Francis I (Sicily)

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Francis I, King of the Two Sicilies

King Francesco I Gennaro of the Two Sicilies (born August 19, 1777 in Naples ; † November 8, 1830 ibid) was the second son of King Ferdinand I of Naples-Sicily and his first wife Maria Karolina of Austria . In 1825 he succeeded his father on the throne of Naples and Sicily .


Origin and youth

Palazzo Reale in Naples

Francis I of Bourbon was born as Prince Francesco Gennaro Giuseppe Saverio Giovanni Battista on August 19, 1777 in the Palazzo Reale in Naples as the second son of King Ferdinand I. After the early death of his older brother Carlo Tito (1775–1778) he was appointed Duke of Calabria and heir to the throne of Naples and Sicily in 1778 .

Francesco received highly qualified tutors for training, his teachers included the Apulian physicist Giuseppe Saverio Poli and the Cardinal Domenico Orsini, Duke of Gravina. He was a conscientious student and received a humanistic education that prepared him appropriately for the future heir to the throne.

Prince Francesco Gennaro in a painting by Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun in the Museo di Capodimonte , around 1790

Time as heir to the throne

The young heir to the throne showed an interest in scientific and natural topics, especially botany and history. He was less interested in Latin and other humanities. His passion for botany has already prompted him to write two treatises on the subject: " Istruzione per la coltura della pianta del cartamo e Memoria sulla coltura ed uso dell'erba dell'abbondanza. " (Instructions for growing the safflower plant and instructions for growing the Abbondanza plants).

At the age of 18 he was allowed to participate in the meetings of the State Council from 1795. During this introduction to the state arts, he never dared criticize his parents' decisions and followed all guidelines. He also obediently declared himself ready to marry his cousin Archduchess Maria Clementina of Austria, a daughter of Leopold II . The marriage contract was signed in 1790, but was postponed due to the revolutionary turmoil that the French Revolution caused in Europe. Only in a time of relative peace between Naples and Paris was Maria Clementina able to reach her new home safely. The wedding took place on June 25, 1797 in Foggia and was part of the political plan of an alliance between the Kingdom of Naples and the Imperial Court in Vienna.

The following year, 1798, the Duke of Calabria took part as leader of the royal army in the Neapolitan expedition against the Roman Republic established by the French to restore the pope's secular power. General Championnet , commander in chief of the French troops protecting the Roman Republic, was initially driven out of Rome by a five-fold superior force of the Neapolitans, but defeated the forces led by General von Mack in December 1798 and captured Capua . In January 1799, French troops invaded the Kingdom of Naples in retaliation. The royal family, including Francesco, fled to Sicily under English protection. At the same time, the Parthenopean Republic was proclaimed in Naples . In 1801, Francesco's wife Maria Clementina died in Palermo of complications from tuberculosis, a few months after the death of their eldest son Ferdinando. Cardinal Fabrizio Dionigi Ruffo was appointed Vicar General of the Kingdom in January 1799 and organized revolts in Apulia and Calabria. In 1801, after the reconquest of Naples by Cardinal Ruffo, Francesco returned to Naples as a lieutenant and stayed there until June 1802, when King Ferdinand returned from Sicily.

After Francesco had ended his mourning period, a new marriage to Maria Isabella of Spain, the daughter of Charles IV, was arranged on July 6, 1802 at the behest of Ferdinand IV. Ferdinand IV of Naples and the King of Spain were brothers, so the spouses were again closely related as cousins. The wedding ceremony took place in Barcelona from October 6th to 12th, and after the splendid wedding the spouses returned to Naples. The new marriage, which produced numerous children, was planned by Ferdinand IV, who thus renewed the alliance between Naples and Madrid. Despite this dynastic relationship, relationships had quickly cooled due to the machinations of Maria Carolina, which brought the Kingdom of Naples under the full influence of the Habsburgs .

Vicar General of Naples

Naples was reoccupied by the French army in 1806, and the royal family had to seek refuge again in Palermo . Francesco did not follow them, ended up with Sapri and was appointed by the king as deputy and vicar general on the Italian mainland. Following the example of Ruffo, he preferred to organize a popular uprising in Calabria and Basilicata . Unfortunately, his venture quickly failed and he and the rest of the royalist supporters had to flee to Sicily.

The painting by Giuseppe Cammarano shows from left to right Maria Isabella of Bourbon-Spain (second wife of Francis I) with Maria Carolina and Maria Antonietta, the future Grand Duchess of Tuscany. Luisa Carlotta hugs the future Queen of Spain, Maria Cristina. At the base of the bust of Ferdinand I, little Ferdinand II, heir to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Franz I carries Maria Amalia in his hands, right: Carlo, Prince of Capua and Leopoldo, Count of Syracuse

King Ferdinand IV was able to continue to rule in the Kingdom of Sicily under the protection of the British fleet. After the Sicilians had received a constitution through the influence of the English, the Viennese court felt snubbed, whereupon Queen Caroline went into exile via Istanbul to Vienna. King Ferdinand resigned the government on January 16, 1812 under pressure from England and handed it over to the son Francesco, who had to adopt the new constitution and recognize Lord Bentinck as commander of the British troops in the Kingdom of Sicily. After Joachim Murat's reign collapsed, King Ferdinand left Sicily on May 17, 1815 and appointed his son governor of the island. During the nine years that Francesco spent in Sicily, he resumed his rural life and founded the Boccadifalco model farm, where he experimented with new methods of irrigation, cultivation and breeding.

In December 1816 the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was founded and when the King, now called Ferdinand I, repealed the constitution of 1812, an uprising broke out in 1820 that could only be suppressed with the help of Austria. During the uprising in Naples and Palermo, Francesco was appointed vicar general of the kingdom. The Austrian occupation in Naples continued, even after the death of Ferdinand I on January 4, 1825 at the age of 73.


Francis I, King of the Two Sicilies

After the reign of Francis I was already known from his repeated tenure as vicar of the kingdom, the liberals and the former insurgent leaders expect a new progressive policy for the kingdom. Franz I's policy remained strictly reactionary after he came to power, contrary to the expectations of liberals and progressives. Francis I did not change anything, not only because his empire was still controlled by the Austrian troops, but also because Naples remained ruled by the same ministers who ultimately served his father. The Prime Minister of the Cabinet in Naples remained Luigi de Medici and Pietro Ugo delle Favare , both known for their authoritarianism and repression , was in office in Sicily . In 1827, Franz achieved his only political success when he persuaded the Austrian army, which had occupied the country since 1821 and was financed by Naples' tax money, to withdraw.

The reign of Francis I was associated with the increase in the Carbonari secret societies, mainly on the peninsula and in eastern Sicily. Smuggling and corruption flourished in the rest of the Sicilian territory. There were many crimes by private armed gangs who work on behalf of the feudal lords (nobles and large landowners) and from which the Cosa Nostra later emerged.

On June 28, 1828, a new uprising against the king began in Cilento , which was brought into being by members of the so-called secret society of Philadelphia and called for the restoration of the constitution of 1820. The insurgents quickly took the cities of Centola , Camerota , Bosco and Palinuro . On July 1st, King Francis sent the Minister Francesco Saverio Del Carretto at the head of 8,000 soldiers to put down the revolt. Several acts of violence were carried out against the civilian population and the insurgent village of Bosco was destroyed on July 7th. Del Carretto threatened to destroy the village of Celle di Bulgheria if the leader of the uprising, Canon Antonio Maria De Luca , were not extradited. The latter surrendered to the police to avoid a massacre and was sentenced to death a few days later after being excommunicated.

Franz I died on November 8, 1830, at the age of 53, after only five years of reign and was buried in the Basilica of Santa Chiara . His son Ferdinand Charles Marie succeeds him as king on the throne.


Philip V King of Spain (1683–1746)
Charles III King of Spain (1716–1788)
Elisabetta Farnese (1692–1766)
Ferdinand I of Naples and Sicily (1751–1825)
Friedrich August II. Kft. Of Saxony , (1696–1763)
Maria Amalia of Saxony (1724–1760)
Maria Josepha (1699–1757)
Franz I, King of the Two Sicilies
Leopold of Lorraine (1679–1729)
Emperor Franz I Stephan (1708–1765)
Elisabeth Charlotte de Bourbon-Orléans (1676–1744)
Maria Karolina of Austria Archduchess (1752–1814)
Emperor Charles VI. (1685-1740)
Empress Maria Theresa (1717–1780)
Empress Elisabeth Christine (1691–1750)

Marriages and offspring

On June 25, 1797, in Foggia, he married Maria Klementine of Austria , his first cousin on both his father's and mother's side, with whom he had these two children:

On October 6, 1802, he married Maria Isabel of Spain , his first cousin on his father's side, in Naples , who gave birth to the following children:

  • Luisa Carlotta (October 24, 1804 - January 29, 1844), Princess of Spain
  • María Cristina (April 27, 1806 - August 22, 1878); ⚭ 1829 Ferdinand VII , King of Spain
  • Ferdinand II (January 12, 1810 - May 22, 1859), King of the Two Sicilies
  • Carlo Fernando (October 10, 1811 - April 22, 1862), Prince of Naples and Sicily
  • Leopoldo Benjamin (born May 22, 1813 - December 4, 1860), Prince of Naples and Sicily
  • Maria Antonietta (born December 19, 1814 - † November 7, 1898); ⚭ Leopold II , Grand Duke of Tuscany
  • Antonio (23 September 1816 - 12 January 1843), Count of Lecce
  • Maria Amalia (February 25, 1818 - November 6, 1857), Princess of Bourbon; ⚭ Sebastian, Infante of Portugal (1811–1875)
  • Maria Carolina (February 29, 1820 - January 13, 1861), Princess of Spain
  • Teresa Cristina (March 14, 1822 - December 28, 1889); ⚭ 1843 Peter II , Emperor of Brazil
  • Luigi Carlo (July 19, 1824 - March 5, 1897), Count of Aquilia; ⚭ April 28, 1844 Januária of Brazil
  • Francesco Luigi (born August 13, 1827 - September 24, 1892), Count of Trapani


  • Grand Master of the Order of January
  • Grand Master of the Order of Constantine
  • Grand Master of the Ferdinand Order
  • Grand Master of the Order of St. George of the Association
  • Grand Master of the Royal Order Franz I.


Web links

Commons : Francis I of the Two Sicilies  - collection of images, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
Ferdinand I. King of the Two Sicilies
Ferdinand II.