A 1770 Austrian Co-Regency of Emperor Joseph II & Marie Theresa Medal
A 1770 Austrian Co-Regency of Emperor Joseph II and His Mother, Marie Theresa After the Death of Emperor Francis I Medal 1770; White metal, obverse with the inward-facing busts of Emperor Joseph II and Queen Maria Theresa and engraver marked "WIDEMAN" below, reverse with a winged Mercury, emphasizing the "principles from Tuscany to Belgium in July 1770" and engraver marked "F.K.", 42 mm, oxidation spot on the reverse, contact marks and surface wear, near very fine. Footnote: Maria Theresa and her husband, Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, had sixteen children, including the Queen of France, the Queen of Naples and Sicily, the Duchess of Parma and two Holy Roman Emperors, Joseph II and Leopold II. Holy Roman Emperor Francis VI died on August 18, 1765, while he and the court were in Innsbruck celebrating the wedding of his second son, Leopold. Maria Theresa was devastated. Their eldest son, Joseph, became Holy Roman Emperor. She completely withdrew from court life, public events, and theater. She described her state of mind shortly after Francis's death: "I hardly know myself now, for I have become like an animal with no true life or reasoning power." Upon his accession to the imperial throne, Joseph ruled less land than his father had in 1740. Believing that the emperor must possess enough land to maintain the Empire's integrity, Maria Theresa, who was used to being assisted in the administration of her vast realms, declared Joseph to be her new co-ruler on September 17, 1765. From then on, mother and son had frequent ideological disagreements. Though she was expected to cede power to Francis and Joseph, both of whom were officially her co-rulers in Austria and Bohemia, Maria Theresa was the absolute sovereign who ruled by the counsel of her advisers. She criticized and disapproved of many of Joseph's actions. Although she is considered to have been intellectually inferior to both Joseph and Leopold, Maria Theresa understood the importance of her public persona and was able to simultaneously evoke both esteem and affection from her subjects.