Maria Anna, Archduchess of Austria
Maria Anna, Archduchess of Austria
Historical Figure
Nationality: Austria
Religion: Catholicism
Date of Birth: 13 January 1610
Date of Death: 25 September 1665
Occupation: Archduchess of Austria
Parents: Ferdinand II (father)
Maria Anna of Bavaria (mother)
Spouse: Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria
Children: Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria (1636-1679);
Maximilian Philipp Hieronymus (1638-1705)
Relatives: Ferdinand III (brother)
Cecilia Renata (sister)
Leopold Wilhelm (brother)
1632 series
POD: May, 1631
Appearance(s): 1634: The Bavarian Crisis
Grantville Gazette XXIII
1635: The Papal Stakes
1636: The Viennese Waltz
1636: Commander Cantrell in the West Indies
Grantville Gazette IV (paper)
Grantville Gazette XXIV
Grantville Gazette XLIV
Grantville Gazette LII
Type of Appearance: Direct
Occupation: Queen "in" the Netherlands
Spouse: Don Fernando
Children: Unnamed daughter
Affiliations: House of Habsburg
Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria (13 January 1610 - 25 September 1665 Munich) was the daughter of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor of Habsburg and Maria Anna of Bavaria.

She married Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, a recent widower. He hoped to father a male heir. She gave birth to Ferdinand Maria, elector of Bavaria (de Bavière (Wittelsbach)) and Maximilian Philip. Maria Anna is generally described as clever, cautious, energetic, stern, frugal, and experienced in matters of financial administration. She was very interested in politics and well instructed about developments.

Maria Anna in 1632Edit

Thanks to entries in Grantville's encyclopedias, Maria Anna was aware that she had married her uncle, Maximilian I, in the original timeline. After the changes in history caused Maximilian's first wife to die a year earlier than she had in the OTL, she was not surprised that her father, Ferdinand II, arranged for her to marry Maximilian. Initially, she accepted this, although she had become rather smitten from afar with her cousin, Don Fernando.

However, while on the way to Munich, she began to have misgivings. After Maximilian joined the procession in Passau, she noticed that he seemed disinterested in the proceedings, and that he turned away from her. She later learned that Elisabeth Renata's infertility had been blamed on witchcraft, and was told that if she was not fertile, there would likely be another round of witch-burnings.

When the procession reached the city of Freising, two of Grantville's most prominent residents, Mary Simpson and Veronica Richter Dreeson, were dumped out of ore barrels almost directly in front of her. To avoid a protracted jurisdictional dispute between Maximilian and the de jure independent prince-bishop of Freising, she temporarily took the two women into her own household and had them sent to the rooms the bishop had provided for her.[1]

When Mechthilde von Leuchtenberg filed witchcraft charges against the two women from Grantville, Maria Anna successfully argued that, since they were in her household, she should be part of their formal hearing and should be able to provide them with counsel. She did take an active part in the hearing, and after they were acquitted, suggested that they be interned in the house of the "English Ladies". This was done, though they officially remained in her custody. However, that Maximilian's late wife had never done anything of that sort drove another wedge between Maximilian and Maria Anna, and he began referring to her as die Habsburgerin.

As early as July of 1634, she was aware of the possibility that the Holy Roman Empire's electors might never meet again, and that her father could be the last Holy Roman Emperor. She knew that Maximilian would not be happy if he never got to use the electoral vote he had been granted, and if his brother Ferdinand's possession of another electoral vote became meaningless. This led her to conclude that, if there was no more Holy Roman Empire, her position as a Habsburg in the Wittelsbach court of Bavaria would be uneasy. She also realized that Maximilian resented having been forced to remarry, and would not readily forgive her for not being Elisabeth Renata. After spending a long night reflecting on that, she decided to leave, and began making plans to escape.

The plans involved taking advantage of the fact that an elaborate play was being staged as part of the pre-wedding festivities. Since there would be increased traffic through the city gates on the day of the play, the "English Ladies" planned to walk out in the guise of ordinary working women, taking the Grantville women with them. Maria Anna was to join them as they were about to walk out, under the pretense that she was Mary Ward's niece and had been told to go with them. This was helped by the fact that her German was rather coarse; German was not the language of upper-level Austrian society, and she had learned hers from servants. The plan succeeded, and her departure went unnoticed for most of the day because select members of her household stayed behind to maintain the illusion that she was there, but was indisposed.

Maria Anna had a strong practical side, and was not only willing but able to do things that were not expected of a young woman born to royalty. In the first part of their trip, from Munich to Neuberg, this showed in her ability to deal with the problems caused by Mary Simpson's badly blistered feet. At one point, as they were getting close to Neuberg, she not only found a wheelbarrow for Mary, but was willing to push it. However, she and Veronica were the only ones who were willing to push, and since she was young and healthy, she ended up doing most of the pushing. While she did not have to push very long in absolute terms, it was long enough for her hands to be rubbed raw and become infected. Fortunately, they had reconnected with Leopold Cavriani, and once they reached Neuberg, Cavriani was able to contact Grantville and use his connection with Ed Piazza to procure some sulfa powder and chloramphenicol.

She was unwilling to go to Grantville, or to enter the USE at all, and won a battle of wills with Mary Ward over the issue. After explaining her reasons to Mary and Veronica, they agreed that not only would she not go to Grantville, but that they would stay with her wherever she went. This turned out to involve more than they had expected, as Maria Anna told them she was headed to Brussels. Also, Cavriani had been able to covertly inform Piazza, and through him Michael Stearns's inner circle, that Maria Anna was with him, and diplomatic channels had conveyed that information to Don Fernando in the Netherlands. Therefore, he was able to send her a message telling her to go to the Swiss city of Basel, after which he would arrange to get her to the Netherlands.

While they were waiting for Maria Anna's hands, and Mary Simpson's feet, to heal, the Bavarians had invested Neuberg from the south, so the only way out was to cross the Danube into what was undoubtedly USE territory. Even so, they were able to follow the line of the Danube as far as Ulm with no more problems than having to negotiate the patchwork of local jurisdictions in Swabia, largely due to Cavriani's experience as a commercial traveler and the presence of Cavriani factors in some of the cities they passed through. Traveling from Ulm required joining a guarded convoy headed for Strassburg, as the area past Ulm was considered dangerous due to the activities of Bernard of Saxe-Weimar and Gustav Horn. However, before the convoy reached the next town, which was Ehingen, Maria Anna recognized the commander of one of the guard companies as someone she had seen more than once since leaving Neuberg. As a result, they slipped away in Ehingen, turned south, and eventually reached Basel with no further incident.

While staying in the USE embassy in Basel, she became of interest to both Duke Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, who had learned she was there and intended to force her into marriage, and the Basel city council, which planned to hold her hostage for legal recognition of Swiss independence. However, Diane Jackson had given her permission to send a limited number of radio messages, so she was able to inform Don Fernando, now "King in the Netherlands" of the situation. The USE delegation in the Netherlands, with the direct approval of Emperor Gustavus, arranged for Fernando to "borrow" a plane and pilot so he could fly to the Basel area, get her out, and fly back to Brussels with her. This was successful, and the two were married in October of 1634.

Later in 1634[2], while helping to negotiate a treaty between the new Dutch kingdom and the Republic of Essen, Maria Anna became friends with Katherine Boyle, an assisant to Essen's Secretary of State, Philipp Hainhofer. Katherine and her partner, Nicki Jo Prickett, wanted to establish a cheese and chocolate factory under Maria Anna's patronage. Later, after having played up-time tennis with Nicki Jo, Maria Anna was very nearly shot by Arthur Jones, 2nd Viscount Ranelagh, Katherine's estranged husband. This was thwarted when Nicki Jo repeatedly hit Arthur with a tennis racquet. Maria Anna later agreed to the creation of "Royal Maria's Cheese, Chocolate and Cookie Factory" on the condition that the cookies, which contained a reasonable substitute for chipotle, be named "Ring of Fire".


  1. 1634: The Bavarian Crisis, ch. 32
  2. "Game, Set and Match", in Grantville Gazette XXIII, does not give dates, or say how long ago the wedding was, but does imply that it was quite recent.
Regnal titles (1632)
Preceded by
Newly created
Queen consort in the Netherlands
Succeeded by