Charles VI, last Habsburg on spanish throne - first spanish king on Hungarian throne
Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, Archduke of Austria, King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Serbia and King of Bohemia
Charles was born on 1 October 1685 during the Great Turkish War. The imperial army conquered the fortification of Neuhäusel in Upper Hungary (present day Nové Zámky, Slovakia) on 19 August 1685, 42 days before his birth, a day that was celebrated by most of Europe. On 1 September 1686, the imperial armies liberated Buda (today one part of Budapest). Prince Eugene of Savoy and Count Johann Pálffy were active participants in this battle.
On 9 December 1687, Charles (only two years old) participated in the coronation of his 9 year old brother Joseph as Hungarian King in Pressburg (Bratislava).
Anton Florian, Prince of Liechtenstein and the Jesuit Andreas Braun were his tutors. The Archduke acquired a strong traditional education and spoke several languages fluently.
On 12 September 1703, at the age of 17, he participated in a family meeting where they mutually agreed on the succession in the empire with his father Leopold I, the Holy Roman Emperor and the older brother Joseph I. A week later, he left Vienna and travelled to Spain to fight for the Habsburg succession. That was the last time that he saw his aging father and brother.
On 7 November 1705, Charles entered Barcelona, 29 days after Britain and the Imperial coalition armies defeated the French-Spanish army.
On 17 July 1707, Charles officially proposed to Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, daughter of Louis Rudolf, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Since she was a Lutheran Protestant she had to convert to Roman Catholicism. Their marriage was concluded in Vienna on 23 January 1708. Since Charles was still in Spain at that time, the marital pledge was given by his brother – Joseph I, the Holy Emperor.
On 1 August 1708, Elisabeth Christine arrived in Barcelona in a beautiful carriage drawn by 8 white horses. Charles met her riding an Andalusian horse ceremonially dressed with the regalia of the Order of the Golden Fleece and a diamond studded hat.
The 17 year old Elisabeth Christine made a great first impression on Charles and he wrote in his diary: “The Queen is very pretty, I am quite satisfied.” And after their wedding night he wrote a brief note: “The Queen is quite a darling at night.” She remained darling, loved and loving for him until the end of their life together.
On 17 April 1711, his older brother – Joseph I died in Vienna without a male successor. Charles became the last male member of the Habsburg dynasty.
On 27 September 1711, he said goodbye to his wife Elisabeth Christine, who he appointed as Governess of Spain and travelled to Germany to take over the Holy Imperial crown.
On 12 October 1711 – at the age of 26, he became the Holy Roman Emperor in Frankfurt am Mohan. 16,000 soldiers led by Prince Eugene of Savoy ensured his trouble free election. The imperial coronation was held on 22 December 1711.
On 26 January 1712, he travelled from Frankfurt to Vienna.
Charles convened the Hungarian diet in Pressburg for 3 April 1712 in order to set the date of the coronation.
On 15 April, the Hungarian crown was brought from Vienna to Pressburg where it was deposited for protection from the Kuruc armies of Francis II Rákóczi. The appearance of the crown was welcomed by everybody as a sign of peace. The coronation diet began on 24 April.
On 19 May 1712, Holy Emperor Charles VI arrived at the castle in Pressburg. According to tradition, the Guardian of the Franciscans sent three priests to take care of the spiritual needs of the monarch. In addition to other duties, they celebrated three masses every day in the castle chapel which, during the presence of the monarch at the castle, was in the administration of the Franciscans.
On 21 May 1712, the inauguration decree in which, in addition to preserving the ancient rights and privileges of the Hungarian nobility, he promised that the Hungarian crown would never leave the borders of Hungary and that all territories conquered from the Turks would become part of Hungary and that in the event that the male-line of the Habsburgs died out the aristocracy would be free to elect a new monarch.
On 22 May 1712, Charles was crowned King of Hungary in St. Martin’s Cathedral in Pressburg on the holiday of the Holy Trinity. He received the crown and coronation insignia from Christian August, the Archbishop of Esztergom. Coronation tokens were handed out on the way to the Franciscan Church where he appointed the new knights of the Order of the Golden Spur. After the swearing-in in front of the monastery of merciful brothers he continued to the coronation hill on the banks of the Danube where the king on horse brandished his sword in all directions, which symbolized that he would protect the country from all sides. The crowning ceremony was followed by lunch in the Archbishop’s palace according to Spanish etiquette – i.e., Charles VI and the Holy Roman Emperor and just crowned King of Hungary had lunch alone, by himself. Well-fed steers were roasted on huge spits in front of Michael’s Gate and white and red wine flowed from artificial fountains. The people of Pressburg feasted until morning.