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Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este
Electress of Bavaria

Archduchess Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este (1776-1848), Electress of Bavaria (wife of Prince Elector Carl Theodor of Bavaria).
Archduchess Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este (1776-1848), Electress of Bavaria (wife of Prince Elector Carl Theodor of Bavaria).
Born 10 December 1776(1776-12-10)
Milan, Duchy of Milan
Died 23 June 1848 (aged 71)
Spouse Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria
Count Ludwig Arco
Issue Count Aloys Nikolaus
Count Maximilian Joseph
Countess Caroline
House House of Austria-Este
House of Wittelsbach
Father Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este
Mother Maria Beatrice Ricciarda d'Este

Archduchess Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este (December 10, 1776 – June 23, 1848) was the second wife of Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria.


Early lifeEdit

Maria Leopoldine was born in Milan, the second eldest daughter of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este and of his wife, Princess Maria Beatrice Ricciarda d'Este.

Marriages and issueEdit

In August 1795, Maria Leopoldine was forced to marry Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria, who was 52 years older. The marriage was arranged with the hope that it would result in a son and heir for the senior line of the House of Wittelsbach, but Maria Leopoldine rejected sexual contact with her husband. Instead, she started to take lovers, among them Maximilian of Palatinate-Zweibrücken and Maximilian von Montgelas. She was described as terrorizing her spouse in front of the Bavarian court. She chose herself to make an alliance with the House of Palatinate-Zweibrücken in opposition to the alliance her husband had forged with her own Habsburg family. When her spouse was dying in 1799, she helped his heir Maximilian of Palatinate-Zweibrücken arrange for his succession and retired to Berg Castle at Lake Starnberg, where she was soon became known for a libertine lifestyle with permissive parties. She became pregnant and was exiled to Laibach for some time. Later she became very wealthy through the management of her Bavarian manor in Stepperg.

File:Maria Leopoldine of Austria Este with sons.jpeg

On 14 November 1804 in Munich, Maria Leopoldine married Count Ludwig Arco. They had three children:

  • Count Aloys Nikolaus Ambros von Arco (December 6, 1808 – September 10, 1891)
  • Count Maximilian Joseph Bernhard von Arco-Zinneberg (December 13, 1811 – November 13, 1885)
  • Countess Caroline von Arco (December 26, 1814 – January 18, 1815)

In 1848, Maria Leopoldine was traveling by carriage from Munich to Vienna. Her carriage overturned near Wasserburg am Inn and she was killed. She left a fortune of 15 million florins to her two sons.[1]

Honours Edit

Template:Country data Electorate of Bavaria : Sovereign of the Order of Saint Elizabeth (feminine order)



  1. The Gentleman's Magazine (1848): 334.


  • Krauss-Meyl, Sylvia. Das "Enfant terrible" des Königshauses: Maria Leopoldine, Bayerns letzte Kurfürstin (1776-1848). Regensburg: Pustet, 1997. ISBN 3-7917-1558-5.

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