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Princess Marie Auguste Anna of Thurn and Taxis (11 August 1706 – 1 February 1756) was a Regent of Württemberg. By birth she was a member of the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis and through her marriage to Karl Alexander, Duke of Württemberg, she became Duchess consort of Württemberg.
|Princess Marie Auguste of Thurn and Taxis
|Duchess of Württemberg
|Duchess consort of Württemberg
|31 October 1733 - 12 March 1737
|Co-regent of Württemberg
|12 March 1737 - 1740
|(1706-08-11)11 August 1706
Frankfurt am Main, Hesse
|1 February 1756(1756-02-01) (aged 49)
Göppingen, Duchy of Württemberg
(m. 1727; died 1737)
|Charles Eugene, Duke of Württemberg
Louis Eugene, Duke of Württemberg
Frederick II Eugene, Duke of Württemberg
Auguste, Princess of Thurn and Taxis
|Thurn and Taxis
|Anselm Franz, 2nd Prince of Thurn and Taxis
|Maria Ludovika Anna Franziska, Princess of Lobkowicz
Marie Auguste was born on 11 August 1706 as a daughter of Anselm Franz, 2nd Prince of Thurn and Taxis and his wife, Princess Maria Ludovika Anna Franziska of Lobkowicz (1683-1750). She grew up in the Austrian Netherlands and later moved to Frankfurt, where her family's wealth and economic interests were based. Her only brother was Alexander Ferdinand, 3rd Prince of Thurn and Taxis, whose son Karl Anselm would marry Marie Auguste's only daughter in 1753.
Marriage and children
Marie Auguste was chosen as a bride for Karl Alexander, Duke of Württemberg-Winnental (later Duke of Württemberg) because of her Roman Catholic religion. They were married on 1 May 1727 in Frankfurt am Main. Despite their Catholicism, the couple's children were all raised in the Lutheran faith. They had four surviving children:
- Charles Eugene, Duke of Württemberg (1728–1793), married Elisabeth Fredericka Sophie of Brandenburg-Bayreuth; no issue.
- Eugen Louis (1729)
- Louis Eugene, Duke of Württemberg (1731–1795), married Sophie Albertine of Beichlingen; had issue.
- Frederick II Eugene, Duke of Württemberg (1732–1797), married Friederike Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt; had issue.
- Alexander Eugen (1733–1734)
- Auguste Elisabeth (1734–1787), married Karl Anselm, 4th Prince of Thurn and Taxis; had issue.
Their ten-year marriage was turbulent, and they were generally felt to be each other's match in every way (as both were masters of intrigue and secret diplomacy). He often used a trusted servant to spy on his wife to ensure that she would not interfere in government or criticize the Duke's ministers. After a particularly serious dispute in 1736, her husband even had her promise in writing to stay out of government affairs.
Marie Auguste's husband died suddenly on 12 March 1737 on the eve of his departure on a military inspection tour. This meant that their nine-year-old son Karl Eugen succeeded as Duke of Württemberg. After experiencing initial trouble from the regency council in trying to hold power for her son, she was finally successful on 5 November 1737. She was granted a large allowance and was recognized as co-regent with control over her son's education.
From 1739 to the following year, she had an affair with a captain in the army. Rumors of a possible pregnancy became so widespread that the privy council began an investigation; the captain was discharged and she was forced to stay in Brussels for five months (beginning in April 1740). Her exile removed her from direct power, especially when crucial policy decisions and preparations for her son's education were being made. For instance, she was unable to prevent a disastrous alliance with Prussia that would leave Württemberg exposed at the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession.
By 1744, however, Marie Auguste had again achieved a position of considerable influence. She arranged military careers for her two eldest sons, allowing them to receive commissions in the Prussian army. In 1748, she encouraged her eldest son, the reigning Duke Karl Eugen, to enter into a marriage with the Hohenzollern Elisabeth Fredericka Sophie of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, a niece of Frederick the Great.
As a Catholic, she prepared her youngest son Frederick Eugen for a life in the Imperial Church. Her dreams for a life of religion for him fell apart, however, when in 1753 he became engaged to another niece of Frederick the Great, Friederike Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt; he also became one of Frederick's most important cavalry commanders.
Marie Auguste was often praised by contemporaries for her beauty. However, she was also often criticized for her lack of judgment and resolve. She also liked to openly demonstrate her rank as Duchess of Württemberg by spending lavishly, which set her at odds with her thrifty subjects. For instance, her wardrobe contained 228 dresses; the most expensive cost 500 florins, which was more than 30 times a servant's annual income.
Although often portrayed as an intellectual lightweight, she owned a large library that contained the latest novels, plays, and philosophy. She maintained a correspondence with Voltaire, and also was a friend of the philosopher Marquis d'Argens.
|Ancestors of Princess Marie Auguste of Thurn and Taxis
- Lundy, Darryl, The Peerage: Marie–Auguste Prinzessin von Thurn und Taxis . Retrieved 15 December 2009.
- Wilson, p. 240.
- Wilson, p. 242.
- Wilson, p. 243.
- Wilson, p. 244.
Media related to Maria Augusta of Thurn and Taxis at Wikimedia Commons
Princess Marie Auguste of Thurn and Taxis
Cadet branch of the House of TassisBorn: 11 August 1706 Died: 1 February 1756
| Duchess consort of Württemberg-Winnental
1 May 1727 – 12 March 1737
| Duchess consort of Württemberg-Stuttgart
31 October 1733 – 12 March 1737