Marie-Louise of Austria

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Marie Louise of Austria
(Portrait of François Gérard ). Marie-Louise's signature:Signature Marie-Louise of Austria.PNG

Marie-Louise of Austria (* December 12, 1791 in Vienna , † December 17, 1847 in Parma ), actually Maria Ludovica Leopoldina Franziska Therese Josepha Lucia of Habsburg-Lothringen , later (since 1817) also Maria Luigia d'Asburgo-Lorena, Duchessa di Parma, Piacenza e Guastalla , was the daughter of Francis II / I. and second wife of Napoleon I.


Youth in Vienna

Marie-Louise of Austria was the first daughter of the then heir to the throne and later Roman-German or Austrian Emperor Franz II / I. and his second wife Maria Theresa of Naples-Sicily , granddaughter of King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Archduchess Maria Karolina of Austria . She was a great-granddaughter of Maria Theresa and a great niece of the French Queen Marie Antoinette , who lost her head under the guillotine almost two years after Marie-Louise's birth in the French Revolution .

The girl was the granddaughter of Maria Karolina of Austria and the Spanish infanta Maria Luisa of Spain , after whom she was named. Due to close family marriages (her parents were first cousins), she suffered from so-called ancestral decline . Both through her mother and father, she was the great-granddaughter of the Roman-German imperial couple Maria Theresa and Franz I on the one hand and the Spanish royal couple Karl III. and his wife Maria Amalia on the other hand. That is, these four people were her great-grandparents of two.

She lost her mother at the age of 15. A year later, on January 6, 1808, her father married Maria Ludovika Beatrix of Austria . This marriage remained childless due to Ludovika's illness.

In his fourth marriage on November 10, 1816 in Vienna, he married Princess Karoline Auguste of Bavaria (1792–1873), daughter of King Maximilian I. This marriage also remained childless.

Marriage to Napoleon

In 1810 Marie-Louise was married to the French Emperor Napoleon. Napoleon's first marriage to Joséphine de Beauharnais had failed because it did not result in an heir to the throne. In addition, Napoleon hoped to be able to bind Austria to himself politically by marrying. Marie-Louise herself suffered because for years she had detested Napoleon, who had militarily humiliated her beloved father several times. She even owned a doll named after Napoleon, which she used to vent her anger at the Antichrist , as she called him. She had also fallen in love with Archduke Franz von Modena-Este , a brother of her stepmother, Empress Maria Ludovika , at a young age . However, a wedding was ruled out from the start, because as the daughter of the emperor, her father intended her for higher things.

Thomas Rowlandson : Caricature about the marriage of Napoleon and Marie-Louise under the title Boney and his New Wife, or a Quarrell about Nothing , 1810

Marie-Louise submitted to her fate, she viewed it as a kind of personal sacrifice for the House of Habsburg . While the lower classes hoped for a long-lasting peace , the nobility felt the marriage as a national humiliation. However, it was clear to the emperor that he could not risk rejecting Napoleon.

The French people were always hostile to her, as people still remembered the time when Napoleon's first wife, Joséphine , had been considered the lucky charm of the empire. When the minor military defeats came along with Marie-Louise, the opinion of the people was decided. Even the birth of an heir could not change that. When Napoleon commissioned Marie-Louise to recruit the younger and younger soldiers during his Russian campaign , they were called les Marie-Louise and the people's rejection of her reached a new high point. Even from the point of view of Napoleon's immediate environment, Marie-Louise could not stand up to the comparison between her and Joséphine, who had always distinguished herself through her charm, helpfulness and grace, while Marie-Louise's reluctance was interpreted as arrogance and she was also mistaken made to try to hide their insecurity through overly authoritative behavior.

Marie-Louise and her son Napoleon Franz, who later became Duke of Reichstadt
Daguerreotype of Marie-Louise as Duchess of Parma, shortly before her death (around 1847)
Palazzo Ducale Parma
Copper sarcophagus Marie-Louises († 1847) in the imperial crypt

The heir to the throne, longed for by Napoleon, emerged from this connection in 1811: Napoléon François Charles Joseph Bonaparte , known as Napoleon II. Napoleon, who had not exactly distinguished himself through monogamy during his first marriage , was at least officially loyal to her until his death, because so long they were married on paper.

After Napoleon's abdication in 1814, Marie-Louise fled with her son via Blois to Vienna, where the population welcomed her with great jubilation. On May 21, 1814 she arrived at Schönbrunn ; this was assigned to her as her whereabouts. She was welcomed by her stepmother with relief , but Maria Ludovika could do little with her stepmother, little Napoleon Franz . Although she found him remarkably handsome, the sight of him always reminded her of his all too hated father. If she had had to decide, the child should later have become a priest so as not to cause any political problems.

Duchess of Parma and Piacenza

At the Congress of Vienna in 1814/15, the duchies of Parma and Piacenza and Guastalla were awarded to her. Her interests were represented by Count Adam Albert von Neipperg (1775-1829), with whom she then lived in Parma , although she was still the wife of Napoleon. She also had several children with the Count, two of whom reached adulthood: Albertine, born in 1817, and Wilhelm Albrecht, born in 1819 . She gave her children to a doctor named Dr. Rossi in care, and she no longer cared about her first-born, Napoleon's son. Only after Napoleon's death was her association with Neipperg legitimized in 1821 through a morganatic marriage . The children from this connection were given the name Montenuovo and were later elevated to princes, with Montenuovo being the Italian equivalent of Neuberg , the possible origin of the name of the Counts of Neipperg .

Her third marriage was in 1834 when she was 43 years old with Count Charles-René de Bombelles (1785-1856), chief steward and minister at the court of Parma. In this marriage she developed into a true country mother until her death in 1847.

In December 1847 she died in Parma of pleurisy . She said goodbye to her subjects and the Council of State with the words "Addio, amici miei" ("Farewell, my friends"). After Marie-Louise's death, the corpses were preserved : after the heart, brain and innards had been removed, a solution of one kilogram of arsenic and ten liters of alcohol was introduced through the carotid artery. The body was then laid out on a display bed for six days in the Palazzo Ducale in Parma . Finally, the body was placed in a wooden coffin lined with purple velvet, which was locked in a lead and a wooden cover coffin, and transferred to Austria. Marie-Louise, like many of her relatives from the Habsburg family, was buried in the imperial crypt in Vienna.


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Robert Seydel: Die Seitensprünge der Habsburger , pp. 121-122, Ueberreuter-Verlag, Vienna 2005.
  2. ^ Friedrich Weissensteiner : Women on Habsburgs Throne - the Austrian Empresses , Ueberreuter-Verlag, Vienna 1998.
  3. a b Magdalena Hawlik-van de Water, The Capuchin Crypt. Burial place of the Habsburgs in Vienna , 2nd edition Vienna 1993, p. 269.

Web links

Commons : Marie-Louise von Österreich  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
Jean-Jacques Régis de Cambacérès Duchess of Parma
1814 - 1847
Karl Ludwig