Adelaide of Austria

Adelaide of Austria (Adelheid Franziska Marie Rainera Elisabeth Clotilde;[1] 3 June 1822 20 January 1855) was the Queen of Sardinia by marriage to Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia, future King of Italy, from 1849 until 1855 when she died as a result of childbirth.[1] She was the mother of Umberto I of Italy.

Adelaide of Austria
Queen consort of Sardinia
Tenure23 March 1849 20 January 1855
Born(1822-06-03)3 June 1822
Royal Palace of Milan, Milan
Died20 January 1855(1855-01-20) (aged 32)
Royal Palace of Turin, Turin
SpouseVictor Emmanuel II of Sardinia
among others...
Maria Clotilde, Princess Napoléon
Umberto I, King of Italy
Amadeo I, King of Spain
Oddone, Duke of Montferrat
Maria Pia, Queen of Portugal
Full name
Adelheid Franziska Marie Rainera Elisabeth Clotilde
FatherArchduke Rainer of Austria
MotherPrincess Elisabeth of Savoy
ReligionRoman Catholicism


Archduchess of Austria

She was born at the Royal Palace of Milan to Archduke Rainer of Austria and his wife Princess Elisabeth of Savoy.[2] Named Adelaide, or known as Adele in the family, she held the title of Archduchess of Austria. Her father was the Viceroy of Lombardy-Venetia and was a son of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria Louisa of Spain.[2] Her mother was a member of the House of Savoy and a daughter of the Prince of Carignano, the head of the junior branch of the House of Savoy who ruled the Kingdom of Sardinia. Her younger brother Archduke Rainer Ferdinand later acted as Minister President of Austria. Both of her brothers contracted morganatic marriages.

Duchess of Savoy

On 12 April 1842, at the Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi, she married Victor Emmanuel of Savoy.[1] The marriage was used to cement relations between the House of Savoy and that of the House of Habsburg but was viewed by many people of the time to increase Austrian power in Italy.[3]

Victor Emmanuel was her first cousin and heir apparent to the King of Sardinia. He was styled the "Duke of Savoy" prior to succession. Adelaide thus took on the style of "Duchess of Savoy". She maintained her style of Imperial and Royal Highness till she became Queen.

Her husband's mother Maria Theresa of Austria retained great influence over her son throughout his life.[1] Her mother-in-law was also her first cousin, both she and Adelaide being grandchildren of Emperor Leopold II. Adelaide and her husband of thirteen years had eight children. Four of these went on to have further progeny. Her husband had various extramarital affairs throughout the marriage.[4] Adelaide was a quiet and pious woman and had had a strict upbringing. She was a loving wife and frequently would give to charity.[5]

Queen of Sardinia

In March 1849 her father-in-law King Charles Albert abdicated after the events of the Revolutions of 1848. Her husband succeeded as Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia. During her tenure as queen consort she had three further children all of which died in infancy. On 8 January 1855 she gave birth to a son who was styled the Count of Genevois. Days later Queen Maria Theresa died on 12 January 1855. Adelaide went to the late queen's funeral on 16 January and on returning to the palace caught a cold. She died four days later at the Royal Palace of Turin having had an acute attack of Gastroenteritis. Another story says that Adelaide died of her burns after stepping on a match that set fire to her clothes. She was buried at the Royal Basilica of Superga. In 1861 her husband would become the first post-unification King of Italy. Her husband wed again to Rosa Vercellana in a morganatic marriage.[6] The present Italian pretender is her direct great-great-grandson.



Titles, styles, and honours

Titles and styles

  • 3 June 1822 12 April 1842 Her Imperial and Royal Highness Archduchess Adelaide of Austria
  • 12 April 1842 23 March 1849 Her Imperial and Royal Highness The Duchess of Savoy
  • 23 March 1849 20 January 1855 Her Majesty The Queen of Sardinia



  1. van de Pas, Leo. "Adelaide of Austria". Genealogics .org. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
  2. Urban. Sylvanius: The Gentleman's Magazine, 1855, p 303
  3. Georgina Sarah. Godkin:Life of Victor Emmanuel II, First king of Italy, Volume I, 1879, p 44
  4. Forester. C.S: Victor Emmanuel II: And the Union of Italy, Simon Publications LLC, 2001, p 216
  5. The eclectic magazine of foreign literature Volume 2; Volume 35, p 556
  6. Forester. C.S: Victor Emmanuel II: And the Union of Italy, Simon Publications LLC, 2001, p 210

Media related to Adelaide of Austria at Wikimedia Commons

Adelaide of Austria
Cadet branch of the House of Lorraine
Born: 3 June 1822 Died: 20 January 1855
Italian royalty
Preceded by
Maria Theresa of Austria
Queen consort of Sardinia
23 March 1849 – 20 January 1855
Kingdom of Italy established
Kingdom of Sardinia dissolved
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