Archduke Joseph Franz of Austria

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Archduke Joseph Franz
Portrait, ca. 1806/7
Born (1799-04-09)9 April 1799
Hofburg Imperial Palace, Hofburg, Vienna, Austria
Died 30 June 1807(1807-06-30) (aged 8)
Hofburg Imperial Palace, Hofburg, Vienna, Austria
Burial Capuchin Church, Vienna
House Habsburg-Lorraine
Father Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily
Religion Roman Catholic

Archduke Joseph Franz Leopold of Austria (9 April 1799 – 30 June 1807) was the second son and seventh child of Francis II, the last Holy Roman Emperor and his second wife, Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily, daughter of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina of Austria. He was their fourth child to die.


Archduke Joseph Franz with his older brother Archduke Ferdinand and their father Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
Archduke Joseph Franz, ca. 1801/2

Archduke Joseph Franz was born at the Hofburg Imperial Palace, where all of his older and younger siblings were born.

He was the seventh child born to his parents: Marie Louise was born in 1791, and later became Empress consort of the French, as wife of Napoleon I Bonaparte; Ferdinand was born in 1793 and later became Emperor of Austria, but was dethroned due to the fact that he was severely (mentally and physically) disabled; Marie Caroline was born in 1794, but died less than a year later in 1795; Caroline Ludovika was born in 1795, but died two years later in 1797; Marie Leopoldina was born in 1797 and became the first Empress consort of Brazil, as the wife of Pedro I of Brazil; and, finally, Clementina was born in 1798 and became Princess of Salerno, as the wife of Leopold, Prince of Salerno.

He also had five younger siblings: Marie Caroline was born in 1801 and later became Crown Princess of Saxony, as the wife of Frederick Augustus, Crown Prince of Saxony; Francis Charles was born in 1802 and fathered Franz Joseph I of Austria and Maximilian I of Mexico; Maria Anna was born in 1804 and she, too, was severely disabled, both physically (she is said to have suffered from a hideous facial deformity) and mentally (she was mentally retarded), and died unmarried; Johann Nepomuk was born in 1805 and outlived Joseph Franz by two years, he himself dying aged 4; and Amalie Theresa was born in 1807, but only lived for one day. Joseph's mother Maria Theresa died after giving birth to Amalie.

He was given the title of Archduke of Austria, which was automatically passed on to the children of Holy Roman Emperors. He was a lively child and one of the favourite children of his mother and possibly even his father. Due to his parents' close blood connections (they were double first cousins), his older brother Ferdinand was born severely disabled, suffering from epilepsy, hydrocephalus, neurological and movement problems, and a speech impediment. Joseph was their fifth child to survive infancy.

On 30 June 1807, just one month after the passing of his mother, the 8 year-old Archduke died at the Hofburg Palace of either yellow fever or smallpox, though yellow fever seems to be the most acceptable, as the outbreak was in the United States in 1803 and most of the American plagues extended to Europe in a matter of 2–4 years.

Joseph Franz was buried at the Capuchin Church in Vienna, more specifically in the Imperial Crypt (his heart is buried in the Herzgruft chamber), the burial place of his siblings Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, Ferdinand I of Austria, Archduchess Marie Caroline of Austria, Archduchess Caroline Ludovika of Austria, Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria, Archduke Johann Nepomuk of Austria, Archduchess Amalie Theresa of Austria, and (possibly) Archduke Franz Karl of Austria. His parents, Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily, and his great-grandmother, Maria Theresa of Austria, are also buried there.


Titles and styles[edit]

  • 9 April 1799—11 August 1804 His Royal Highness Archduke Joseph Franz of Austria, The Prince of Modena (Seine Königliche Hoheit der Prinz von Modena)
  • 11 August 1804—30 June 1807 His Imperial and Royal Highness Archduke Joseph Franz of Austria (Seine Kaiserliche und Königlich Hoheit der Erzherzog von Österreich)