Author: Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger
Maria Theresa (1717–1780) was once the most powerful woman in Europe.
At the age of 23, she ascended to the throne of the Habsburg Empire, a far-flung realm composed of diverse ethnicities and languages, beset on all sides by enemies and rivals.
Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger provides the definitive biography of Maria Theresa, situating this exceptional empress within her time while dispelling the myths surrounding her.
Drawing on a wealth of archival evidence, Stollberg-Rilinger examines all facets of 18th-century society, from piety and patronage to sexuality and childcare, ceremonial life at court, diplomacy, and the everyday indignities of warfare.
She challenges the idealized image of Maria Theresa as an enlightened reformer and mother of her lands who embodied both feminine beauty and virile bellicosity, showing how she despised the ideas of the Enlightenment.