Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor

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Charles VII Albert (6 August 1697 – 20 January 1745) a member of the Wittelsbach family, was Prince-elector of Bavaria from 1726 and Holy Roman Emperor from 24 January 1742 until his death in 1745. Charles was notably the only person not of the House of Habsburg to become emperor since the 15th century.


Early life and career

He was born in Brussels as the son of Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria, and Theresa Kunegunda Sobieska, and the grandson of Polish King John III Sobieski.

His family was split during the War of the Spanish Succession and was for many years under house arrest in Austria. Only in 1715 did the family become re-united. From 3 December 1715 until 24 August 1716 Charles visited Italy and in 1717 he joined the war of the Habsburgs against the Turks with Bavarian auxiliaries.

On 5 October 1722, Charles married Marie Amalie, Archduchess of Austria. Marie Amalie was a daughter of Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor and his wife Princess Wilhelmina Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Her maternal grandfather was John Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. In 1725 Charles Albert visited Versailles for the wedding of Louis XV and established a firm contact to France.

In 1726 when his father died Charles Albert became Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire and Duke of Bavaria. He managed to maintain good relations with his Habsburg relatives but also with France.

Holy Roman Emperor

In continuance of the policy of his father Charles Albert aspired to an even higher rank. As son-in-law of Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles Albert rejected the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 and claimed the German territories of the Habsburg dynasty after the death of Charles VI in 1740. With the treaty of Nymphenburg concluded in July 1741, Charles Albert allied with France and Spain against Austria.

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