Marie Henriëtte of Habsburg, Queen of Belgium

BORN 23 Aug 1836, Budapest - DIED 19 Sep 1902, Spa, Liège: Hôtel du Midi
BIRTH NAME Marie Henriëtte Anne von Habsburg
GRAVE LOCATION Brussel: Église Notre Dame de Laeken, Laeken

Marie Henriette was a daughter of Archduke Joseph, Palatine of Hungary. Her mother was Maria Dorothea of Württemberg. Much of her childhood was spent at the castle of Buda. When she was seventeen years old she married crown prince Leopold of Belgium on 22 August 1853. They toured the Belgian provinces and visited Great Britain in October, where queen Victoria noticed the differences between the couple.

The marriage was arranged against the will of both and was unhappy, but she befriended Princess Charlotte. They lived in the palace of Laecken with king Leopold I and she befriended her husband's sister princess Charlotte. Unlike her husband, she was cultivated and much interested much interested music and horses. In 1858 they had a daughter and in 1859 a heir to the throne, another Leopold, was born, but he would die in 1869. In 1864 their daughter Stéphanie was born. She would marry Rudoplh, the Crown Prince of Austria and in 1872 another daughter, Clementine, was born.

In 1865 Leopold I died and she became Queen of Belgium. They would live together for another seven years but their relationship was distant. She didn't support her husband ambitions in the Congo. She often visited Spa for long periods, leaving her duties to her younger daughter Clementine (b.1872). From 1895 onwards she permanently lived in Spa where she bought the Hôtel du Midi where she held eighteen horses with her assistant Auguste Goffinet. She was often referred to as 'Queen of Spa'. Clementine served as first lady at the court until Leopold's death in 1909. Marie Henriette died in 1902 in Spa.

• Husband: Leopold II, king of Belgium (1853-1902, Brussel)


The tomb of King Leopold II and his wife Marie-Henriette in the crypt of the Notre-Dame in Laeken, Brussels.
Picture by Androom (28 Apr 2007)


• Dankers, J. & J. Verheul, Lexicon historische personen van de lage landen, Het Spectrum, 1985
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Published: 01 Feb 2022
Last update: 01 Feb 2022