Anna of Austria (1528-1590), Duchess consort of Bavaria (1550-1579)
Anna of Austria (German: Anna von Österreich; 7 July 1528 – 16 October 1590), a member of the Imperial House of Habsburg, was Duchess of Bavaria from 1550 until 1579, by her marriage with Duke Albert V. Born at the Bohemian court in Prague, Anna was the third of fifteen children of King Ferdinand I (1503–1564) from his marriage with the Jagiellonian princess Anna of Bohemia and Hungary (1503–1547). Her siblings included: Elizabeth, Queen of Poland, Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria, Catherine, Queen of Poland, Eleanor, Duchess of Mantua, Barbara, Duchess of Ferrara, Charles II, Archduke of Austria and Johanna, Duchess of Tuscany. Anna's paternal grandparents were King Philip I of Castile and his wife Joanna. Her maternal grandparents were King Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary and his third wife Anne de Foix. Anna finally married on 4 July 1546 in Regensburg at the age of 17, Prince Albert V, the younger brother of her first fiancé. The wedding gift was 50,000 Guilder. This marriage was part of a web of alliances in which her uncle Emperor Charles V hoped to secure Duke William's support before embarking on the Schmalkaldic Wars. Indeed, Duke William IV, though he remained formally neutral, granted the passage of Imperial troops to march against the forces of the Schmalkaldic League which besieged the Ingolstadt fortress. After their marriage, the young couple lived at the Trausnitz Castle in Landshut, until Albert became duke upon his father's death on 7 March 1550. At the Munich Residenz, Anna and Albert had great influence on the spiritual life in the Duchy of Bavaria, and enhanced the reputation of Munich as a city of art, by founding several museums and laying the foundations for the Bavarian State Library. A religious woman, Anna made extensive donations to the Catholic abbey of Vadstena in Sweden and generously supported the Franciscan Order. She also provided a strict education of her grandson, the later Elector Maximilian I of Bavaria. When her husband died on 24 October 1579 and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, William V, Anna as duchess dowager maintained her own court at the Munich Residenz.
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