In time of absolute monarchies, political intrigue and diplomacy through marriage love is not a word associated with marriage. And a ruling Empress? Not even imaginable. But there is a bright little girl growing up at the Hofburg palace: Not only does beautiful Maria Theresa study books she isn't supposed to read. She also has a crush on dashing Francis Stephen of Lorraine, whom her father Charles VI eventually allows her to marry. When Charles VI dies, an edict paves his daughter's way to the throne. The new Habsburg ruler is only 23 years old - and expecting her fourth child. Maria Theresa eagerly responds to her realm's need for reform and handles the state of affairs while her husband spends much of his time with their children. But Austria seems to be on the verge of collapse and European rulers soon attack the Habsburg Empire. It takes a diplomatic masterpiece for Maria Theresa to win allies and, eventually, revitalize an empire that influenced the rest of Europe for almost 150 years.
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