Archduchess Mathilda of Austria
|Mathilda of Austria|
25 January 1849|
6 June 1867 (aged 18)|
Schloss Hetzendorf, Austria
|Father||Archduke Albert, Duke of Teschen|
|Mother||Princess Hildegard of Bavaria|
Archduchess Mathilde of Austria (Mathilde Marie Adelgunde Alexandra; 25 January 1849, Vienna – 6 June 1867, Schloss Hetzendorf near Vienna) was an Austrian noblewoman. She was the second daughter of Archduke Albert, Duke of Teschen and Princess Hildegard of Bavaria (1825–1864).
Her forenames were derived from her mother's sisters, Mathilde, Grand Duchess of Hesse (1813–1862), Adelgunde, Duchess of Modena (1823–1914) and Princess Alexandra of Bavaria (1826–1875), with whom Hildegard had a very close relationship.
Mathilde had two elder siblings: Maria Theresia (1845–1927) in 1865 married Duke Philipp of Württemberg (1838–1917) and her only brother, Karl Albrecht (1847–1848), who died of smallpox at the age of 18 months.
After the death of his father Archduke Karl, Archduke Albrecht inherited in 1847 the Weilburg Palace in Baden bei Wien, that Karl had built for his wife Princess Henrietta of Weilburg (1797–1829). Albrecht and his family usually spent summers there, Archduchess Hildegard being especially fond of its renowned public baths. Because of his charity, he was popularly named Engelsherz (Angel's Heart). During the winter, the family lived in Vienna. Her family was very close to the imperial family, and Empress Elisabeth greatly enjoyed the company of her cousin Archduchess Hildegard.
Among Mathilde's circle of friends was the Archduchess Marie Therese (1849–1919), later Queen of Bavaria, who was of the same age and also the stepdaughter of Karl Ferdinand (1818–1874), Mathilde's uncle.
A distant cousin, Archduke Ludwig Salvator (1847–1915), of the Italian Habsburg line, fell in love with Mathilde and sought to marry her, but they never became engaged. Mathilde was intended to become Queen of Italy as the wife of Umberto of Savoy (1844–1900) in order to improve the already tense relations between Austria-Hungary and Italy.
During her stay in Munich for the funeral of her brother King Maximilian II (1811–1864) in March 1864, Mathilde's mother became ill with a lung inflammation and pleurisy, and died; Mathilde was then 15 years old.
Mathilde died at the age of 18 in Schloss Hetzendorf, the Viennese home of Empress Elisabeth, on 6 June 1867. The archduchess had put on a gauze dress to go to the theatre. Before leaving for the theatre, she wanted to smoke a cigarette but shortly thereafter her father, who had forbidden smoking, approached her, and she hid the cigarette behind her dress, immediately setting light to its very flammable material and giving her second and third-degree burns. Her death was witnessed by her whole family.
Archduchess Mathilde was buried in the imperial vault in the Imperial Crypt beside her mother and her brother Karl Albrecht.
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