Ferdinand I of Austria

Ferdinand
Emperor of Austria
King of Hungary, Lombardy and Venetia, and Bohemia
Reign 2 March, 18352 December, 1848
Predecessor Francis I
Successor Francis Joseph I
Spouse Maria Anna of Sardinia
Full name
Ferdinand Charles Leopold Joseph Francis Marcelin
Father Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Maria Theresa of the Two Sicilies
Born April 19, 1793
Died June 29, 1875 (aged 82)


Ferdinand (April 19, 1793 – June 29, 1875) was Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, King of Lombardy-Venetia, King of Bohemia. He chose to abdicate, after a series of revolts in 1848.

Ferdinand has been depicted as feeble-minded and incapable of ruling, but although he was epileptic and certainly not intelligent, he kept a coherent and legible diary and has even been said to have a sharp wit. The up to twenty seizures he had per day, though, severely restricted his ability to rule with any effectiveness.

Though he was not declared incapacitated, a regent’s council (Archduke Luis, Count Kolowrat and Prince Metternich) steered the government. His marriage to Princess Maria Anna of Sardinia (1803-1884) was probably never consummated, nor is he believed to have had any other liaisons. He is famous for his one coherent command: when his cook told him he could not have apricot dumplings because they were out of season, he said “I’m the Emperor, and I want dumplings!” (German: Ich bin der Kaiser und ich will Knödel.)

As the revolutionaries of 1848 were marching on the palace, he is supposed to have asked Metternich for an explanation. When Metternich answered that they were making a revolution, Ferdinand is supposed to have said “But are they allowed to do that?” (Viennese German: Ja, dürfen’s denn des?) He was convinced by Felix zu Schwarzenberg to abdicate in favour of his nephew, Franz Joseph (the next in line was Ferdinand’s younger brother Franz Karl, but he was persuaded to waive his succession rights in favour of his son) who would occupy the Austrian throne for the next sixty-eight years.

Ferdinand recorded the events in his diary : “The affair ended with the new Emperor kneeling before his old Emperor and Lord, that is to say, me, and asking for a blessing, which I gave him, laying both hands on his head and making the sign of the Holy Cross … then I embraced him and kissed our new master, and then we went to our room. Afterward I and my dear wife heard Holy Mass … After that I and my dear wife packed our bags”

Ferdinand was the last King of Bohemia to be crowned as such. Due to his sympathy with Bohemia (where he spent the rest of his life in Prague Castle) he was given the Czech nickname “Ferdinand V, the Good” (Ferdinand Dobrotivý). In Austria, Ferdinand was similarly nicknamed “Ferdinand der Gütige” (Ferdinand the Benign), but also ridiculed as “Gütinand der Fertige” (Goodinand the Finished).

He is interred in tomb number 62 in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna.

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