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Wilhelmina Amalia of Brunswick


Wilhelmina Amalia of Brunswick

Wilhelmine Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Holy Roman Empress
Queen of Bohemia
Tenure 5 May 1705 – 17 April 1711
Queen of the Germans
Queen of Hungary
Tenure 24 February 1699 – 17 April 1711
Spouse Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maria Josepha, Queen of Poland
Archduke Leopold Joseph
Maria Amalia, Holy Roman Empress
House House of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Father John Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Mother Benedicta Henrietta of the Palatinate
Born 21 April 1673
Hanover, Germany
Died 10 April 1742
Vienna, Austria
Burial Salesian convent, Vienna

Wilhelmine Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg (21 April 1673 – 10 April 1742) was Holy Roman Empress, Queen of the Germans, Queen of Hungary, Queen of Bohemia, Archduchess consort of Austria etc.[1] as the spouse of Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor.

Early life

Wilhelmine Amalia was the youngest daughter of John Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and Benedicta Henrietta of the Palatinate. Her two surviving sisters were Charlotte Felicitas, who married the Duke of Modena, and Henriette Marie, who never married. Wilhelmina was given a Catholic education by her great-aunt Louise Holladine at the convent of Maubuisson, and did not return to Hanover until she was 20 years old, in 1693. Early on, the Holy Roman Empress Eleonor Magdalene of the Palatinate-Neuburg decided that Wilhelmina Amalia would be her daughter-in-law.


As a result, on 24 February 1699, she married Eleonor's son, Archduke Joseph, the heir of Emperor Leopold I. At their wedding, the opera Hercule and Hebe by Reinhard Keiser (1674–1739) was performed. Upon Joseph's election as Emperor in 1705, she became Empress of the Holy Roman Empire.

She bore her husband three children:

Wilhelmina Amalia was described as beautiful but also as religious and serious. Her relationship with her husband was initially described as happy, but it soon deteriorated. Joseph had a long line of mistresses, both servants and nobles, such as Dorothea Daun. He had several illegitimate children, but no surviving male heir with his spouse. In 1704, Joseph contracted syphilis, and gave the disease to his wife. It has been suggested that this condition was the reason for the failure of the Empress to produce more children after the birth of her second daughter. Without male heirs, a crisis developed in regards to the imperial succession. In 1711, Wilhelmina Amalia was widowed, and her mother-in-law became the interim regent until her brother-in-law, the Archduke Charles, could return from Spain where he was the Austrian nominee for the Spanish throne during the War of the Spanish Succession. Upon his return, he was proclaimed as the new Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI.


His wife's inability to produce male heirs irked Charles VI and eventually led to the promulgation of the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, a document which abolished male-only succession (hitherto effective in all the Habsburg realms) and declared his lands indivisible. The new Emperor favoured his own daughters over those of Joseph I and Wilhelmina Amalia, in the succession, ignoring a decree he had signed during the reign of his father, Leopold I.

After her daughters were married, Wilhelmina Amalia in 1722 withdrew to a convent that she had founded earlier in 1717, the Salesianerinnenkloster auf dem Rennwege in Vienna.

Charles VI died in 1740. In the struggle that ensued over the succession, Wilhelmina Amalia initially supported her son-in-law, Charles Albert, Elector of Bavaria, in his pursuit of the imperial crown, but soon retired again to private life.

Wilhelmina Amalia outlived her spouse by more than 30 years, dying on 10 April 1742. She is buried in the Salesian convent in Vienna. Her heart is buried in the Imperial Crypt.



This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the Deutsch World Heritage Encyclopedia.

External links

Wilhelmine Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Born: 21 April 1673 Died: 10 April 1742
German royalty
Preceded by
Eleonore-Magdalena of Neuburg
Holy Roman Empress
Succeeded by
Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick
German Queen
Queen consort of Bohemia
Queen consort of Hungary
Archduchess consort of Austria

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