Archduchess Maria Elisabeth of Austria (1737–1740)
|Archduchess Maria Elisabeth|
Extract from a portrait of Martin van Meytens, who represents the three daughters of Maria Theresa who died in infancy.
|Born||5 February 1737|
|Died||7 June 1740 (aged 3)|
|Father||Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor|
|Mother||Maria Theresa of Austria|
Archduchess Maria Elisabeth of Austria (Full name (German): Maria Elisabeth Amalia Antonia Josefa Gabriele Johanna Agathe; 5 February 1737 – 7 June 1740), was the eldest child and daughter of Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria, later Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, and Duke Francis of Lorraine, later Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor.
A lively and lovely child, she soon became the favorite of both her parents. Her grandfather, Emperor Charles VI, spoke with pleasure of his eldest granddaughter, whom he nicknamed Liesl, and often played with her.
During a visit to Laxenburg castle on 7 June 1740, Maria Elisabeth became suddenly ill with stomach cramps and vomiting. Throughout the day, the stomach cramps alternated with ever-renewed vomiting until the little Archduchess died that night at 9 p.m. aged 3. Her father Francis reported the death of his firstborn child:
At eight o'clock I was summoned and handed over to me a letter of the doctor, from which I deduced that it is time to take my wife away, for the child will not live longer. I walked away a little confused, and found my wife completely burst in tears when I arrived. I took them by the hand and took them to her apartments. Then I went back with the sick child. I had only been for a while when she sat up, looked at me, and said with a clear voice, "I commend myself, O my God!". Then she fell back and died in my arms.
- Hanne Egghardt: Maria Theresias Kinder. 16 Schicksale zwischen Glanz und Elend. Kremayr & Scheriau, Vienna 2010, ISBN 978-3-218-00813-6.
- Elfriede Iby: "Marie-Thérèse, biographie d'une souveraine".