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Charles II, Archduke of Inner Austria

Charles II Francis of Austria, (Vienna June 3, 1540 – Graz July 10, 1590; German: Karl II Franz) was an Archduke of Austria and ruler of Inner Austria (Styria, Carniola and Carinthia) from the House of Habsburg from 1564.



He was the third son of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary(1503–1547), daughter of King Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary and his wife Anne de Foix. In 1559 and again from 1564-1568 there were negotiations for a marriage between Charles and Elizabeth I of England. They dragged on until Queen Elizabeth decided that she would not marry the Archduke; religion was the main obstacle to the match,[1] apart from the Queen's character.

Unlike his brother Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles was a religious Catholic and promoted the Counter-Reformation, e.g. by inviting the Jesuits to his territory. However, in 1572, he had to make significant concessions to the Inner Austrian Estates in the Religious Pacifications of Graz, and 1578 and the Libellum of Bruck. In practice, this resulted in tolerance towards Protestantism.

Maria Anna of Bavaria, wife of Charles II.

As the Inner Austrian line had to bear the major burden of the wars against the Turks, the fortress of Karlstadt/Karlovec in Croatia was founded and named after him. Charles is also remembered as a benefactor of the arts and sciences. In particular, the composer Orlando di Lasso was one of his proteges, as was the music theorist Lodovico Zacconi.

In 1580, Charles founded a stud for horses of Andalusian origin in Lipica, Slovenia, thereby playing a leading role in the creation of the Lipizzan breed. In 1585, Charles founded the University of Graz, which is named Karl-Franzens-Universität after him.

Charles's mausoleum in Seckau, in which also other members of the Habsburg family are also buried, is one of the most important edifices of the early baroque in the South-Eastern Alps. It was built from 1587 onwards by Alessandro de Verda and completed by Sebastiano Carlone by 1612.


Arms of Charles II of Austria-Styria.[2]
Charles II's ancestors in three generations
Charles II of Austria Father:
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Paternal Grandfather:
Philip I of Castile
Paternal Great-Grandfather:
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Mary of Burgundy
Paternal Grandmother:
Joanna of Castile
Paternal Great-Grandfather:
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Paternal Great-Grandmother:
Isabella I of Castile
Anna of Bohemia and Hungary
Maternal Grandfather:
Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary
Maternal Great-Grandfather:
Casimir IV Jagiellon
Maternal Great-Grandmother:
Elisabeth of Austria
Maternal Grandmother:
Anne de Foix
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Gaston de Foix
Maternal Great-Grandmother:
Infanta Catherine of Navarre

Marriage and children

Charles married his niece Maria Anna of Bavaria. They had fifteen children:


  1. ^ Doran pp.73-98
  2. ^ (French) Héraldique Européenne, Toison d'Or, Philippe II, 3.


Doran, Susan: Monarchy and Matrimony: The Courtships of Elizabeth I Routledge 1996



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