Queen and Regent of Spain. Daughter of the Archdukes of Austria, Carlos Fernando and María Isabel, and cousin of the Austrian Emperor Francisco José, born on June 21, 1858 in Goes-Sadowitz (Moravia).
On November 29, 1879 he married Alfonso XII, widower of Mercedes de Orleáns, in the Basilica of Atocha in Madrid. From the marriage were born two daughters, María de las Mercedes and María Teresa, and when the King, died on November 26, 1885, hoped his third son, reason whereby the appointment of successor was postponed until its birth. Gave birth to a son, the future King of Spain, Alfonso XIII, and until his coming of age, exercised the Regency his mother.
If his attitude during the reign of her husband was characterized by discretion, during the exercised Regency persisted in it. It was adjusted to the current Constitution and legality, without opposing the reforms and respecting the shift in power from the Liberal and conservative parties.
His clear intervention in active politics was the hispano-norteamericana war of 1898, which ended with the loss of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. At the express wish of María Cristina, his son attended the last two Councils of Ministers of the Regency, which ended with the proclamation of Alfonso XIII as King on 17 May 1902. It was the long Regency of the history of Spain, sixteen (twelve of them chaired by Liberal Party) during which the Regent was credited for its discretion and tact.
In the first years of the reign of Alfonso XIII, the influence of his mother was great, given the close union which existed between the two. But, then, María Cristina was consecrated to family life and charity and Alfonso XIII, for its part, sought to show deep respect and admiration he felt for her.
On February 8, 1929 died in Madrid, in sudden death. The difficult situation that had to live from the first moment of their arrival in Spain, especially due to the deep affection that had enjoyed among the people the King's first wife, Doña María of the Mercedes of Orléans, knew how to deal with it with intelligence and great touch, thus earning the respect of a country that saw its destiny in the hands of a foreign Queen and with an uncertain successionsolved by the birth of don Alfonso XIII.