Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor

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Francis I (Francis Stephen; 8 December 1708 – 18 August 1765)[1] was Holy Roman Emperor and Grand Duke of Tuscany, though his wife effectively executed the real power of those positions. With his wife, Maria Theresa, he was the founder of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty. From 1728 until 1737 he was Duke of Lorraine, but lost this title when Lorraine was seized by France in the War of the Polish Succession; he was compensated with Tuscany in the peace treaty that ended that war.


Early life

Francis was born in Nancy, Lorraine (now in France), the oldest surviving son of Leopold Joseph, duke of Lorraine, and his wife Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans, daughter of Philippe, duc d'Orléans.

He was connected with the Habsburgs through his grandmother Eleonor, daughter of Emperor Ferdinand III, and wife of Charles Leopold of Lorraine, his grandfather. He was very close to his brother and sister Anne Charlotte.

Emperor Charles VI favored the family, who, besides being his cousins, had served the house of Austria with distinction. He had designed to marry his daughter Maria Theresa to Francis' older brother Leopold Clement. On Leopold Clement's death, Charles adopted the younger brother as his future son-in-law. Francis was brought up in Vienna with Maria Theresa with the understanding that they were to be married, and a real affection arose between them.

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