Maria Josepha of Austria bigraphy, stories - Queen consort of Poland

Maria Josepha of Austria : biography

8 December 1699 - 17 November 1757

Maria Josepha of Austria (Maria Josepha Benedikta Antonia Theresia Xaveria Philippine, ; 8 December 1699 – 17 November 1757) was born an Archduchess of Austria, and from 1711 to 1713 was heiress presumptive to the Habsburg Empire. By her marriage to Augustus of Saxony she was the Electress of Saxony and Queen consort of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.


  • Potter, George R. The New Cambridge Modern History.



Maria Josepha and Frederick Augustus had fourteen children:Watanabe-O'Kelly, p. 266.

  1. Frederick August of Saxony (1720–1721) died in infancy.
  2. Prince Joseph August of Saxony (1721–1728) died in infancy.
  3. Frederick Christian, Elector of Saxony (1722–1763) married Maria Antonia of Bavaria and had issue.
  4. Maria Amalia of Saxony (1724–1760) married Charles III of Spain and had issue.
  5. Maria Margaretha of Saxony (1727–1734) died in infancy.
  6. Maria Anna Sophia of Saxony (1728–1797) married Maximilian III Joseph, Elector of Bavaria and had no issue.
  7. Francis Xavier of Saxony (1730–1806) married morganatically Maria Chiara Spinucci and had issue.
  8. Maria Josepha of Saxony (1731–1767) married Louis, Dauphin of France and had issue.
  9. Charles of Saxony (1733–1796) married Franciscka of Corvin-Krasinska and had issue.
  10. Maria Elisabeth of Saxony (1736–1818) died unmarried.
  11. Maria Christina of Saxony (1735–1782) died unmarried.
  12. Albert of Saxony (1738–1822) married Maria Christina of Austria and had issue.
  13. Clemens Wenceslaus of Saxony (1739–1812) died unmarried.
  14. Maria Kunigunde of Saxony (1740–1826) died unmarried.


Maria Josepha was born in Vienna, an Archduchess of Austria as the eldest child of Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Princess Wilhelmina Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg. During the reign of her grandfather, Maria Josepha's father and uncle signed the Mutual Pact of Succession of 1703, which was issued by her grandfather, Emperor Leopold I, and effectively made Maria Josepha the heiress presumptive to her uncle, Emperor Charles VI;"Under the Pactum Mutuae Successionis of 1703 (a purely family agreement) Charles [VI] had succeeded before his nieces, and his son, if he had one, would follow him, but if he died childless, or left only daughters, Joseph's daughters should have succeeded him." (Potter, p. 393). however, Charles VI's Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 annulled the earlier agreement and made his daughter Maria Theresa his successor instead of Maria Josepha.


A marriage between Maria Josepha and Frederick Augustus II, Elector of Saxony (1733–1763) had been suggested by Frederick's father, August II the Strong, since 1704. The fact that Maria Josepha was not allowed to marry a non-Catholic, however, prevented the marriage. When Augustus converted to Catholicism in 1712, the negotiations became serious. On 20 August 1719, Maria Josepha and Frederick Augustus married. Through this marriage between the Houses of Wettin and Habsburg, Frederick Augustus II's father, hoped to place Saxony in a better position should there arise a war of succession to the Austrian territories.Watanabe-O'Kelly, p. 265. The couple's eldest surviving son, Frederick Christian, eventually succeeded his father as Elector of Saxony.

The couple lived at Dresden Castle.

In 1733, Frederick Augustus was elected King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as August III the Saxon. Maria Josepha was crowned 20 January 1734. Queen Maria Josepha was described as ambitious, intelligent and religious. She founded many churches and convents and gave her strong support to the Polish Jesuits. In 1740, she claimed the rights to the throne of Austria, but not for herself but for her spouse. She relinquished her claim in 1742, and soon made an alliance with Austria. During the seven years war in 1756, Maria Josepha stayed behind in Dresden, after her husband left, when the city was taken by the Prussian army.Watanabe-O'Kelly, p. 270. She died of a stroke during the Prussian occupation.

On 17 November 1757, Maria Josepha died in Dresden of a stroke and was buried in the Wettin vault of the Katholische Hofkirche ("Catholic Court Church") in Dresden.Watanabe-O'Kelly, p. 271.

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