Holding the Center

  • Paula Sutter Fichtner
Part of the European History in Perspective book series (EUROHIP)


Grand duke of Tuscany since 1765 with his capital in Florence, Archduke Peter Leopold — the Peter was a courtesy to his Russian godmother, Tsarina Elizabeth, and common only in Italian renderings of his title — had personal failings of his own. Fits of depression and sexual compulsions assailed him throughout his life. While the latter distraction yielded an array of legitimate children, some of whose progeny continue the family of Habsburg-Lorraine and its branches even today, it also ensnared Leopold in countless illicit liaisons. But he had more attractive qualities too, some of which replicated Joseph II’s better traits. The new emperor shared his elder brother’s distaste for court protocol and his liking for people beneath his station, attitudes that their mother often deplored. He was, however, intellectually more versatile than Joseph and better educated too. He was uncommonly observant of other people as well as an adept and eager student with a keen interest in science and technology and a knack for languages.


Austrian Emperor Chief Minister Grand Duchy French Army HABSBURG Monarchy 
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© Paula Sutter Fichtner 2003

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  • Paula Sutter Fichtner

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