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Manage episode 152665111 series 1067293
The portraits in this room show the emperors from the end of the 18th century, starting with Maria Theresa‘s son Leopold II, who followed Joseph II on the throne. Beside him is his son Franz, the last Holy Roman Emperor. In 1806, under pressure from the military victories won by Napoleon, he dissolved the Holy Roman Empire and proclaimed the Empire of Austria. Thus Franz II became the first emperor of Austria as Franz I. Following the Habsburg tradition of pursuing alliances by marriage to acquire influence and territory rather than by waging war, he married his eldest daughter Marie Louise to Napoleon, and his second daughter Leopoldine to the emperor of Brazil. Her portrait is displayed here on the easel. The other portraits show Emperor Ferdinand and his wife Maria Anna. Ferdinand was the eldest son of Emperor Franz and was popularly known by the affectionate nickname of “Ferdinand the Kind-hearted”. He was epileptic and incapable of ruling. The real ruler of the Austrian monarchy during that period was State Chancellor Metternich, who was known as the “coachman of Europe” for the way he controlled European policy with his skilful diplomatic manoeuvrings.
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