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Margaret Of Austria


(1) (1480-1330), duchess of Savoy and regent of the Netherlands from 1507 to 1530, daughter of the archduke Maximilian of Austria, afterwards the emperor Maximilian I., was born at Brussels on the loth of January 1480. At two years of age she was betrothed to the dauphin Charles, son of Louis XI. of France, and was brought up at the French court. In 1489, however, Charles, now king as Charles VIII., to prevent Maximilian taking as his second wife the duchess Anne of Brittany, threw over Margaret and married the Breton heiress himself. Her ambitious father now sought for Margaret another throne, and in April 1497 she was married at Burgos to the Infant John, heir to the throne of Castile and Aragon. She was left a widow, however, a few months later. In 1501 Margaret became the wife of Philibert II., duke of Savoy, who only survived until 1504. The sudden death of her brother the archduke, Philip the Handsome (Sept 25, 1506), opened out to her a new career. In 1507 she was appointed by her father regent of the Netherlands and guardian of her nephew Charles, afterwards the emperor - Charles V. Charles came of age in 1515, but he entrusted Margaret with the regency, as the vast extent of his dominions permitted him but seldom to visit the Netherlands, and she continued to hold the post until her death in 1530. She was a wise and prudent ruler, of masculine temper and intrepidity, and very capable in affairs.

See E. Munch, Margaretha von Osterreich (Leipzig, 1883); Th. Juste, Charles-Quint et Marguerite d'Autriche (Brussels, 1858); A. Le Glay, Maximilien I. et Marguerite d'Autriche (with correspondence, Paris, 1839); De Quinsonas, Materiaux Pour serrir a I'htstoire de Marguerite d'Aulriche (Paris, 1855), an d E. E. Tremayne, The First Governors of the Netherlands: Margaret of Austria (1908).

(2) - (1522-1586), duchess of Parma and regent of the Netherlands from 1559 to 1567, was a natural daughter of Charles V. Her mother, Margaret van Ghent, was a Fleming. She was brought up by her aunts Margaret of Austria and Maria of Hungary, who were successively regents of the Netherlands from 1507 to 1530 and from 1530 to 1555. In 1533 she was married to Alexander de' Medici, duke of Florence, who was assassinated in 1537, after which she became the wife of Ottavio Farnese, duke of Parma, in 1542. The union proved an unhappy one. Like her aunts, who had trained her, she was a woman of masculine abilities, and Philip II., when he left the Netherlands in 1559 for Spain, acted wisely in appointing her regent. In ordinary times she would probably have proved as successful a ruler as her two predecessors in that post, but her task was very different from theirs. She had to face the rising storm of discontent against the Inquisition and Spanish despotism, and Philip left her but nominal authority. He was determined to pursue his own arbitrary course, and the issue was the revolt of the Netherlands. In 1567 Margaret resigned her post into the hands of the duke of Alva and retired to Italy. She had the satisfaction of seeing her son Alexander Farnese appointed to the office she had laid down, and to watch his successful career as governor-general of the Netherlands. She died at Ortona in 1586.

See L. P. Gachard, Correspondence de Marguerite d'Autriche avec Phillippe II. 1554-1568 (Brussels, 1867-1887); R. Fruin, Het voorspel van den tachtig jarigen vorlog (Amsterdam, 1856); E. Rachfahl, Margaretha von Parma, Statthalterin der Niederlande, 1559- 1567 (Munich, 1895); also bibliography in Cambridge Modern History, iii. 795-89 (i94).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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