Philippine Welser

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Philippine Welser, Portrait on Castle Ambras

Philippine Welser (1527 – 24 April 1580) was the morganatic wife of Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria. She was granted the titles Baroness of Zinnenburg, Margravine of Burgau, Landgravine of Mellenburg and Countess of Oberhohenberg and Niederhohenberg.

She was born in Augsburg. Her family, the Welsers of Augsburg, were merchants and financiers of European significance and great wealth. Her uncle Bartholomeus V. Welser received Venezuela as security for a loan from the King of Spain in 1528, and the family thus became rulers of the colony. Already at a young age, she was renowned for both her beauty and her learning. She died at Schloss Ambras, Innsbruck in Tyrol.

She was the mother of Margrave Andrew of Burgau, who became a Cardinal, and Charles, Margrave of Burgau, who became a noted General. After her death, her husband remarried to Anne Juliana Gonzaga and became the father of Anna of Tyrol, who would become Holy Roman Empress.


  • De re coquinaria (cookbook), handwriting ca. 1545, Castle Ambras near Innsbruck. Inv.No. PA 1473
  • Cook- and medicinebook. handwriting ca. 1545, Castle Ambras near Innsbruck. Inv.No. PA 1474


  • Sigrid-Maria Größing: Kaufmannstochter im Kaiserhaus. Philippine Welser und ihre Heilkunst, Vienna: Kremayr und Scheriau, 1992, 254 Pages, ISBN 3-218-00531-0
  • Sigrid-Maria Größing: Die Heilkunst der Philippine Welser. Außenseiterin im Hause Habsburg. Augsburg: Sankt-Ulrich-Verlag, 1998, 160 Pages, ISBN 3-929246-28-7
  • Karl Beer: Philippine Welser als Freundin der Heilkunst. In: Gesnerus 7 (1950) 80-86

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