Adelaide of Austria

Archduchess of Austria, queen consort of Sardinia

Adelaide of Austria (Adelheid Franziska Marie Rainera Elisabeth Clotilde;[1] 3 June 1822 – 20 January 1855) was the first wife of Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia, future King of Italy. She was the mother of eight children including the future Umberto I of Italy. She was the Queen of Sardinia from 1849 until 1855 when she died as a result of childbirth.[1] The present Italian pretender is her direct great great grandson.

Adelaide of Austria
Anonymous portrait of Queen Adelaide circa circa 1853
Queen of Sardinia
Tenure23 March 1849 – 20 January 1855
Born(1822-06-03)3 June 1822
Royal Palace, Milan
Died20 January 1855(1855-01-20) (aged 32)
Royal Palace, Turin
SpouseVictor Emmanuel II of Sardinia
among others...
Maria Clotilde, Princess Napoléon
Umberto I, King of Italy
Amadeo I, King of Spain
Prince Oddone, Duke of Montferrat
Maria Pia, Queen of Portugal
Carlo Alberto, Duke of Chablais
Prince Vittorio Emanuele, Count of Genevois
Full name
Adelheid Franziska Marie Rainera Elisabeth Clotilde
HouseHouse of Habsburg-Lorraine (by birth)
House of Savoy (by marriage)
FatherRainer Joseph of Austria
MotherPrincess Elisabeth of Savoy
ReligionRoman Catholicism
SignatureAdelaide of Austria's signature



Archduchess of Austria


She was born at the Royal Palace of Milan to Rainer Joseph of Austria and his wife 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 the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II and Maria Luisa of Spain.[2] Her mother was a member of the House of Savoy and a daughter of the then Prince of Carignano, the head of the junior branch of the House of Savoy who ruled the Kingdom of Sardinia.

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 strengthen 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 & 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 religious woman and had had a strict upbringing. 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 queens funeral on 16 January and 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]

Queen Adelaide with her husband and six older children, ca. 1854
  1. Princess Maria Clotilde of Savoy (2 March 1843 – 25 June 1911) married Prince Napoléon Joseph Bonaparte, "Prince Napoléon" and had children.
  2. Umberto I of Italy (14 March 1844 – 29 July 1900) married Princess Margherita of Savoy and had children.
  3. [Amadeo I of Spain (30 May 1845 – 18 January 1890) married Princess Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo and later Princess Princess Maria Letizia Bonaparte and had children.
  4. Prince Oddone of Savoy, Duke of Montferrat (11 July 1846 – 22 January 1866) died unmarried.
  5. Princess Maria Pia of Savoy (14 February 1847 – 5 July 1911) married King Luís I of Portugal and had children.
  6. Prince Carlo Alberto of Savoy (2 June 1851 – 22 June 1854) Duke of Chablais died in childhood.
  7. Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy (6 July 1852) died at birth.
  8. Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy, Count of Genevois (18 January 1855 – 17 May 1855) died in childhood.

Titles, styles, honours and arms


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


  • Dame of the Order of the Starry Cross


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 van de Pas, Leo. "Adelaide of Austria". Genealogics .org. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
  2. 2.0 2.1 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