Mary of Burgundy

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Michael Pacher : Maria of Burgundy with Hennin , around 1479, Heinz Kisters Kreuzlingen collection

Mary of Burgundy (French Marie de Bourgogne ; born February 13, 1457 in Brussels , † March 27, 1482 in Bruges ) was the only child and sole heir to Duke Charles the Bold . After the death of her father in January 1477 she became Duchess of Burgundy and had to exercise her inheritance rights against the claims of King Louis XI. defend from France. To strengthen her position, she married Maximilian I. Archduke of Austria on August 19, 1477 , who became iure uxoris Duke of Burgundy and thus acquired the claim to the Burgundian legacy of Charles the Bold . Maria died at the age of only 25 as a result of a riding accident. She was the grandmother of Emperors Charles V and Ferdinand I.


Childhood and youth

Mary of Burgundy was born on February 13, 1457 as the daughter of Charles the Bold , Count of Charolais and later Duke of Burgundy, and his second wife Isabelle , daughter of Duke Charles I de Bourbon , in the Palace of Coudenberg in Brussels. Charles the Bold's first wife, Catherine de Valois , died childless in 1446 at the age of only 18. Up until now, Maria was Karl's only child and thus sole heir to his extensive and rich domain, but he hoped to have another son.

At the time of Maria's birth, her father was away on a hunting trip. The four days later by the Prince-Bishop of Cambrai, John VI. from Burgundy , in the chapel of the Coudenberg palace conducted the baptism of Mary was designed as an extremely splendid ceremony. Representatives of European courts brought valuable gifts. However, neither Charles the Bold nor his father, the Burgundian Duke Philip the Good , took part in Mary's baptism and the festivities that went with it. Mary's godparents were her paternal grandmother, Isabel de Portugal , and the Dauphin Ludwig (later King Louis XI of France), who had sought refuge in the lands of Philip the Good because of a conflict with his father Charles VII .

At first, Maria and her parents lived relatively secluded at the fortress Quesnoy in southern Hainaut . She was separated from her parents at the age of six. Philip the Good, her grandfather, had sent his son to Holland as governor, where Karl went with his wife Isabelle. While Maria's parents lived in Gorkum , the child was taken to Ghent , the seat of the Counts of Flanders , for further education . This transfer of the little princess to Ghent happened at the demanding requests of the local citizens, who repeatedly revolted against the Burgundian rule. Maria spent most of her further childhood in Ten Walle , a fortress-like castle.

From childhood Maria had a large number of servants. Her entourage included a short woman named Madame de Beauregard. Her playmates included mainly offspring from aristocratic families. Maria's upbringing and schooling was directed by a Madame d'Haleweyn, who remained a lifelong servant to her.

Maria was instructed in all areas of knowledge important to her status as a princess. However, she was not prepared for her role as possible ruler, as her parents were still hoping for male offspring. Since she grew up bilingual, she had a perfect command of the two national languages Flemish and French , but always preferred the latter language. She also acquired elementary knowledge in Latin . She was also trained in religion and history. Music was her favorite subject and she learned to play the clavichord , but also acquired craft and sports skills. So she became a good and passionate rider and hunter . Even as a girl she often went on long rides and kept falcons. In winter she skated on the icy canals of Ghent. Because she spent so much time in the open air, she came into contact with the local population more intensively than other elegant young women and achieved a certain popularity through her friendly demeanor. She also had a great love for animals. Not only were dogs and cats part of her menagerie, but exotic animals such as parrots and monkeys were also sent to her.

Mary's mother died on September 25, 1465 (probably of pulmonary tuberculosis ); the girl had only met her mother briefly once in the two years of separation. When Philip the Good passed away on June 15, 1467, Charles the Bold took his place. When he took office in Ghent, a delegation of citizens there demanded that he reassign the prerogatives that had been withdrawn from the townspeople. Because of the danger that Maria could be taken hostage in the event of an outrage, Karl agreed. Otherwise, the new Duke of Burgundy was a warlike prince and sometimes spent months on campaigns. After Charles' third marriage, on July 3, 1468, to Margaret of York , sister of the English King Edward IV , a close friendship developed between Maria and her new stepmother, who was only eleven years older than her. Margarete treated her stepdaughter like a tender older sister and always served her as an energetic helper in problematic situations. There were no children from Margarete's marriage to Karl.

From then on, Maria accompanied her stepmother, from whom she learned the English language, on her travels through the Burgundian countries, with the two noble ladies visiting the great cities of his empire as representatives of the duke and for fulfilling the requests of the residents there promised to use. They were also supposed to appease those subjects who were dissatisfied with Charles's harsh governance. At the same time, Maria was able to come into closer contact with larger groups of the population and gain sympathy, while Margarete was able to collect money and troops for her husband if necessary without any problems. For religious reasons, Margaret and her stepdaughter also went on pilgrimages, visited shrines and dedicated themselves in particular to the cult of St. Colette . Because of the splendid reception she received in Mons in 1471 , Maria stayed in this town for a year without her stepmother.

Marriage projects

Niklas Reiser: Maria von Burgund, half figure in profile , around 1500, Ambras Castle , Innsbruck

When Charles the Bold's hope for a son waned, he conducted appropriate marriage negotiations with numerous nobles who applied for the hand of his heir daughter Maria. In 1462 he sought an alliance against Louis XI with the Aragonese King John II . to enter from France. Johann coveted Maria, who was only five years old, admittedly in vain, as the wife of his son Ferdinand .

In 1463, Pius II suggested that Maria and Maximilian von Habsburg , the son of Emperor Frederick III, be two years younger . , get married. The Pope wanted Charles the Bold to take part in a planned crusade against the Ottoman Empire and, in return, wanted to assert his influence on the Emperor so that he could give the Duke of Burgundy the title of king. To such a step would Friedrich III. in the case of the realization of the marriage project mentioned may have been ready. For Karl this suggestion was obviously too vague. In 1469, Archduke Sigmund of Tyrol visited Karl in the Prinsenhof in Bruges to bring up the project of a Burgundian-Habsburg marriage again. Again Karl did not accept.

In 1471 Duke Karl von Guyenne , the younger brother of Louis XI, applied for the hand of Mary. However, the French king tried to prevent his brother's marriage, which would have given him more power, by all means and even offered to betroth his only one-year-old son Charles (VIII) to the young Burgundian heiress instead . Charles von Guyenne soon became ill and passed away on May 24, 1472. Charles the Bold and Duke Franz II of Brittany accused Louis XI of having had his brother poisoned.

But soon a new suitor appeared in the person of Duke Nikolaus von Lothringen , who was the first to introduce himself personally to the then 15-year-old Burgundy Princess. The suitor lived with his potential bride for a month and had a good chance of actually becoming Maria's husband. Charles the Bold allowed Nicholas and Maria to exchange a promise of marriage in Mons on June 13, 1473, but the bridegroom suddenly died on July 27, 1473 at the age of only 25. It was suspected that he had been poisoned, and Louis XI was again standing. suspected of being the instigator of the alleged assassination attempt.

Charles the Bold now seriously set his sights on the plan to marry his daughter to the emperor's son Maximilian. He had a special envoy sent to Vienna , who had a perfect command of the German language, obtain satisfactory information about the Habsburg offspring and traveled - albeit without Maria - to a court day held in Trier at the end of September 1473 to meet with Emperor Friedrich III. and meet his son. Karl was accompanied by a large entourage, including a large band of horsemen, numerous court servants and a number of Burgundian nobles. To Friedrich III. to impress, he displayed, dressed in the most splendid fashion, his wealth in the form of his house treasure, which was carried in 400 wagons, which the by far not so wealthy emperor could not match. As part of the marriage negotiations, Karl demanded, among other things, his elevation to the rank of king. The hint from France that Louis XI. would perceive such a gesture as an unfriendly act, the negative attitude of the electors and the increasingly stringent demands of the Duke of Burgundy led to the failure of the talks. After two months of negotiations, Friedrich III. and Maximilian quietly left Trier on November 25, 1473, leaving Karl angry.

As a result, Karl supported the Archbishop of Cologne, Ruprecht von der Pfalz , in the Cologne collegiate feud and began the month-long siege of Neuss on July 29, 1474 . Meanwhile he was negotiating a marriage between his daughter Maria and Prince Frederick of Taranto , the second son of King Ferdinand I of Naples . But when Emperor Friedrich III. the city of Neuss finally came to the rescue in May 1475, Karl had to leave. The Duke of Burgundy met again personally with the Emperor, who now dictated the conditions for his son's possible marriage to Maria. When Friedrich III. did not protest against Karl's lightning campaign against Lorraine and the expulsion of the local Duke René II , Karl agreed to the marriage of his daughter to Maximilian for the first time on November 17, 1475, with a seal. In May 1476 he solemnly repeated the marriage agreement in Lausanne without making any conditions. Maria also accepted the emperor's son as her future husband. After Karl had set out to war against Duke René, who had re-conquered his country in league with the Swiss, after two lost battles against the Confederates, Karl asked his daughter Maria to marry Maximilian as soon as possible in the event of his death. In fact, he fell on January 5, 1477 at the Battle of Nancy .

Difficult accession to the government of Mary as Duchess of Burgundy

Bronze statue of Mary of Burgundy on the tomb of Emperor Maximilian I.

While Charles the Bold was still on military expeditions, the conclusion of the negotiations on Maria's marriage was celebrated in Ten Walle Castle in Ghent. Maria had been brought a portrait of Maximilian, which she is said to have enjoyed extremely. In a received letter of November 26, 1476, she thanked Maximilian for nice letters and sent him an expensive diamond that was enclosed with the letter. Charles Chancellor Guillaume Hugonet then informed Maria, who had mainly been back in Ghent after 1473, as gently as possible about the death of her father. The funeral service celebrated for this in Ghent caused little sympathy among the residents because of the extremely strict government style of the late Duke. The Book of Hours of Mary of Burgundy was apparently partly designed as a mourning book for her deceased father.

The duchess, barely 20 years old, bared all means of power, now faced the aggressive attitude of Louis XI. and the rebellious mood of the Dutch estates, under very difficult conditions, to take on the Burgundian legacy of their father, to which, in addition to the actual Duchy of Burgundy , the Burgundian Netherlands with the provinces of Flanders , Brabant , Luxembourg , Holland, etc. a. belonged.

On Péronne zumarschierend conquered Louis XI. the cities of Arras and Cambrai in the north of Charles's empire . At the same time, 6,000 soldiers in the south , commanded by Jean IV. De Chalon-Arlay , Prince of Orange, Georges de la Trémoille , Lord of Craon, and Charles d'Amboise , Governor of Champagne, marched into the actual Duchy of Burgundy. The king intended to withdraw this as a fiefdom of the French crown that had become free due to the lack of a male heir, although his right to it was by no means so clear. On January 9, 1477, the king doubly sent a letter to Dijon in which he expressed condolences for his godchild Maria. He played himself as Mary's alleged patron saint and, in this context, called for the young duchess to be engaged to his seven-year-old son and heir to the throne Charles (VIII). In January 1477 he was able to annex the Duchy of Burgundy with almost no resistance, whose estates recognized him as the alleged patron and soon-to-be father-in-law of Mary, provided that their prerogatives were retained. He also brought Picardy and a large part of the Artois into his power. The inhabitants of Franche-Comté resisted him.

Together with Margaret of York, who rendered her important services as a consultant, Maria addressed appeals to Edward IV of England, which for Louis XI. were not harmless. But as early as February 1477, the English monarch proposed an extension of the Treaty of Picquigny , but also consulted with the rulers of Brittany and Aragón about forming an alliance against the French king.

Emile Wauters , Mary of Burgundy grants the "Great Privilege" , 1878 ( Philadelphia Museum of Art )

In order to stand up to the French king, Maria had to rely on the help of the Dutch Estates General, with whom Charles the Bold had fought hard conflicts until the very end. The estates of Brabant, Flanders, Holland and Hainaut were called to Ghent on February 3, 1477. Although they recognized Mary as the rightful heir, they made counterclaims. When Maria opened the Estates General at her first official appearance and insisted on her ducal rights in her inaugural address, the estates and guilds, however, demanded the reinstatement of their privileges, which had been severely curtailed by the two previous Burgundian dukes. The young regent had to give in and make further concessions, such as agreeing to a significant reduction in military spending. On February 11, 1477, she was even forced to grant the “Great Privilege” for Flanders, in which she had to renounce many rights of rule. Among other things, it accepted the creation of a 24-member Grand Council composed of representatives of the estates, which was allowed to co-govern, and the right of the Estates-General to self-assemble and to have a say in declarations of war. In this way, the centralization efforts of the previous Burgundian dukes were eliminated for the time being.

On February 16, 1477 - as is traditional - Maria was honored as Countess of Flanders. During the parade through the city that was being held, she made a melancholy impression. In the church of St. Jean she took her oath, in which she promised, among other things, the respect for the freedoms of the country and the lifting of the burdens imposed on the residents since 1450. For Holland and Brabant, too, it had to grant similarly large concessions on oaths.

Olivier le Daim was in March 1477 by Louis XI. sent as ambassador to Ghent. He was supposed to attract the citizens of the city to the French side and meet privately with the Duchess to get her to marry the Dauphin. The Ghent people found it insulting that the king had sent an envoy of such low origin - le Daim was the son of a barber - to a meeting with Maria and threatened to throw le Daim into a river. So he had to leave without having achieved anything, but later succeeded in seizing the city of Tournai in favor of the French crown .

At the beginning of March 1477, Maria in turn sent an embassy led by Chancellor Hugonet, Guy de Brimeu , Lord of Humbercourt, and Guillaume de Clugny , coadjutor of Thérouanne, to the French king. According to Commynes , the marriage of the Burgundian Duchess with the Dauphin should be the main topic of discussions with Louis XI. have been. The reason for the delegation is also given that Mary tried to win the king over by making concessions such as the taking of the feudal oath for Burgundy, Artois and Flanders, or that Hugonet should have made sharp protests against the French occupation of Burgundy territory and tried to do so to put the demanded marriage of Mary with the Dauphin on the back burner. In any case, the diplomatic mission was unsuccessful and Hugonet had to agree, among other things, on behalf of his mistress, to surrender the fortress of Arras, which was then besieged by the king .

Out of their own power, the Flemish estates sent a delegation to Louis XI. To make Maria's situation more difficult, the King told the estates that her Duchess was negotiating with him behind her back and presented one to them, written by Maria and co-signed by Margarete von York, Adolf von Kleve , Herr zu Ravenstein, and Humbercourt and Hugonet ( but considered by some modern scholars to be forged), according to which he should only negotiate with these familiar councilors. The disgruntled delegates returned to Ghent and accused Mary's advisor of having Louis XI. to conspire against the Dutch. Anger rose and on March 19 Hugonet and Humbercourt were arrested. Maria had to give the order to set up a commission of inquiry made up of 28 gentlemen and 8 people from outside the city. The defendants were accused of abusing the blanket power of attorney once given to them by Charles the Bold, enriching themselves through unjustified debt collection, and passing Arras to Louis XI. to have passed. In the following trial she was sentenced to death for treason. Maria rushed to the Ghent town hall and demanded that she be allowed to pardon the two convicts, which is her right. Since she could not penetrate, she climbed the balcony and, in tears, turned directly to the citizens to show pity for their advisers. The crowd present was divided on this and there were screaming duels. At least Maria managed to review the verdict again, but this confirmed it. Then Hugonet and Humbercourt were beheaded on April 3, 1477. Commynes gives the dramatized and imprecise description that the two convicts were beheaded in front of her eyes at the time the Duchess intervened for them.

Margarete von York and Herr zu Ravenstein had to leave Ghent, Maria had to live under house arrest in Ten Walle Castle and had to accept a change of court staff and the control of their correspondence. Only the chambermaid Madame d'Haleweyn could continue her service with Maria.

Marriage to Maximilian

Maximilian I and his wife Maria of Burgundy. Illustration from the Weißkunig by Hans Burgkmair the Elder. Ä.

The plans for the marriage of Mary of Burgundy with the emperor's son Maximilian had temporarily faded into the background. In addition to the French king, who continued to campaign for the Dauphin for the hand of the Burgundy Duchess, other courtiers appeared, such as Duke Johann von Kleve for his son Johann and Adolf von Kleve for his son Philipp . The citizens of Ghent campaigned for a marriage between Mary and Adolf von Egmond , Duke of Geldern, who had been a prisoner of Charles the Bold as an adversary to Charles the Bold 1471-77 and was freed after his death and again proclaimed Duke of Geldern. Despite her distress, Maria wanted nothing to do with any of these advertisements and her last-named suitor, Adolf von Egmond, was killed off Tournai on June 27, 1477 anyway. Margaret of York suggested that Mary should extend her hand to Duke George von Clarence , a brother of King Edward IV, because English support would then be expected. But when Margarete found out that Edward IV favored a marriage between Mary and his brother-in-law Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers , she advised her stepdaughter to revive Charles the Bold's marriage project and choose Maximilian as her husband.

In fact, Maria continued to rely on her connection with Maximilian because behind him stood the power of the emperor and therefore he was most likely to be able to meet the claims of Louis XI. to be able to fend off their Burgundian heritage. She managed to smuggle a letter to her preferred groom past her guards. In this document, which has been preserved, the Duchess stated that she was anxious to keep her marriage to Maximilian and that he should come to her as soon as possible. A letter from Margaret of York supported this urgent request. Emperor Friedrich III. quickly sent a delegation composed of the Duke of Bavaria, prelates and high officials to Flanders, who had to carry out a marriage by procurationem . Surprisingly, this embassy in Bruges was received very courteously, because the attitude of the local population had changed in view of the incursion of Louis XI's troops. Radically changed in Luxembourg and Brabant and related looting. The Dutch hoped that a powerful man at Mary's side would secure the peace and security of their affairs, and the Estates General agreed to the marriage project. Maria herself affirmed at the request of the imperial head of delegation Dr. Hessler once more, according to her father's wishes, to want to marry the emperor's son. The wedding by procurationem took place in Bruges on April 21, 1477, with the Duke of Bavaria acting as Maximilian's deputy, and was repeated the following day in Ghent so that no jealousy against Bruges arose.

Friedrich III. struggled to find enough funds for a somewhat glamorous procession of his son to Ghent. Maximilian finally set out on May 21, 1477 and was partly supported with his expenses by cities lying on his way, but was nevertheless insolvent after his arrival in Cologne on July 3 . A French delegation who had traveled to this episcopal city brought the message that Mary had been killed without the consent of Louis XI. not allowed to marry; after all, it comes from the royal French nobility and Burgundy is a French crown fiefdom. Maximilian did not even receive the ambassadors. After a four-week rest in Cologne, after Margarete von York had sent him 100,000 thalers, he was no longer worried about money. So he was able to continue his journey, now accompanied by the Archbishop and Elector of Trier, Johann II of Baden , and the Margrave Christoph I of Baden . On August 11th, he and his entourage, who had dressed in mourning clothes as a token of mourning for the last Duke of Burgundy, entered Brussels . On August 18, 1477 he finally arrived in Ghent and was greeted as a savior from French annexation efforts.

The first meeting between the Duchess of Burgundy and the Emperor's son, who had never met before, took place in the Castle of Ghent. Maria did not understand German, while Maximilian had insufficient knowledge of French. Initially, the bride and groom communicated in the Latin language they had somewhat mastered. While Maria never learned German, Maximilian was soon able to acquire sufficient knowledge of French and Flemish.

On the day Maximilian arrived in Ghent, the young couple signed the marriage contract, according to which both partners should rule on an equal basis. One of the clauses stated that only possible common children are entitled to inheritance. The Pope had given his dispensation for marriage, which was necessary because of the distant consanguinity of the bride and groom. The wedding of Mary and her bridegroom, celebrated by Ferry de Clugny , Bishop of Tournai, took place in the castle chapel on the morning of the following day, August 19, 1477. The brown-haired bride wore a gold-embroidered white satin dress, an ermine cape hung around her shoulders and her crown for this solemn occasion. Maximilian appeared in silver armor. After the ceremony, he gave his wife 13 gold pieces to show his willingness to care for her. Wedding celebrations followed with an exquisite banquet. In his autobiographical novel Weißkunig Maximilian mentions that he and his wife enjoyed celebrations and tournaments over the next few days. He described Mary as a beautiful, pious, and virtuous woman. A story about his advertising and bridal trip is contained in Theuerdank , a verse epic published by him in 1517.

Married life; Fight against France

Even before the wedding, Maria had an expensive, silver and gold embroidered velvet skirt brought to her groom. In the next time she made sure that he was dressed in splendid robes; apparently he hadn't had an adequate wardrobe commensurate with his status. Of course, it was officially said that Maria wanted her husband to wear Burgundian costume.

Seven days after the marriage, Maximilian was enthroned as co-regent of his wife. The city council of Ghent swore their oath on the emperor's son. In return, the Ghent people were reassured of the freedoms that Maria had had to grant them. To commemorate this event, a gold commemorative coin was issued, on which both Maria and her husband were depicted. The Estates General also received confirmation of the prerogatives granted to them.

Maximilian hurried to visit Lille , Douai , Orchies and other border towns threatened by a French invasion with his wife . Louis XI. granted a ten-day armistice that could be extended upon request. Indeed, the young Burgundian duke couple could now enjoy a few months of relative peace before the Burgundian War of Succession began again in 1478.

In a letter Maximilian mentions the numerous dogs and falcons that Maria, a hunt enthusiast, kept - also in the rooms of her castle; a white greyhound even stayed in her bedroom. Partly to prevent hygienic problems resulting from this animal husbandry, partly to show presence throughout the national territory, the duke couple resided in various larger cities such as Ghent, Bruges, Brussels, Lille and Mechelen .

At that time, Maria and Maximilian, whose marriage was very happy despite their being for purely political reasons, enjoyed themselves with hunts, balls, tournaments and feasts. Maria tried to teach her husband ice skating, in which discipline Maximilian was unable to master. In addition, the couple indulged in the game of chess, gave musical performances, ensured the preservation of the court orchestra and read knight novels and classical literature together. It also had good relations with painters of the Dutch school such as Hans Memling , who perhaps on his painting "The Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine with the Child Jesus " (New York, MET, Inv.Nr. 40.14.634), Mary's facial features in the figure of St. Catherine of Alexandria captured on the left in the picture, which, however, cannot be proven with certainty.

One of the most important dance treatises on the Basse danse , the manuscript des basses danses de Marguerite d'Autriche , is sometimes considered to be dedicated to Mary of Burgundy. In fact, it was made for her daughter Margarete by one of her illegitimate half-sisters, Anne de Bourgogne , and given to her as a gift.

Anton Petter : The Entry of Emperor Maximilian I into Ghent , 1822, Belvedere , Vienna - The painting shows Mary of Burgundy meeting her husband with Philip, who was born during his absence.

In April 1478 Maximilian was appointed Grand Master of the Order of the Golden Fleece . When new hostilities broke out with France in the same month, Maximilian took over the leadership of the defensive battle against Louis XI, which was undecided in the next few years. Since the Estates General provided little money and there was no support from the Holy Roman Empire, Maria had to sell family silver to recruit troops. In July 1478 Maximilian reached the conclusion of a one-year armistice. On July 22nd (according to other information June 22nd) of the same year, the Burgundian Duchess gave birth to a son, Philip the Fair , in the Prinsenhof in Bruges . Maximilian did not return to his family until shortly after his baptism.

To defend their empire against the still smoldering French threat, Maria and her husband tried to set up a standing army . On March 19, 1479, the Estates General, assembled in Antwerp , granted them the financial means to raise 27,400 Flemish and Brabant militiamen and 825 spear-bearing cavalrymen. In August 1479, Maximilian defeated the French forces led by Philippe de Crèvecœur in the Battle of Guinegate . At that time, the Dutch armed forces were dismissed as the funds made available to pay them ran out. When Louis XI. not long after Luxembourg attacked, the Estates General refused to provide financial support for Maximilian, and according to a resolution at the Nuremberg Reichstag (October 1479), the Holy Roman Empire was also unwilling to provide any help, so that Maria sold her collection of paintings to cover the army costs would have.

The following winter there was no fighting, and Maximilian was present in Brussels when his wife gave birth to their daughter Margarete on January 10, 1480. In August 1480, Mary's husband and Louis XI agreed. a ceasefire as a preliminary stage to peace talks. Again in Maximilian's absence, a third child of Mary was born in Brussels on September 2, 1481 , who was named Franz after his godfather, the Duke of Brittany ; it died just four months later.


Mary of Burgundy on the hunt, pursued by death
Sarcophagus of Mary of Burgundy

At the end of 1481 and beginning of 1482, Mary of Burgundy and her husband traveled to Hainaut and then went to Valenciennes . The garrisons of Saint-Quentin and Guise , which cities Louis XI. had seized, invaded Cambrésis, which was not far from the residence of the duke couple, burned Le Cateau-Cambrésis and withdrew again. Maximilian and Maria left the devastated war zone and moved with their court to Bruges; they had left their children in the care of the Ghentians.

After Maria had cheered on her husband on February 10, 1482 at a big lance piercing that he organized, she fell from her horse, which had tripped over a tree trunk , on the following March 6th during a stray hunt , although she was an experienced rider and sank into unconsciousness. When she came to she said to her husband that not much had happened to her; apparently she wasn't in any major pain yet. However, when she was brought to the Prinsenhof in Bruges, the Duchess, who was possibly at the beginning of a new pregnancy, soon developed abdominal pain and a severe fever. She asked the knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece to be knightly loyalty to her husband. In her will she designated her children as universal heirs, and Maximilian was to rule for him as long as her son Philipp was underage. In the presence of her husband, her children and the knights of the order, she died on March 27, 1482 at the age of only 25 from the consequences of the riding accident. Maria was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time, and Maximilian is said not to have got over her death properly.

After the public laying out of Mary's body, her burial took place on April 3, 1482 in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges . In 1502 her coffin was moved to a new location below a magnificent monument created by Pierre de Beckere. In the wake of the unrest after the French Revolution , her bones were reburied; In 1806, her remains and those of her father were transferred to a simple grave in the Lanchals Chapel.

With Maria's death, her inheritance fell to the House of Habsburg , which would lead to serious conflicts with France that lasted two centuries. Her successor in the Netherlands was her son Philip the Beautiful.

After the death of Maximilian I , his heart was also buried in the sarcophagus of Mary, which stands in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges . A statue of Mary is one of the 28 bronze figures that stand on the tomb of Emperor Maximilian I in the Innsbruck Court Church .


On August 19, 1477, Mary of Burgundy married the future Emperor Maximilian I. The marriage had three children:

  1. ⚭ 1497 John of Aragon and Castile (1478–1497), Prince of Asturias;
  2. ⚭ 1501 Philibert II (1480–1504), Duke of Savoy
  • Franz (September 2, 1481 - December 26, 1481)


Johann without fear (1371-1419)
Philip III (Burgundy) (1396–1467)
Margaret of Bavaria (1363–1423)
Charles the Bold (1433–1477)
John I (Portugal) (1357–1433)
Isabel de Portugal (1397-1471)
Philippa of Lancaster (1360-1415)
Mary of Burgundy (1457–1482)
Jean I. de Bourbon (1381-1434)
Charles I. de Bourbon (1401-1456)
Maria (Auvergne) (1367–1434)
Isabelle de Bourbon (1437-1465)
Johann without fear (1371-1419)
Agnes of Burgundy (1407–1476)
Margaret of Bavaria (1363–1423)


Web links

Commons : Mary of Burgundy  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Mary of Burgundy  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Thea Leitner : Habsburgs Golden Brides. Piper, 2nd edition Munich, May 2003, ISBN 3-492-23525-5 , pp. 9-20; Nancy L. Locklin, Women in World History , Vol. 10, pp. 531-534.
  2. ^ After Petra Ehms-Schnock: The day of Trier 1473 and the borders of the empire. Friedrich III., Charles the Bold and the Electors . In: Sonja Dünnebeil - Christine Ottner (Hrsg.): Foreign policy action in the late Middle Ages . Actors and goals (= research on the history of the emperors and popes in the Middle Ages. Supplements to JF Böhmer, Regesta Imperii; 27). Cologne / Weimar / Vienna: Böhlau 2007, pp. 143–159, Charles the Bold is likely not only to have irritated the emperor, but above all the electoral and imperial princes.
  3. After Sonja Dünnebeil: Commercial object heir daughter - On the negotiations about the marriage of Mary of Burgundy . In: Sonja Dünnebeil - Christine Ottner (Hrsg.): Foreign policy action in the late Middle Ages . Actors and goals (= research on the history of the emperors and popes in the Middle Ages. Supplements to JF Böhmer, Regesta Imperii; 27). Cologne / Weimar / Vienna: Böhlau 2007, pp. 159-184, these negotiations were continued through the emperor's diplomats, who no longer met the duke personally after Trier.
  4. Thea Leitner, Habsburgs Goldene Bräute , pp. 20–30.
  5. Thea Leitner, Habsburgs Goldene Bräute , pp. 30f.
  6. Thea Leitner, Habsburgs Goldene Bräute , p. 31f.
  7. ^ Joseph Calmette , The Great Dukes of Burgundy , original edition Paris 1949, German Diederichs, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-424-01312-9 , p. 345f.
  8. Joachim Ehlers , History of France in the Middle Ages , Darmstadt 2009, ISBN 978-3-89678-668-5 , p. 373.
  9. ^ Michael Erbe , Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-17-010976-6 , p. 77; Thea Leitner, Habsburgs Goldene Bräute , p. 33.
  10. Thea Leitner, Habsburgs Goldene Bräute , pp. 33f.
  11. ^ Nancy L. Locklin, Women in World History , Vol. 10, p. 535.
  12. Émile de Borchgrave, Biographie nationale de Belgique , Vol. 13, Col. 687.
  13. ^ Marie, duchesse de Bourgogne , in: Nouvelle biographie générale , vol. 33 (1860), col. 725.
  14. a b Thea Leitner, Habsburgs Goldene Bräute , p. 32f.
  15. Thea Leitner, Habsburgs Goldene Bräute , p. 34f .; Émile de Borchgrave, Biographie nationale de Belgique , Vol. 13, Col. 687f .; Marie, duchesse de Bourgogne , in: Nouvelle biographie générale , vol. 33, col. 725f.
  16. Thea Leitner, Habsburgs Goldene Bräute , p. 35.
  17. Thea Leitner, Habsburgs Goldene Bräute , pp. 35–44; Émile de Borchgrave, Biographie nationale de Belgique , Vol. 13, Col. 689f.
  18. Thea Leitner, Habsburgs Goldene Bräute , pp. 44–51; Émile de Borchgrave, Biographie nationale de Belgique , Vol. 13, Col. 690ff.
  19. Miniature "The three living and dead" from the: "Berlin Book of Hours of Maria of Burgundy and Maximilians." 1480-82, Kupferstichkabinett Berlin , Hs. 78 B 12, fol. 220v; Description of the miniature in the graphics portal of the Kupferstichkabinett Berlin , accessed on February 3, 2020; See also: Article on the “Berlin Book of Hours of Maria of Burgundy and Emperor Maximilians”. (PDF) In: Journal für Kunstgeschichte 3 , 1999, Issue 4. Ed .: HEIJOURNALS - Heidelberger OJS-Journals , p. 364, accessed on January 23, 2020 and WP article Die three Lebenden und die drei Toten .
  20. Thea Leitner, Habsburgs Goldene Bräute , p. 51ff .; Émile de Borchgrave, Biographie nationale de Belgique , Vol. 13, Col. 692f .; Nancy L. Locklin, Women in World History , Vol. 10, pp. 536f.
  21. Richard Reifenscheid: The Habsburgs - From Rudolf I to Karl I Vienna 1994, p. 95.
predecessor Office successor
Charles the Bold Duchess of Burgundy
French crown domain
Charles the Bold Duchess of Luxembourg
Wilhelm II of Saxony
Charles the Bold Duchess of Brabant
Duchess of Limburg
Margravine of Antwerp
Philip I.
Charles the Bold Countess of Charolais
Philip I.
Charles the Bold Countess of Flanders,
Countess of Artois,
Countess Palatine of Burgundy
Philip I.
Charles the Bold Countess of Holland
Countess of Zealand
Countess of Hainaut
Countess in Friesland
Philip I.
Adolf von Egmond Duchess of Geldern,
Countess of Zutphen
Philip I.