Even by Eighteenth Century standards, Marie Antoinette came from a large family. Her mother, the formidable Empress Maria Teresa, gave birth to sixteen children, six of whom never lived past the age of sixteen.
According to strict Roman Catholic tradition of the time, all of the Empress’ daughters had names that began with Maria…just like mom! Concentrate on the second name, it saves a rip-tide of name organization. For example, two Maria Carolinas were born and died in quite young but the sister closest in age to Antoine was Maria Carolina aka Charlotte. For sanity’s sake we’ll call her Charlotte or the Queen Carolina of Naples.
Myself, I’ve always been a fan of chronology so, here’s the list of Maria Teresa’s offspring, all sixteen Archdukes and Archduchesses of Hapsburg Lorraine. (The deceased are in the lighter blue.)
- Maria Elizabeth (1737-1740)
- Marianne (1738-1789)
- Maria Caroline (1740-1741)
- Joseph II (1741 – 1790) Holy Roman Emperor
- Maria Christina (1742-1798)
- Elizabeth (1743-1808)
- Charles (1745-1761)
- Maria Amalia (1746-1804) Duchess of Parma 62
- Leopold II “Poldy” (1747-1792) Grand Duke of Tuscany; Holy Roman Emperor 45
- Maria Carolina (1748-1748)
- Maria Johanna (1750-1762)
- Maria Josepha (1751-1767)
- Maria Carolina “Charlotte” (1752-1814) Queen of Naples
- Ferdinand (1754-1806)
- Marie Antoinette “Antoine” (1755-1793) Queen of France
- Maximilian (1756-1801)
So now was we look back, we find that five of her children became significant monarchs as a result of the Empress’ political marriages she placed strategically across Europe like a game of Risk…if Risk only involved Europe. Ok fine, chess…we’ll go with chess pieces set across Europe.
So let’s all keep this list in mind…we’ll spend more time talking about the girls, I promise.