Thursday, June 26, 2008

Marie-Amélie of Naples



In 1809, the exiled Louis-Philippe married the Neapolitan princess, Marie-Amélie, a niece of Marie-Antoinette. Born at Caserta, Marie-Amélie was twenty-seven years old when she wed. Of her many sisters she was considered the plainest, and it was expected that she would become a devout old maid. It was totally unexpected that Louis-Philippe, the exiled, radical Duc d'Orléans, the son of a revolutionary, would fall in love with the pious, reserved and dignified Marie-Amélie. They were a completely devoted couple all of their lives; he never cheated on her,as far as anyone can know. They had ten children, and when the monarchy was restored in 1814, Louis-Philippe brought his growing family back to France, where his vast estates had been restored to him by Louis XVIII. However, Louis-Philippe's liberal principles were a barrier between him and the older branch of the Bourbon family. It was a shame, since Marie-Amélie and Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte had much in common and would have been great friends had politics not divided them so, as is told in the novel Madame Royale.

When Charles X, who had done nothing but shower favors upon Louis-Philippe, was overthrown in 1830, Louis-Philippe became the Citizen-King. Marie-Amélie was styled "Queen of the French." Unlike her husband, she was very conservative and the Revolution of 1830 was a horror to her. Nevertheless, she made the best of it, and as queen tried to support the Church as much as she could, patronizing religious and charitable institutes. Most of all, Marie-Amélie was a loving mother and grandmother, thoroughly taken up with her family. After her husband was overthrown and died in 1850, Marie-Amélie lived on in England, where she passed away in 1866.

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5 comments:

Theodore said...

Thanks for another of your delightful royal biographical summaries. It's perhaps worth noting that the elderly Marie-Amelie was horrified by her grandson-in-law Maximilian's acceptance of the Mexican crown in 1864. "They will be murdered!" she predicted. No one listened to the old lady. Sadly, she was half right, though her granddaughter Carlota would survive (physically, not mentally). Fortunately, she did not live to see her fears confirmed in the case of Maximilian, who was indeed murdered in 1867, the year after France's last queen died.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, Theodore. Oh, I did not know that Marie-Amelie had made that prediction. She was a wise woman.

Gutsy said...

I think thw lasy always felt a deep ambivalence about her husband's morally dubious behavior vis a avis Louis XVIII and Charles X. Her throne was perilous and she suffered the indignity of her husband's fearful removal of the Fleur de Lys from the Royal Arms as well as his ostentatiously "bourgeois" persona.

Matterhorn said...

Her eldest daughter of course was Louise-Marie, the much-loved first Queen of the Belgians (the anniversary of whose death is tomorrow). It sounds as though L-M took alot after her mother!

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, she did!