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Duchess Elisabeth of Württemberg

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Duchess Elisabeth of Württemberg
Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria; Princess Elisabeth of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia

Elisabeth Wilhelmine von Württemberg.jpg
Spouse Archduke Francis of Austria
Archduchess Ludovika Elisabeth of Austria
Full name
Elisabeth Wilhelmine
Father Frederick II Eugene, Duke of Württemberg
Mother Sophia Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt
Born 21 April 1767
Treptow, Brandenburg
Died 18 February 1790
Vienna, Austria
Burial Imperial Crypt

Duchess Elisabeth of Württemberg (21 April 1767 – 18 February 1790) was by birth a Duchess of Württemberg and by marriage an Archduchess of Austria.


She was the eighth of the twelve children of Frederick II Eugene, Duke of Württemberg by his wife, Sophia Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt. From all her siblings, only eight survive adulthood: Frederick (later first King of Württemberg); Ludwig (ancestor of the Württemberg-Teck branch of the family and through them a direct-line ancestor of Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom); Eugen (who died unmarried); Sophie Dorothea (who, with the name of Maria Feodorovna was Empress of Russia through her marriage to Emperor Paul I of Russia); Wilhelm (ancestor of the Württemberg-Urach branch); Ferdinand (who died unmarried); Fredericka (married with the later Grand Duke Peter of Oldenburg); Karl (who died young and unmarried in 1791); Alexander (ancestor of the current dynastic branch of the House of Württemberg); and Heinrich (who died unmarried).


At the age of 15, she was called by Emperor Joseph II to Vienna and educated in the Salesianerinnenkloster where she also converted to Catholicism. The purpose of this was to make her the future wife of Joseph II's nephew Franz, the future emperor. She was pupil of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

In Vienna on 6 January 1788, Elisabeth and Franz were married. At this time, Emperor Joseph took care of a hard orthodontic treatment; the young princess enjoyed the emperor's last years with her youthful charm. At the end of 1789 Elisabeth became pregnant; however, her condition was very delicate, caused in part by concern for the deteriorating health of the Emperor. Joseph received the Anointing of the Sick on 15 February 1790, and the scene overwhelmed the young Archduchess: she fainted upon seeing the terminally ill emperor. On the night of 17 February she prematurely gave birth to a feeble-minded child, Archduchess Ludovika Elisabeth of Austria who lived for only 16 months. Elisabeth didn't survive the childbirth, which lasted more than 24 hours, and died as a consequence of an emergency operation to save her life. Two days later, Emperor Joseph also died.

Elisabeth never became Empress because she predeceased her father-in-law, Emperor Leopold II. She is buried in the Imperial Crypt, in Vienna.


This article incorporates information from the German Wikipedia.
  • Brigitte Hamann: Die Habsburger, ein biographisches Lexikon. Verlag Carl Ueberreuter, Vienna, 1988


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