Eleonor Magdalene of Neuburg

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Empress Eleonore Magdalene
Holy Roman Empress
Queen of Bohemia and Hungary
Eleonore of Pfalz Neuburg.jpg
Holy Roman Empress
Queen of the Germans
Spouse Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maria Elisabeth, Governor of the Austrian Netherlands
Maria Anna, Queen of Portugal
Archduchess Maria Theresa
Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Archduchess Maria Magdalena
Full name
Eleonore Magdalene Therese
House House of Wittelsbach
House of Habsburg
Father Philip William, Elector Palatine
Mother Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt
Born (1655-01-06)6 January 1655
Died 19 January 1720(1720-01-19) (aged 65)
Hofburg Palace, Vienna

Eleonore Magdalene of Neuburg (Eleonore Magdalene Therese; 6 January 1655 – 19 January 1720) was Holy Roman Empress as the spouse of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor.[1] Through her marriage, she was also Queen of Bohemia and Hungary, German Queen, and Archduchess of Austria. She served as Interim Regent in 1711. She was the paternal grandmother of Empress Maria Theresa.

Birth and family[edit]

Born a Countess Palatine of Neuburg in Düsseldorf, Eleonore Magdalene was the oldest daughter of Philip William, Elector Palatine and his wife Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt. Among her siblings were Maria Sophia, future wife of Peter II of Portugal and Maria Anna, future wife of Charles II of Spain.


Eleonor married Emperor Leopold I in 1676. She was a good candidate as a bride for the emperor already in 1673 because of her family's reputed great fertility and connections, and although Claudia Felicitas of Austria was chosen before her in 1674, she was chosen in 1676. She accepted without enthusiasm to make her parents happy: Eleonor was brought up to an extreme degree of Catholicism and had originally wished to become a nun.


Eleonor was active in social works. She suffered from depression and was described as self-destructive. She introduced a more economical household at court: she hosted a court affected by her strong religious views: strict, simple and conventlike and, as it was said, in an atmosphere reminiscent of an eternal mourning period, which was regarded as somewhat ridiculous and exaggerated. She was drawn to the penitential side of Catholicism, and often dressed in black as if she were in mourning.

She was politically active and did not lack influence over her spouse: it is reported that she received and opened important political documents while the Emperor stood waiting beside her "as a secretary". She made great efforts to provide favors, positions and lucrative posts for her relatives, and secured high positions for her brothers. In addition, she was the protector of the chancellor Theodor Strattmann. She accompanied her spouse on his travels, and she also saw to the upbringing of her children personally.

She became widowed in 1705. As an Empress Dowager, she strived to keep her political influence through her daughter-in-law, Empress Wilhelmina Amalia.


Painting depicting the 1676 marriage of Eleonor and Leopold

After the death of her son in 1711, she served as interim Regent, during which she had conflicts with Count Wratislaw and Prince Eugene of Savoy. She managed to stop Feldmarschall Johann Graf Pálffy von Ungarn, brother of the royal mistress of the late Emperor Joseph, Marianne Pálffy, from uniting with the rebels of Hungary, after which she signed the treaty of Szatmár. She presided over the congress to determine the succession and election of an new Emperor, and favoured the election of Emperor Charles. When Charles returned from Spain, she resigned from court and retired to do works of charity and penance.




  1. ^ Wheatcroft (1995), p. 201.


Eleonor Magdalene of Neuburg
Born: 6 January 1655 Died: 19 January 1720
German royalty
Preceded by
Claudia Felicitas of Austria
Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, Archduchess consort of Austria
Succeeded by
Wilhelmina Amalia of Brunswick
German Queen
Queen consort of Hungary
Queen consort of Bohemia
Preceded by
Jelena Zrinski
Princess consort of Transylvania