Constance of Austria

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Constance of Austria
Constance Habsburg.jpeg
Portrait by Pieter Soutman
Queen consort of Poland
Grand Duchess consort of Lithuania
Tenure 1605–1631
Coronation 11 December 1605
Born 24 December 1588
Graz, Austria
Died 10 July 1631(1631-07-10) (aged 42)
Warsaw, Poland
Burial Wawel Castle, Kraków, Poland
Spouse Sigismund III Vasa
among others...
John II Casimir Vasa
John Albert Vasa
Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Opole
Alexander Charles Vasa
House House of Habsburg
Father Charles II, Archduke of Austria
Mother Maria Anna of Bavaria

Constance of Austria (German: Konstanza; Polish: Konstancja; 24 December 1588 – 10 July 1631) was queen of Poland as the second wife of King Sigismund III Vasa and the mother of King John II Casimir.


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.

Constance was also a younger sister of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor, Margaret of Austria, Leopold V of Austria and Anna of Austria.

Her older sister Anna was the first wife of king Sigismund III Vasa. After her death Constance and Sigismund III Vasa were married on December 11, 1605.

They had seven children:

  1. John Casimir (25 December 1607 – 14 January 1608)
  2. John Casimir (1609–1672), (reigned 1648–1668 as John II Casimir Vasa of Poland)
  3. John Albert (1612–1634)
  4. Charles Ferdinand (1613–1655)
  5. Alexander Charles (1614–1634)
  6. Anna Constance (26 January 1616 – 24 May 1616)
  7. Anna Catherine Constance (1619–1651)

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 to 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 did not like using 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 Żywiec from Mikołaj Komorowski, which was forbidden by law to the members of the Royal Family and caused misunderstandings with the Parliament.[1] Some time later (in 1626) she made it forbidden for Jews to settle in the city (de non tolerandis Judaeis).[2]

Constance wished to secure the succession of her own son to the throne rather than the son of her husband's earlier marriage, but she did not succeed. She died of a stroke.



See also


  1. Bunt chłopów. Bunt, prześladowania i próby wyzwolenia się chłopów na Zywiecczyźnie w XVII wieku.
  2. Miasto Żywiec

External links

  • The Stockholm Roll, Entry of the Wedding Procession of Constance of Austria and Sigismund III into Kraków in 1605.
Constance of Austria
Born: 24 December 1588 Died: 10 July 1631
Royal titles
Preceded by
Anna of Austria
Queen consort of Poland
Grand Duchess consort of Lithuania

Succeeded by
Cecilia Renata of Austria