Next Episode of Maria Theresia is
The 18th century is a time of absolute monarchies, political intrigue and diplomacy through marriage. Love is a word that is not used frequently and certainly not associated with everyday life, let alone a marriage.
At many European courts, life is at least joyful and enjoyable. At Vienna's Hofburg, however, it is cold, boring and uptight, dominated by Jesuit morals. A ruling Empress is not even imaginable. The beautiful blue-eyed blonde Maria Theresa is brought up for the usual fate of getting married for political reasons, being beautiful and giving birth to many children, perferably male ones.
Ever since she was six years old, she has had a crush on Francis Stephen, the duke of Lorraine, not much different from a modern girl's feelings for a rock star or a movie star.
Even according to today's standards Maria Theresa's and Francis Stephen's marriage is extremely modern: Maria Theresa was in charge of the affairs of state, while Francis Stephen spent much of his time with his children. Over the course of twenty years, Maria Theresa gave birth to sixteen children, thirteen of whom survived infancy.
After several diplomatic failures and military defeats, Austria seemed to be declining, or even on the verge of collapse. After her forty-year reign, Maria Theresa left a revitalised empire that influenced the rest of Europe throughout the 19th century. She gave the Habsburg dominions an efficient administrative system that allowed it to remain a great power in its own right.
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