- Historical event
- 28 August 1691
- Elizabeth Christine, Princess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and mother of Maria Theresa, one of the most famous monarchs of Central Europe, was born on this day in 1691 to a German Protestant Prince. She converted to Catholicism in order to marry Archduke Charles of Austria, and later became Empress of the Holy Roman Empire and Queen of Hungary, Bohemia, Croatia, and Serbia.
On this day Elizabeth Christine, Princess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, was born to a German Protestant prince.
As a young girl she became greatly renowned for her beauty. When she was only 13 years old she became engaged to one of the most eminent people in the world – Archduke Charles of Austria, who was at the time a brother of the Austrian Emperor and pretender to the Spanish throne.
Namely, Austria and France were at the time engaged in the War of the Spanish Succession, which had broken out after the last Spanish King died without an heir.
Archduke Charles managed to get himself crowned King of Spain in Barcelona, but had to continue his war against French pretender, Duke Philip of Anjou.
When the young Elizabeth Christine found out she was to be married, she objected because Charles was a Catholic and she was brought up as a Protestant.
Still, she was eventually convinced to accept the marriage and converted to Catholicism at age 15.
The next year she went to her fiancée in Spain, and they were married in Santa Maria del Mar church in Barcelona on 1 August 1708.
Three years later her husband hit the metaphorical jackpot – after the death of his childless brother, he became Holy Roman Emperor and King of Hungary, Bohemia, Croatia, and Serbia.
Elizabeth thus became an empress and queen. The new Emperor moved to Vienna to seize the reins of power, leaving his wife in Barcelona as Regent of Catalonia.
She held that position for two years, but was eventually deposed when Philip of Anjou finally wrestled the Spanish throne from his rival and became King of Spain.
Elizabeth left Spain and rejoined her husband in Vienna. They had three daughters. The eldest among them, Maria Theresa, would succeed her father and become one of the most famous monarchs of Central Europe.