Sophie of Bavaria
Frederique Sophie Dorothée Wilhelmine, princess of Bavaria and archduchess of Austria, born the January 27th 1805 with Munich and deceased the May 28th 1872 with Vienna, was the mother of the François-Joseph emperors of Austria and Maximilien of Mexique.Elle was also the aunt and mother-in-law of the Elisabeth empress of Austria, celebrates it “Sissi”. His/her sisters were the duchess of Leuchtenberg, the empress of Austria (after a marriage cancelled with the king of Wurtemberg), the queen of Prussia, two queens of Saxony and the duchess in Bavaria, mother of Sissi. His/her mother was a princess of Bade like her aunt the large-duchess of Hesse. Sophie was thus bound by close relations family ties with the reigning families of Germany.
Exit of the house of Wittelsbach, Sophie is the girl of the king Maximilien Ier Joseph of Bavaria and of the Caroline queen of Bavaria (born princess Caroline de Bade). She has a twin sister, Marie.
Beautiful and intelligent, she marries with back-plate the November 4th 1824 with Vienna the archduke François-Charles of Austria, man weak and without charm but apparently promised with the imperial throne, her brother being obviously unable. After six years of sterility including one miscarriage in 1827 - a political handicap the couple will have five children: François Joseph Charles in 1830, Ferdinand Maximilien Joseph Marie in 1832, Charles-Louis de Habsbourg in 1833, Marie Anne Caroline Pia (1835+1840) and Louis Victor of Habsbourg-Lorraine in 1842.
Rumors affirm that the father of its second wire Maximilien was not other than the Aiglon, the son of Napoleon, with which it was closely dependant: Sophie was, says one, the great love of the Eaglet. A complicity in love existed between them and, although enclosure, it assisted it in its last days. Nothing in the private life, nor in the character of Sophie, makes it possible however to support this legend; full member of the Family of Habsbourg-Lorraine, the duke of Reichstadt was the nephew of her husband and could wake up as a Sophie of the shared feelings between romantic love and maternal love. She was its elder six years.
The paternal family of Sophie was francophile and Bonapartist: his/her father, King Maximilien, owed his royal title with Napoleon and his older sister, the Auguste princess of Bavaria had married the prince Eugene de Beauharnais, created duke of Leuchtenberg - marriage of State become true union in love; Sophie never hid her admiration for Napoleon nor her affection for her Beauharnais brother-in-law.
As of its arrival at the Court of Vienna, it occupied the first place there. His/her half-sister, Caroline-Augusta, although Empress in title, readily let to him play this part which was appropriate perfectly for its intelligence. He the same with had died about it of the Emperor François Ier, in 1835, the new empress in title, Marie-Anne of Savoy, not disputing this role to him.
During the period Biedermeier the Sophie Archduchess was an eminent figure of the world Viennese. Its living room famous was opened to the artists and it accepted there, inter alia Franz Liszt. Johann Strauss devoted a waltz to him and one of the ballrooms most attended of Vienna bore its name the " Sophiensaal". Although four of his/her sisters were sovereign, two queen of Saxony and a queen of Prussia, an empress of Austria, and that his/her brother Louis Ier was king de Bavière, Sophie was the true head of the Family.
The archduke François-Charles would have had with died of his father to become emperor of Austria and Sophie empress because the oldest son of François Ier, the archduke Ferdinand, was of a soft and pleasant nature in extreme cases of debility. The chancellor Metternich was opposed, under the terms of the dynastic principle, with this substitution because he saw in the monarch plus the institution which the man and he would have probably had to take into account Sophie, whose husband was with his devotion: with a weak emperor, married to a woman without interest for the political matters, Metternich could preserve the upper hand on the Austrian policy until the Révolution of 1848 drives out it capacity and obliges it with the exile.
Being aware that only a young sovereign could face the disorders caused by the national revolutions of 1848 the Sophie archduchess, with the complicity of his sister, Impératrice dowager, widow of François Ier of Austria, and his sister-in-law, the Maria-Anna Empress, born princess from Savoy, obtained from sound beautiful brother the emperor Ferdinand Ier which he abdicated in favor of his François-Joseph oldest son, following the renunciation of the husband of Sophie, the archduke François-Charles, too weak of character to take up the imperial duty. It was the " Plot of Dames".
By its character and its firmness, as well as the support of the ultramontanes, it asseoit beginnings of the reign of his/her oldest son on an absolutist and authoritative mode, being gradually erased capacity only with the approach of its death. The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, lived like a victory by the Elisabeth empress, was felt as a defeat by the Sophie archduchess who withdrew political life then. The Compromise was in the final analysis harmful with Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, by giving to the Hungarians a place higher than that of the other people of Monarchy, in particular the Slavic ones, which was one of the causes of its dismemberment.
The death of his/her son Maximilien, Emperor of the Mexico, shot in 1867, with Queretaro, was also one of the causes of the withdrawal of the Sophie archduchess of the public life. She never forgave with Napoleon III to have involved her son in this adventure then to have given up it and refused to meet it.
Woman of having - it had accepted its marriage with resignation, while being promised to be happy despite everything - it had given up the imperial title for the safeguard of the dynasty of Habsbourg-Lorraine - it was also a political woman whose preserving ideas, related to the supranationality of the House of Austria, were not appropriate any more in one period when national sovereignty became new source of being able. Sophie could not understand - it whose marriage had been arranged with the Congress of Vienna - that Europe of the Holy Alliance had lived.
She is known for her character very firm and very authoritative, which caused many clashes with his/her odd daughter-in-law, Sissi (who was also her niece) of which she did not include/understand the independent character, hostile with the achievement of its imperial duty. She had wished for François-Joseph the older sister of Sissi, the Helene princess of Bavaria, with the happier character but she resigned herself, in front of the firm will of her son. She was then laid out to like it but incomprehension between the two women made the family life intolerable to François-Joseph Ier, obliged to choose between his/her mother whom he admired, and its wife that he adored.
The Sophie archduchess was not the malicious sometimes introduced woman: she wanted the size of Austria and her sovereign House what explains why she did not hesitate to inspire with her son a policy reactionary and authoritative. Although patience and tact lack towards his/her daughter-in-law, it was an excellent mother for her four sons and an excellent grandmother, near to all her grandchildren.
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