Portrait of Charles VII (1697-1745), Holy Roman Emperor, King in Germany (1742-1745), Elector of Bavaria (Charles Albert; German: Karl Albrecht von Bayern) from 1726 to1745; King of Bohemia (1741-1743)
Charles VII (German: Karl VII; 7 April 1697 – 20 January 1745) was the Prince-elector of Bavaria from 1726 and Holy Roman Emperor from 24 January 1742 until his death in 1745. A member of the House of Wittelsbach, Charles was the first person not born of the House of Habsburg to become emperor in over three centuries, though he was connected to that house both by blood and by marriage. Charles Albert was born in Brussels, the son of Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria, and Theresa Kunegunda Sobieska, daughter of King John III Sobieski of Poland. His family was split during the War of the Spanish Succession and was for many years under house arrest in Austria. Only in 1715 was the family reunited. After attaining his majority in August 1715, he undertook an educational tour of Italy from 3 December 1715 until 24 August 1716. In 1717, he served with Bavarian auxiliaries in the Austro-Turkish War of 1716–18. On 5 October 1722, Charles Albert married Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria, whom he had met at the imperial court in Vienna. She was the younger daughter of the late Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor, and his wife Wilhelmine Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg. In 1725 Charles Albert visited Versailles for the wedding of Louis XV of France, and established firm contacts with the French court. In 1726, when his father died, Charles Albert became Duke of Bavaria and a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. He maintained good relations both with his Habsburg relatives and with France, continuing his father's policies. In 1729 he instituted the knightly Order of St George. In continuance of the policy of his father, Charles Albert aspired to an even higher rank. As son-in-law of Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles Albert rejected the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 and claimed the German territories of the Habsburg dynasty after the death of Emperor Charles VI in 1740. Charles Albert allied with France and Spain against Austria. During the War of the Austrian Succession Charles Albert invaded Upper Austria in 1741 and planned to conquer Vienna, but his allied French troops under the Duc de Belle-Isle were redirected to Bohemia instead and Prague was conquered in November 1741. So Charles Albert was crowned King of Bohemia in Prague (19 December 1741) when the Habsburgs were not yet defeated. He was unanimously elected "King of the Romans" on 24 January 1742, also with the vote of George II, and became Holy Roman Emperor upon his coronation on 12 February 1742. His brother Klemens August of Bavaria, archbishop and elector (Kurfürst) of Cologne, who generally sided with the Austria Habsburg-Lorraine faction in the disputes over the Habsburg succession, cast his vote for him and personally crowned him emperor at Frankfurt. Charles VII was the second Wittelsbach Emperor after Louis IV and the first Wittelsbach King of the Romans since the reign of Rupert of Germany.
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