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Francis III Stephen, Emperor of Austria

Francis III Stephen, Emperor of Austria

Male 1708 - 1765  (56 years)

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  • Name Francis III Stephen, Emperor of Austria 
    Born 8 Dec 1708 
    Gender Male 
    Died 18 Aug 1765 
    Person ID I31792  Lucius
    Last Modified 24 Feb 2008 

    Father Leopold, Duke of Lorraine,   b. 11 Sep 1679, Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Mar 1729, Luneville, Meurthe-Et-Moselle, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 49 years) 
    Mother Elisabeth Charlotte, Princess Of Orleans,   b. 13 Sep 1676, St Cloud, Hauts-DE-Seine, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Dec 1744, Commercy, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 68 years) 
    Married 1698 
    Family ID F13488  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Maria Theresa, heiress of Austria, Queen of Bohemia & Hungary,   b. 8 Sep 1718, Brussels Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Dec 1744  (Age 26 years) 
    Married 1736 
    Family ID F13612  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Histories
    Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor.jpg
    Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor.jpg
    Francis III Stephen, Emperor of Austria - 2.jpg
    Francis III Stephen, Emperor of Austria - 2.jpg

  • Notes 
    • In 1737, Francis of Lorraine, abdicates from his duchy in order to succeed Emperor Charles VI of Austria.

      He was born in Nancy, Lorraine (now in France), the oldest surviving son of Leopold Joseph, duke of Lorraine, and his wife Elizabeth Charlotte, daughter of Philippe I, duc d'Orlâeans and Elizabeth Charlotte, Princess Palatine. He was connected with the Habsburgs through his grandmother Eleanore, daughter of Emperor Ferdinand III, and wife of Charles Leopold of Lorraine, his grandfather.

      Emperor Charles VI favored the family, who, besides being his cousins, had served the house of Austria with distinction. He had designed to marry his daughter Maria Theresa to Francis' older brother Clement. On Clement's death, Charles adopted the younger brother as his future son-in-law. Francis was brought up in Vienna with Maria Theresa on the understanding that they were to be married, and a real affection arose between them.

      At the age of 15, when he was brought to Vienna, he was established in the Silesian Duchy of Cieszyn, which had been mediatized and granted to his father by the emperor in 1722. He succeeded his father as Duke of Lorraine in 1729, but the emperor, at the end of the War of the Polish Succession, agreed to compensate the French candidate Stanislaus Leszczynski for the loss of his crown in 1735 and persuaded Francis to exchange Lorraine for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

      Marries and becomes Emperor

      Francis I On 12 February 1736 Francis and Maria Theresa were married, and they went for a short time to Florence, when he succeeded to the grand duchy on the death of Gian Gastone de' Medici, the last of the ruling house of Medici. His wife secured his election to the Empire on 13 September 1745, in succession to Charles VII, and she made him co-regent of her hereditary dominions.

      Francis was well content to leave the wielding of power to his able wife. He had a natural fund of good sense and some business capacity and was a useful assistant to Maria Theresa in the laborious task of governing the complicated Austrian dominions, but his functions appear to have been primarily secretarial. He also took a great interest in the natural sciences. He was a member of the Freemasons.[2]

      He died suddenly in his carriage while returning from the opera at Innsbruck on 18 August 1765. He is buried in tomb number 55 in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna.

      Maria Theresa and Francis I had sixteen children--their youngest daughter was the future queen consort of France, Marie Antoinette (1755-1793). He was officially succeeded by his eldest son Joseph II although the real power remained with his wife. Another son was the Emperor Leopold II. See Children of Francis Stephen and Maria Theresa for a full list.