The Year of Maria Theresa: The Exhumation Order

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Maria Theresa was very much her father’s daughter and one of the things she inherited from him was her fascination concerning the exhumation of her distant ancestors. The remains of Elizabeth of Carinthia, Queen of the Romans, Leopold the Glorious, Duke of Austria and his wife, Catherine of Savoy, Henry the Friendly and his wife, Elizabeth of Virneburg, Agnes of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Elizabeth of Austria, Duchess of Lorraine and Jutta of Austria, Countess of of Öttingen were all buried at the Königsfelden Monastery. At the time of Maria Theresa’s reign, the monastery was being used as a barn and was perhaps not the most reverential atmosphere, especially for Leopold the Glorious.

Her father had ordered for the vault to be opened and its contents surveyed in 1739 and 31 years later on 10 September 1770, Maria Theresa made a special request to the cantonal authorities to allow all the remains to be removed. This was eventually permitted and they were taken for reburial in a splendid new mausoleum at St Blasien in the Black Forest. This was not the end of it because in 1807 the mausoleum no longer fell under Habsburg domain and Maria Theresa’s grandson ordered that the remains be removed to St Paul in Laventhal. The remains still rest there today, in front of the high altar. 1

Notes:

  1. Andrew Wheatcroft – The Habsburgs: Embodying Empire p. 224 – 225

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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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