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Maria Theresa of Austria (1816-1867)

For other people named Maria Theresa of Austria, see Maria Theresa of Austria (disambiguation).
Maria Theresa of Austria
Portrait of Maria Theresa of Austria (c. 1835).
Queen of the Two Sicilies
Consort 27 January 1837 – 22 May 1859
Spouse Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies
Louis, Count of Trani
Alfonso, Count of Caserta
Maria Annunciata, Archduchess of Austria
Maria Immaculata, Archduchess of Austria
Prince Gaetan, Count of Girgenti
Maria Pia, Duchess of Parma
Prince Pasquale, Count of Bari
Maria Immacolata, Countess of Bardi
Gennaro, Count of Caltagirone
Full name
Maria Theresia Isabella
House House of Bourbon
House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Father Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen
Mother Princess Henrietta of Nassau-Weilburg
Born (1816-07-31)31 July 1816
Vienna, Austrian Empire
Died 8 August 1867(1867-08-08) (aged 51)
Albano Laziale, Italy
Burial Basilica of Santa Chiara, Naples
Religion Roman Catholic

Maria Theresa of Austria (Maria Theresia Isabella; 31 July 1816 – 8 August 1867) was the second wife of Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies. She was the eldest daughter of Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen and Henrietta of Nassau-Weilburg.

Her paternal grandparents were Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor and Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain. Her maternal grandparents were Frederick William of Nassau-Weilburg (1768–1816) and his wife Burgravine Louise Isabelle of Kirchberg.


On 27 January 1837, Maria Theresa married Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies. The bride was almost twenty-one years old and the groom twenty-seven.

Queen Maria Theresa is described as badly dressed and did not answer to the ideal of a regal person: she disliked her public role and life at court and preferred to confine herself to her private rooms dedicated to needlework and her children. She had a good relationship to both her spouse and her stepson Francis: her stepson respected her and she used to demonstratively call him her son. Maria Theresa was interested in politics: she is known to have acted as the king's advisor and to have influenced him to be strict, and when she could not be present at the reception of officials and wished to hear the conversation, she listened to the talk behind the door. She nursed Ferdinand on his death bed.

Queen Dowager

At the death of her spouse, she intended to continue her political activity by being the advisor to her stepson Francis, the new monarch. Francis was willing, and her authoritarian policy has been considered to contribute to the public discontent which lead to the abolishment of the Kingdom of Naples. Francis' spouse Maria Sophia, however, disputed her influence and Francis had a difficult position in the conflict between his wife and stepmother, without being able to satisfy either. Maria Sophia informed Francis about a plot created by Maria Theresa with the attempt to put the biological son of Maria Theresa on the throne, but Francis chose to believe Maria Theresa when she swore her innocence. It was not until the revolts against the monarchy had already begun that Francis decided to listen to the advice of his wife rather than his stepmother. Maria Theresa was among the first to leave Naples during the revolt: first to Gaeta with her children and advisors, and then to Rome. She resided in the same palace that Francis and Maria Sophia would use when they arrived. She died from cholera, nursed by her stepson Francis, who mourned her greatly.


Name Birth Death Notes
Lodovico, Count of Trani 1 August 1838 8 June 1886 Married Mathilde Ludovika, Duchess in Bavaria, sister of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Their only daughter, Princess Maria Teresa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, married Prince Wilhelm of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.
Alberto, Count of Castrogiovanni 17 September 1839 12 July 1844 Died in childhood.
Alfonso, Count of Caserta 28 March 1841 26 May 1934 Married his first cousin Princess Antonietta of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and has issue. The current lines of Bourbon-Two Sicilies descend from him.
Maria Annunciata of the Two Sicilies 24 March 1843 4 May 1871 Married Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria.
Maria Immaculata Clementina of the Two Sicilies 14 April 1844 18 February 1899 Married Archduke Karl Salvator of Austria, Prince of Tuscany.
Gaetano, Count of Girgenti 12 January 1846 26 November 1871 In 1868, he married Isabel, Infanta of Spain (eldest daughter of Queen Isabella II of Spain) and was created Infante of Spain.
Giuseppe, Count of Lucera 4 March 1848 28 September 1851 Died in childhood.
Maria Pia of the Two Sicilies 21 August 1849 29 September 1882 Married Roberto I Duke of Parma and Piacenza.
Vincenzo, Count of Melazzo 26 April 1851 13 October 1854 Died in childhood.
Pasquale, Count of Bari 15 September 1852 21 December 1904 Married morganatically to Blanche Marconnay.
Maria Louisa of the Two Sicilies 21 January 1855 23 February 1874 Married Prince Henry of Bourbon-Parma, Count of Bardi.
Gennaro, Count of Caltagirone 28 February 1857 13 August 1867 Died in childhood.



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

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