As a ruler Leopold II was prepared to initiate reforms. Following the death of his father, he became regent of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, where he was known as ‘Pietro Leopoldo’. When his brother Joseph II died he succeeded him as ruler in the patrimonial lands and as Holy Roman Emperor. He died only eighteen months after ascending the throne, but left sixteen children to continue the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty. For this reason his brother Joseph II called him the ‘splendid populator’.