Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina of Austria was the only female ruler of the Habsburg empire. Theoretically, she shared power with her husband, Holy Roman Emperor Francis, and her son HRE Joseph. The reality, though, was that this bad ass women popped out 16 children and ruled her domains with an iron fist.
Maria Theresa’s father spend the last few years of his life trying desperately to secure her inheritance but when he died in 1740, all hell broke loose and Prussia started the War of the Austrian Succession. Maria Theresa was not to be trifled with. She gave birth to the future Emperor Joseph and then hauled ass straight from the birthing bed to go in front of her nobles to rally them to fight for her territories. She continued this trend her whole reign, relegating home duties in favor of ruling. By the time she gave birth to Marie Antoinette, her 15th child, she was doing paperwork as she was pushing.
Her relationship with Francis was passionate but odd. Maria Theresa jealously guarded her political power and didn’t let him have a lot of in-put. At the same time, she was a nice Catholic girl and talked a lot about wifely submission. Francis loved his wife and they had a good time in the imperial bedroom but that didn’t stop him from boning everything that moved.
Maria Theresa would probably exile you to the New World if you tried to call her a feminist but that doesn’t change the fact that this lady held massive power and wealth and refused to share it with any men.