Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian


Archduke Maximilian as a boy

The Child

Archduke Maximilian was born on the 6th July 1832 in the Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna.

Maximilian's had a very strict education in regard to his native language German and additional languages such as Bohemian (Slavonic), English, French Hungarian, Italian and Spanish together with diplomacy, geography, history, law, military education etc.

Maximilian was an intelligent child and showed a great deal of interest for the arts, botany and science.
The young Maximilian was very charming but also increasingly undisciplined in his ways and played many a prank on his teachers and others in the Imperial court.


Archduke Maximilian


Military Service

Maximilian entered military service and was trained in the Austrian Navy where he managed to get promoted to lieutenant at the age of eighteen.
He soon received command of a corvette (Minerva) and was sent on an expedition along the coast of Albania and Dalmatia.

In 1854, at the age of twenty-two the Archduke became Commander-in-Chief of the Austrian Navy.

Maximilian was responsible for many reforms which led to the modernisation of the Austrian Navy, and had much to do with the establishing of a naval port at Trieste and Pola (Pula) which enabled the Austrian battle fleet to be based there and large-scale expeditions such as the circumnavigating of the globe with the frigate SMS Novara.



Maximilian and Charlotte


Viceroy of Lombardy-Venetia

In February of 1857 Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian was appointed Viceroy of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia.

Emperor Franz Joseph was not really sure that the Archduke’s appointment as Viceroy was the right thing to do because he thought that his brother would be far too liberal for such an important position.
To a certain extent it was done to please King Leopold I of Belgium who was Maximilian’s father in law.

Maximilian was enthusiastic and saw the chance to show that his ideas of a liberal form of monarchy would be a benefit. His wife Charlotte was also enthusiastic about the position and started to learn as much as possible about the history of Lombardy-Venetia and was keen on learning the Italian language.

On the 6th September 1857, the young couple entered Milan in pompous display of splendour and took up their formal residence in the palace at Monza.

Unfortunately unease and trouble had been growing in Lombardy-Venetia for quite some time. More and more people were against Austrian rule and wanted to unite with the Italian states.