Fact of the day: 16th August

On this day in 1573 Anne of Austria, Queen of Poland was born.

Anne was a daughter of Charles II of Austria and Maria Anna of Bavaria. Her paternal grandparents were Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and Anne of Bohemia (1503–1547), daughter of King Ladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary and his wife Anne of Foix-Candale.

Anne became the first wife of Sigismund of Poland and Sweden on 31 May 1592. This marriage was opposed by many nobles (szlachta) of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, who were opposed to the alliance with the Habsburgs that Sigismund pursued.

When Sigismund sent a diplomatic mission, led by Cardinal Radziwill, to Prague for his bride, the anti-Habsburg party with Chancellor Jan Zamoyski guarded the borders to prevent the Archduchess from entering the country.

Anne evaded the guards, arrived in Kraków and was crowned in May 1592 by Primas Karnkowski as the Queen of Poland.

In 1594, she followed her spouse to Sweden, where she was crowned as the Queen of Sweden in Uppsala the 19 February.

The Poles demanded that she leave her daughter behind her as security in Poland during their stay in Sweden, and she was afraid that the Swedes would demand the same when she returned to Poland, if she gave birth during her stay in Sweden.download (3)

19 April 1594, she gave birth to a daughter, whose baptism was elaborately celebrated at the Swedish court, but the child died soon after. During her stay in Sweden, she became involved in a conflict with Dowager Queen Gunilla Bielke, partially for religious reasons.

She accused Gunilla for having stolen valuables from the Royal Palace. She was regarded as quite polite but distant and depressive during her stay.

She did not speak Swedish, and she regarded the Swedish people as heretics and rebels and only showed herself in public when she was forced to.


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