Archduchess Isabella Clara of Austria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Not to be confused with Isabella Clara Eugenia, sovereign of the Netherlands.

Isabella Clara
Duchess of Mantua and Montferrat
Ritratto di Isabella Clara d’Austria.PNG
Anonymous painting of Isabella Clara
Spouse Charles Gonzaga
Issue Ferdinand Charles, Duke of Mantua and Montferrat
Father Leopold V, Archduke of Austria
Mother Claudia de' Medici
Born (1629-08-12)12 August 1629
Died 24 February 1685(1685-02-24) (aged 55)
Mantua, Italy

Isabella Clara of Austria (12 August 1629 – 24 February 1685) was the eldest surviving daughter of Leopold V, Archduke of Austria, and his wife Claudia de' Medici. She was a member of the House of Habsburg and was an Archduchess of Austria.


Isabella married on 7 November 1649 to Charles II, Duke of Mantua (Mantova, 31 October 1629–14 August 1665), became Duke of Mantua and Monferrato in 1637. The marriage between the two was to create an alliance between the Gonzaga and Habsburg families. As well as the marriage of Isabella and Charles, Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor married Charles' cousin Eleonora Gonzaga.[1]

In response to this important alliance, Charles was able to remove the French from Casale, then agreed with Louis XIV of France that the Monferrato should not be controlled by Spain but would remain with the Gonzaga family. Charles kept a lover, Margaret Oak and sometimes neglected Isabella. They had one son, Charles IV, Duke of Mantua (31 August 1652–5 July 1708).[citation needed]


Charles III, suddenly died on 14 August 1665. Isabella assumed the regency on behalf of thirteen-year-old son, assisted in the affairs of government by Count Charles Bulgarini, a noble of Jewish origins of whom Isabella had long had an amorous relationship.[2]

Charles reached full power in 1670 and a year later, on the advice of his mother, he married Anna Isabella Gonzaga of the Guastalla branch. Isabella retired to private life in the palace Goito, subsequently, by order of the emperor on 16 December 1671, entered a convent where she remained throughout the rest of her life. Isabella died in 1685.[citation needed]