Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony (1867–1944)

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Archduchess Maria Josepha
Maria Josefa of Austria.jpg
Born(1867-05-31)31 May 1867
Dresden, Kingdom of Saxony, North German Confederation
Died28 May 1944(1944-05-28) (aged 76)
Erlangen, Middle Franconia, Bavaria, Nazi Germany
(m. 1886; died 1906)
IssueCharles I of Austria
Archduke Maximilian Eugen
German: Maria Josepha Luise Philippine Elisabeth Pia Angelika Margarete
FatherKing George of Saxony
MotherInfanta Maria Anna of Portugal
ReligionRoman Catholic

Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony (31 May 1867 – 28 May 1944) was the mother of Emperor Charles I of Austria and the fifth child of George of Saxony and Infanta Maria Anna of Portugal.

Early life[edit]

Maria Josepha Louise Philippina Elisabeth Pia Angelica Margaretha was the daughter of the future King George of Saxony (1832–1904) and Infanta Maria Anna of Portugal (1843–1884).


On 2 October 1886 at age nineteen, she married Archduke Otto Franz of Austria, "der Schöne" (the handsome), younger brother of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand who would later be killed in Sarajevo.

A pious woman, only her strength of religion enabled her to bear the burdens of marriage to the notoriously womanizing "gorgeous Archduke". His frequent absences from his family helped her goal of keeping her children away from his bad influence succeed. Eventually, however, she herself entered into a close friendship with the actor Otto Tressler, who had been presented to her by the emperor Franz Joseph, who felt sorry for her because of the adultery of her spouse. Maria Josepha often invited Tressler to her home; he sometimes met her husband and his friends in the doorway. When her husband died, her ability to avoid extravagant displays of grief was much admired. As a widow, she ended her relationship with Tressler, probably because of her sense of what was appropriate behaviour for a widow.

Princess Maria Josepha with her two sons, 1910.

During World War I she nursed the wounded in the Augarten Palace of Vienna, which had been converted into a hospital.

Archduchess Maria Josepha of Austria in her youth, circa 1889-90

In 1919 she left Austria with her son Emperor Charles I of Austria and his wife, Zita of Bourbon-Parma, and went into exile with them. She lived first in Switzerland and from 1921 in Germany.

She died at Schloss Wildenwart, Upper Bavaria at age 76, a property owned by some members of the Royal Family of Bavaria. She is buried in the New Vault of the Imperial Crypt in Vienna, beside her husband.


Kazimierz Pochwalski – Portrait of Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony 1897

With Archduke Otto Franz she had issue:



  • Robert Seydel: Die Seitensprünge der Habsburger. Ueberreuterverlag Wien, 2005