Sophie von Bayern, Prinzessin, Erzherzogin zu Österreich

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About Sophie von Bayern, Prinzessin, Erzherzogin zu Österreich

"Sophie Friederike Dorothee Wilhelmine, Princess of Bavaria (27 January 1805 – 28 May 1872) was born to King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria and his second wife Caroline of Baden. She was the identical twin sister of Princess Maria Anna of Bavaria, Queen of Saxony as wife of Frederick Augustus II of Saxony. Her eldest son Franz Joseph reigned as Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, King of Croatia, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Galicia and Lodomeria and Grand Duke of Cracow; her second son Maximilian reigned as Emperor of Mexico."


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1. [S36] Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, editor, Burke's Royal Families of the World, Volume 1: Europe & Latin America (London, U.K.: Burke's Peerage Ltd, 1977), page 28. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Royal Families of the World, Volume 1.

2. [S130] Wikipedia, online http;// Hereinafter cited as Wikipedia.

3. [S36] Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, Burke's Royal Families of the World, Volume 1, page 30.

4. [S16] Jirí Louda and Michael MacLagan, Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe, 2nd edition (London, U.K.: Little, Brown and Company, 1999), table 81. Hereinafter cited as Lines of Succession.

5. [S16] Louda and MacLagan, Lines of Succession, table 82.

On 4 November 1824, she married Franz Karl, Archduke of Austria. They had six children.

Her ambition to place her oldest son on the Austrian throne was a constant theme in Austrian politics. At the time she was called "the only man at court". During the Revolution of 1848, she persuaded her somewhat feeble-minded husband to give up his rights to the throne in favour of Franz Joseph, her son. After Franz Joseph's accession, Sophie became the power behind the throne. Historically, Sophie is remembered for her extremely controlling relationship with Franz Joseph's famed wife Sisi, who was also her niece.

Sophie kept a detailed diary most of her life which reveals much about Austrian court life. She was deeply affected in 1867 by the execution in Mexico of her second son Maximilian. She never recovered from that shock, and withdrew from public life. She died of a brain tumor in 1872.

She was also noted for her close relationship with Napoleon II, who lived at the Austrian Court as the Duke of Reichstadt. There were rumors of a sexual affair between them. There was even suspicion that Maximilian, born two weeks before Reichstadt's death in 1832, was actually his child. These claims were never verified, but it is certain that they were very good friends and that his death affected her very much. She is said to have turned into the cold, ambitious woman described in fiction after he died.


Franz Joseph 18 August 1830 21 November 1916 succeeded as Emperor of Austria married his first cousin Elisabeth, Duchess in Bavaria, and had issue

Maximilian 6 July 1832 19 June 1867 proclaimed Emperor of Mexico executed by a firing squad married Charlotte, Princess of Belgium, and had no issue

Karl Ludwig 30 July 1833 19 May 1896 married 1) his first cousin Margaretha, Princess of and Duchess in Saxony, (1840–1858) from 1856 to 1858, no issue, married 2) to Maria Annunziata, Princess of the Two-Sicilies (1843–1871) from 1862 to 1871, had issue (three sons and one daughter) and married 3) to Maria Theresia, Infanta of Portugal, (1855–1944), from 1873 to 1899, had issue (two daughters). He was the father of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination in 1914 sparked World War I.

Maria Anna 27 October 1835 5 February 1840 died in childhood

Stillborn son 24 October 1840 24 October 1840

Ludwig Viktor 15 May 1842 18 January 1919 died unmarried

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Sophie von Bayern, Prinzessin, Erzherzogin zu Österreich's Timeline

January 27, 1805
München, Bayern, Deutschland (HRR)
August 18, 1830
Age 25
Wien, Österreich
July 6, 1832
Age 27
Wien, Österreich
July 6, 1832
Age 27
July 30, 1833
Age 28
Wien, Österreich
October 27, 1835
Age 30
Wien, Österreich
October 24, 1840
Age 35
May 15, 1842
Age 37
Wien, Österreich
May 28, 1872
Age 67
Wien, Österreich, Deutschland(HRR)