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Maria Anna of Spain

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Title: Maria Anna of Spain  
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Subject: Maria Leopoldine of Austria, Philip III of Spain, House of Habsburg, Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, Archduchess Maria Josepha of Austria
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Maria Anna of Spain

Maria Anna of Spain (18 August 1606 – 13 May 1646), Infanta of Spain, the youngest daughter of King Philip III of Spain and Margaret of Austria, was Holy Roman Empress and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia as the wife of Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor.[1]


Maria Ana, Holy Roman Empress, by Frans Luycx, ca. 1638, Visitationist Monastery in Warsaw

Maria Anna, Archduchess of Austria, Infanta of Spain was a younger sister of Anne of Austria, queen consort of Louis XIII of France, and mother of Mariana of Austria, queen consort of Philip IV of Spain. She was also an older sister of Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand.

In the early 1620s, James I of England envisioned Maria Ana as a possible bride for his son and heir, the future Charles I of England and Scotland. Charles even visited Madrid to meet the young Maria Ana.[2] In English history, this possible marriage is known as the Spanish Match. Negotiations failed, however, as Maria Ana did not wish to marry a Protestant and Charles would not convert to Catholicism. Charles eventually married Henrietta Maria of France.

On 20 February 1631, Maria Anna ceremonially married her first cousin, the future Ferdinand III, then the titular king of Hungary, who later would become the Holy Roman Emperor. The princess traveled from Spain to Austria through Italy, a dangerous journey during the Thirty Years' War. The trip would take 14 months to complete and about a month before its completion, when she had reached Trieste on 26 January 1631, Maria Anna had been married to Ferdinand by proxy, with her brother-in-law, Bishop Leopold Wilhelm of Strassburg, Passau, and Halberstadt serving as the proxy.

The second marriage ceremony, with Ferdinand present, was celebrated in Vienna, with festivities lasting a month. The marriage was described as friendly. Maria Ana was described as happy-tempered, friendly, and intelligent, and she able to ease the feelings of the melancholic emperor. She was active politically and acted as the adviser of her spouse. She was his regent during his absence and followed him on his travels.

Engraving of Maria Anna


Ferdinand and Maria Ana had six children:


During the Thirty Years' War, the imperial family moved hastily to Linz where, after a fever and heavy bleeding, Maria died of poisoning during her last pregnancy on 13 May 1646. The child she was carrying, also named Maria, was born alive by caesarean section, but died soon afterward. Mother and daughter were buried together in a single coffin.



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Maria Anna of Spain
Born: 18 August 1606 Died: 13 May 1646
Royal titles
Preceded by
Eleonore Gonzaga
Empress of the Holy Roman Empire
German Queen, Archduchess consort of Austria

Title next held by
Maria Leopoldine of Austria
Queen consort of Hungary and Bohemia
Title next held by
Margaret Theresa of Spain

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