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On 26 August 1571 in Vienna, Maria Anna married her maternal uncle, Charles II of Austria. The marriage was arranged to give Charles political support from Bavaria, and Bavaria an agent in Vienna.
The relation between Maria Anna and Charles are described as good. Maria Anna was described as confident, ambitious and a great lover of pomp and power, but foremost as a devoted Catholic. She participated in the affairs of state, and successfully benefited a powerful counter reformation in the domains of her spouse. She continued her education in music, benefited the Jesuit school in Graz, and spent her time in religious worship and religious charity.
Maria Anna was widowed in 1590. She continued to participate in politics as the adviser of her son and encouraged him to continue the counter reformation and work against the Protestant clergy and nobility.
In 1608, she retired to the Nunnery of St Clare in Graz.
Her correspondence is partially preserved.
Ferdinand (b. Judenburg, 15 July 1572 - d. Judenburg, 3 August 1572).
Anne (b. Graz, 16 August 1573 - d. Warsaw, 10 February 1598), married on 31 May 1592 to Sigismund III Vasa, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Sweden.
Maria Christina (b. Graz, 10 November 1574 - d. Hall in Tirol, 6 April 1621), married on 6 August 1595 to Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania; they divorced in 1599.
Eleanor (b. Graz, 25 September 1582 - d. Hall in Tirol, 28 January 1620), a nun.
Maximilian Ernest (b. Graz, 17 November 1583 - d. Graz, 18 February 1616), Teutonic Knight.
Margaret (b. Graz, 25 December 1584 - d. El Escorial 3 October 1611), married on 18 April 1599 to Philip III, King of Spain.
Leopold (b. Graz, 9 October 1586 - d. Schwaz, 13 September 1632), Archduke of Further Austria and Count of Tirol.
Constance (b. Graz, 24 December 1588 - d. Warsaw, 10 July 1631), married on 11 December 1605 to Sigismund III Vasa, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Sweden (widower of her older sister).
HAMANN, Brigitte, Die Habsburger: Ein Biografisches Lexicon (Munich: Piper, 1988).
SÁNCHEZ, Magdalena, (2000) A Woman's Influence: Archduchess Maria of Bavaria and the Spanish Habsburgs. In C. Kent, T.K. Wolber, C.M.K. Hewitt (Eds.) The lion and the eagle: interdisciplinary essays on German-Spanish relations over the centuries (pp. 91-107). New York: Berghahn Books.