Maria Karolina of Naples and Sicily (1798–1870)

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Marie Caroline of Bourbon Sicily (widowed Duchess of Berry in 1825, by Thomas Lawrence )

Maria Carolina, Princess of Bourbon-Sicily, Duchess of Berry , French Marie Caroline, princesse de Bourbon-Deux Siciles, duchesse de Berry (born November 5, 1798 in Palermo , † April 16, 1870 in Brunnsee Castle near Mureck , Styria ) was the eldest daughter of the future King Francis I of the Two Sicilies . Her first marriage was the daughter-in-law of King Charles X of France and mother of the legitimist pretender to the throne, Henri , Count of Chambord.



Marie Caroline came from the marriage of Francis I of Naples and Sicily and his first wife Maria Clementine of Austria . In 1806 she and her family fled to Sicily when Napoleon occupied the Kingdom of Naples and in 1808 handed it over to his brother-in-law Joachim Murat . She grew up in the Palazzo Reale in Palermo until the family was able to return to the Palazzo Reale in Naples and the Palace of Caserta after Murat's fall in 1815 .

Life in paris

The Duchess of Berry with her two children (1822 by François Gérard )

In 1816 she married Charles Ferdinand de Bourbon , Duke of Berry, the younger son of the Count of Artois, who later became King Charles X of France. The marriage was through Karl's brother Louis XVIII. arranged to give heirs to the main Bourbon line, for the king himself had remained childless, as had Charles Ferdinand's older brother. However, the Duke of Berry already had two daughters in English exile with one of his mistresses, Amy Brown (1783–1876), and it was said that he married her on the left hand. This supposed marriage was considered null and void by the king. The princess first met her husband, who was married through procuration, on June 15, 1816 at Fontainebleau Palace . Two days later, a church wedding took place in the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral . The couple moved into the Elysée Palace and the marriage seems to have been sufficiently happy, at least four children sprouted from it, the first two of whom died as infants.

On February 13, 1820, the Duke of Berry was fatally wounded while leaving the Paris Opera by a saddler named Louis-Pierre Louvel . Seven months after his death, the Duchess gave birth to a son Henri , who received the title Duke of Bordeaux, but who is known in history as Comte de Chambord . The newborn was now the legitimate heir to the French throne, after his grandfather and childless uncle. The portrait of François Gérard demonstratively has the boy standing on a throne chair in 1822, in his mother's arms. A daughter, Louise Marie Therese , who later became the Duchess of Parma, was born in 1819. The widow now moved into the Palais des Tuileries , at the king's court. There her sister-in-law, Marie Thérèse Charlotte de Bourbon , the only surviving daughter of Louis XVI., Took part in the upbringing of her children. In contrast to her, who had experienced the horrors of the French Revolution in her youth , Maria Karoline was fun-loving, devoted to travel and fashion.

Attempted restoration and life in exile

Portrait of Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun : Maria Karolina, Duchess of Berry

The Duchess of Berry had to follow her father-in-law Charles X after the July Revolution of 1830 into exile in Scotland in Holyrood , but with the intention of quickly returning to France to take over the reign and secure the throne for her son, because Charles X. and his older son had abdicated in his favor, in the vain hope that Parliament would approve the Child King. Her closest advisers were the legitimist MP Ferdinand de Bertier de Sauvigny and the Duke Pierre-Louis de Blacas d'Aulps , who later bequeathed his fortune to their son. Both worked out a reform edict that provided for democratic elections and a strictly legitimist succession to the throne. The Duchess went to Italy from England and landed near Marseille in April 1832 . Since she found only 60 armed supporters there, instead of the announced 2000 armed supporters, she attempted to look around the loyal districts of Vendée and Brittany , where she tried to revive the Vendée uprising . Her few followers soon dispersed, however, and after hiding in a house in Nantes for five months, the Duchess was betrayed to the government and imprisoned in the citadel of Blaye .

Here she gave birth to a daughter, Anne Marie Rosalie, in 1833, presumably from her secretary, the lawyer Achille Guibourg (1799–1890), who had shared the hiding place in Nantes with her. Since a reputable father had to be found in a hurry, her friend Zoé du Caila, former lady-in-waiting of Louis XVIII, arranged for her a secret and absent marriage to Count Ettore Lucchesi Palli , son of the Neapolitan Minister of State Antonio Lucchesi , before the birth. Palli, 7th Prince of Campofranco, who was once the steward of her father. At the request of ex-King Charles X, who brought in his former ministers Guillaume Isidore, Comte de Montbel and Pierre-Louis-Auguste Ferron, this marriage was later confirmed by a forged Roman marriage certificate (which is now in the Vatican's secret archives ) Dated back to 1831 to save the honor of the mother of the pretender to the throne. The Duchess of Berry now declared that she had secretly married Ettore Lucchesi Palli the year before last and that he was the father of the newborns. However, this could not be due to the time circumstances, because Ettore stayed in Italy during the period of conception, but she in Nantes. In any case, the news of the obscure birth in prison and the surprising marriage to a Sicilian made her fall in the sympathy of her legitimist supporters abruptly. Since she could no longer pose a threat to the government under the newly elected Citizen King Louis-Philippe I , she was released in June 1833, not without the government exploiting the case for propaganda purposes; Louis-Philippe had even ordered Marshal Bugeaud to come to the birthing bed as a witness.

Brunnsee Castle in Eichfeld (Styria)

She first left for Sicily , where her new husband was waiting for her. Their little daughter died soon after. The princess, who was now married to a courtier who was not her equal , was just as unpleasant to her brother, King Ferdinand II , as to her father-in-law Charles X, who now commissioned his other daughter-in-law, Marie Thérèse Charlotte de Bourbon, to raise his grandson. Maria Karolina therefore went into exile in Austria, where her uncle, Emperor Franz I , her mother's brother, ruled. There she acquired Brunnsee Castle in Eichfeld (Styria) from her inheritance in 1834 , not far from Graz , where she lived in seclusion with her second husband and their four children. In 1837 she also bought the nearby Weinburg am Saßbach Castle . Since 1837 the headquarters of the secret society "Burschenschaft Sylvania", which was founded by Maria Karolina, has been located in Schloss Weinburg. Both castles are still owned by great-grandchildren from the Lucchesi Palli family. In 1844 she also acquired the Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi in Venice, which she later passed on to her grandson Henri von Bourbon-Parma and their children from their second marriage. Her son Henri d'Artois, Comte de Chambord, later took up residence at Schloss Frohsdorf in Lower Austria as a result of the inheritance from Duke de Blacas d'Aulps . In 1854 her son-in-law, Duke Karl III. of Parma , murdered. Through the Risorgimento her daughter Louise Marie was expelled from Parma as regent in 1859 and her nephew Franz II from the throne in Naples-Sicily in 1861 . Her husband died in 1864, leaving behind considerable debts. Her son, the Count of Chambord, had to support her. In 1870 she died at Brunnsee Castle.

Maria Karolina was buried in the mausoleum of the Lucchesi Palli in the Mureck cemetery.

Marriages and offspring

Maria Carolina had four children with Charles Ferdinand de Bourbon , Duke of Berry (1778–1820):

With Ettore Lucchesi Palli , Duca della Grazia (1805–1864) she had five children:

  • Anna Maria Rosalia Lucchesi Palli (* / † 1833)
  • Clementina Lucchesi-Palli (1835–1925) ∞ Camillo, conte Zileri dal Verme degli Obbizi
  • Francesca Lucchesi-Palli (1836–1923) ∞ Camillo Massimo , principe di Arsoli
  • Maria Isabella Lucchesi-Palli (1838–1873) ∞ Maximiliano Cavriani Gian Battista de Conti
  • Adinolfo, conte Lucchesi-Palli (1840–1911) ∞ Lucrezia Nicoleta Ruffo

Sources and literature

  • Jean-Baptiste-Victor Raindre: Madame la Duchesse de Berry chez moi au château de Nantes, November 1832 . (Manuscript in the possession of his great-great-grandson Jean Reindre in the Maintenon Castle).
  • Laure Hillerin : La Duchesse de Berry. L'oiseau rebelle des Bourbons . Paris 2004, ISBN 978-2-0812-2880-1 .
  • André Castelot : La Duchesse de Berry d'après des documents inédits . New edition. Librairie Académique Perrin, Paris 1996, ISBN 2-262-01167-2 , ( Présence de l'histoire ).
  • Catherine Decours: La Dernière Favorite. Zoé du Cayla, le grand amour de Louis XVIII . Librairie Académique Perrin, Paris 1993, ISBN 2-262-01044-7 .
  • Arthur Léon Imbert de Saint-Amand : La captivité de la duchesse de Berry, Nantes & Blaye . Dentu, Paris 1890.
  • Arthur Léon Imbert de Saint-Amand: La Duchesse de Berry en Vendée, à Nantes et à Blaye . Dentu, Paris 1893.
  • Arthur Léon Imbert de Saint-Amand: La Duchesse de Berry Et La Cour De Charles X . Dentu, Paris 1888, online (English).
  • Arthur Léon Imbert de Saint-Amand: La Duchesse de Berry et la Vendée . Dentu, Paris 1889.
  • Arthur Léon Imbert de Saint-Amand: Les dernières années de la duchesse de Berry . Dentu, Paris 1885.
  • Hildegard Kremers : Marie Caroline Duchesse de Berry. A picture of life . Styria, Graz a. a. 1998, ISBN 3-222-12533-3 .
  • Hildegard Kremers (ed.): Marie Caroline Duchess of Berry. Naples, Paris, Graz, the life paths of a romantic princess. Vienna, Cologne, Weimar: Böhlau, 2002. ISBN 3-205-77029-3
  • Thea Leitner : Fates in the House of Habsburg . Unabridged paperback edition. Piper, Munich a. a. 2003, ISBN 3-492-23980-3 , ( Piper 3980 series ), (Contains: Habsburgs sold daughters . Habsburgs forgotten children ).
  • Hippolyte Thirria: La Duchesse de Berry (SAR Madame) 1798-1870. Nombreux documents inédits. Un portrait . TJ Plange, Paris 1900.

Web links

Commons : Maria Karolina of Naples-Sicily (1798–1870)  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Carolina di Borbone-Due Sicilie , in: Dizionario biografico degli italiani, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana
  2. The speculation continues to this day, for example in the television program by Laure Hillerin, "La duchesse de Berry, people avant l'heure" in the series Au cœur de l'histoire on channel Europe 1 on May 14, 2013. Compare the local discussion page with further sources.
  3. See Royalty guide and Cimetières de France et d'ailleurs