Portrait of Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici (1667-1743), Electress Palatine (consort) from 1691 to 1716; Duchess Consort of Jülich, Cleve and Berg (1691-1716)
Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici (11 August 1667 – 18 February 1743) was the last lineal descent of the House of Medici. Anna Maria Luisa was the only daughter of Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Marguerite Louise d'Orléans, a niece of Louis XIII of France. On her marriage to Elector Johann Wilhelm II, she became Electress of the Palatinate, and, by patronising musicians, she earned for the contemporary Palatine court the reputation of an important music centre. In 1713 Cosimo III altered the Tuscan laws of succession to allow the accession of his daughter, and spent his final years canvassing the European powers to agree to recognise this statute. However, in 1735, as part of a territorial arrangement, the European powers appointed Francis Stephen of Lorraine as heir, and he duly ascended the Tuscan throne in her stead. After the death of Johann Wilhelm, Anna Maria Luisa returned to Florence, where she enjoyed the rank of first lady until the accession of her brother Gian Gastone, who banished her to the Villa La Quiete. When Gian Gastone died in 1737, Francis Stephen's envoy offered Anna Maria Luisa the position of nominal regent of Tuscany, but she declined. She departed for Düsseldorf, her husband’s capital, on 6 May 1691, accompanied by her younger brother, Gian Gastone. Johann Wilhelm surprised her at Innsbruck, where they officially married. The Palatinate Anna Maria Luisa arrived in was ravaged by the ongoing Nine Years' War, in which Louis XIV assaulted the Palatinate on behalf of his brother, Philippe of France, Duke of Orléans, occupying the city of Philippsburg in the process. It is thought that soon after arrival she contracted syphilis from the Elector, which explains why Anna Maria Luisa and Johann Wilhelm failed to produce any children. Anna Maria Luisa and Johann Wilhelm, notwithstanding, shared a harmonious marriage. The Electress spent her time enjoying balls, musical performances and other festivities. He commissioned a theatre for her where the comedies of French playwright Molière were performed. Because Anna Maria Luisa patronised many musicians, the contemporary Palatine court enjoyed regard as an international centre of music.
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