Thursday, May 11, 2017


Marie-Antoinette's second brother.
Leopold II, called “Poldy,” is often overlooked because his reign lasted only two years. Nevertheless, he had the most children of any of his siblings—sixteen, just like his parents—with the exception of Maria Carolina, who had eighteen. He stood in as proxy bridegroom at some of his sisters’ weddings. Although his demeanour is described as being cold and intellectual, he was by far the handsomest of his surviving brothers and quite the ladies’ man. His parents had intended for him to become a priest but as he approached manhood it became clear that he did not have a vocation. He eventually married Maria Luisa of Spain, the sweet pious mother of his sixteen children, the oldest of whom, Francis II, was to be the last Holy Roman Emperor. While Leopold displayed concern in his letters to Antoinette for her safety and that of her family, as the violence of the French Revolution escalated, he was not displeased to see the French monarchy destabilized. His son and heir would be much less concerned. It was only when the revolutionary government showed itself to be belligerent that Francis II realized that a Pandora’s Box had been opened and the Habsburg Empire was threatened. Leopold’s sudden and unexpected death in 1792 at age 45 stirred up rumours of poison. Antoinette felt his loss greatly.

Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars: Her Life, Her Times, Her Legacy- Elena Maria Vidal

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