Margaret of Austria, Queen of Bohemia

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Margaret of Austria
Margarete von Babenberg.JPG
Queen consort of Germany
Tenure 1225–1235
Duchess consort of Austria
Tenure 1252–1260
Queen consort of Bohemia
Tenure 1253–1260
Born c. 1204
Died 29 October 1266 (aged 61–62)
Spouse Henry (VII) of Germany
Ottokar II of Bohemia
Issue Henry of Germany
Frederick of Germany
House House of Babenberg
Father Leopold VI, Duke of Austria
Mother Theodora Angelina

Margaret of Austria (ca. 1204 – Krumau am Kamp, 29 October 1266), was a Queen Consort of the Romans 1225–35, titular Duchess of Austria in 1252–60, and Queen consort of Bohemia 1253–60.

She was the eldest daughter of Leopold VI, Duke of Austria, and Theodora Angelina, a member of the Byzantine Imperial family.

First marriage[edit]

In Nürnberg, on 29 November 1225, the 21-year-old Margaret married the 14-year-old Henry, King-elect of Germany ("King of the Romans") and eldest son of Emperor Frederick II. Her coronation took place on 23 March 1227 in Aachen. King Henry and Queen Margaret had two short-lived sons, Henry (died ca. 1242/1245) and Frederick (died ca. 1251/1252).

In 1235, Henry rebelled against his father, but was defeated and dethroned. Confined in several castles in Apulia, he died possibly on 12 February 1242 after a fall from his horse, in a possible attempted suicide. In the meanwhile, Margaret (who possibly never saw her husband again) moved to Würzburg, where she lived in seclusion in the Markuskloster.

Claim to Austria and Styria[edit]

Margaret's brother Frederick II, Duke of Austria, last Duke from the Babenberg dynasty, died childless in the Battle of Leitha (1246), leaving a succession crisis. The two principal claimants over the succession in the duchies of Austria and Styria were the husbands of two women: the husband of Margaret (who, as the eldest sister of the late Duke, claimed proximity of blood) and the husband of Margaret's niece Gertrude, who claimed primogeniture, as the only daughter of Henry of Mödling, the eldest brother of Duke Frederick II (who had predeceased his father, Duke Leopold VI).

Wenceslaus I, King of Bohemia wanted to take control over the duchies by the wedding of his eldest son and heir, Vladislav with Gertrude. The couple were proclaimed Duke and Duchess of Austria, but Vladislav died in the following year (1247). The next ruler of Austria was Gertrude's second husband, Hermann VI, Margrave of Baden, who died in 1250, leaving Austria and Styria without a ruler again.

Second marriage[edit]

The Austrian aristocracy offered the government of the duchies to Ottokar, second son and new heir apparent of King Wenceslaus I. However, one condition was imposed by the nobles: Ottokar could only take control of Austria and Styria if he married one of the Babenberg heiresses. Ottokar refused to marry his brother's widow, such marriage being prohibited by the Book of Leviticus, and decided to marry Margaret, 26 years his senior. The ceremony took place on 11 February 1252 in the Castle Chapel (German: Burgkapelle) of Hainburg an der Donau.

Ottokar acquired the imperial privileges sealed with a Golden Bull on the basis of the Privilegium Minus, which legitimized his claim over the duchies of Austria and Styria, since Margaret was the heiress of the last duke by proximity of blood. Thereby she transferred the government of the duchies to Austria and Styria to her husband. Pope Innocent IV, who had previously changed sides several times between Gertrude and Margaret, confirmed the lawful government of Margaret and Ottokar over both duchies on 6 May 1252. Bohemian administrators ruled the duchies in their names.

Later life[edit]

One year later, on 23 September 1253, King Wenceslaus I died, and Ottokar and Margaret became King and Queen of Bohemia. By this time, it was evident that Margaret, already fifty years old, would not bear children. King Ottokar II tried to gain from the Pope the recognition of the illegitimate son whom he had with Agnes of Kuenring, one of Margaret's ladies-in-waiting, as his lawful successor. After the Pope refused this, in 1261 the King obtained the annulment of his marriage with Margaret. The repudiated Queen left Bohemia and returned to Austria, settled her residence in Krumau am Kamp, spending the winters in Krems. Ottokar II kept Austria, Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola, claiming to be the heir designated by Margaret in their divorce settlement. He held the duchies until deposed by King Rudolf I of Germany in 1276.

After the annulment she was called Romanorum quondam Regina ("former Queen of the Romans"); however, she maintained the title ducissa Austrie et Stirie (Duchess of Austria and Styria). In 1266 she changed her title to quondam filia Livpoldi illustris ducis Austrie et Stirie et Romanorum Regina as a reference to her father.

Prior to her death, she chose the Lilienfeld Abbey as her burial place. The date of her death is controversial. Some sources state 1266, while others state 2/12 October 1267 as the real date. According to her wish, she was buried in the Lilienfeld Abbey next to her father.



  • Heinrich Ritter von Zeissberg: Margarethe von Österreich. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Band 20. Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1884, p. 320.
  • Heide Dienst: Margarethe von Österreich. In: Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB). Band 16. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1990, pp. 152–154. ISBN 3-428-00197-4
  • Karl Lechner: Die Babenberger. Markgrafen und Herzoge von Österreich 976–1246. In: Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung, Wien (Hrsg.): Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung. 6., Band 23, Böhlau, Vienna / Köln / Weimar 1996, ISBN 3-205-98569-9.
Royal titles
Preceded by
Kunigunde of Hohenstaufen
Queen consort of Bohemia
Succeeded by
Kunigunda of Slavonia
Preceded by
Constance of Aragon
Queen consort of Germany
Succeeded by
Isabella of England