The Empress Maria Theresa subscribed to a different principle: Honor über alles

May 2, 2011


Empress Maria Theresia of Austria by Martin van Meytens

Prussia, Russia and Austria were negotiating among themselves Poland’s partition. Maria Theresa lamented: “Every partition is iniquitous. I can only deplore this proposal and say how ashamed I am to show myself in public.”

When the Empress’s ministers brought to her attention how her scruples could be interpreted as a sign of weakness, she replied: “I prefer that the world view me as weak rather than dishonest.”


Fernando Palazzi, Enciclopedia degli aneddoti (Milan: Ceschina, 1946), 3 vols., Col. 9273. ( translation.)


Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 71

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