Maria Elisabeth was described as a forceful administrator and a popular regent. Her independent politics, however, were not always appreciated in Vienna. She suspended the Ostend Company in 1727 and closed it in 1731.
She had enough financial means at her disposal to uphold an elaborate court which stimulated culture and music. Among others, she patronized Jean-Joseph Fiocco, her maestro di cappella who dedicated several oratorios to her between 1726 and 1738.
She died unexpectedly at Mariemont, upon which she was displayed at a public Lit-de-parade in Brussels 29 August. When she died at the age of 61, she was first buried in Brussels, but moved to Vienna in 1749, where she lies now in the Imperial Crypte next to her brother Charles.