1717–1780

Maria Theresa in the eyes of her contemporaries

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In June 1746 the Prussian envoy at the Viennese court, Count Otto Christoph von Podewils, penned the following description of the monarch, who was then twenty-nine:

Her figure is of over rather than under medium stature. It was very fine before her marriage, but the numerous births she has undergone, together with her corpulence, have made her extremely heavy. Nonetheless, she has an easy gait and majestic posture. Her appearance is elegant even though she spoils it by the way she dresses. The little English hoop skirt she wears disfigures her. She has a full, round face and a clear brow. The well-shaped eyebrows are, like her hair, blonde, without any reddish sheen. Her eyes are large, lively and at the same time very gentle, to which the colour, which is pale blue, contributes. Her nose is small, neither curved nor turned upwards, her mouth is a little large but rather beautiful, her teeth white, her smile pleasant. Her neck and throat are well-formed. Arms and hands wonderful. Her complexion cannot be any less than this, to judge by what one can see, despite the scant care she has given it. She usually has a high colour. Her expression is open and cheerful, her way of addressing people friendly and graceful. One cannot deny that she is attractive.  

Martin Mutschlechner