Leopold (Lorraine)

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Leopold of Lorraine

Leopold Joseph von Lothringen (born September 11, 1679 in Innsbruck , † March 27, 1729 in Lunéville ) was Duke of Lorraine and Bar from 1690 to 1729 . His sympathies were with Austria and the emperor, from whose dynasty his mother came, but he married a niece of the French king Louis XIV .

His younger son Franz Stephan von Lothringen (1708–1765) married Maria Theresa of Austria , became Roman-German Emperor from 1745 and founded the House of Habsburg-Lothringen .


His parents were Charles V of Lorraine and Eleonore Maria Josepha , daughter of Emperor Ferdinand III. He grew up in Innsbruck with his mother, a woman of outstanding intelligence and great severity, while his father shone in the war against the Turks . When his father died in 1690, he formally became Duke of Lorraine and Bar under his mother's reign. At that time, these areas were still under French occupation.

He was brought to Vienna to receive a military upbringing by his uncle and godfather, Emperor Leopold I. He grew up with his two cousins ​​Joseph and Karl, both of whom were once the imperial crown, as Joseph I and Charles VI. , should wear. He was close to them all his life, personally, politically and religiously.

In 1694 he took part in the siege of Timisoara . During the Palatine War of Succession , he commanded troops on the Rhine in 1697. After the Peace of Rijswijk he received the duchies of Lorraine and Bar, Longwy and Saarlouis remained with France.

He arrived in his capital, Nancy , in 1698 and married a niece of the French king. Politically, he remained neutral. With regard to the organization of the state, he followed the example of France. Among other things, he promoted trade and commerce by founding manufactories.

Lunéville Castle in the 18th century
La Malgrange Castle in the 18th century

Despite its neutrality in the War of the Spanish Succession , Nancy was occupied by troops from Louis XIV in 1702 . Leopold had to retire to Lunéville . There he had the castle largely rebuilt. A new castle planned in Nancy was not realized. He had La Malgrange Castle built near the city, which became his preferred residence alongside Lunéville Castle. Nevertheless, he also tried to beautify and expand Nancy. He had a new cathedral built. He also built the opera and renewed the fortifications. He founded an academy for sculpture and painting.

In 1710 he claimed the Duchy of Mantua as an inheritance, but was unable to assert himself. In return he received the Duchy of Teschen in Silesia . With the beginning of the reign of Louis XV. his relations with France improved again.

After an initially very happy marriage, his wife Elisabeth Charlotte soon tended to become obese, which she had inherited from her mother Liselotte von der Pfalz , and her husband turned to his mistress Madame de Beauvau-Craon. The Duke pursued a single-minded marriage policy to one of his sons with a daughter of Charles VI. to get married. The upbringing at the Viennese court should contribute to this. In 1723 Franz Stephan von Lorraine was able to travel to Austria to be educated there. In 1736 he married Maria Theresa , the emperor's heir, and with her founded the ruling house of Habsburg-Lothringen .

In March 1729 the very popular duke fell into a ditch while hunting and died a few days later, mourned by his subjects, at the age of only 49. Elisabeth Charlotte had to take over the reign under difficult circumstances. In 1736 she was taken over by her cousin, King Louis XV. of France, appointed sovereign Princess of Commercy.


Elisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans

Leopold married on October 13, 1698 in Fontainebleau Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans (1676–1744), daughter of Philippe of France, Duke of Orléans and Elisabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate . Her thirteen children were:

  1. Léopold of Lorraine (born August 26, 1699 - † April 2, 1700)
  2. Elisabeth Charlotte of Lorraine (21 October 1700 - 4 May 1711)
  3. Louise Christine of Lorraine (November 13, 1701 - November 18, 1701)
  4. Marie Gabrièle Charlotte of Lorraine (December 30, 1702 - May 11, 1711)
  5. Louis of Lorraine (January 28, 1704 - May 10, 1711), Hereditary Prince of Lorraine
  6. Joséphine Gabrièle of Lorraine (February 16, 1705 - March 25, 1708)
  7. Gabrièle Louise of Lorraine (March 4, 1706 - June 13, 1710)
  8. Léopold Clément Charles of Lorraine (April 25, 1707 - June 4, 1723), Hereditary Prince of Lorraine
  9. Franz Stephan von Lothringen (December 8, 1708 - August 18, 1765), later Emperor ⚭ 1736 Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria , later Empress and Queen
  10. Éléonore of Lorraine (July 4, 1710 - July 28, 1710)
  11. Elisabeth Therese of Lorraine (October 15, 1711 - July 3, 1741): ⚭ 1737 King Karl Emanuel III. of Sardinia
  12. Karl Alexander Emanuel of Lorraine (12 December 1712 - 4 July 1780), from 1744 Governor and Captain General of the Austrian Netherlands ⚭ 1744 Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria
  13. Anna Charlotte von Lothringen (May 17, 1714 - November 7, 1773), abbess of Remiremont and Sainte-Waudru in Mons , coadjutor in the Essen monastery and the Thorn monastery (Limburg)
  14. stillborn daughter (* and † November 28, 1715)


Francis II of Lorraine (1572–1632)
Nicholas II of Lorraine (1609–1670)
Christine von Salm (1575–1627)
Charles V Leopold (1643–1690)
Henry II the Good (1563–1624)
Claudia of Lorraine (1612–1648)
Margarita Gonzaga (1591-1632)
Leopold (1679–1729)
Ferdinand II (1578-1637)
Ferdinand III. (1608–1657)
Maria Anna of Bavaria (1574-1616)
Eleonore Maria Josefa of Austria (1653-1697)
Carlo II Gonzaga (1609-1631)
Eleonora Gonzaga
Maria Gonzaga (1609-1660)

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Elisabeth Schrauth: Karlsruhe, Nancy: a German-French city partnership. Karlsruhe 2005, p. 33.


Web links

predecessor Office successor
Charles V Duke of Lorraine
Francis III Stephan