Maria Beatrice d'Este, Duchess of Massa
Maria Beatrice d’Este (Italian: Maria Beatrice Ricciarda; 7 April 1750 – 14 November 1829) was heiress of Modena and Reggio as well as the sovereign of Massa and Carrara from 1790 until 1796 and from 1815 until her death in 1829.
|Maria Beatrice d'Este|
|Duchess of Massa|
Archduchess of Austria-Este
Portrait by Anton von Maron, 1772
|Born||7 April 1750|
Ducal Palace, Modena
|Died||14 November 1829 (aged 79)|
Ferdinand Karl, Archduke of Austria-Este (m. 1771)
|Maria Teresa, Queen of Sardinia|
Maria Leopoldina, Electress of Bavaria
Francis IV, Duke of Modena
Archduke Maximilian Joseph
Archduke Karl, Archbishop of Esztergom
Maria Ludovika, Empress of Austria
|Father||Ercole III, Duke of Modena|
|Mother||Maria Teresa, Duchess of Massa|
Her parents' marriage was unhappy and they lived separated from each other; they only produced two children: Maria Beatrice, born on 7 April 1750 and Rinaldo Francesco, born on 4 January 1753. The death of Rinaldo aged four months old (5 May 1753) led to Maria being acknowledged as an heiress. Her paternal ancestors included Louis XIII of France, the French regent Philippe d'Orléans, and Mary, Queen of Scots. Her maternal ancestors were members of the House of Cybo-Malaspina.
As heiress to four states (Modena, Reggio, Massa and Carrara), she was a very attractive wedding partner. Empress Maria Theresa sought to arrange a marriage between Maria Beatrice and Archduke Leopold (future Holy Roman Emperor) but this never materialised. Instead she married Leopold's brother, Archduke Ferdinand Karl of Austria, in a union through which the Austrians aimed to expand their influence in Italy.
The couple was engaged from 1754. As the children were so young, the marriage was not celebrated till 1771 when a ceremony in Milan on 15 October officially united them. Festivities arranged for this occasion included the operas Ascanio in Alba by Mozart and Il Ruggiero by Johann Adolph Hasse.
The couple moved between Modena and Milan, where they lived in the Royal palace. As the Duchy of Modena did not allow female succession, Maria Beatrice's rights to the throne of Modena and Reggio passed to her son when her father died. When her mother died in 1790, however, she succeeded her as Duchess of Massa and Carrara. After the French conquest of Northern Italy, she spent her life mostly in Austria and left the rule to administrators. By her marriage, the House of Austria-Este was created, a cadet branch of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, which ruled Modena between 1814 and 1859. After Maria Beatrice d'Este's death at Vienna in 1829, Massa and Carrara were added to the Duchy of Modena.
|Archduke Josef Franz
||Died in infancy|
|Archduchess Maria Theresa
Queen of Sardinia
|Married Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia and had issue|
|Died in infancy|
|Archduchess Maria Leopoldine
Electress of Bavaria
|Married first Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria no issue;|
married second Ludwig Count of Arco, had issue
Duke of Modena
|Married Maria Beatrice of Savoy and had issue|
|Archduke Ferdinand Karl Joseph
Commander-in-Chief of the Austrian army during the Napoleonic Wars
|Archduke Maximilian Joseph
Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights
|Archduchess Maria Antonia
|Died in infancy|
|Archduke Karl Ambrosius
Archbishop of Esztergom
|Archduchess Maria Ludovika
Empress of Austria
|Married her cousin Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor and had no issue|
|Ancestors of Maria Beatrice d'Este, Duchess of Massa|
- Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 87.