Austria Heads of State

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Female Heads of State
of Austria/Republik Österreich  
(Female Suffrage 1918)

Also see Austria Ministers, Austria Substates and Austrian-Hungarian Eccleastical Establishments

1246-69 Sovereign Duchess Gertrude von Babenberg of Mödling
1248-51 Titular Duchess of Österreich and Styria
She inherited the Duchy from her uncle, Friederich II von Babenberg, and her husband; Herman VI of Baden was titular Duke 1248-50 and her son, Friederich I of Baden until 1251. But they were engaged in a war of succession with her aunt, Margarethe von Babenberg, never managed to establish themselves in the country and were rejected by the estates. In the end Margarethe's second husband Przemysl Ottokar II took control of the country. She was daughter of Agnes von Thüringen Heinrich (1208-28), the son of Duke Leopold VI (d. 1230) She was first married to Margrave Wladislaw of Moravia (d. 1247), Margrave Hermann VI von Baden (d. 1250) and Prince Roman of Halicz, Count of Novogrudok, whom she divorced in 1253. 1269 she was banned from Austria and moved to Meissen in Sachsen where she became the first Abbess of the Convent of Saint Claren Strusslitz. She was mother of a son and a daughter by her husband and one daughter by the second, and lived (1226-88).

1251-67 Hereditary Duchess Margarethe von Babenberg of Österreich
After her brother, Friedrich's death in 1246 she was the heir of Österreich and Steiermark, but her niece, Gertrud and husband, held the duchy in a titular capacity until she and her second husband, Premysl Otakar II of Bohemia (1230-78), prevailed in the fight for the succession. She was the widow of King Heinrich of Germany (1211-27-42) and in 1261 her second husband disowned her. Both her sons predeased her. She lived (1204-67). 

1270-79 Claimant Agnes von Baden of The Duchy of Österreich
The only daughter of titular Duchess Gertrude von Österreich and Margrave Hermann VI von Baden, she was first married to Duke Ulrich III von Kärnten and after his death to Count Uldrich von Heunburg in 1269. The following year they claimed the Austrian inheritance trough her mother. Both King Ottokar of Bohemia and King Rudolf von Habsburg of Hungary forced her to resign her claims, but she continued her pressure and in the end she was given 6.000 Mark as compensation. She had no children and lived (1249-95).

1521-22 Regent Queen Anna Jagiellonka
1539 Regent of Austria, Hungary and Bohemia
The daughter of king Wladislaw II Jagiello of Hungary and Bohemia and Anne de Foix-Candale. Since 1521 a wife of Ferdinand von Habsburg, Archduke of Austria, since 1526 Anna and Ferdinand were king and Queen of Austria, Hungary and Bohemia. She lived (1503-47)

1637-38 Regent Dowager Empress Eleonora Gonzaga di Mantova
For stepson Leopold I (1640-57-1705). She was the third wife of Ferdinand III.

1711 Regent Dowager Empress Eleonora-Magdalene von der Pfalz-Neuburg
Regent for grandson Karl VI until his arrival from Spain in order to succeed his brother, Joseph I.

1711-14 Stadtholder and General-Captain Elisabeta Cristina von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel of Aragón, Catalunya and Valencia (Spain)
1735 Politically Influential in Austria
1708 she married her husband, Carlos III of Spain, who was only in control of Aragón, Cataloña and Valencia during the succession-war between the Habsburgs and Borbons, and acted as regent during his absences. In 1711 he succeeded his brother, Josef I and became Emperor Karl VI of the Holy Roman Empire, and left for Austria. After the victory of the Bourbons, she joined her husband. In 1716 she gave birth to a son, who died soon after, the following year the later Empress Maria Theresia was born and two other daughters followed. It was only in 1735 that she gained political influence, forming a party against the Spanish Council in Vienna, but also her daughter, kept her away from the government. She lived (1691-1750).

1740-80 Empress Maria Theresia, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Archduchess of Austria etc.
Duchess Moravia and Slesia (Czech lands), Queen of Croatia and Dalmatia, Princess of Transylvaina and Grand Duchess of Siebenbürgen, Duchess of Geldern, Limburg, Jülich, Luxembourg, Brabant, Quilon, Bar and Franche-Comté, Margravine of Higher-Elsass, Breisgau, Lower-Elsass and Antwerpen, Countess of Flanders, Hainaut, d'Artois, Boulonge,  Namur, Pouthieu, Picardie, d'Eu, Vermandôis, Charolais, Macon, Montbeliard, Zutphern, Nevers and Rethel  and Baroness d'Ilês, Bar-sur-Seine etc. (most of present day's Belgium and Luxembourg).She lived (1717-80).

1826-72 Politically Influential Archduchess Sophia von Bayern
Influential during the reign of her father-in-law, emperor Franz (1804-35), brother-in-law Ferdinand (1835-48) and sin Franz Joseph I (1848-1916). Among other she secured that her son became emperor in 1848 instead of her husband. She lived (1809-72). 

1848  Politically Influential Empress Maria Anna Karolina di Savoia di Sardinia
She persuaded her husband, Ferdinand (1835-48), to abdicate during the revolutionary movement and thereby avoided further bloodshed. Together with her sister-in-law, Sophia, she was also instrumental in securing that the emperor abdicated in favour of his nephew, Franz Joseph, rather than his brother, Franz Karl. Ferdinand suffered from epilepsy, and they had no children. 

1866-69 Politically Influential Empress Elisabeth in Bayern
Also known as Sisi, she was liberal and forward-minded and placed herself decisively on the Hungarian side in the nationality conflict thereby making an important contribution to the historic compromise of 1867. She persuaded her husband, Emperor Franz Joseph, to accept Hungary's gaining an equal footing with Austria also strengthened the liberal element in the monarchy as a whole. She newer accepted the stiff protocol of the Austrian Court. Her mother-in-law Archduchess Sophia, who was also her aunt, took control of the upbringing of her children and as a protest she started spending a great deal of time away from Vienna. She was widely regarded as one of the most beautiful women in Europe - it took three hours each morning just to dress her hair, she was compulsive about physical exercise, and her efforts to keep her waistline as small as possible, she frequently subjected herself to starvation diets. After her only son, Crown Prince Rudolf, committed suicide in 1889, her travels grew even more restless. She rarely stayed long in any given place and spent no more than a few weeks each year in Vienna. During an overnight stop in Geneva in 1898 she was stabbed with a sharpened file by Italian anarchist. Daughter of Duke Maximilian in Bayern and Princess Maria Ludowika of Bayern, daughter of the Bavarian king, she was mother of three daughters and one son, and lived (1873-98).

1922-30/33 Acting Head-in-exile of the Sovereign Family Dowager Empress Zita de Bourbon Parma
Her husband, Emperor Karl was Austrian head of state 1916-18 and nominal head of State in Hungary till his death in 1922. She acted as head of the family as regent for her son, Archduke Otto (b. 1912-), the oldest of 8 children. Otto has later relinquished all claims of the Austrian-Hungarian throne and was Member of the European Parliament for Germany as Dr. Otto Habsburg. Zita was the 17th of 24 children of Duke Carlos III of Parma-Piacenza. Her younger brother, Felix (1893-1970), was married to Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg. Zita lived (1892-1989).  

1986-90 Member of the Vice-Presidency, 2. President of the Nationalrat Dr.phil Marga Hubinek
As the first vice-President of the National Council she was part of the collective vice-presidency of the Republic together with the President and second Vice-President of the Council
, who, according to the Constitution, jointly takes over the Presidential Duties when the President is incapacitated for more than 20 days or dies. On other occations the Chancellor acts as Head of State.

1990-94 Member of the Vice-Presidency, 3. President of the Nationalrat Dr. Heide Smith
Leader of Liberal
en Forum 1993-2000.

1996 Acting Chancellor and Head of State Elisabeth Gehrer (A few hours, 23rd. of September)
As Federal Minister of Education and Culture since 1995, she was Acting Chief of Government and therefore also Acting Head of State until Chancellor Vranitsky returned to the country and became Acting President during the ilness of the Federal President. Previously Vice-President of the Landtag of Voralberg 1989-90 and Landesrätin of Schools, Science, Youth and Family 1990-91.  as still Acting Minister. (b. 1942-). 

2004-06 Member of the Vice-Presidency, 2. President of the Nationalrat Barbara Prammer
2004 Joint Member of the Joint Acting Presidency (Joint Acting Head of State) (06.07-08.07.2004)
2006-14 (†) Member of the Vice-Presidency, President of the Nationalrat

Leadning member of SPÖ, former Federal Minister.
When the outgoing President died two days before his successor was to take office in July 2004, she acted as Head of State together with the President and 3. President as a collegium. She lived (1954-2014)

2014- Member of the Vice-Presidency, President of the Nationalrat Doris Bures
2016-17 Head of the Joint Acting Presidency (08. July - 26. January)
SPÖ Member of Parliament from 1990 and Party Secretary General 2000-07 and again in 2008, Federal Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Federal Chancellor in charge of Women's Affairs, Media and Civil Service 2007-08 and Federal Minister of Infrastructure, Trafic, Innovation and Technology 2008-14 (b. 1962-).


Updates 26.01.17