Karoline Auguste of Bavaria

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Carolina Augusta, Empress of Austria, lithograph by Josef Kriehuber after a painting by Franz Schrotzberg
Princess Karoline Charlotte Auguste of Bavaria

Karoline Charlotte Auguste of Bavaria (born February 8, 1792 in Mannheim , † February 9, 1873 in Vienna ) was the daughter of King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria and his wife Auguste Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt and through their two marriages first Crown Princess of Württemberg and finally Empress of Austria .

First marriage

Princess Charlotte Auguste married Crown Prince Wilhelm of Württemberg on June 8, 1808, according to Protestant and Catholic rites, in the Green Gallery of the Munich Residence . For him, however, the marriage was only a protective marriage. He wanted to avoid having to enter into a political marriage with a woman by Napoleon's grace. During the entire ceremony, Wilhelm was ice cold and looked indifferent. Afterwards, the first thing he said to his wife in French was: We are victims of politics . For the wedding, the opera Adelasia ed Aleramo by the Bavarian composer Johann Simon Mayr took place in the Cuvilliés Theater . On leaving Munich, he refused to sit in his wife's carriage. In Stuttgart he went his own way and avoided being near his wife. The marriage was never consummated and Charlotte Auguste was housed in a wing of the royal Stuttgart Palace, which was as far away as possible from Wilhelm's apartments so that he did not meet her. The two only saw each other at table, where he spoke only the bare essentials with his wife, treated her ungalant and sometimes even hurtful. The young wife found consolation in her Chief Chamberlain, Baroness Camilla Andlau, and her confessor, Sebastian Franz Job, and also in the letters of her favorite brother Ludwig , whom she trusted completely. She passed her time brushing up on her Italian, learning English, going for walks, reading (preferably Goethe) and painting, which was one of her favorite pastimes. After Napoleon's disempowerment , this first marriage was divorced again in August 1814. The Protestant consistory set up by the King of Württemberg declared the marriage invalid on August 31, 1814. Karoline Auguste was generously compensated financially and moved in with an aunt who lived in Neuburg an der Donau , from whom she was lovingly welcomed. In order to be free and unbound for a possible new marriage, the Catholic Church had to cancel the connection, which happened after a lengthy procedure. Pope Pius VII released her from her marriage vows on January 12, 1816.

Second marriage

Carolina Augusta, Empress of Austria. photography

Her brother, Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, tried to arrange for Karoline Augustes to remarry behind her father's back. He talked about this with the widowed brother of Emperor Franz I of Austria , with Grand Duke Ferdinand III. Tuscany . The young woman knew about these plans and Emperor Franz was informed about them by his brother. Prince Metternich , however, had other plans and so the two brothers finally applied for the hand of the same woman, whereby the father of the adored was only informed of the emperor's interest, as Ludwig did not allow him to set the course for marriage. Now Karoline Auguste had to choose one of the two, but finally she decided in favor of Franz because of political considerations suggested to her by Metternich and Montgelas . Ferdinand had meanwhile withdrawn his application for her hand more or less voluntarily, which made her decision easier. On October 29, 1816, the ceremony took place by procurationem in the Munich court orchestra. The groom was represented by her brother Ludwig.

After her journey via Altötting to Braunau , where the handover took place, on via Ried, Enns and St. Pölten, she reached Schönbrunn on November 9, 1816, where she was welcomed by her husband and the entire family.

On November 10, 1816, in the parish church of the Imperial Court, she married Emperor Franz I of Austria , who had already been widowed three times and whose first wife was the aunt of her first husband Wilhelm von Württemberg, and thus became Empress. She changed the order of her first names to Karoline Auguste in order to deliberately differentiate herself from the time in Württemberg. There were no major festive events after the wedding, as before in Munich, since the emperor, as always, practiced thrift.

On September 25, 1825, she was crowned Queen of Hungary in St. Martin's Cathedral in Pressburg . On this occasion, the ruling house (deed of donation dated December 13, 1825) donated a pontoon bridge (ship bridge) to the city of Pressburg , which connected the city to the right bank of the Danube and was named "Karolinen Bridge".

Childless and playing no role in politics, she devoted herself to charitable activities. Through their efforts, several children's detention centers, hospitals and apartments for workers were built ( Carolinäum in Vienna V., Arbeitergasse).

Grave of Empress Karoline Auguste in the Capuchin Crypt

After the death of her husband (1835), she lived in Salzburg so as not to get in the way of her half-sister Sophie von Bayern , who had married Archduke Franz Karl in 1824 . According to the rules of the dynasty, Franz Karl would automatically have become emperor in the revolutionary year of 1848 after the resignation of Ferdinand I, but for reasons of state policy he renounced the advice of Sophie's in favor of their then 18-year-old son, Franz Joseph I , who is now the future of the dynasty should embody.

Initially, the two got along well, but later there were repeated friction. However, Karolina Augusta had a good relationship with Sophie's children, including Franz Joseph. She was one of the few members of the ore house with whom Empress Elisabeth got on friendly terms.

The very popular empress widow died one day after her 81st birthday. She was buried in the Capuchin crypt next to her husband and his first three wives.

The Pressburger Zeitung reported the following about her death in the "Daily News" section:

Empress Karoline Augusta † The fourth wife, formerly Emperor Franz I, Empress Karolina Augusta, is on the 9th of d. Different at noon in Vienna. Immediately after the occurrence of death, all imperial princes as well as the court officers and official personalities were notified of the death. The deceased was married on June 8, 1808, to Wilhelm Friedrich Karl, then crown prince, later King of Württemberg, but divorced from him in 1814, and to Emperor Franz I of Austria by procuration on October 29 and personally on November 10 Married in 1816. On September 25th [1825] the Empress Karolina Augusta was crowned Queen of Hungary. On March 2nd, 1835, Emperor Franz died, whose fourth wife was the immortalized. The special edition of the "W. Ztg." Published yesterday following the death of the Empress-widow Karolina Augusta. contains a regulation according to which court mourning has to last 3 months. The court theaters remained closed. Because of this bereavement, the soirèe with Count Andrássy was canceled yesterday . For the same reason, Malcolm Chaos' audience with Sr. Majesty, scheduled for today, did not take place.

Personality and appearance

Contemporaries described her as modest, distinguished, personable, clever and religious.
At the age of two, she developed the peeling leaves , which left ugly, disfiguring scars. The first time she met her first husband, she shared her concern about her unsightly appearance. Wilhelm said that this was of no concern to him, although the reality was then different.


In 1844 the Karolinengasse in Vienna- Wieden (4th district) was named after her. In Salzburg the Karolinenbrücke and the Karolinenhöhe on the Mönchsberg bear this name and before 2007 the Salzburg Museum Carolino Augusteum . In Rosenheim the Karolinen-Gymnasium is named after her, in Stuttgart the Charlottenplatz and the Charlottenstraße , which was laid out during her lifetime, in Heilbronn the Charlottenstraße was named after her in 1905 . In Prague , the Karlín (German: Karolinenthal ) district bears her name. The Charlottenzimmer in the Munich Residence are also named after her. One of the medicinal springs in Marienbad in West Bohemia is named after the empress. The spring has been called Karolinenquelle (Karolinin pramen) since 1819. In addition to her the plant genus is Augusta Pohl from the family of the redness plants named (Rubiaceae).


Christian III of Pfalz-Zweibrücken (1674–1735)
Friedrich Michael of Pfalz-Birkenfeld-Bischweiler (1724–1767)
Caroline of Nassau-Saarbrücken (1704–1774)
Maximilian I Joseph King of Bavaria (1756–1825)
Joseph Karl von Pfalz-Sulzbach (1694–1729)
Maria Franziska von Pfalz-Sulzbach (1724–1794)
Elisabeth Auguste Sofie of the Palatinate (1693–1728)
Karoline Auguste of Bavaria
Ludwig VIII Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt (1691–1768)
Georg Wilhelm of Hessen-Darmstadt (1722–1782)
Charlotte von Hanau-Lichtenberg (1700–1726)
Auguste Wilhelmine of Hessen-Darmstadt (1765–1796)
Christian von Leiningen-Dagsburg-Falkenburg (1695–1766)
Luise zu Leiningen-Dagsburg-Falkenburg (1729-1818)
Katharina Polyxena von Solms-Rödelheim (1702–1765)


Web links

Commons : Karoline Auguste  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Friedrich Weissensteiner : Women on the Habsburg throne - the Austrian empresses , Empress Karoline Auguste, pp. 74-77
  2. Friedrich Weissensteiner : Women on the Habsburg Throne - the Austrian Empresses , Empress Karoline Auguste, pp. 77-80
  3. ^ Anton Klipp: Pressburg. New views on an old city. Karpatendeutsches Kulturwerk, Karlsruhe 2010, ISBN 978-3-927020-15-3 , p. 59.
  4. The children's institution . In: Karl Hofbauer : The Rossau and the fishing village on the upper Werd . Second improved edition. Dirnböck, Vienna 1866, p. 105 f. - online .
  5. It is presumably the then Foreign Minister Count Gyula Andrássy.
  6. ^ Preßburger Zeitung of February 11, 1873, No. 34, p. 2
  7. Friedrich Weissensteiner : Women on the Habsburg Throne - the Austrian Empresses , Empress Karoline Auguste, p. 74
  8. Lotte Burkhardt: Directory of eponymous plant names - Extended Edition. Part I and II. Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin , Freie Universität Berlin , Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-946292-26-5 doi: 10.3372 / epolist2018 .


  1. The Karolinen Bridge was the only bridge in Pressburg until 1890. In view of the fact that the bridge had to be dismantled during floods and for the duration of the winter half-year, it was decided in 1889 to build a new permanent bridge over the Danube . That building was then named Franz-Joseph-Brücke , ceremoniously inaugurated by Emperor Franz Joseph I on December 30, 1890. (Quoted from Klipp: Preßburg…, p. 86).
predecessor Office Successor
Maria Ludovika of Austria-Este Empress of Austria
Maria Anna of Savoy