In continuation of our “Year of Maria Theresa” series, we take a look at the birth of (the second) Maria Carolina.
Born on 17 September 1748, Archduchess Maria Carolina of Austria was born to Maria Theresa, Holy Roman Empress and Francis of Lorraine. She was the second child of the couple to be named Maria Carolina. She had an older sister with the same name who only lived for one year (12 January 1740 – 25 January 1741). As a result, she was given the name in memory of her deceased older sister.
The second Maria Carolina was born as the tenth child of Maria Theresa and Francis at Schönbrunn Palace in Austria. Tragically, she died just minutes after her birth.
Maria Theresa was known to continue her royal duties throughout all of her pregnancies. However, she did admit that this particular pregnancy made continuing her duties more difficult than before; she said that it had weakened her and made her grow older.
A day before giving birth to Maria Carolina, Maria Theresa was in Hofburg Palace for a royal engagement; she returned to Schönbrunn Palace. She also visited family and watched an Italian opera before attending mass and holding meetings. That evening, she went into labour with her tenth child at the palace.
After Maria Carolina was born, the midwife saw that the little girl was born breech. The midwife also noticed that the newborn was especially weak and called for an emergency baptism. At the time, she was given the name Maria Carolina. The Empress was distraught with the thought that her child died before being baptised; Francis attempted to console his wife and convince her that their daughter was baptised before she passed.
On 18 September, her body was taken to Hofburg Palace in Vienna, and that night, she was buried in the Maria Theresa Vault inside of the Imperial Crypt.
She was predeceased by sisters Maria Elisabeth and Maria Carolina. She was survived by her parents and siblings: Maria Anna, Joseph, Maria Christina, Maria Elisabeth, Charles Joseph, Maria Amalia, and Leopold.