Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor Biography

Francis I served as the Holy Roman Emperor and Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1740s until his death in 1765. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline

Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
Quick Facts

Birthday: December 8, 1708

Nationality: German

Famous: Emperors & Kings German Men

Died At Age: 56

Sun Sign: Sagittarius

Born in: Nancy

Famous as: Holy Roman Emperor

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Maria Theresa

father: Leopold, Duke of Lorraine

children: Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria, Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria, Archduchess Maria Johanna Gabriela of Austria, Archduchess Maria Josepha of Austria, Archduke Maximilian Francis of Austria, Duchess of Teschen, Holy Roman Emperor, Joseph II, Leopold II, Maria Carolina of Austria, Maria Christina, Marie Antoinette

Died on: August 18, 1765

place of death: Innsbruck

City: Nancy, France

Continue Reading Below

Francis I was the Holy Roman Emperor who along with his wife founded the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty. Born to Leopold Joseph, Duke of Lorraine, Francis became the oldest surviving son of his father after the death of his brother Leopold Clement. As such, in 1729, he succeeded his father as the Duke of Lorraine. Family relations with Emperor Charles VI led to an alliance between Francis and Maria Theresa. Under the alliance, Francis was to marry Maria Theresa. He had to give up on his dukedom of Lorraine and instead was to be made Grand Duke of Tuscany. From 1737 until his death in 1765, he served as the Grand Duke of Tuscany. In 1740, he became the Archduke of Austria and in 1745 was appointed as the Holy Roman Emperor. Despite being in powerful position, Francis rarely executed the powers he had, which was mostly used by his wife—the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions

Recommended Lists:

Recommended Lists:

Continue Reading Below
Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
Childhood & Early Life
  • Francis was born on December 8, 1708 to Leopold Joseph, Duke of Lorraine, and Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans in Ducal Palace of Nancy. He was the oldest surviving son of the couple.
  • Francis grandparents were connected to the Habsburg- his grandmother being the daughter of Emperor Ferdinand III. Later on, the family won the favour of Emperor Charles VI as well.
    Continue Reading Below
Recommended Lists:

Recommended Lists:

Top
Accession & Reign
  • Following the death of his elder brother, Francis was taken up as the future son-in-law for Emperor Charles who had wished to marry his daughter Maria Theresa to late Leopold Clement.
  • Francis was raised in Vienna along with Maria Theresa. In 1729, he succeeded his father as the Duke of Lorraine. Two years later, he was initiated into the freemasonry. Subsequently, he was made Master Mason.
  • In 1732, he agreed to serve as the Lord Lieutenant of Hungary for Francis. For the same, he moved to Pressburg. Following year, War of the Polish Succession broke out.
  • In 1735, the Treaty of the Vienna was signed which finally put an end to the War of the Polish Succession. Under the treaty, Emperor Charles VI agreed to the marriage between Francis and Maria only if Francis gave up Lorraine to Stanislaw Leszczyński. In return, Francis was to succeed as the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
  • In 1737, following the death of the last Medici Grand Duke of Tuscany, Gian Gastone, Francis succeeded as the Grand Duke of Tuscany. With this succession, peace was finally attained. The Spanish troops were replaced by Austrians in the Tuscany borders.
  • After being appointed as the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Francis left for Hungary to fight against the Turks in June 1737. In 1738, he along with his wife, Maria Theresa travelled south to Florence.
  • Following the death of Emperor Charles VI in October 1740, Maria Theresa succeeded her father as the female rule of the Habsburg dominion. Almost immediately, she appointed Francis as her co-regent. The new position gave Francis equal powers as his wife.
    Continue Reading Below
  • As the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominion, Maria Theresa’s rule was challenged by Saxony, Prussia, France and Bavaria. When Prussia invaded the affluent province of Silesia in Habsburg, it led to the War of the Austrian Succession, a conflict which continued for nine-years. Though Francis was eager to defend her inheritance and lead the Austrian army, Maria repudiated.
  • During the War of Austrian Succession, Francis was appointed as the Holy Roman Emperor, after the death of Charles VII.
  • Francis, though shared equal power with Maria, played an inconsequential role in the working of the government. He, in fact, was content playing second fiddle to his wife. However, blessed with business acumen and natural instincts, he was of immense help and assisted Maria in the governing of the complicated Austrian dominions.
  • Though Francis as not active politically, he did manage the economic condition of the dominion and played an active role in the financial affairs. It was under his leadership that despite being heavily indebted and on the verge of bankruptcy, the Austrian Empire was in a better off position than France or England during the 1780s.
Top
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Emperor Charles intended to get his daughter married to Leopold Clement, Francis’ elder brother. However, due to the untimely death of Clement, Francis was agreed upon as the future son-in-law after much consideration.
  • Francis marriage to Maria Theresa was more of a formal agreement between the two. They tied the nuptials at the Augustinian Church on February 12, 1736 followed by a grand wedding on February 14, 1736.
  • Francis and Maria were blessed with sixteen children, including the Queen of France, the Queen of Naples and Sicily, the Duchess of Parma and two Holy Roman Emperors, Joseph II and Leopold II.
  • Francis was a womanizer and was popular for his philandering activities. The most notable affair was with Maria Wilhelmina, Princess of Auersperg. She was thirty years younger to him.
  • Francis died an untimely sudden death on August 18, 1765 while returning from the opera at Innsbruck in his carriage. He was buried in tomb number 55 in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna. His wife, Maria Theresa was devastated by his death.
  • He was succeeded by his eldest son, Joseph as the Holy Roman Emperor.
Top

See the events in life of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/francis-i-holy-roman-emperor-6491.php
Last Updated
- November 08, 2017

People Also Viewed

Charlemagne
(German)
Wilhelm II
(German)

Shaka
(South African)