Marie-Elisabeth of Hapsburg
(1680-1741)
   Marie-Elisabeth, archduchess of Austria and governor-general of the Austrian Netherlands, was born on 23 December 1680 in Linz, Austria. The elder sister of Emperor Charles VI, she was appointed by her brother to the post following Prince Eugene of Savoy's renunciation of the office on 24 November 1724. Marie-Elisabeth entered Brussels on 9 October 1725 and spent the remainder of her life in Belgium.
   Installed in the Coudenberg Palace, she fled the premises consequent to its destruction by fire during the night of 3—4 February 1731. She then lived in the Palais de Nassau, the residence of the princess of Orange. In later years, she spent much time at Mariemont in the chateau that had been a favorite of Archduke Albert and Archduchess Isabella.
   She strove to maintain Catholicism, promote economic growth, and reinforce imperial power vis-à-vis local self-government. Every Holy Thursday, she washed the feet of 12 poor women in Brussels, served them a meal, and gave them new clothing in a tradition that she brought from the court at Vienna. She died at Morlanwelz in the province of Hainault on 26 August 1741.
   See also Austrian Regime.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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