Jean Baptiste Isabey: Marie Louise as Empress of the French, gouache, 1810

Marie Louise

Archduchess of Austria (non-ruling member of the dynasty); Empress of the French (1810–1814); thereafter until her death in 1847 Duchess of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla

Born 12 December 1791 in Vienna
Died 17 December 1847 in Parma, Italy

A Habsburg at Napoleon’s side

Archduchess Marie Louise, the eldest daughter of Emperor Franz II (I), was married to the French emperor Napoleon during the Austrian wars against the French at the instigation of Prince Metternich. This union was intended to strengthen the weak Habsburg position during the revolutionary wars. Napoleon’s military defeat provided Marie Louise with an escape route from this loveless marriage. She moved to northern Italy and after Napoleon’s death married the head of her court household.

Jean Baptiste Isabey: Marie Louise as Empress of the French, gouache, 1810