|Empress Maria Anna of Austria by Johann Ender|
On this day we mark the birth of Maria Anna of Savoy, a lady who attained a few somewhat impressive titles throughout a life that was, by any standards, long-lived. Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary, Bohemia, Lombardy and Venetia, Maria Anna did not actively seek the limelight and enjoyed a long, happy marriage which I cannot say for all my guests!
Maria Anna and her twin, Maria Teresa, were born in Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy, to Archduchess Maria Teresa of Austria-Este and King Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia. As we have seen so many times before, the girls were both prepared for a noble marriage and at the age of 27, Maria Anna was married by proxy in Turin to King Ferdinand V of Hungary, who would one day be crowned Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria. The couple met on 27th February 1831 in Vienna and were married in person, beginning a union that would last over four decades.
Ferdinand suffered from a variety of neurological problems that led his physician to pronounce that he would not be able to consummate the marriage and though the couple were to remain childless, they were happy together. It was not necessarily passion at first sight but as the years rolled on, the couple did indeed come to love one another deeply, swiftly discovering that they were an ideal match.
When Ferdinand succeeded to the throne as Emperor of Austria in 1835, he benefited greatly from the devoted support of his wife. With his epilepsy worsening, he took great strength from Maria Anna but their reign was not to last and, in 1848, ended in revolution. Following Ferdinand's subsequent abdication, the couple took up a peaceful residence together in Hradčany Palace, Prague, where they settled into a sheltered domestic life.
Here they remained for the rest of their days together and when Ferdinand died in 1875, his widow was bereft. She followed her husband less than a decade later and the couple now rest together in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna, united once more.