Archduke Rainer Joseph of Austria

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Archduke Rainer
Erzherzog Rainer Vizekoenig.jpg
Born(1783-09-30)30 September 1783
Pisa, Grand Duchy of Tuscany
Died16 January 1853(1853-01-16) (aged 69)
Bolzano, Austrian Empire
Bolzano Cathedral
SpousePrincess Elisabeth of Savoy
among others...
Adelaide, Queen of Sardinia
Archduke Leopold
Archduke Ernst
Archduke Rainer
Archduke Heinrich
Rainer Joseph Johann Michael Franz Hieronymus
FatherLeopold II, Holy Roman Emperor
MotherMaria Louisa of Spain
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Archduke Rainer of Austria (30 September 1783 – 16 January 1853) was a Viceroy of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia from 1818 to 1848. He was also an Archduke of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia.


Rainer was a son of Emperor Leopold II and Empress Maria Luisa, and was thus a younger brother of Emperor Franz II.

Although Rainer suffered from a mild form of epilepsy, this did not visibly interfere with his military career.[1]

Rainer served as Viceroy of the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia from 1818 to 1848. The position made Rainer and his wife the head of the Austrian court at Milan. Rainer politics were increasingly unpopular, the Italians resented him for their lack of political freedom and for collecting revenues with so little benefit to them.

Throughout the 1840s, the political situation worsened to such an extent that in 1847, Metternich resurrected his 1817 plans for an Italian chancellery by sending his right-hand man count Charles-Louis de Ficquelmont to Milan as acting Chancellor of Lombardy–Venetia to restore the Austrian rule while taking over Northern Italy's administration. But only a few months later, Ficquelmont was recalled to Vienna to assume the leadership of the Council of war as the Revolutions of 1848 started.

Archduke Rainer's mistakes as well as the lack of understanding between Rainer and Feldmarschall Graf Radetzky, were blamed for the disasters of the Italian Revolution of 1848.[2]

Marriage and children[edit]

He married at Prague on 28 May 1820 Princess Elisabeth of Savoy (13 April 1800 – 25 December 1856). She was the sister of the Prince of Carignano, who would in 1831 become King of Sardinia as King Charles Albert. She was also a granddaughter of the late former Duke of the Baltic principality of Courland.

Children included:

  • Maria (6 February 1821 – 23 Jan 1844) – unmarried, no issue
  • Adelaide (3 June 1822 – 20 January 1855) – wife of Victor Emmanuel II, from 1849 king of Sardinia
  • Leopold (6 June 1823 – 24 May 1898) – Oberkommandant der Marine ('High Commander of the Navy') from 1864 to 1868
  • Ernst (8 August 1824 – 4 April 1899), Feldmarschalleutnant
  • Sigismund (7 January 1826 – 15 December 1891), Feldmarschalleutnant
  • Rainer (11 January 1827 – 27 January 1913) – Austrian Minister President 1859–61;[3][4] his visit to the Hotel Greif in Wels is commemorated by a wall plaque there. Married Archduchess Maria Karoline of Austria (1825-1915). No issue.
  • Heinrich (9 May 1828 – 30 November 1891), Feldmarschalleutnant
  • Maximilian (16 January 1830 – 16 March 1839)

The Revolution of 1848 forced Rainer and Elisabeth from the court at Milan; when the insurrection was quelled, Radetzky was named Rainer's successor as Viceroy. Although his children, except Adelheid, are buried in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna, he and his wife are buried at the Maria Himmelfahrtskirche in Bolzano.

Through his daughter Adelaide, Rainer is an ancestor of the entire royal family of Italy which reigned from 1861 to 1946.



  1. ^ George R. Marek, The Eagles Die. Franz Joseph, Elisabeth, and Their Austria, pp. 41–42. New York: Harper & Row, 1974. This mild form of epilepsy was also suffered by Archduke Karl and his son, Archduke Albrecht, both of whom were able military commanders.
  2. ^ Joan Haslip, The Crown of Mexico, pp. 22, 89, 109. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971.
  3. ^ Robert Adolf Kann, A History of the Habsburg Empire 1526–1918, pp. 328, 331. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974.
  4. ^ Alan Palmer, Twilight of the Habsburgs. The Life and Times of Emperor Francis Joseph, pp. 122–123. New York: Grove Press, 1994.
  5. ^ Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 109.