Portrait of Maria Anna of Austria (1718-1744), Archduchess; Governor of the Austrian Netherlands (1744)
Archduchess Maria Anna Eleanor Wilhelmina Josepha of Austria (18 September 1718 in Vienna – 16 December 1744 in Brussels) was an Archduchess of Austria and a Princess of Lorraine, the younger sister of Empress Maria Theresa, and a Governor of the Austrian Netherlands. Maria Anna was born at the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna. She and her sister Maria Theresa were the only children of Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, and Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel to survive into adulthood. She fell in love with Charles Alexander of Lorraine, the younger brother of Maria Theresa's husband, Francis Stephen. There was considerable resistance to their marriage, not least the wish of her father for a politically more important son-in-law. It was only after their father's death that Elizabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel gave the approval for the marriage, which was concluded in St Augustine's Church in Vienna on 7 January 1744. Weeks after the marriage, the couple were appointed governors of the Austrian Netherlands. In December 1744 Maria Anna went into labour and gave birth to a stillborn child; she never recovered and died on 16 December 1744 due to the difficult childbirth. Both were buried in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna. Charles Alexander never remarried. Charles would remain the Governor until his death in 1780. He was a very popular governor and died in Brussels like his wife.
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