Elisabetta Farnese

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Elisabeth Farnese as Queen of Spain
Autograph by Elisabetta (1715).

Elisabetta Farnese (born October 25, 1692 in Parma ; † July 11, 1766 in Aranjuez ) was - under the name Isabel de Farnesio - through her marriage to King Philip V of Spain from December 24, 1714 to January 14, 1724 and from Queen of Spain from 6 September 1724 to 9 July 1746 .


She was the daughter of Hereditary Duke Odoardo II. Farnese of Parma and Piacenza (1666–1693) and his wife Dorothea Sophie von Pfalz-Neuburg . She was heir to the childless last Duke Antonio Farnese , who died on January 20, 1731. The inheritance consisted of the duchy, but also the property of the family in and around Rome , the Palazzo Farnese , the Villa Farnese , the Villa Farnesina , but above all the Farnesian collections .

Marriage and offspring

Elisabetta was married to the Spanish King Philip V (1683–1746) from the Bourbon dynasty since September 16, 1714 . She had seven children with him:

  1. Charles III (1716–1788) King of Spain ⚭ 1738 Maria Amalia of Saxony (1724–1760)
  2. Franz (* / † 1717)
  3. Maria Anna (1718–1781) ⚭ 1729 Joseph I (1714–1777) King of Portugal
  4. Philipp (1720–1765), Duke of Parma ⚭ 1738 Marie Louise Élisabeth de Bourbon (1727–1759)
  5. Maria Teresa (1726–1746) ⚭ 1745 Ludwig (1729–1765) Dauphin of France
  6. Ludwig Anton (1727–1785) Archbishop
  7. Maria Antonia (1729–1785) ⚭ 1750 Viktor Amadeus III. (1726–1796) King of Sardinia-Piedmont

The marriage was concluded at the instigation of Madame des Ursins and Giulio Alberoni , who had come to the Spanish court with the Duke of Vendôme and had there gained the trust of Madame des Ursins.

Next life

Queen Elisabetta Farnese's coat of arms

Elisabetta Farnese was superior to her melancholy husband in many respects; she was educated, interested in art, politically active, and also endowed with a strong will. Her first act, as soon as she stepped on Spanish soil, was to dismiss the hitherto almighty Madame des Ursins. Whether this was done with the express approval of Louis XIV and Madame de Maintenon , as the Duke of Saint-Simon claims in his memoirs, can neither be clearly confirmed nor refuted.

In any case, the Queen, who appeared to be in complete control of the King, together with her adviser, Giulio Alberoni , who has now been appointed cardinal, directed Spanish politics for a long time. After her husband's abdication in 1724, she managed to get her stepson Ludwig to appoint her confidante Juan Bautista de Orendáin as Spanish Prime Minister. After the early death of Ludwig and the re-assumption of the throne by Philip V, she was the driving force behind the dismissal of José de Grimaldo as Prime Minister, who was replaced by Orendáin.

Her political goal was primarily to regain the former possessions in Italy , which she finally achieved after initial failures and the resulting overthrow of Alberoni in 1719 with military and diplomatic means: Her eldest son Karl (who initially had a subordinate place in the Spanish line of succession proved that Philip already had sons from his first marriage) received the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza for himself and his descendants in 1731 , which he exchanged for the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily in 1735. After an Austrian interlude and another successful war, Parma and Piacenza got his brother Felipe, the son-in-law of the French king, in 1748. With these two dynastic successes, Elisabetta became the founder of the Bourbon-Sicily and Bourbon-Parma branches .

As Ferdinand VI. , Philip's last surviving son from his first marriage, became King of Spain in 1746, Elisabetta was inevitably pushed into the background. During this time she had the palace of Riofrío built as a widow's seat. But when her stepson died childless 13 years later and her own eldest son Karl as Karl III. (Carlos III.) Became king of Spain, not only was her old influence restored - Elisabetta also became the ancestor of the Bourbon royal dynasty, which is still ruling today in Spain.


  • Teresa Lavalle-Cobo: Isabel de Farnesio. La reina coleccionista . sn, Madrid 2002, ISBN 84-930030-9-3 .
  • Maria A. Pérez Samper: Isabel de Farnesio . Plaza & Janés, Barcelona 2003, ISBN 84-01-30515-2 .
  • Carl Schmeling: Queen and Buhlerin (Elisabeth Farnese). Historical novel . Humburg & Co, Berlin 1865.
  • Luciano de Taxonera: Isabel de Farnesio . Ed. Historia, Barcelona 1943.

Web links

Commons : Elisabeth Farnese  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Predecessors Office Successors
Maria Luisa Gabriella of Savoy Queen of Spain
Louise Élisabeth de Bourbon-Orléans
Louise Élisabeth de Bourbon-Orléans Queen of Spain
Maria Barbara de Bragança