Landgravine Josepha of Fürstenberg-Weitra – The unknown Princess of Liechtenstein

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Landgravine Josepha of Fürstenberg-Weitra was born on 21 June 1776 as the daughter of Joachim Egon, Landgrave of Fürstenberg-Weitra and Countess Sophia Maria of Oettingen-Wallerstein. Fürstenberg-Weitra was a cadet branch of the princely House of Fürstenberg, which became extinct in 1932.

At the age of 15 – on 12 April 1792 – Josepha married Prince Johann Joseph of Liechtenstein, the second surviving son of Franz Joseph I, Prince of Liechtenstein. She would spend the next 24 years in almost continual pregnancies, giving birth to 14 children in total.

  1. Princess Maria Leopoldine (1793 – 1808)
  2. Princess Karoline (1795 – died in infancy)
  3. Aloys II, Prince of Liechtenstein (1796–1858)
  4. Princess Sophie (1798 – 1869)
  5. Princess Maria Josepha (1800 – 1884)
  6. Prince Franz de Paula of Liechtenstein (1802–1887)
  7. Prince Karl Johann of Liechtenstein (1803–1871)
  8. Princess Klothilda (1804 – 1807)
  9. Princess Henriette (1806 – 1886)
  10. Prince Friedrich Adalbert (1807 – 1885)
  11. Prince Eduard Franz of Liechtenstein (1809–1864)
  12. Prince August Ludwig (1810 – 1824)
  13. Princess Ida Leopoldine (1811 – 1884)
  14. Prince Rudolf (1816 – 1848)

Her father-in-law died on 18 August 1781 and was succeeded by her brother-in-law Aloys I, Prince of Liechtenstein. He had married Karoline von Manderscheid-Blankenheim in 1783, but although she had two children with her lover, their marriage remained childless. Aloys died on 24 March 1805 and was thus succeeded by Josepha’s husband, who now became Johann I Joseph, Prince of Liechtenstein.

Liechtenstein became a sovereign member state of the Holy Roman Empire and was elevated to the dignity of a principality in 1719 by Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor. However, the subsequent Princes of Liechtenstein did not visit their new lands for almost 100 years. After the Holy Roman Empire came to an end in 1806, Liechtenstein’s Prince became a vassal of Napoleon Bonaparte as a member of the Confederation of the Rhine. However, this too came to an end in 1813. They then joined the German Confederation, which was presided over by the Emperor of Austria. It was Josepha’s son Aloys who became the first member of the family to set foot in the principality that he would later rule. He visited in 1818, and another visit did not happen until 1842. The family lived mostly in Vienna, where they had two palaces. The Stadtpalais Liechtenstein was in the centre of the city, and they lived there during the winter. The Gartenpalais was used during the summer.

Josepha was acquainted with Ludwig van Beethoven and was probably even a pupil of his. He dedicated to her the Sonata in E flat (op. 27 No. 1 “Quasi una fantasia”). Josepha was widowed on 20 April 1836, and she outlived her husband for 12 years. Josepha died in Vienna on 23 February 1848 at the age of 71. She was buried alongside her husband in the Liechtenstein family crypt in Wranau in the Czech Republic.

About Moniek Bloks 2592 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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