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Adelaide of Austria
La Regina Adelaide, Villa della Regina.jpg
Anonymous portrait of Queen Adelaide circa circa 1853
Queen of Sardinia
Tenure 23 March 1849 – 20 January 1855
Born (1822-06-03)3 June 1822
Royal Palace, Milan
Died 20 January 1855(1855-01-20) (aged 32)
Royal Palace, Turin
Burial Royal Basilica, Turin
Spouse Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia
Issue
among others...
Maria Clotilde, Princess Napoléon
Umberto I, King of Italy
Amadeo I, King of Spain
Prince Oddone, Duke of Montferrat
Maria Pia, Queen of Portugal
Carlo Alberto, Duke of Chablais
Prince Vittorio Emanuele, Count of Genevois
Full name
Adelheid Franziska Marie Rainera Elisabeth Clotilde
House House of Habsburg-Lorraine (by birth)
House of Savoy (by marriage)
Father Rainer Joseph of Austria
Mother Princess Elisabeth of Savoy
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature Adelaide of Austria's signature

Adelaide of Austria (Adelheid Franziska Marie Rainera Elisabeth Clotilde; 3 June 1822 – 20 January 1855) was the first wife of Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia, future King of Italy. She was the mother of eight children including the future Umberto I of Italy. She was the Queen of Sardinia from 1849 until 1855.

The present Italian pretender is her direct great great grandson.

Biography

Archduchess of Austria

She was born at the Royal Palace of Milan to Rainer Joseph of Austria and his wife Elisabeth of Savoy. Named Adelaide, or known as Adele in the family, she held the title of Archduchess of Austria. Her father was the Viceroy of Lombardy-Venetia and was a son of the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II and Maria Luisa of Spain. Her mother was a member of the House of Savoy and a daughter of the then Prince of Carignano, the head of the junior branch of the House of Savoy who ruled the Kingdom of Sardinia.

Duchess of Savoy

On 12 April 1842, at the Palazzina di caccia di Stupinigi, she married Victor Emmanuel of Savoy. The marriage was used to strengthen relations between the House of Savoy and that of the House of Habsburg but was viewed by many people of the time to increase Austrian power in Italy.

Victor Emmanuel was her first cousin and heir apparent to the King of Sardinia. He was styled the "Duke of Savoy" prior to succession. Adelaide thus took on the style of "Duchess of Savoy". She maintained her style of Imperial & Royal Highness till she became Queen.

Her husband's mother Maria Theresa of Austria had great influence over her son throughout his life. Her mother-in-law was also her first cousin, both she and Adelaide being grandchildren of Emperor Leopold II. Adelaide and her husband of thirteen years had eight children.

Adelaide was a quiet and religious woman and had had a strict upbringing, she was a loving wife and frequently would give to charity.

Queen of Sardinia

Drawing of the Family of Vittorio Emanuele II
Queen Adelaide with her husband and six older children, ca. 1854

In March 1849 her father-in-law King Charles Albert abdicated after the events of the Revolutions of 1848. Her husband succeeded as Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia.

During her time as queen consort she had three further children all of which died in infancy. On 8 January 1855 she gave birth to a son who was styled the "Count of Genevois".

Days later Queen Maria Theresa died on 12 January 1855. Adelaide went to the late queens funeral on 16 January and returning to the palace caught a cold. She died four days later at the Royal Palace of Turin having had an acute attack of Gastroenteritis.

She was buried at the Royal Basilica of Superga.

Maria Adelaide
Queen consort of Sardinia

In 1861 her husband would become the first post-unification King of Italy. Her husband wed again to Rosa Vercellana.

Titles and honors

  • 3 June 1822 – 12 April 1842 Her Imperial and Royal Highness Archduchess Adelaide of Austria
  • 12 April 1842 – 23 March 1849 Her Imperial and Royal Highness The Duchess of Savoy
  • 23 March 1849 – 20 January 1855 Her Majesty The Queen of Sardinia
  • Dame of the Order of the Starry Cross

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