Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Caroline, Duchesse de Berry, in Mourning

Caroline of Naples was a remarkable  woman who is one of the heroines in  my novel, Madame Royale. Here is an account of her remarkable life. To quote:
Princess Maria Carolina Ferdinanda Luisa of Naples and Sicily was born on November 5, 1798 at the Palace of Caserta in Naples. She was the eldest child of Francis, Hereditary Prince of Naples and Archduchess Maria Clementina of Austria. The young princess was named after her paternal grandparents, King Ferdinand IV and III of Naples and Sicily and Archduchess Maria Carolina of Austria. Her father, Francis, was the eldest surviving son of the King of Naples and Sicily while her mother was the tenth child of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor and Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain. Francis and Maria Clementina were double first cousins and although the couple was engaged in 1790, they weren’t married until June 26, 1797 due to the chaotic Napoleonic wars plaguing the Italian peninsula. The cousins were both twenty years old when they wed in a rather modest ceremony at Foggia. Despite the fact that Maria Clementina’s features were scarred by smallpox, she was a dignified and proud woman with a kind heart and a substantial education. The couple’s relationship was rather uncommon for the time, as Maria Clementina was the dominant partner in the relationship. She controlled her less intelligent and easy-going husband but Francis didn’t seem to care about his wife’s influence over him; according to his mother, Archduchess Maria Carolina of Austria, “[Francis] adores her in every sense of the word. He says she loves him, and assuredly shows and demands many proofs of love.” Maria Carolina was so shocked by just how much her son loved Maria Clementina that she “asked heaven to calm their over-excited sense by sending them children.” (Read more.)

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