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Maria Gabriela of Austria (Blooming Roses)

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Maria Gabriela of Austria
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Grand Duchess of Tuscany
Spouse Cosimo II de' Medici

m. 1608

Issue Ferdinando II, Grand Duke of Tuscany

Carlo de Medici
Anna de Medici
Cosimo de Medici
Constance de Medici

Full name
Maria Gabriela Elizabeth Theresa of Austria
House House of Hapsburg (by birth)

House of Medici (by marriage)

Father Rudolph II
Mother Constance Sybille of England
Born 5 January 1592
Vienna, Austria
Died 4 May 1618 (aged 26)
Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Tuscany
Religion Roman Catholicism
Maria Gabriela of Austria (5 January 1592 - 4 May 1618) was the sixth child and second daughter of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor and Constance Sybille of England. She married Cosimo de Medici and became Grand Duchess of Tuscany.

Early Life

Maria Gabriela was the youngest daughter of Constance Sybille of England and Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor. She had only one younger sibling, Archduchess Maria Carolina. Upon her birth she was an Archduchess of Austria and was one of the most sought-after brides in Christendom. She was beautiful, witty, and pious, making her a good match for the Grand Duke of Tuscany. She was educated in both Catholicism and Protestantism, as well as several languages, music, geography, and philosophy.

Betrothal

Maria Gabriela was betrothed to Cosimo de Medici when she was eleven years old. Her mother, a Protestant, was unhappy with the decision, as it would mean her daughter would be a Catholic. Maria Gabriela promised her mother that she would be kind to people of the Protestant faith in her new realm, but her mother warned, "You are going into the realm of the Bishop of Rome. To protect those of the true faith is to execute yourself. My child, be of your father's faith to save yourself." This unsettled the Archduchess but she did as her mother asked and remained a Roman Catholic, despite her Protestant sympathies. She was married by proxy on 13 February 1608, with her brother Archduke Ferdinand as proxy for Cosimo.

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