The daughter of Queen Joanna and King Philip I of Castile, Mary married King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia in 1515. Their marriage was happy but short and childless. Upon her husband's death following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, Queen Mary governed Hungary as regent in the name of the new king, her brother, Ferdinand I.
Following the death of their aunt Margaret in 1530, Mary was asked by her eldest brother, Emperor Charles V, to assume the governance of the Netherlands and guardianship over their nieces, Dorothea and Christina of Denmark. As governor of the Netherlands, Mary faced riots and a difficult relationship with the Emperor. Throughout her tenure she continuously attempted to ensure peace between the Emperor and the King of France. Although she never enjoyed governing and asked for permission to resign several times, the Queen succeeded in creating a unity between the provinces, as well as in securing for them a measure of independence from both France and the Holy Roman Empire. After her final resignation, the frail Queen moved to Castile, where she died.
Having inherited the Habsburg lip and not very feminine looks, Mary was not considered physically attractive. Her portraits, letters, and comments by her contemporaries do not assign her the easy Burgundian charm possessed by her grandmother, Duchess Mary of Burgundy, and her aunt Margaret. Nevertheless, she proved to be a determined and skillful politician, as well as an enthusiastic patron of literature, music, and hunting.
Born in Brussels on 15 September 1505, between ten and eleven in the morning, Archduchess Mary of Austria was the fifth child of King Philip I and Queen Joanna of Castile. Her birth was very difficult; the Queen's life was in danger and it took her a month to recover. On 20 September, she was baptized by Nicolas Le Ruistre, Bishop of Arras, and named after her paternal grandmother, Mary of Burgundy, who had died in 1482. Her godfather was her paternal grandfather, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I.
On 17 March 1506, Emperor Maximilian promised to marry her to the first son born to King Vladislaus II of Hungary. At the same time, the two monarchs decided that a brother of Mary would marry Vladislaus' daughter Anne. Three months later, Vladislaus' wife, Anne of Foix-Candale, gave birth to a son, Louis Jagiellon. Queen Anne died in childbirth and the royal physicians made great efforts to keep the sickly Louis alive.