|Constance of Austria|
Portrait c. 1603 by Frans Pourbus the Younger
|Queen consort of Poland|
Grand Duchess consort of Lithuania
|Coronation||11 December 1605|
|Born||24 December 1588|
|Died||10 July 1631 (aged 42)|
|Spouse||Sigismund III Vasa|
|John II Casimir Vasa|
John Albert Vasa
Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Opole
Alexander Charles Vasa
|Father||Charles II, Archduke of Austria|
|Mother||Maria Anna of Bavaria|
Constance was a daughter of Charles II of Austria and Maria Anna of Bavaria. Her paternal grandparents were Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary (1503–1547). Anne was the only daughter of King Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary and his wife Anne de Foix. Her maternal grandparents were Albert V, Duke of Bavaria and Anne Habsburg of Austria.
Her older sister Anna was the first wife of King Sigismund III Vasa. After her death Constance and Sigismund were married on December 11, 1605.
They had seven children:
Queen Constance was an ambitious politician. Immediately after the wedding, she made efforts to influence policy. She built a strong faction of followers by arranging marriages between her handmaidens and powerful nobles. She represented the interests of the Habsburg family in Poland, and influenced the appointments of positions in the court, government and church. Her closest confidant was Urszula Meyerin.
Constance was proficient in Spanish, Latin and Italian. She learned Polish after the wedding but rarely used it. She was very religious and went to Mass twice a day. She also was a patron of clerics, painters and architects. She financed the buildings of several palaces for her children, but she was also described as an economic person.
In 1623 Constance bought ?ywiec from Miko?aj Komorowski, which was forbidden by law to the members of the Royal Family and caused misunderstandings with the Parliament. Some time later (in 1626) she made it forbidden for Jews to settle in the city (de non tolerandis Judaeis).
Constance wished to secure the succession of her own son to the throne rather than the son of her sister, but she did not succeed. She died of a stroke.
|Ancestors of Constance of Austria|
Entry of the Wedding Procession of Constance of Austria into Kraków in 1605.
She enhanced and renovated the Castle in ?ywiec, where she resided from 1624.
Silver-gilt plate, 1605, from Constance's dinner service