One of those royals who was famously converted to conservatism after being confronted with the harsh realities of revolution was Maria Carolina of Austria who was the Queen of Naples. She was born Archduchess Maria Carolina in Vienna, the thirteenth child of the prolific power couple Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. Her godfather was King Louis XV of France and she was said to look the most like her mother who was a very formidable and outstanding woman. Her favorite sibling was her ill-fated sister Marie Antoinette and the two girls got up to such mischief that their mother had to separate them because they were always causing trouble. Empress Maria Theresa, who was a very astute stateswoman, wanted a marriage alliance with the Bourbon Royal Family of southern Italy (the Spanish branch that ruled Naples & Sicily) to keep Austria and Spain allied. Originally it was Archduchess Maria Josepha who was supposed to marry King Ferdinand IV of Naples but when she died of smallpox the duty fell on young Maria Carolina because the only other choice was considered too old.
Maria Carolina was not too happy about this and threw a fit, saying that no good ever came to those who married into the House of Naples. Personal preference, of course, did not come into these things and Maria Carolina and Ferdinand IV were married by proxy on April 7, 1768. When husband and wife met they seemed quite different. Ferdinand was a rather simple man, more comfortable talking to a workingman on the street than elites in the palace. Queen Maria Carolina on the other hand was a very complex and complicated person. She was very kind, very intelligent, curious, generous and compassionate but she could also be imperious and ruthless toward enemies and she knew how to hold a grudge. However, in spite of their problems, the new King and Queen of Naples had 18 children so Maria Carolina was made of tough stuff, though not all of them survived, an army nonetheless. Many people sympathized with her, thinking the king rather crude and it was true that Maria Carolina was often unhappy but she did her duty like the professional royal she was, no matter how upset she would get at her husband eating spaghetti with his fingers in the royal box at the opera.
I have blogged about Maria Carolina before, HERE and HERE. Share