika Elisabeth18 February 179024 June 1791 (aged 1)Died in infancy and buried in the Imperial Crypt, Vienna, Austria.
By Maria Teresa of the Two Sicilies
Archduchess Maria Ludovika Maria Luigia of Austria, duchess of Parma.jpg 12 December 179117 December 1847 (aged 56)Married first Napoleon Bonaparte, had issue, married second Adam, count of Neipperg, had issue, married third to Charles, Count of Bombelles, no issue.
Emperor Ferdinand I Kaiser Ferdinand I von Österreich in ungarischer Adjustierung mit Ordensschmuck c1830.jpg 19 April 179329 June 1875 (aged 82)Married Maria Anna of Savoy, Princess of Sardinia, no issue.
Archduchess Marie Caroline 8 June 179416 March 1795 (aged 0)Died in childhood, no issue.
Archduchess Caroline Ludovika 22 December 179530 June 1797 (aged 1)Died in childhood, no issue.
Archduchess Caroline Josepha Leopoldine Maria Leopoldina 1815.jpg 22 January 179711 December 1826 (aged 29)Renamed Maria Leopoldina upon her marriage; married Pedro I of Brazil (a.k.a. Pedro IV of Portugal); issue included Maria II of Portugal and Pedro II of Brazil.
Archduchess Maria Klementina Princesse de Salerne.jpeg 1 March 17983 September 1881 (aged 83)Married her maternal uncle Leopold, Prince of Salerno, had issue.
Archduke Joseph Franz Leopold JosephFranzofAustria.jpg 9 April 179930 June 1807 (aged 8)Died some weeks after his mother in childhood, no issue.
Archduchess Maria Karolina Peter Krafft Bildnis einer Maria Karolina.jpg 8 April 180122 May 1832 (aged 31)Married Crown Prince (later King) Frederick Augustus II of Saxony, no issue.
Archduke Franz Karl Waldmüller Erzherzog Franz Carl 1839.jpg 17 December 18028 March 1878 (aged 75)married Princess Sophie of Bavaria; issue included Franz Joseph I of Austria and Maximilian I of Mexico.
Archduchess Marie Anne Maria Anna 1804.jpg 8 June 180428 December 1858 (aged 54)Born intellectually disabled (like her eldest brother, Emperor Ferdinand I) and to have suffered from a severe facial deformity. Died unmarried.
Archduke Johann Nepomuk 30 August 180519 February 1809 (aged 3)Died in childhood, no issue.
Archduchess Amalie Theresa6 April 18079 April 1807 (aged 0)Died in childhood, no issue.

See also

Monument in the inner courtyard of the Hofburg in Vienna Wien - Denkmal Kaiser Franz I. (1).JPG
Monument in the inner courtyard of the Hofburg in Vienna

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References

Notes

    1. Posse & 1909–13 , pp. 256ff
    2. Wheatcroft 2009 , p. 233
    3. 1 2 3 Wheatcroft 2009 , p. 234
    4. Wheatcroft 2009 , p. 235
    5. Wheatcroft 2009 , p. 236
    6. Wheatcroft 2009 , p. 238
    7. Fraser 2002 , p. 492
    8. Peter H. Wilson (29 February 2016). Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire. Harvard University Press. pp. 994–. ISBN   978-0-674-91592-3.
    9. Reich 1905 , p. 622
    10. Wheatcroft 2009 , p. 249
    11. Wheatcroft 2009 , p. 250
    12. Wheatcroft 2009 , p. 239
    13. 1 2 Wheatcroft 2009 , p. 240
    14. Wheatcroft 2009 , p. 248
    15. Wheatcroft 2009 , p. 241
    16. Rothenburg 1976 , p. 6
    17. Rothenburg 1976, p. 10.
    18. Wheatcroft 2009 , p. 245
    19. Wheatcroft 2009 , p. 246
    20. 1 2 Wheatcroft 2009 , p. 254
    21. "Wien". Wiener Zeitung . 5 March 1835. p. 1, col. 2.
    22. Wheatcroft 2009 , p. 255
    23. 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. 109.

    Sources

    Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
    Cadet branch of the House of Lorraine
    Born: 12 February 1768 Died: 2 March 1835
    Regnal titles
    Preceded by
    Leopold II
    Holy Roman Emperor
    King in Germany

    1792–1806
    Dissolution
    Duke of Brabant, Limburg and Luxembourg;
    Count of Flanders, Hainaut and Namur

    1792–1793
    French Revolutionary Wars
    Duke of Milan
    1792–1796
    King of Hungary
    King of Bohemia
    Archduke of Austria

    1792–1835
    Succeeded by
    Ferdinand I & V
    New title Emperor of Austria
    1804–1835
    King of Lombardy-Venetia
    1815–1835
    Political offices
    New title Head of the Präsidialmacht Austria
    1815–1835
    Succeeded by
    Ferdinand I of Austria