Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria

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For an earlier but shortlived holder of this name, see Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria (1724-1730).
Maria Amalia
Duchess consort of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla
Maria Amalia of Habsburg Lorraina Parma.jpg
Maria Amalia by Martin van Meytens
Tenure 19 July 1769 – 9 October 1802
Spouse Ferdinand, Duke of Parma
Issue Princess Carolina of Parma
Louis of Etruria
Princess Maria Antonia of Parma
Full name
Maria Amalia Josepha Johanna Antonia
House House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Father Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Maria Theresa of Austria
Born (1746-02-26)26 February 1746
Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna, Austria
Died 18 June 1804(1804-06-18) (aged 58)
Prague Castle, Prague, modern day Czech Republic

Maria Amalia of Austria (26 February 1746 – 18 June 1804) was the Duchess of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla by marriage. Maria Amalia was a daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis I. She was thus younger sister to Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor and older sister to Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor, Maria Carolina, Queen of Naples and Marie Antoinette, Queen of France.

Archduchess of Austria[edit]

Maria Amalia with her sisters, Liesl(1743–1808), Josepha and Charlotte.

She was the eighth child of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and Emperor Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor. Born at the Hofburg Imperial Palace, she was raised in the Habsburg Viennese court.

One of her paintings, St. Therese and the child Jesus, still exists today in a private collection.


Against her will, Amalia was married to Ferdinand of Parma (1751–1802). The marriage was supported by the future Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, whose first beloved wife had been Ferdinand's sister, Princess Isabella of Parma. The Archduchess's marriage to the Duke of Parma was part of a complicated series of contracts that married off Maria Theresa's daughters to the King of Naples and Sicily and the Dauphin of France. All three sons-in-law were members of the House of Bourbon.

Maria Amalia, by Alexander Roslin

She left Austria on 1 July 1769, accompanied by her brother, Joseph II, and married Ferdinand on 19 July, at the Ducal Palace of Colorno. Two years after her arrival in Parma, Maria Amalia secured the dismissal of Du Tillot, her husband's minister, and replaced him with a Spanish appointee, Jose del Llano, who was highly recommended by Charles III of Spain. Duke Ferdinand also did not like Du Tillot and the two already had strained relations even before his wife reached Parma. A letter of Louis XV to his grandson dated May 1769 attests to this, wherein he counseled his grandson not to despise the minister who served his parents well; moreover, there was no one to replace him, said the French king.

Maria Amalia and her husband

Amalia would remain largely estranged from her mother, except for a brief reconciliation in 1773 when her son was born, despite the latter's repeated efforts at reconciliation. The duchess resisted her mother's efforts to control her from afar. When her sister Archduchess Maria Christina, Duchess of Teschen, known to the family as Marie or Mimi, visited Parma in 1775, she reported to their mother that Amalia lost much of her beauty and glamour and was also less gay and discriminating. Maria Theresa commissioned a portrait of her grandchildren in Parma by Johann Zoffany.

Maria Amalia was in touch with her sisters, Queen Marie Antoinette of France and Queen Maria Carolina of Naples and Sicily for most of their married lives. The three sisters exchanged letters, portraits and gifts. In fact, one of Marie Antoinette's last letters during her imprisonment was secretly written to her sister Maria Amalia.

When Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Italy and her husband died, Maria Amalia was appointed Head of the Regency Council in Parma by the dying Ferdinand but the regency lasted only a few days. On 22 October 1802 the French expelled her from Parma and she established her residence in Prague, particularly at Prague Castle, where she died in 1804. Her body was interred at the royal crypt of the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague while her heart was taken to Vienna and placed inside an urn (number 33) at the family's Herzgruft (heart crypt).


She and Ferdinand had nine children:

  • Princess Carolina of Parma (22 November 1770 – 1 March 1804). Married Prince Maximilian of Saxony and was the mother of King Frederick Augustus II and King Johann I of Saxony.
  • King Louis I of Etruria (5 July 1773 – 27 May 1803). The first of only two kings of Etruria. Married his first cousin, Maria Louisa of Spain.
  • Princess Maria Antonia of Parma (28 November 1774 – 20 February 1841), joined the religious order in 1802 and became an Ursuline abbess.
  • Princess Charlotte Maria of Parma (7 September 1777 – 5 April 1813), joined the Dominican order in 1797 and became a prioress
  • Prince Philip Maria of Parma (22 March 1783 – 2 July 1786).
  • Princess Antonia Louise of Parma (21 October 1784), died in infancy.
  • Princess Maria Luisa (Aloysia) of Parma (17 April 1787 – 22 November 1789).
  • Stillborn Daughter, twin (21 May 1789)
  • Stillborn Son, twin (21 May 1789)


Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Maria Amalia of Austria at Wikimedia Commons

Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria
Born: Feb 26 1746 Died: Jun 18 1804
Spanish royalty
Preceded by
Princess Louise Élisabeth of France
Duchess consort of Parma
19 July 1769 – 9 October 1802
Succeeded by
Princess Maria Teresa of Savoy