Surrounded by enemies, Maria Theresa turns to God to defend her realms

March 2, 2017

The Holy Roman Empress, Maria Theresa of Austria on horseback. Painting by W. Camphausen.

The young Queen had no Melbourne to teach and advise her as she faced for the first time the task of being a ruler. But indeed, even a Melbourne would have been insufficient here. She needed, rather, a Disraeli: ten years were to pass before she found one. To begin with she had to make do with the material to hand. She was given scarcely two months to find her feet before she was all but overwhelmed by the first act of violent aggression, the start of an often desperate battle for survival which, with more or less intensity, was to devour most of her public energies for eight often desperate years…. She began with nothing but her character, her good nature, her religious faith, and her sense of the sacred nature of her imperial inheritance. She believed in the pledged word, in treaties, in loyalty, in goodness. She trusted in God.


Edward Crankshaw, Maria Theresa (New York: The Viking Press, 1969), 29.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 566



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