Saturday, June 2, 2018

Maria Amalia of Austria, Duchess of Parma

From The Prague Post:
Maria Amalia had been passionately in love with Prince Charles of Zweibrücken, but to fulfil the dynastic webs spun by her mother to secure her ambitions for a second Italian alliance in addition to that with Naples, Maria Amalia was instructed to marry Prince Ferdinand of Parma, five years her junior, whilst her other sister, Maria Charlotte – later known as Maria Carolina – was allotted to Prince Ferdinand, future King of Naples, in place of the beautiful Maria Josepha, who died of smallpox before her Neopolitan wedding. This understandably left Maria Amalia resentful of her mother, and their relationship remained difficult as a result. In cruel contrast to the political marriages she required of her daughters in a painful playing out of her expectation of them being ‘born to obey’, Maria Theresia had herself enjoyed a passionate marriage with Emperor Francis Stephen and would singularly allow her favourite eldest daughter, Marie Christine, to marry the man of her choice, a fact which deeply upset her other daughters, who were denied this personal luxury. Maria Amalia was later described as being no longer on ‘speaking terms’ with Maria Theresia (Antonia Fraser, Maria Antoinette, Pg 120, 2000); Maria Amalia later developed a forceful personality, but then bitterness had also been added to the example of her mother’s own dominant character. Maria Theresia herself seems not to have seen how her own behaviour was a living contradiction to what she expected from her daughters or had enjoyed herself in her own marriage. As Duchess of Parma, Maria Amalia acquired the byname of ‘La Signora,’ a name which implies the fear that probably hid behind the misogyny of this ugly phrase: ‘The Lady.’ (Read more.)

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