Archduchess Maria Anna Josepha Antonia of Austria
(6 October 1738 – 19 November 1789) was the second but eldest surviving daughter of Maria Theresa
, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, and Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maria Anna was born on 6 October 1738 at the Hofburg Palace
, the center of the vastly powerful Austro-Hungarian empire. She was heiress presumptive
between 1740 and 1741, until her younger brother Joseph (later to be the Holy Roman Emperor, Joseph II
) was born. She was known as "Marianna".
Maria Anna was intelligent but physically disabled. Unable to find a royal husband, she was made the abbess of the Imperial and Royal Convent for Noble Ladies
with the promise of 80,000 florins per year. Later, she gave up the Prague position and became an abbess in Klagenfurt
with a smaller provision. Close to her younger sister Maria Elisabeth
, the two lived together in the same convents till their deaths. While her sister, Marie Antoinette, was traveling on her way to Versailles
she stayed at the abbey for one night.
Despite being disabled, it is not true that Maria Anna's existence was denied by the Imperial Family. She often played important roles in major events of state, including acting as sponsor at the christening of her youngest sister, Marie Antoinette.A. Fraser, Marie Antoinette: The Journey,
p. 6 Maria Anna died on 19 November 1789.
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