Francis I Biography

Emperor, Duke (1708–1765)
Francis I married Maria Theresa and became the grand duke of Tuscany. She helped him assume the title of Holy Roman emperor in 1745.


Francis I was born on December 8, 1708, in France. He lived at the court of Holy Roman emperor Charles VI where he met Maria Theresa. Francis I married her in 1736. He had to give up Lorraine, but he was named the grand duke of Tuscany. Maria Theresa assumed power when her father died in 1740. She shared power with her husband, helping him get the title of Holy Roman emperor. He died in 1765.

Royal Duke of Lorraine

Holy Roman emperor and member of European royalty Francis I was born Francis Stephen on December 8, 1708, in Nancy, Duchy of Lorraine (now a part of France). With close ties to the Habsburg dynasty, Francis lived at the court of the Holy Roman emperor Charles VI. While there, he assumed the title of Duke of Lorraine in 1729 and was known as Francis Stephen at that time.

Maria Theresa

While living at court, Francis became acquainted with Maria Theresa, Charles VI's eldest daughter and heir. To marry her, Francis had to give up Lorraine to Poland's Stanislaw I to end the War of Polish Succession. The wedding took place on February 12, 1736. Francis later became grand duke of Tuscany as repayment for his earlier sacrifice.

Death and Legacy

After Charles VI died in 1740, Maria Theresa became the new ruler, but she decided to share her power with her husband. During the War of Austrian Succession, Francis was selected to be the Holy Roman emperor in 1745. While his wife helped him get the title of Holy Roman emperor, she ruled over most matters of government and war. Francis I died in 1765.

Francis I and Maria Theresa had 16 children, including emperors Joseph II and Leopold II. One of their daughters, Marie Antoinette, became queen of France.

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