Happy birthday, Maria Theresa, by the Grace of God, Dowager Empress of the Romans, Queen of Hungary, of Bohemia, of Dalmatia, of Croatia, of Slavonia, of Galicia, of Lodomeria, etc.; Archduchess of Austria; Duchess of Burgundy, of Styria, of Carinthia and of Carniola; Grand Princess of Transylvania; Margravine of Moravia; Duchess of Brabant, of Limburg, of Luxemburg, of Guelders, of Württemberg, of Upper and Lower Silesia, of Milan, of Mantua, of Parma, of Piacenza, of Guastalla, of Auschwitz and of Zator; Princess of Swabia; Princely Countess of Habsburg, of Flanders, of Tyrol, of Hennegau, of Kyburg, of Gorizia and of Gradisca; Margravine of Burgau, of Upper and Lower Lusatia; Countess of Namur; Lady of the Wendish Mark and of Mechlin; Dowager Duchess of Lorraine and Bar, Dowager Grand Duchess of Tuscany…

– gasp! –

born this day in 1717.

Not a bad old gel, although she did back the wrong horse in the Seven Years’ War.

Two bits of musickal trivia I know about Maria Theresa.  One was that she took a dim view of Leopold Mozart and his efforts to promote and exploit the wunderkind Wolfgang.  I can’t recall off the top of my head whether she used the expression “performing monkey” but she said something along those lines.

The other is that the Empress happened to be visiting St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna one time in the early 1740’s.  Some scaffolding had been put up on one side of the tower in order to carry out some repairs.  As she glanced up, the Empress noticed a couple of choirboys skylarking on the scaffold.  Fearing for their safety, she immediately ordered that they be brought down and caned.  One of the choirboys was Franz Joseph Haydn.