Thanks to his marriage to Maria Theresa, Duke Leopold’s son became the Holy Roman Emperor.
Duke Leopold of Lorraine, father-in-law of Maria Theresa, died on this day in 1729. His son Francis Stephen married Maria Theresa and was elected Holy Roman Emperor, becoming known as Francis I. The male line of the Habsburg dynasty had died out with the father of Maria Theresa (Emperor Charles VI) and was continued under the name Habsburg-Lorraine (German: Habsburg-Lothringen).
It was Leopold who arranged his son’s marriage to Maria Theresa, heiress of vast Habsburg estates. The Duke thus put his family among the most powerful dynasties in Europe. It remained in power in Austria and Hungary until the end of World War I.
Duke Leopold is known for expanding the Château de Lunéville, also known as the “Versailles of Lorraine”, into a luxurious residence with a grand park. This castle is located some 20 km from Nancy, the capital of Lorraine. For a time, Leopold used it as his main residence, and he also died there.