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Margaret Theresa of Spain (1651–1673)

Margaret Theresa of Spain (1651–1673)

Holy Roman empress . Name variations: Margaret of Spain; Maria Teresa or Maria Theresa of Spain; Margarita Teresa de España; Margareta Teresa; Infanta Margarita; Empress of Germany. Born on July 12,

1651; died on March 12, 1673; daughter of Philip IV (1605–1665), king of Spain (r. 1621–1665), and Maria Anna of Austria (c. 1634–1696); sister of Charles II, king of Spain (r. 1665–1700); half-sister of Maria Teresa of Spain (1638–1683); became first wife of Leopold I (1640–1705), Holy Roman emperor (r. 1658–1705), on December 12, 1666; children: Maria Antonia (1669–1692); Ferdinand Wenzel (1667–1668); John Leopold (1670–1670).

The daughter of Philip IV, king of Spain, and his second wife Maria Anna of Austria , Margaret Theresa of Spain was born in 1651. Diego Velásquez painted several portraits of her as a child. Betrothed in 1663, she wed Holy Roman emperor Leopold I in December 1666, in a lavish ceremony; the marriage was arranged to strengthen political and dynastic ties between the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs.

Both Margaret Theresa and Leopold were grandchildren of Philip III of Spain. As the reigning Spanish ruler, Philip IV had no surviving male offspring until the birth of Charles II in 1661. Because of this, Leopold was initially interested in marrying one of the Spanish princesses as a means of securing the Spanish throne for himself. These plans would fail, although the Austrian Habsburgs tried to claim the Spanish crown with the death of Charles II, who had no direct heirs, in 1700.

Leopold insisted that Philip IV recognize Margaret Theresa's right to the Spanish succession over that of her older half-sister, Maria Teresa of Spain , the wife of Louis XIV of France. Margaret Theresa gave birth to a son, Ferdinand Wenzel, in September 1667, but he died a few months later. A daughter, Marie Antonia , was born in January 1669. Her third child, John Leopold, died shortly after his birth in 1670. Three years later, Margaret Theresa died. Leopold than married Claudia Felicitas , who would have no children, followed by Eleanor of Pfalz-Neuburg , who would have five: Joseph I (1678–1711), Holy Roman emperor (r. 1705–1711); Maria Elisabeth (1680–1741, stadholder of the Netherlands); Charles VI (1685–1740), Holy Roman emperor (r. 1711–1740); Maria Antonia of Austria (1683–1754, who married John V, king of Portugal); and Maria Magdalena (1689–1743).


Spielman, John P. Leopold I of Austria. London: Thames and Hudson, 1977.

Kendall W. Brown , Professor of History, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

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