Maria Christina of Austria

Maria Christina of Austria

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Maria Christina of Austria (Maria Christina Désirée Henriette Felicitas Rainiera; 21 July 1858 – 6 February 1929) was Queen consort of Spain as the second wife of King Alfonso XII of Spain
Alfonso XII of Spain
Alfonso XII was king of Spain, reigning from 1874 to 1885, after a coup d'état restored the monarchy and ended the ephemeral First Spanish Republic.-Early life and paternity:Alfonso was the son of Queen Isabella II of Spain, and...

. She was regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 of Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 during the minority of her son Alfonso XIII
Alfonso XIII of Spain
Alfonso XIII was King of Spain from 1886 until 1931. His mother, Maria Christina of Austria, was appointed regent during his minority...

 and the vacancy of the throne before between her husband's death and her son's birth.

Early life


Known to her family as Christa, she was born at Židlochovice Castle (Groß Seelowitz), near Brno
Brno
Brno by population and area is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, the largest Moravian city, and the historical capital city of the Margraviate of Moravia. Brno is the administrative centre of the South Moravian Region where it forms a separate district Brno-City District...

, in Moravia
Moravia
Moravia is a historical region in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic, and one of the former Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Silesia. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region...

, a daughter of Archduke Karl Ferdinand of Austria
Archduke Karl Ferdinand of Austria
Archduke Karl Ferdinand of Austria-Teschen was the second son of Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen and Henrietta of Nassau-Weilburg, and the maternal grandfather of King Alfonso XIII of Spain.A son of the "hero of Aspern" he started a military career in Infantry Regiment 57 in Brno...

 and his wife, Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria
Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria
Elisabeth Franziska Maria, Archduchess of Austria, Princess of Hungary and Bohemia ....

.

Her paternal grandparents were Archduke Charles of Austria and Princess Henriette Alexandrine of Nassau-Weilburg.

Various sources attributed good traits to Maria Christina before her marriage. One states she was "tall, fair, sensible, and well educated".

Marriage and issue


Maria Christina married King Alfonso XII of Spain on 29 November 1879 at the Basilica of Atocha
Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Atocha
The Royal Basilica of Our Lady of Atocha or Real Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Atocha is a church in central Madrid on the avenue of the Ciudad de Barcelona, #3....

 in Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, and became the mother of his only three legitimate children:
  • Infanta Mercedes, Princess of Asturias
    Mercedes, Princess of Asturias
    Infanta María de las Mercedes of Spain , Princess of the Asturias, for all 24 years of her life the heiress presumptive to the Crown of Spain, was the eldest daughter of King Alfonso XII of Spain and his second wife, Maria Christina of Austria.For a period from...

    ; married Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
    Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
    Don Carlos, Prince of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Infante of Spain was the son of Prince Alfonso of the Two...

  • Infanta Maria Teresa of Spain
    Infanta Maria Teresa of Spain
    Infanta Maria Teresa of Spain was the second eldest child and daughter of Alfonso XII of Spain and his second wife Maria Christina of Austria...

    ; married Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria
    Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria
    Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria was the eldest son and child of Prince Ludwig Ferdinand of Bavaria and his wife Infanta María de la Paz of Spain...

  • Alfonso XIII of Spain
    Alfonso XIII of Spain
    Alfonso XIII was King of Spain from 1886 until 1931. His mother, Maria Christina of Austria, was appointed regent during his minority...

     (born posthumously); married Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg


His previous wife was Mercedes of Orléans
Mercedes of Orléans
Maria de la Mercedes of Orléans was Queen Consort of Spain, the first wife of Alfonso XII. She was born in Madrid, Spain, the daughter of Antoine of Orléans, Duke of Montpensier and of Infanta Luisa Fernanda of Spain....

, who had died half a year after their marriage, leaving no issue. She lived a discreet life as queen.

Queen Dowager



When the King died, Maria Christina was pregnant, so the throne was vacant, depending on whether Maria Christina's unborn child was a male or a female; a male would make that child king, while a female would place her elder daughter, Infanta María Mercedes, on the throne. During this period, Maria Christina ruled as regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 until her child, a son, was born, who was Alfonso XIII of Spain
Alfonso XIII of Spain
Alfonso XIII was King of Spain from 1886 until 1931. His mother, Maria Christina of Austria, was appointed regent during his minority...

 from birth. Maria Christina continued as regent until Alfonso XIII attained his majority in 1902. Her chief advisor was Práxedes Mateo Sagasta
Práxedes Mateo Sagasta
Práxedes Mariano Mateo Sagasta y Escolar was a Spanish politician who served as Prime Minister on eight occasions between 1870 and 1902—always in charge of the Liberal Party—as part of the turno pacifico, alternating with the Liberal-Conservative leader Antonio Cánovas...

. Her rule is described as well balanced and in accordance with respect for the constitutional rights, and many political reforms were instated during her regency to prevent political conflicts and chaos. Her role was mostly ceremonial, and her purpose was to preserve the crown for her son until he became an adult. After her son's marriage in 1906, she lost her position as first lady at court and became Queen dowager and Queen Mother.

She was the 805th Dame
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

 of the Royal Order of Queen Maria Luisa.

She died at the Royal Palace
Royal Palace of Madrid
The Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the King of Spain in the city of Madrid, but it is only used for state ceremonies. King Juan Carlos and the Royal Family do not reside in the palace, choosing instead the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid...

 in Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

 and is buried at El Escorial
El Escorial
The Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a historical residence of the king of Spain, in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometres northwest of the capital, Madrid, in Spain. It is one of the Spanish royal sites and functions as a monastery, royal palace, museum, and...

.

Ancestry





Sources

  • Campos y Fernández de Sevilla, Francisco-Javier. María Cristina de Habsburgo y la Regencia, 1885-1902. San Lorenzo de El Escorial: Estudios Superiores del Escorial, Real Colegio Universitario "María Cristina", 1994.

  • Cancio R. Capote, Rita Maria. The Function of Maria Christina of Austria's Regency, 1885-1902, in Preserving the Spanish Monarchy. México: Ediciones Botas, 1957.

  • Figueroa y Torres, Alvaro de, Conde de Romanones. Doña María Cristina de Habsburgo Lorena, la discreta regente de España. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1934.

  • Martín Alonso, Aurelio. Diez y seis años de regencia, María Cristina de Hapsburgo-Lorena, 1885-1902. Barcelona: L. Tasso, 1914.

  • Thoma, Helga. Habsburgs letzte Herrscherin: Maria Christine, Erzherzogin von Österreich, Königin-Regentin von Spanien. Wien-Klosterneuburg: Edition Va Bene, 2003.


External links


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