Elizabeth of Austria (1526–1545)

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For other women named Elisabeth of Austria, please see Elisabeth of Austria (disambiguation).
Elisabeth of Austria
Elzbieta Habsburzanka.jpg
Queen of Poland
Grand Duchess of Lithuania
Tenure 5 May 1543 – 15 June 1545
Coronation 8 May 1543
Spouse Sigismund II Augustus
House House of Habsburg (by birth)
Jagiellon dynasty (by marriage)
Father Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Anna of Bohemia and Hungary
Born 9 July 1526
Died 15 June 1545

Elisabeth of Austria (Polish: Elżbieta Habsburżanka) (9 July 1526 – 15 June 1545) was the eldest child of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and his wife Anna of Bohemia and Hungary. Elisabeth was a member of the House of Habsburg.


From an early age Elisabeth was trained and prepared for her marriage to Sigismund II Augustus. Elisabeth's father had attempted to marry his daughter to the Polish prince when she was one year old. Even though Elisabeth knew of her future marriage she was not taught Polish.

Because Elisabeth was the granddaughter of Vladislas II of Hungary, uncle of Sigismund, Pope Clement VII had to give a papal dispensation so the wedding could take place.[1] 16 year old Elisabeth married 22 year old Sigismund on May 6, 1543, in Wawel. Elisabeth's mother-in-law Bona Sforza did not want the wedding to take place because she opposed the Habsburgs.

The marriage deteriorated when Elisabeth was diagnosed with epilepsy. Throughout the duration of their marriage, Sigismund kept Barbara Radziwiłł as his mistress. At the same time Bona openly expressed her dislike of Elisabeth. Her father-in-law, Sigismund I the Old showed sympathy to Elisabeth.

In Autumn 1544, Elisabeth and Sigismund II moved to Lithuania where they lived in Vilnius. Sigismund continued his affair with Radziwill.

In the spring 1545 Elisabeth's health deteriorated and she was tormented by increasingly frequent seizures.[2] At the beginning of June 1545 Sigismund went to Krakow to receive Elisabeth's dowry, leaving his wife alone in Vilnius. On June 15 the young queen died when she was just 19, exhausted by her many epileptic seizures. She was buried on August 24, 1545, in Vilnius Cathedral next to her husband's uncle, a brother of her grandfather, Alexander the Jagiellonian.

Her quarrel with Queen Bona Sforza over the Parmesan cheese is commonly known in Poland.

After Elisabeth's death Sigismund II married Radziwiłł and, after her death, married Elisabeth's younger sister, Catherine of Austria. Sigismund had no children from his three wives or from any of his mistresses.



External links[edit]

Wives of
Sigismund II Augustus
Cranach the Younger Elizabeth of Austria.jpg Elisabeth of Austria
Cranach the Younger Barbara Radziwiłł.jpg Barbara Radziwiłł
Cranach the Younger Catherine of Austria.jpg Catherine of Austria
Elizabeth of Austria (1526–1545)
Born: 1526 Died: 1545
Royal titles
Preceded by
Bona Sforza
as sole queen
Queen consort of Poland
Grand Duchess consort of Lithuania

with Bona Sforza
Succeeded by
Bona Sforza
as sole queen