N & E
Napoleon & Empire

Maria Ludovica von Habsburg-Lothringen

Empress of the French


Arms of Marie-Louise of Austria (1791-1847)

Maria Louise of Habsburg-Lorraine (Maria Ludovica Leopoldina Franziska Therese Josepha Lucia von Habsburg-Lothringen) was born in Vienna [Wien], Austria, on December 12, 1791.

She was the eldest daughter of Emperor Francis II of the Holy Roman Empire (already father of a daughter, who died at a young age, of a first marriage) and of Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily.

The announcement of the divorce of Napoleon I from Joséphine de Beauharnais, due to the sterility of the empress, did not bode well for her... And, in fact, her father granted her hand to Napoleon I, for the purposes to calm relations between France and Austria, which had just experienced eighteen years of war.

She herself was also eighteen years old when the marriage was celebrated on April 2, 1810 Religious wedding of Napoleon I - Marie-Louise in the Salon Carré of the Louvre, April 2, 1810, by G. Rouget; nineteen years old when she gave Napoleon an heir: Napoleon-François-Charles-Joseph Bonaparte, King of Rome; twenty-one years old when Napoleon went on campaign against Austria and Russia in April 1813. She then took her side against her own father Emperor Francis I of Austria and assumed the regency of the French Empire.

However, at the end of March 1814, while the allies threatened Paris, she followed her father's advice and reached Vienna with her son. She would never see Napoleon again, who will have been her husband for just four years.

The Congress of Vienna of June 9, 1815 having granted her the duchies of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla, she settled there, without her son who remained in Vienna. In 1821 she married Count Adam-Adalbert von Neipperg (with whom she would have three children) and then in 1834, for the third marriage, Count Charles-René de Bombelles.

She died on December 17, 1847 in Parma, Italy, and was buried in the Imperial crypt in Vienna Tomb of Empress Marie-Louise

"Marie-Louise, Empress of the French" by François Pascal Simon Gérard (Rome 1770 - Paris 1837).

"Marie-Louise, Empress of the French" by François Pascal Simon Gérard (Rome 1770 - Paris 1837).

Other portraits

Marie-Louise of Austria (1791-1847)
"Marie-Louise, Empress of the French" by Jean-Baptiste Paulin-Guérin (Toulon 1783 - Paris 1855).
Marie-Louise of Austria (1791-1847)
"Marie-Louise, Empress of the French (detail)" by Robert Lefèvre (Bayeux 1755 - Paris 1830).