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Maria Amalia of Naples (1782-1866)

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Maria Amalia of Naples (1782-1866)

Post  May on Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:02 pm

The consort of Louis-Philippe was exceptional for her piety , charity and devotion to her family.

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Re: Maria Amalia of Naples (1782-1866)

Post  Mata Hari on Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:29 pm

Lovely! Smile

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Re: Maria Amalia of Naples (1782-1866)

Post  May on Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:43 pm

Maria Amalia's youth:

It is a touching tribute to the capacity for love and forgiveness of both the Queen of Naples and her daughter that the marriage of Marie-Amélie and Louis-Philippe was able to take place. After all, the young princess was, in a sense, marrying the enemy. Her mother, Maria Carolina of Austria, was the favorite sister of Marie-Antoinette, so the royal court of Naples had very close and cordial family ties to Versailles. Maria Carolina raised all her children with a profound respect for the Catholic monarchy of France, the foremost in Europe. Alongside the language, history and literature of their native land, she ensured that Amalia and her siblings learned to appreciate those of France. The Queen even spoke French most of the time with her children. At an early age, Amalia, for her part, was destined to marry her cousin, the Dauphin, and eventually become Queen of France.

Tragically, Amalia's little fiancé died in 1789. His death ominously concided with the beginning of the French Revolution, ushering in a whole series of traumas that would profoundly mark the young Amalia, a thoughtful, sensitive girl. In her old age, she would still vividly recall the horror and deep mourning in Naples at the executions of her uncle and aunt, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Her face flooded with tears, the Queen of Naples had solemnly assembled her children to tell them the terrible news that her own sister, the Queen of France, had been beheaded, before leading them all into the royal chapel to pray together for her soul. Everyone was appalled by the treachery of the Duc d'Orléans, who had voted for the death of the King, his own cousin. In the years to come, the proud, forceful, energetic and determined Maria Carolina would champion the cause of the Bourbon monarchy against all odds, generously supporting French émigrés while battling Napoleon with crusading ardor. The war brought many sorrows to the people and royal family of Naples. In 1798, Amalia, her parents, and siblings were forced to flee Naples and take refuge in Sicily.

In the light of all this, it is astonishing that Amalia fell in love with Louis-Philippe, himself a radical, and, moreover, the son of the royal regicide. It is even more astonishing that Amalia's parents permitted the marriage. How was this possible? Based on her Journal, it appears that Amalia and her parents, despite everything, decided Louis-Philippe was a good and noble man.

http://crossoflaeken.blogspot.com/2010/03/tragedy-and-irony.html
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Re: Maria Amalia of Naples (1782-1866)

Post  Elena on Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:51 pm





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.

Sources:
http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2008/06/marie-amlie-of-naples.html

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Re: Maria Amalia of Naples (1782-1866)

Post  May on Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:52 pm

Her quandary upon becoming Queen:

She was, indeed, initially very distressed, and troubled in conscience, by the idea of displacing the legitimate heir to the throne, the little Henri V, grandson of Charles X. Steeped, from her earliest childhood, in the traditions of sacral, Catholic monarchy, she must also have been very upset by the liberal character of the revolution, and, in particular, by the separation of Church and State. After her husband's accession, she confided to her diary her grief at the sickening news of mobs desecrating churches, crosses and fleur-de-lis. In contrast to her sister-in-law, the formidable Madame Adelaide, who hated the senior Bourbons, for reasons of family tradition and liberal ideology, and enthusiastically welcomed the prospect of her brother's rise to power, Marie-Amélie reacted hysterically to the July Revolution. She shut herself up in her chamber, lamenting: "What a catastrophe. They will call my husband a usurper!"(Dyson, p. 193). It was proposed that she and her sons and daughters enter the capital in state, in open carriages, but Marie-Amélie protested: "No! No! It would be repugnant to me, it would have an air of triumph, as if I were triumphing over my own relations" (Dyson, p. 196).

People remarked upon Marie-Amélie's sorrowful appearance. She looked pale and wan, with a tear-streaked face, her usual quiet dignity quite upset. Shortly before her husband's accession, she was saddened to receive a note from her great-niece, little Louise d'Artois, sister of Henri V, saying the family counted on Marie-Amélie to use her influence in the boy-king's favor. There was, however, not much Marie-Amélie could do. Beset with scruples, she did attempt to persuade her husband to take the child in his arms and make a last appeal to the Parisians to accept and acclaim the boy as their sovereign. Louis-Philippe, however, claimed that such an attempt, in the violent political mood of the moment, would merely have provoked the murder of both himself and Henri. Revisiting the episode, in long, self-justificatory monologues, as an old man, he would insist: "I would not even have been able to cross the bridge to reach the Chamber of Deputies. They would have hurled us both into the water..."(d'Huart, p. 548).

Despite her heartbreak, however, and pangs of remorse, Marie-Amélie gradually reconciled herself to her new position as Queen, by convincing herself that Louis-Philippe had no choice but to accept the throne, and that he was acting from motives of pure patriotism, by sacrificing his domestic peace and comfort to save France from anarchy. In her journal, she noted that her chaplain had consoled her by telling her that her husband was obeying the call of duty, under the volatile circumstances (d'Huart, pp. 400-401). He was, nevertheless, widely branded as a treacherous usurper, and his consort did her best to persuade people otherwise, writing letters to the sovereigns of Europe in his defense. Marie-Amélie and her children would always stoutly maintain that Louis-Philippe, despite the intrigues of revolutionary conspirators on his behalf, had never wanted to become King.
Read the rest here:
http://crossoflaeken.blogspot.com/2010/08/crown-of-thorns.html#more
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Re: Maria Amalia of Naples (1782-1866)

Post  Elena on Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:55 pm

I feel sorry for Marie-Amélie, caught in the middle of such a debacle, which she handled with as much grace as possible.

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Re: Maria Amalia of Naples (1782-1866)

Post  May on Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:58 pm

I feel the same way. I think the whole tragedy of her life is that she had the character to be a legitimate Queen of France, and was originally intended to be so, but the way she did come to the throne in the end was not legitimate.

Reflecting on her life, she used to say, in her old age, with a sad irony: "I wept a great deal for my little cousin [the Dauphin]. You see, I was always meant to be Queen of France."
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Re: Maria Amalia of Naples (1782-1866)

Post  Elena on Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:12 pm

That pierces my heart. Sad

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Re: Maria Amalia of Naples (1782-1866)

Post  May on Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:11 pm

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Re: Maria Amalia of Naples (1782-1866)

Post  May on Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:39 pm

1815 was a hard year for Marie-Amélie. Along with the senior Bourbons, the Orléans had returned to France, after Napoleon's fall in 1814, but his tumultuous return to power soon forced them into exile yet again. Until 1817, Louis-Philippe's family would live at the "Orleans House," in Twickenham, England. On December 31, 1815, in a sober, prayerful spirit, Marie-Amélie recapitulated the joys and sorrows, the hopes and fears of the past year. By now, of course, Napoleon had been decisively defeated at Waterloo, but Marie-Amélie still had alot on her mind.

I thank God with all my heart for enabling me to see the end of this year. Having commenced it under the happiest, most brilliant auspices, I feared only to be too happy, and that the prosperity I enjoyed, the vanities that surrounded me might distract me from my duties. They were of short duration, and an unexpected bolt of lightning helped me to better understand the nothingness of the things of this world. The night of my flight from Paris remains one of the most sorrowful episodes: exhausted by the most difficult journey, tormented by the ill-health of Louise, anxious about the fate of my husband, I passed one of the most painful months of my life; my health deteriorated and it is only in the tranquil solitude of Twickenham that I have recovered; the agitations for the fate of France, my husband's two journeys to Paris, the calumny that unceasingly pursues him were and still are for me a continual source of anxieties.

In the midst of these trials, I have, nonetheless, found true consolation, in seeing my beloved Father [Ferdinand IV, King of Naples] tranquilly re-established on his throne, and the noble role played by Leopold [her brother], always so good. This was mingled with bitterness at the sad thought that my dear Maman [Maria Carolina of Austria, Queen of Naples, who had died in 1814] no longer enjoyed it.

I end this year in a sweet tranquillity, leading a retiring, peaceful life, which would suit me better than any other, if I could forget that I am a wife and mother and that this house is not ours.

I resign myself entirely to the will of God; regretting that I have not better profited from the crosses He has sent me during the year that is coming to an end. I wish to begin the next full of confidence in His mercy, which will accomplish all things for our true happiness and assist me to fulfill all my duties as is right. (Translated from Le journal de Marie-Amélie, Duchesse d'Orléans, 1938, pp. 142-143)
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Re: Maria Amalia of Naples (1782-1866)

Post  May on Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:41 pm


Marie-Amélie with her fine, growing family.

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Re: Maria Amalia of Naples (1782-1866)

Post  May on Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:47 pm


Here is a post about the death of her eldest son:
http://crossoflaeken.blogspot.com/2010/07/death-of-duc-dorleans-1842.html
On July 13, 1842, while en route to Neuilly to bid farewell to his parents, before departing for military duties, Ferdinand-Philippe's horses ran out of control and the prince either lept or was hurled from his carriage, cracking his skull against the pavement. Bleeding and unconscious, he was carried to a nearby inn, where he died several hours later, surrounded by his distraught family. His agony - and theirs- had only been exacerbated by the barbaric medical practices of the time.

It is said that the prince's death played an important role in contributing to Louis-Philippe's downfall. Deprived of the support of his son's popularity, and greater skill in sounding the mood of the nation, the position of the King of the French was gravely weakened. He lost the throne only six years later, amidst the tumult and tragedy of 1848.

The death of the young Duc d'Orléans (or the Duc de Chartres, as he was still known in the family, by the title he had held before his father's rise to the throne), foreshadowed political tragedies to come. More immediately, however, it was a terrible human tragedy for his family. "Chartres was the head, heart and soul of our family," wrote the Queen of the Belgians.

For his pious mother, Queen Marie-Amélie, Ferdinand-Philippe's sudden, brutal demise, in a state of total unconsciousness, without being able to prepare spiritually for death or lucidly receive the Last Rites, was a source of frenzied religious anguish, then of mysterious consolation. When she saw that her son's condition was desperate, the Queen sent at once for a priest, who did, indeed, administer extreme unction to the dying prince. Yet, Marie-Amélie was left in an agonizing uncertainty regarding his eternal fate. She was deeply troubled by the fact that he had not had the opportunity to confess his sins. According to Mia Kerckvoorde, biographer of Queen Louise-Marie, Chartres, even more liberal and revolutionary than his father, did not share his mother's religious faith. If this is true, it might explain why Marie-Amélie was so worried about the state of his soul.

Desperate, the poor mother poured out fervent prayers at his deathbed, offering up litanies, begging God, if He wanted a victim, to take her instead of her son. After the priest had finished administering the Last Rites, the Queen placed a relic of the True Cross in the prince's hands, hoping that God might take pity on him at his passage to eternity. To the great alarm and distress of her family, she then spent 17 days prostrate before his bier, in the chapel of Neuilly, praying desperately, unable to sleep, wandering about like a ghost. Trying to console her, Louise-Marie wrote to her mother: "Weep, some tears are equivalent to prayers." On the day of the transfer of Chartres' remains to the royal chapel of Dreux, the necropolis of the Orléans family, Marie-Amélie clung frantically to the coffin, shrieking.

At the beginning of August, however, on a sorrowful pilgrimage to Dreux, to pray for the repose of her son's soul, the grieving Queen finally found peace. She had spent the entire journey silent and dejected. Entering the crypt, she had, as before, fallen prostrate, wailing and sobbing. Then, suddenly, to the great amazement of her companions, she recovered herself, rose and departed, with a calm, firm step. A few days later, to one of her ladies, she calmly remarked: "Enfin, ma chère, Dieu l'a voulu" ("After all, my dear, it was God's will.") What had happened? Suzanne d'Huart, in her edition of the Queen's journal, wonders if Marie-Amélie experienced some sort of mystical assurance of her son's salvation. She remained, however, deeply grieved by the loss of her dear Chartres, sadly reading and re-reading his letters and sighing: "Alas! I loved him so much, perhaps too much..."
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Re: Maria Amalia of Naples (1782-1866)

Post  May on Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:18 am

Her two eldest daughters, Louise, later Queen of the Belgians, and Marie:

Marie d'Orléans was the beautiful, accomplished and beloved younger sister of Queen Louise of the Belgians. Born at Palermo in 1813, she was the third child of Louis-Philippe, Duc d'Orléans, and his wife, Marie-Amélie of Naples, the future King and Queen of the French.The year after Marie's birth, her family returned to Paris, only to be forced to flee to England during the Hundred Days. In 1817, they finally returned to France, dividing their time between the Palais Royal in Paris and the country estate of Neuilly. Louis-Philippe and Marie-Amélie were known for their solid domestic virtues and Marie and her nine siblings were raised in a very affectionate and close-knit family. Marie was a lively, precocious, spontaneous, independent and mischievous girl.

Marie was very close to her eldest sister, Louise. Yet, they had markedly contrasting looks and temperaments. With her blonde curls, fair skin and blue eyes, Louise was a real "golden lily of France," so to speak, while Marie was a brunette elf. From her earliest years, 'la bonne Louise' was sober, steady, disciplined, docile, gentle, retiring; Marie was vivacious, ardent, charming, witty and outgoing, but also moody, whimsical, turbulent and undisciplined. According to Louise, she had a warm, good heart, but, despite her intelligence, a "bad head," and poor judgment. Nonetheless, throughout many political and personal vicissitudes, the girls found great comfort in each other's companionship. Marie seems to have been very dependent on Louise for her emotional tranquillity, and Louise looked after Marie with almost maternal care. The sisters' relationship always reminds me of that of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood in Jane Austen's novel, Sense and Sensibility.

Along with her siblings, Marie was carefully educated. Together, Louise and Marie took lessons in history, modern languages, literature, drawing, music and horseback riding. In politics, Marie was quite liberal, influenced, in this respect, by her father and her aunt, the formidable Madame Adelaide. In religion, Marie seems to have been initially less devout than Louise, but, with time and suffering, increasingly turned to God for consolation. From a young age, Marie had a special love for art. Her favorite painter was Van Dyck, but she also admired Titian, Veronese, Michelangelo, and, among the modern artists, Gericault. She was less attracted to the Flemish primitives, finding them soulless. Marie herself eventually became a noted Romantic artist, but not before many vicissitudes. Her early attempts at drawing frustrated her teacher, Ary Scheffer, who praised her rich imagination, but criticised the quality of her lines. Rather harshly, he remarked that he was tired of "correcting broken arms and twisted legs every day." Plunged, however, into deep depression by the departure of her sister, Louise, to marry Leopold I, King of the Belgians, Marie sought comfort by throwing herself wholeheartedly into art, particularly sculpture. At seven in the morning, she would begin working in her studio, with all the windows open, dressed austerely in a cotton skirt and blouse. Under Scheffer's supervision, she developed discipline and rigor, executing a number of fine works. She drew inspiration from historical topics, and one of her favorite themes was St. Joan of Arc.

The July Revolution of 1830, which brought Marie's parents to the throne, imposed new obligations upon the young Orléans, who, like their parents, now had to fulfill the public functions of royalty. Marie hated these official duties. The revolution also meant that Marie and her siblings encountered difficulties in finding spouses. Marie's grandfather, the notorious "Philippe Egalité," who had voted for the execution of his cousin, King Louis XVI, during the first French Revolution, had already branded the Orléans with infamy. Louis-Philippe's displacement of the senior Bourbons in 1830 reinforced the family's bad reputation. European royal houses were reluctant to form alliances with people viewed as renegades. Even those who might have been willing to overlook the unfortunate events of the past were put off by the Orléans's own insecure position. After delicate negotiations, and hopes alternately raised and dashed, the 24-year-old Marie finally married Duke Alexander of Wurttemberg, a nephew of King Leopold of Belgium. A year after the wedding, in 1838, Marie gave birth to a healthy baby boy, christened Philippe.

Sadly, however, the birth shattered Marie's own health. Like Louise, Marie had always been fragile, prone to colds, coughs and dizzy spells. Her depression at the deaths of her nephew, Louise's first-born son, Louis-Philippe, in 1834, and her governess, Madame de Malet, in 1835, had further weakened her. As an additional stroke of ill-luck, a disastrous fire, erupting in the middle of the night, had forced Marie, during her pregnancy, to flee outside, scantily clad, into the snow and ice. She fell victim to tuberculosis, and, despite her travels to warmer climes and her family's hopes and prayers, she passed away in January, 1839. By then deeply religious, she bore her agony with courage, contrition, resignation, even cheerfulness. She was only 25 years old. Despite her youth, however, she declared she was dying happily, thanks to her faith. "My friends, see the power of religion," she told her loved ones,"Nemours, see it for yourself, profit by it, and tell Chartres (1)."


1)Her second eldest brother, the Duc de Nemours, who was present, was religious, but the Duc de Chartres, the eldest, who was absent, did not share his siblings' faith.

References:

Marie-Amélie, Queen, consort of Louis-Philippe, King of the French. Journal de Marie-Amélie, Reine des Français: 1800-1866, presented by Suzanne d'Huart, 1981.
Dyson, C.C. The life of Marie Amélie last queen of the French, 1782-1866. 1910.
Kerckvoorde, Mia. Louise d'Orléans, reine oubliée. 1991.
Lassère, Madeleine. Louise reine des Belges: 1812-1850. 2006.

http://crossoflaeken.blogspot.com/2010/05/marie-dorleans-sister-of-queen-louise.html
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