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Margaret, Duchess of Austria

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Title: Margaret, Duchess of Austria  
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Subject: 1266, List of monarchs of Sicily, Ottokar II of Bohemia, Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, Leopold VI, Duke of Austria, Gertrude of Austria, Hainburg an der Donau, Isabella of England, Agnes of Bohemia, Henry (VII) of Germany
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Margaret, Duchess of Austria

Margaret of Austria
Queen consort of Germany
Tenure 1225–1235
Duchess consort of Austria
Tenure 1252–1260
Queen consort of Bohemia
Tenure 1253–1260
Spouse Henry (VII) of Germany
Ottokar II of Bohemia
Issue
Henry of Germany
Frederick of Germany
House Hohenstaufen Dynasty (by first marriage)
Přemyslid dynasty (by second marriage)
House of Babenberg (by birth)
Father Leopold VI, Duke of Austria
Mother Theodora Angelina
Born c. 1204
Died 29 October 1266 (aged 61–62)

Margaret of Austria (ca. 1204 – Krumau am Kamp, 29 October 1266), was a Queen Consort of the Romans 1225–35, titular Duchess of Austria in 1252–60, and Queen consort of Bohemia 1253–60.

She was the eldest daughter of Leopold VI, Duke of Austria, and Theodora Angelina, a member of the Byzantine Imperial family.

Life

In Nürnberg on 29 November 1225 she married Henry, King elected of Germany and eldest son of the Emperor Frederick II. The groom was only fourteen years old and the bride already twenty-one.

Her coronation as German Queen took place sixteen months later, on 23 March 1227 in Aachen. Henry and Margaret had two sons, Henry (who died young ca. 1242/1245) and Frederick (who also died young ca. 1251/1252).

In 1235, Henry rebelled against his father, but was defeated and dethroned. Confined in several castles in Apulia, he died possibly on 12 February 1242 after a fall from his horse, in a possible attempted suicide. In the meanwhile, Margaret (who possibly never saw her husband again) moved to Würzburg, where she lived in seclusion in the Markuskloster.

Margaret's brother Frederick II, Duke of Austria, last Duke from the Babenberg dynasty, died childless in the Battle of Leitha (1246), leaving a succession crisis. The two principal claimants over the succession in the duchies of Austria and Styria were the husbands of two women: the husband of Margaret (who, as the eldest sister of the late Duke, claimed proximity of blood) and the husband of Margaret's niece Gertrude, who claimed primogeniture, as the only daughter of Henry of Mödling, the eldest brother of Duke Frederick II (who had predeceased his father, Duke Leopold VI).

Wenceslaus I, King of Bohemia wanted to take control over the duchies by the wedding of his eldest son and heir, Vladislav with Gertrude. The couple were proclaimed Duke and Duchess of Austria, but Vladislav died in the following year (1247). The next ruler of Austria was Gertrude's second husband, Hermann VI, Margrave of Baden, who died in 1250, leaving Austria and Styria without a ruler again.

The Austrian aristocracy offered the government of the duchies to Ottokar II of Bohemia, second son and new heir of King Wenceslaus I. However, one condition was imposed by the nobles: Ottokar only can take the control over Austria and Styria if he married one of the Babenberg heiresses. Ottokar refused a wedding with the widow of his brother and decided to marry Margaret. The ceremony took place on 11 February 1252 in the Castle Chapel (German: Burgkapelle) of Hainburg an der Donau. She was about twenty-six years his senior.

Ottokar acquired the imperial privileges sealed with a Golden Bull on the basis of the Privilegium Minus, which legitimazed his claim over the duchies of Austria and Styria, since Margaret was the heiress of the last duke by proximity of blood. Thereby she transferred the government of the duchies to Austria and Styria to her husband. Pope Innocent IV, who had previously changed sides several times between Gertrude and Margaret, confirmed the lawful government of Margaret and Ottokar over both duchies on 6 May 1252. Bohemian administrators ruled the duchies in their names.

One year later, on 23 September 1253, King Wenceslaus I died. Ottokar became King of Bohemia as Ottokar II and Margaret as his Queen consort. However, by this time, it was evident that Margaret (who was already fifty-years-old), was barren. King Ottokar II tried tried to gain from the Pope the recognizion of the illegitimate son whom he had with one of Margaret's ladies-in-waiting as his lawful successor. After the Pope refused this, in 1261 the King obtained the annulment of his marriage with Margaret. The repudiated Queen left Bohemia and returned to Austria, settled her residence in Krumau am Kamp and, during the winters, in Krems.

Ottokar II kept Austria, Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola, claiming to be the heir designated by Margaret in their divorce settlement. He held the duchies until deposed by king Rudolf I of Germany in 1276.

After her divorce she was called Romanorum quondam Regina (Queen of the Romans); however, she maintained the title ducissa Austrie et Stirie (Duchess of Austria and Styria). In 1266 she changed her title as quondam filia Livpoldi illustris ducis Austrie et Stirie et Romanorum Regina as a reference of her father.

Prior to her death, she chose the Lilienfeld Abbey as her burial place. The date of her death is controversial. Some sources state 1266, while others state 2/12 October 1267 as the real date. According to her wish, she was buried in the Lilienfeld Abbey next to her father.

Ancestry

References

This article incorporates information from the Deutsch World Heritage Encyclopedia.
  • Heinrich Ritter von Zeissberg: Margarethe von Österreich. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Band 20. Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1884, p. 320.
  • Heide Dienst: Margarethe von Österreich. In: Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB). Band 16. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1990, pp. 152–154. ISBN 3-428-00197-4
  • Karl Lechner: Die Babenberger. Markgrafen und Herzoge von Österreich 976–1246. In: Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung, Wien (Hrsg.): Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung. 6., Band 23, Böhlau, Vienna / Köln / Weimar 1996, ISBN 3-205-98569-9.
Royal titles
Preceded by
Kunigunde of Hohenstaufen
Queen consort of Bohemia
1253–1260
Succeeded by
Kunigunda of Slavonia
Preceded by
Constance of Aragon
Queen consort of Germany
1225–1235
Succeeded by
Isabella of England
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