Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Italian Royal Families => Topic started by: Christopher on November 11, 2005, 10:48:16 PM

Title: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Christopher on November 11, 2005, 10:48:16 PM
I would like to know more about Queen Carolina di Borbone-Napoli, wife of Ferdinando I.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on November 12, 2005, 08:10:47 AM
She was the daughter of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and Franz of Lorraine. She was called Charlotte before her marriage and a close companion of Archduchess Maria Antonia (later Queen Marie Antoinette). After 2 elder sisters died in a row, she was picker to marry King Carlos III's younger son, Fernando, King of Napoli. She gave her husband plenty of children, including Marie Amelie (who later married Louis Philippe, and became Queen of the French). She was exiled by the British beck to Vienna, where she died.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Linnea on November 12, 2005, 08:20:13 AM
The pair actually had 17 children (not all survived of course)! Even though Ferdinand, M.C. husband, had such a big family, he had a lot of affairs with ladies-in-waiting etc.
BTW, Maria Carolina had the same "hobby" as her mother: To marry off her children to the best mathes of Europe...
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Sissi on January 11, 2006, 09:48:35 AM
There is something interesting about Marie Caroline:
She had three grand sons heir to the throne of France:

  Marie Louis married napoleon and was mother of Napoleon II Duke of Reichstadt.

  Marie Amelie married Louis Philippe and her son became heir
marie Caroline de Berry which was her grand daugther had the Duc de Bordeaux who was also heir of the legitimist branch.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Sissi on January 17, 2006, 01:00:30 PM

(http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/kedvesem/Mariecaroline2.jpg)

Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: crotalo on March 15, 2006, 06:34:55 AM
 (http://fotos.miarroba.com/thumb/244441F2FF2044180A471744180A08.jpg)  (http://album.miarroba.com/sarolte/0/63/)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: crotalo on March 15, 2006, 06:35:58 AM
 (http://fotos.miarroba.com/thumb/204441F3431D44180A8C2544180A4C.jpg)  (http://album.miarroba.com/sarolte/0/64/)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: crotalo on March 15, 2006, 06:37:08 AM
 (http://fotos.miarroba.com/thumb/2B4441F3842044180ACE1E44180A8D.jpg)  (http://album.miarroba.com/sarolte/0/65/)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: crotalo on March 15, 2006, 06:42:08 AM
 (http://fotos.miarroba.com/thumb/234441F4AE2244180BF91F44180BB7.jpg)  (http://album.miarroba.com/sarolte/0/66/)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: crotalo on March 15, 2006, 06:43:36 AM
 (http://fotos.miarroba.com/thumb/214441F5062144180C522644180C0F.jpg)  (http://album.miarroba.com/sarolte/0/67/)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: crotalo on March 15, 2006, 06:44:39 AM
 (http://fotos.miarroba.com/thumb/1F4441F54C2944180C992444180C55.jpg)  (http://album.miarroba.com/sarolte/0/68/)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: crotalo on March 15, 2006, 06:45:23 AM
 (http://fotos.miarroba.com/thumb/204441F57A2244180CC82544180C83.jpg)  (http://album.miarroba.com/sarolte/0/69/)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: crotalo on March 15, 2006, 06:46:16 AM
 (http://fotos.miarroba.com/thumb/1F4441F5AF2B44180CFE2444180CB8.jpg)  (http://album.miarroba.com/sarolte/0/70/)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: crotalo on March 15, 2006, 06:47:12 AM
 (http://fotos.miarroba.com/thumb/2A4441F5E72544180D372644180CF0.jpg)  (http://album.miarroba.com/sarolte/0/71/)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: crotalo on March 15, 2006, 06:48:27 AM
 (http://fotos.miarroba.com/thumb/244441F6321744180D832944180D3B.jpg)  (http://album.miarroba.com/sarolte/0/72/)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Mari on August 26, 2008, 12:32:39 AM
Quote
Napoleon had installed one of his sisters on the throne of Naples.  Maria Carolina hated Napoleon fanatically for doing this, and for driving her out in the first place.  Her feelings changed after he fell from power.
Quote

Why would Maria Carolina's feelings ever change toward Napoleon?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 26, 2008, 02:53:02 PM
That is really simple. Maria Carolina was the enemy of Napoleon and friend of the British. However after the Hamiltons left and Nelson died. The new British head was against her and arranged for her to be exiled to Austria. Such a twist of events made Maria Carolina becoming more sympathetic to Naploeon, who also suffered under British hands. Lastly she took an interest in his son the King of Rome, while in Vienna.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: britt.25 on August 27, 2008, 05:49:01 AM
So she also met him, it's interesting, as they are related through different lines. Little king of Rome was her distant nephew from various sides...
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: nom de plume on August 27, 2008, 08:12:51 PM
Maria Carolina’s parents were devoted to each other - in their own fashion.  Thanks to their example as well as her staunch Catholic faith, Maria Carolina believed that marriage was sacred.  Although she loathed Napoleon, she had great respect for him too.  When he fell from power, she pitied him, but not to the extent that she wanted him restored to power.  She was a very smart cookie – she probably recognized that the Emperor, Metternich, etc., were fools to throw away the opportunity to put Napoleon II on the throne of France under the control of a pro-Austrian regency council headed (nominally at least) by Marie Louise.

Maria Carolina believed that it was Marie Louise’s duty to stand by her husband.  She also believed that Marie Louise should do whatever it took to secure a good future for her son.  I don’t know if she knew about Marie Louise’s affair with Neipperg; I think that came out after her death.  She would have been aghast if she’d known that Marie Louise had traded her marriage and her son’s future for a life interest in the teeny tiny duchy of Parma and a one-eyed lover.  It’s a pity that Maria Carolina died when she did – Napoleon II had no greater ally in Vienna.

Hope this helps…
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 14, 2010, 06:48:30 PM
That was the reason why MT said of all her daughters, MC resembled her the most of all. She would have made a splendid Queen Regant.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on February 15, 2010, 08:16:15 PM
Sorry, I have some reservations about Maria Carolina being a splendid Queen Regnant for several reasons:  1) I've never read that she turned Naples into a kingdom of prosperity and in fact, as CoutessKate said in another thread, supported a regime of corruption and repression; it wasn't even the best governed or 2nd best governed state in Italy at that time (I've read that Tuscany and Parma were); 2) she was quite violent and was responsible for putting to death many people (her son-in-law Orleans said that she was cruel, violent, and her hands were stained with the blood of people); and 3) she seemed to have alienated family members, near relations and all her previous allies; it's impossible that all those people were at fault and she was blameless. So I cannot view her as a good queen regnant.  

MC may have been the daughter most like Maria Theresa but it seems that she also inherited MT's worst faults -- petty, vengeful and unforgiving, full of hate to her enemies, bullying,  and being critical of everything and everyone else, among other things.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: HSH The Duchess of Bourbon on February 18, 2010, 05:36:56 AM
sorry people...this is a bit off the point, but i was wondering hw many children she had exactly; some sources say 16-18!? its confusing me  :( ha
also, why did so many die young? and what off? smallpox maybe?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on February 18, 2010, 07:34:39 AM
Allan Raymond's site (http://www.btinternet.com/~allan_raymond/Bourbon_Two_Sicilies_Royal_Family.htm) is very comprehensive and suggests there were 17 children.  There may have been a stillbirth - sometimes people count these in, sometimes not, but it may account for the varying numbers.  I believe smallpox may have accounted for some of their deaths, but  it's not always easy to tell - and 18th century physicians were not necessarily very good at distinguishing one cause of death from another (for example, symptoms were often mistaken for the cause, such as the not uncommon "convulsions"). 

Infant mortality in the 18th century varied widely from country to country and from class to class and royal children were not always at less risk than others.  Generally, children in rural areas were more likely to survive compared to children in urban areas who were likely to be at greater risk of contagion from viral and endemic diseases.  Royal children, brought up with many servants and courtiers around, could be seen to a certain extent as 'urban' children (even if they were brought up in a country palace).  While malnutrition would not have been a factor, infections, poor feeding practices, poor hygiene, and even climate, might have all contributed their bit to killing off 10 of the family before their 10th birthday.   
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on March 10, 2010, 11:15:08 PM
Does anyone know how Queen Maria Carolina fared as a ruler in Naples & Sicily? How did the people take the Austrian influence compared to the Spanish one?  I know the English nobility greatly praised her but they were rather a favored clique in Naples so I'm not very certain of their credibility.  However,  I did read that Goethe praise her....... Did Naples & Sicily prosper with MC at the helm? Was she kind to the people (the commoners, not the courtiers and nobility) I've read one source that stated Tuscany was the best governed state in Italy at that time and next to it was Parma....   
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on March 11, 2010, 01:29:10 PM
I read that in English books and German translation ones that MC was regarded as a good ruler. They usually divided the times before and after the French Revolution, when MC began to lose it. Yet with Europe in such chaos, it was hard to judge her decisions.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on March 11, 2010, 07:19:53 PM
Thanks!

Does anyone recall any specific instances/issues that Maria Carolina did in order to be regarded as a good ruler?  I've only read of two so far:  the charity work she did after the great earthquake in 1783 and building a navy for Naples (which was undoubtedly needed)...... anything else? Like what kind of reforms did MC do and how charitable and/or kind was she as a ruler? 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on March 11, 2010, 08:35:20 PM
I think the books on Emma Hamilton usually throw sidelights on Maria Carolina, she was as close to anyone can get to the Queen.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on March 11, 2010, 10:53:02 PM
Thanks! I will try to get ahold of any books on Emma Hamilton. Didn't  Maria Carolina and Emma Hamilton end up sort of estranged later on?  I seem to have read somewhere that Emma asked for (financial) help from MC and MC didn't help her -- most likely because she almost had no money herself...

I'm now re-reading the Queen of Naples and Lord Nelson by Jeaffreson and frankly, I think the author painted Maria Carolina's character/personality very flatteringly!  I'd like to read Harold Acton's books soon, they seem to be most credible source on MC and her husband.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on March 12, 2010, 04:20:21 PM
I would referred to Harold Acton's books as very "reliable" on the Queen of Naples.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on April 05, 2010, 08:48:56 PM
Okay, I have gone through The Queen of Naples and Lord Nelson over the past weekend and  IMHO,  the author was too fawning on Maria Carolina. The author described her as very beautiful (whereas her early portraits do not seem to be very beautiful, pretty enough for those times, yes, but nothing very beautiful ever), said she loved her husband and was respectful of him and was even pleased with his looks - except for the Bourbons nose - among other fawning things. I'm a bit stunned by all that flattery..... I mean, I like Maria Carolina but I'm not one to look over her faults - and there were many - either.

However there were some essentials points that the author seemed to have gotten right: Maria Carolina's intellect was overrated by her admirers, and that while she made many reforms, she had no clue on the reforms that were needed and wanted by her subjects. Hence, Naples was infected by the Jacobins.  Can anyone please add to this?  I'm not very familiar with Naples in the late 1780s and onwards.......   
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 16, 2010, 09:42:05 AM
I suggest you to visit Sicily, it's a wonderful island, (I particularly like the eastern zone, that is the zone of Messina, Catania and the mount Etna), and it's the Island where King Ferdinando II was born.

By the way, the monument of Messina dedicated to Ferdinando II that I posted was realized by Pietro Tenerani in 1856.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 16, 2010, 11:35:04 AM
Maria Carolina of Austria spent time there in Sicily in 1799 and since 1806 to 1813 (when she returned in Vienna), but I don't know any places where she lived or that she attended...
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 17, 2010, 08:06:17 AM
They spent most of the time in Palermo, but I wonder in wich Palace they lived, I should do a little research...

Portrait of Ferdinando I di Borbone (Maria Carolina's husband), if I recall correctly it should be located at the Royal Palace of Naples.

(http://inlinethumb60.webshots.com/20539/2208119380101857556S600x600Q85.jpg) (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2208119380101857556CaOGnK)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: REMI on April 17, 2010, 10:05:30 AM
Yes...Most likely she lived with her husband in Sicily.

<a href="http://s293.photobucket.com/albums/mm65/CHARLEMAGNE_2008/?action=view&current=palazzodeinormanni-1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm65/CHARLEMAGNE_2008/palazzodeinormanni-1.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
Il palazzo dei Normani who lived Maria Carolina

(http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm65/CHARLEMAGNE_2008/LareinedesDeux-Sicilesdormaitici.jpg)
The bedroom of Queen Maria Carolina in the Palace of the Normen

(http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm65/CHARLEMAGNE_2008/LachambredelaReineMarieCaroline.jpg)
Another photo of the bedroom of Maria Carolina

(http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm65/CHARLEMAGNE_2008/Lextravagantpalaisquesefitconstruir.jpg)

The chinese palace of King Ferdinand 1st, photo taken by myself

First, King Ferdinand lived in a villa on the seaside in Termini Imerese, between Palermo and Cefalů, on the North coast of Sicily.
Later, he built on the hills of Palermo (I colli) an extravagant villa in the chinese style in the middle of a park of 400 hectares, named Royal estate of "La Favorita". He drove there all day and his slaughter of game is  ended in hundreds pieces!
As Queen Maria Carolina, she lived in the gloomy Palace of the Normen (Palazzo dei Normani)

REMI
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: REMI on April 17, 2010, 10:10:25 AM
The former royal palace of Palermo, named Palazzo dei Normani

REMI
(http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm65/CHARLEMAGNE_2008/palazzodeinormanni.jpg)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 17, 2010, 10:58:48 AM
Wonderful photos!

Il Palazzo dei Normanni now it's the seat of the Sicilian Regional Assembly, Remi, if you have other photos of internals I'd like to see them, I have seen the Palace just externally.
The Cappella Palatina (that it's part of the palace) it's considered one of the most wonderful monuments of Sicily.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: REMI on April 19, 2010, 08:09:35 AM
Wonderful photos!

Il Palazzo dei Normanni now it's the seat of the Sicilian Regional Assembly, Remi, if you have other photos of internals I'd like to see them, I have seen the Palace just externally.
The Cappella Palatina (that it's part of the palace) it's considered one of the most wonderful monuments of Sicily.


Unfortunately, I have no other photos of internals. Most of rooms of this palace have been transformed into officces or lounges for members of the Sicilian Regional assembly. Here is a view of Palermo Maria Carolina coud have when she opened her window....
On the left, the Monte Pellegrino, then Massimo Theater. In the middle, the Catheral.

(http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm65/CHARLEMAGNE_2008/Aucentrelacathdrale.jpg)


REMI
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 19, 2010, 11:37:24 AM
In first moment she didn't liked to live in Naples, once she wrote to her mother Maria Teresa of Habsburg that "she would rather die than live there", the relationship with her husband was cold, it was absolutely not a real love but a combined one, and probably it was the main reason of her initial discontent...in fact, Ferdinando was know for being harsh.

Unfortunately, I have no other photos of internals. Most of rooms of this palace have been transformed into officces or lounges for members of the Sicilian Regional assembly. Here is a view of Palermo Maria Carolina coud have when she opened her window....
On the left, the Monte Pellegrino, then Massimo Theater. In the middle, the Catheral.

Thank you for the photo!
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on April 19, 2010, 11:54:18 AM
But did she enjoy Sicily more than Naples ?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 19, 2010, 12:03:23 PM
I think that she preferred Naples, anyway...Sicily was a refuge for her, the place that she chose for her volontary exile, I think that her interests were primarily for Naples.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on April 19, 2010, 03:14:27 PM
Well...That would make sense, a palace like Caserta would much more appeal to her vanity.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 20, 2010, 08:19:11 AM
True...and also, Naples and Caserta were the heart of the Reign of the Two Sicilies, and then was there that she could satisfy her political ambitions...she even created the Statuto of San Leucio (Status of St. Leucio), that were a series of laws that emancipated the women, in fact, they provided equal rights between men and women...quite a brilliant maneuver.
But it's also true that in a period of her reign (the period after the outbreak of the French Revolution, and the death of her sister Marie Antoinette) she adopted systems that were repressive against the Jacobins.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 22, 2010, 04:23:39 AM
And the situation worsened when she returned from her exile in Palermo, having regained Naples, was then that she decided to carry out her revenge against the supporters of the republican ideologies.
The list of who would be punished with death was prepared by Maria Carolina herself...it was indeed the most controversial and cruel period of her reign.
Among those who were sentenced to death, there was Eleonora Pimentel Fonseca, a very cultured woman, and friend of Maria Carolina...but, despite her confidential friendship with the Queen, she had a crucial role in the Republican movements...and for this reason sentenced to death.

Maria Carolina was indeed a very intelligent person, and was able to do benevolent actions, but in the same time she was also harsh and vindictive, a person that not easily forgive.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on April 22, 2010, 06:18:37 AM
Maria Carolina was indeed a very intelligent person, and was able to do benevolent actions, but in the same time she was also harsh and vindictive, a person that not easily forgive.

RomanovsFan4Ever, it seems you know a lot more about Maria Carolina, much more than me.  This question has always interested me: why was she considered very intelligent? I've read it here and there but never with supporting details. Can you please enlighten me?  :)  Thanks! Also, I'm asking because her brother Joseph called her "our crack-brained" sister to Leopold, and that was way before MC became "unbalanced" because of the French Revolution and its aftermath.  

Wasn't there a palace named Colli in Palermo? I read it somewhere and it said that it served as the home of Maria Carolina.  But according to this thread, she stayed at Il Palazzo dei Normani.

It did not help that she was losing her looks and influence with her husband. She put her trust in the British, but in the end it was them not the French who exiled her...

Didn't she also turn against the British later on, hence her expulsion from Sicily?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 22, 2010, 10:55:18 AM
RomanovsFan4Ever, it seems you know a lot more about Maria Carolina, much more than me.  This question has always interested me: why was she considered very intelligent? I've read it here and there but never with supporting details. Can you please enlighten me?  :)  Thanks! Also, I'm asking because her brother Joseph called her "our crack-brained" sister to Leopold, and that was way before MC became "unbalanced" because of the French Revolution and its aftermath.  

Wasn't there a palace named Colli in Palermo? I read it somewhere and it said that it served as the home of Maria Carolina.  But according to this thread, she stayed at Il Palazzo dei Normani.

Hello!
Actually from what you wrote in the topic specifically about Maria Carolina, I'm quite sure that you know much more than me, I became interested in this historical figure just very recently and so I have still much more to know about her.

As far as I know, Maria Carolina was knew since young age for her surprising intelligence, once I read that she was Maria Teresa (her mother)'s favorite daughter, exactly because her intelligence and her strong temper.
As I mentioned in a previous post, as Queen of the Reign of two Sicilies, she was the author of several important reforms (as the "Statuto of San Leucio"), and as a follower of the "Enlightenment", she initially earned the esteem of intellectuals (and maybe she promoted the birth of the Masonic movement in the Reign, as some suggest).
Well, actually those are still fragmentary informations I guess, but it's all I read about it...

Sincerely I'm not aware of the existence of a Palace named Colli in Palermo...there is the Piana dei Colli, that it's a plain in the northern area of Palermo, I don't know if there is a Palace there.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on April 27, 2010, 08:46:18 PM
Yes, they were friends and allies.....  :)  although I haven't read much on their relationship.

How did the Sicilians view their king and queen?  From my what I have read, Ferdinand and Maria Carolina never saw/visited their secondary realm of Sicily until they had to flee from the French in 1798....
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 28, 2010, 04:30:20 AM
How did the Sicilians view their king and queen?  From my what I have read, Ferdinand and Maria Carolina never saw/visited their secondary realm of Sicily until they had to flee from the French in 1798....

I don't think that Sicilians had a positive view of their King and Queen...Ferdinando intended to reduce the power of the Sicilian Barons who ruled the Island, and he imposed other reforms that the Sicilian people didn't accepted.
Sicily was annexed to the Bourbon's Reign in 1734, and it was already a first reason that favored the emergence of hostility of the Sicilians towards the Napolitans, in fact, Sicily for some centuries had rejected the submission to the continental governments defending their independence...So the final annexation to the bourbon's Reign was not appreciated, but Sicily kept anyway a kind of "autonomy" represented by the Sicilian Barons.
So, the Ferdinando I's new reforms that tried to cancel that "autonomy" was considered very negatively by Sicilians...
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on April 28, 2010, 08:26:21 AM
Thanks a lot for the explanation, RomanovsFan4Ever!  :)

It seems that the Sicilians were very independent and very assertive - very much like the Hungarians of Empress Maria Theresa's time.  Being so, I don't think they'd like Maria Carolina and vice versa.

I can't imagine the Sicilians being very happy having Ferdinand and Maria Carolina living in Sicily.... in addition to perhaps some fear of losing some of their independence and having to submit to reforms they didn't want, the royal family's expenses were also to be borne by them.... or perhaps that paid for by the British. 

Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 28, 2010, 11:46:31 AM
It seems that the Sicilians were very independent and very assertive - very much like the Hungarians of Empress Maria Theresa's time.

Yes, kind of...

But I have also to add to my previous post that despite of the controversial political relationships between Ferdinando I and the Sicilians, the period of highest tension between Naples and Sicily was long after Ferdinando I and Maria Carolina's time, but during Ferdinando II's time in 1848 and 1849, with the explosion of the Sicilian Revolutionary movements (as I have already mentioned in a previous post) and the subsequest bombing of Messina.

As far as I read, during the time of Ferdinando I and Maria Carolina there were independence movements (supported by the British, especially by Lord Bentinck), but those were always peaceful movements that never led to real wars.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 28, 2010, 12:07:06 PM
in addition to perhaps some fear of losing some of their independence and having to submit to reforms they didn't want, the royal family's expenses were also to be borne by them.... or perhaps that paid for by the British. 

I think that the higher costs were incurred by Naples its self...the Royals took away with them a big number of works of art and the entire Napolitan Public funds.  ::)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on April 28, 2010, 06:07:26 PM
I read from Acton's book that it was the British commander who was arragont and disrespectful to MC that started it all (one should remember that MC got on well with the British (The Hamilitons & Nelson) before then). Since it came from a British source, I tend to believe it. Ferdinand II did not lift a finger to save her, while her son Leopold went with her to exile. As the mother-in-law of the Emperor of Austria and grandmother of the Ex-Empress of the French, MC was not a nobody. The fact that she told Marie Louise that she should escape through the window by tying up bed sheets reveal that is still some fire left in the old dragon. Furthermore, MC 's kindness to the largely ignored King of Rome showed she could be sentimental when she wish to be. Her last words was to her great grandson "Let the little one come to me tomorrow, I have something that would amuse him." She died the same night.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on April 29, 2010, 08:02:51 PM
Thank you, Eric_Lowe.

Like I mentioned earlier, I haven't read Harold Acton's book so the information above you posted is very interesting to me. It sounds like it the British representative was the first to make mischief in Sicily and so Maria Carolina gave as good as she got... unfortunately for her, she lost this particular "battle".  Anyway, Sicily then was under British protection so it seems like Ferdinand and MC needed the British more than British needing them?  I assume the banishment of MC also had the British regent's approval....

I think it's true that Ferdinand did not lift a finger to save her -- and just pretended to be sorry (in a letter to his nephew Emperor Francis in Austria) about MC's banishment. Again, I understand where he came from -- more than 40 years of MC's bad temper and everything that she did was deemed wrong - but I don't think it was a commendable action, even if he had no love left for his wife.

It's true that MC was not a nobody as you put it. Her nephew and son in law Francis could've treated her better (the impression I got is that he largely ignored her after their falling out in the early 1800s) but he probably felt justified about not being warmer to her.

That MC could be loving/kind cannot be contested.  However, like I pointed out earlier (I think in another thread), it seems that she was very selective about to whom to show such...it didn't seem to be a trait that could be pointed out in general.   Again, I need to read more about MC to futher back up this impression.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on April 29, 2010, 11:56:17 PM
I think that the higher costs were incurred by Naples its self...the Royals took away with them a big number of works of art and the entire Napolitan Public funds.  ::)

Oh. No wonder the Neapolitans didn't seem to like Maria Carolina (I'm not sure about Ferdinand, he seems to have been popular or at least retained some of his popularity)... not only did she and her husband had people executed but also did that! MC and her husband probably viewed such as 'personal' property anyway, and to protect the same from the French. I hope they didn't do the same thing to Sicily when they left it for Naples!
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on April 30, 2010, 04:35:01 AM
Oh. No wonder the Neapolitans didn't seem to like Maria Carolina (I'm not sure about Ferdinand, he seems to have been popular or at least retained some of his popularity)... not only did she and her husband had people executed but also did that! MC and her husband probably viewed such as 'personal' property anyway, and to protect the same from the French. I hope they didn't do the same thing to Sicily when they left it for Naples!

I think that in young age Ferdinando was quite loved by Napolitan people, he loved to spend his time with common people, for this reason he was called "Re Lazzarone", because he loved to go round with the Lazzari that were young men of the popular class of Naples.

Probably, Maria Carolina was the most hated (although her violent and repressive reactions were supported by Ferdinando as well)...once I read that take away the public funds from Naples was a Maria Carolina decision, if it was true, she probably intended to "save" it from the French's hands as you have suggested...Although it was indeed a serious damage to the Napolitan people...
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on April 30, 2010, 06:35:18 AM
Quote
I think that in young age Ferdinando was quite loved by Napolitan people, he loved to spend his time with common people, for this reason he was called "Re Lazzarone", because he loved to go round with the Lazzari that were young men of the popular class of Naples.

Probably, Maria Carolina was the most hated (although her violent and repressive reactions were supported by Ferdinando as well)...once I read that take away the public funds from Naples was a Maria Carolina decision, if it was true, she probably intended to "save" it from the French's hands as you have suggested...Although it was indeed a serious damage to the Napolitan people...

Ferdinand greatly benefited in popularity from his more relaxed personal tastes which suggested an essential sympathy with the common people, which may have been true in terms of enjoying the sorts of unpretentious company, entertainments and food of the lower classes, but didn't translate into political sympathy.  He not only supported the repressive measures of his wife, he supported them when his wife was no longer on the scene.  Maria Carolina reaped all the hostility towards the government as a distant and powerful foreigner who appeared to have no sympathy with the lower classes.  In fact politically, there was very little difference between her and Ferdinand.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on May 03, 2010, 01:50:11 AM
 I think it's quite clear that he did mind Maria Carolina taking the reins of power and her bad temper...... he complained a lot about her to his father but more or less said he didn't want to suffer her bad temper and wanted to be left alone in peace...as she wanted to rule at all costs.  Yes, I think Ferdinand was also culpable in thepolitical disaster at the end years of their  reign, no matter the the mistakes MC did.  He didn't want to be bothered by the demands of government and his wife's ill temper... so whatever the results were, he was also partly responsible even if his wife was the "prime mover" in Naples......
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on May 11, 2010, 03:05:19 PM
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Does anyone know when Ferdinand of Naples started having extra-marital affairs, that is at which point in their marriage?

Prior to his marriage, Ferdinand (according to Michel Lacour-Gayet in his biography 'Marie-Caroline - reine de Naples') did not have a regular mistress, preferring 'paysannes'.  Catherine Bearne in 'A sister of Marie Antoinette' writes of the early married life of Caroline and Ferdinand that "the Queen, finding it useless to alter him, left him at liberty to follow his low pleasures and undignified amusements and liaisons while she lead her own life..." and of his country life at Portici and Caserta, Bearne writes that here "he hunted, shot, and fished to his heart's content, and carried on the love intrigues which the Queen, unable to prevent, ignored to a certain extent when they concerned obscure persons not likely to give any trouble, but put an end to if the object of the King's fancy happened to be a woman of rank and education, likely to influence him or interfere in the slightest degree in political or social matters."  Bearne also cites the Englishman Henry Swinbourne, writing of his travels in Italy in 1777, in which he "describes the King as boyish, good-natured, and boisterous, telling amusing stories and always carrying on intrigues with women - chiefly contadine "[peasants].  Some aristocratic women attempted to become his mistress - for example, the Duchessa di Lucciana was suspected of this, and the Marchesa di San Marco was actively intriguing for it, but the Queen put a stop to any such goings-on. 

Mrs Bearne, writing a hundred years ago, would no doubt have suppressed all mention of Ferdinand's philanderings had it been possible, but the evidence was so extensive she bravely decided to be modern and bold about Telling All.  Lacour-Gayet and Bearne between them rather suggest that Ferdinand had continuous casual liasions before and during his marriage with Caroline and his last mistress and eventual wife, Laura Migliaccio, was one of a long, long line of women who were pretty much tolerated by her.  As a noblewoman, Laura Migliaccio would no doubt have been a target of the Queen had she been still with Ferdinand, but in fact Laura was completely uninterested in politics – probably one of her great attractions for Ferdinand.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on May 11, 2010, 08:09:01 PM
Thank you!  :)

I rather had the idea that Ferdinand of Naples cheated on his wife early on, so it appears that both Maria Carolina and Maria Amalia in Parma had to contend with either mistresses or 'casual  affairs' at the outset of their marriages.  I'm just a bit surprised that Ferdinand of Naples also went for peasant girls like his cousin in Parma....
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on May 12, 2010, 03:10:35 AM
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I'm just a bit surprised that Ferdinand of Naples also went for peasant girls like his cousin in Parma....

They were both effectively orphaned at a young age and both had rather casual courts where interaction with peasants were very frequent - Ferdinand of Naples in particular enjoying country pursuits such as hunting as well as disliking reading and intellectual activities.  The ministers who basically ruled until their wives came, were indulgent about these liaisons in a way their parents wouldn't have been, but would have probably have worked hard against a potential court mistress who might have spearheaded attempts to oust them.  Peasant girls weren't guarded in the way aristocratic virgins were, and it seems to have been the easiest way for them to have numerous sexual encounters without any problems or criticism.  And of course, peasant girls were not prostitutes and although they probably expected presents, didn't expect regular payment or were very likely to transmit diseases.  I can't think of situations more attractive for sexually active young men. 

I've never been in the least surprised about Ferdinand of Naples' sexual tastes - but I would have thought Ferdinand of Parma's religious feelings would have given him more restraint in that area.  Clearly not.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on May 12, 2010, 04:05:02 AM
CountessKate: You're absolutely right, without any parental supervision, Ferdinand of Naples would've been free to pursue his 'escapades' and being fond of the hunt would've exposed him to country girls otherwise not found at court (though I imagine some girls worked as servants at the palace). Same with his cousin in Parma, although that Ferdinand did not seem to hunt very much. I never thought much about peasant virgin girls of that era, although what you said about them makes a lot of sense.  I would think, like the young girls kept by Louis XV at the Parc Aux Cerfs, said peasant girls (or at least their fathers) were imdemnified or was it like in cases of the manor lord (who had the pick of the peasants' pretty daughters as his unquestionable right)?

It must've been quite humiliating for Maria Carolina to "compete" with the peasant girls, just like her sister in Parma!  I couldn't make up my mind which was worse, that or Marie Antoinette's non-conssummation of marriage for 7 years (another humiliating thing)....  
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on May 16, 2010, 11:11:27 PM
I've gone through The Queen of Naples and Lord Nelson again.... the author said Maria Carolina offended many people with her 'laudable schemes for the welfare of her people' because she undertook many reforms too soon but that her rule was generally regarded as good until 1790. It also said that she never bothered to know what the people wanted but trusted on her own judgement and that of a few ministers. Then when maintaining soldiers and navy personnel in the 1790s became too expensive for Naples' economy, she made use of the people's money ('secret despoliation') at the banks and was found out!    

It also says that she engaged in a 'systematic duplicity' regarding her husband..... perhaps that's why Ferdinand of Naples lost all confidence and any good feelings for her later on.  :-\
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on May 17, 2010, 10:32:33 AM
It would be interesting to hear what the 'systematic duplicity' consisted of.  Ferdinand seems to have been perfectly happy not to have taken any interest in the details of government and become irritated and unhappy with the Queen only when her efforts against the French failed and the Bourbons were thrown out of Naples.  In that respect, Maria Carolina would hardly have neede to decieve Ferdinand.

With regard to the money, would either the King or Queen have regarded the finances of the kingdom as 'the people's' money?  I would have thought that they would have considered it as the revenue of the government, of which they were the head, and entitled to spend it for the benefit of the kingdom on whatever they thought was appropriate.  No doubt the maintenance of the army and navy was expensive - it certainly is to any state in this day and age - but the expression of dissatisfaction that Maria Carolina was despoiling the banks in 'secret' sounds the sort of thing either her personal opponents or the opponents of autocratic government would have said, rather than something Maria Carolina would have actually done.  She might well have tried to raise loans from Neopolitan banks privately and even tried to renege on the loans or reduce the terms of borrowing (though I have no evidence to suppose she did any of this), but it's certainly not unknown to governments even today! 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on May 17, 2010, 10:17:52 PM
It would be interesting to hear what the 'systematic duplicity' consisted of.  Ferdinand seems to have been perfectly happy not to have taken any interest in the details of government and become irritated and unhappy with the Queen only when her efforts against the French failed and the Bourbons were thrown out of Naples.  In that respect, Maria Carolina would hardly have neede to decieve Ferdinand.

Thanks!  :)  I share your view on this.  

Sorry, the correct term should be 'systematic hyprocrisy' rather than 'systematic duplicity' although hypocrisy and duplicity are, of course, synonymous.... From Chapter 2 of the book The Queen of Naples and Lord Nelson, Volume 1:

It was Maria Caroline's intention to treat her husband as though she loved him passionately, and to do her utmost to make him think her a devoted wife. To attain to the largest possible authority over the Two Sicilies, was the purpose for which she was journeying to Naples. To win this largest possible authority she must rule her husband. To rule him she must make him believe himself to be greatly beloved by her. This child (for in years she was still only child) saw that, under certain conceivable circumstances, it would devolve upon her to do daily violence to her feelings by acting with systematic hypocrisy towards her husband,—even by deceiving him at every turn, in order to keep him well in hand.

With regard to the money, would either the King or Queen have regarded the finances of the kingdom as 'the people's' money?  I would have thought that they would have considered it as the revenue of the government, of which they were the head, and entitled to spend it for the benefit of the kingdom on whatever they thought was appropriate.  No doubt the maintenance of the army and navy was expensive - it certainly is to any state in this day and age - but the expression of dissatisfaction that Maria Carolina was despoiling the banks in 'secret' sounds the sort of thing either her personal opponents or the opponents of autocratic government would have said, rather than something Maria Carolina would have actually done.  She might well have tried to raise loans from Neopolitan banks privately and even tried to renege on the loans or reduce the terms of borrowing (though I have no evidence to suppose she did any of this), but it's certainly not unknown to governments even today!  

Well...It is hard to say what is the monarch's money from public funds. I am sure MC had money through her dowry money. Francesco II was able to live comfortably through his mother(Maria Cristina of Savoy's) dowry that was released back to him by his distant cousin Victor Emmanuel of Savoy, later king of Italy and the proceeds from the sale of Farnese's palace in Rome.

Maria Carolina didn't use the money to her personal use, although she claimed or made it appear that she was 'patriotic enough' to sell and pawn her jewels to pay for whatever was needed to protect Naples.  :)

On the money she needed to maintain the army and navy in the 1790s, it seems that she made use of the people's private funds deposited at the banks.  Chapter 12 of the same book:

To provide for the maintenance of these forces on  land and sea, she was under the necessity of imposing heavy taxes on all orders and classes of her subjects; and, when the increased taxes proved inadequate to her expenditure, she laid recourse to the desperate  expedient of issuing fictitious paper money, in the form of notes on the seven national banks. In doing  so, without taking the depositors into her confidence on the subject, the ruling woman dealt with the  property of private individuals in a way that may be fairly described as 'secret despoliation'

The case against her would be still worse, could it be proved  that, whilst the costs of her government were to her  knowledge being paid with the money drawn thus surreptitiously from her subjects, she caused it to be  understood by the public, that the excess of her expenditure over her revenue was met by the private  wealth of the crown. It has been alleged that she told people about her, how she had sold or pawned her jewels for the necessities of the country, and shone with paste at the court-galas.

For gambling in this fashion with the resources of her subjects, Maria Caroline was severely punished.  On discovering how the money had been raised for the excesses of expenditure, the people exclaimed bitterly against her deceit, hypocrisy and rapaciousness. In  their rage, the defrauded depositors even spoke of the Queen, the King and Acton, as having robbed the  banks for their own private enrichment. The financial policy, which brought countless people to poverty, made the Queen a score of enemies for every  person, whose hatred she had earned by her previous policies.


Yes, I also couldn't understand why she couldn't get loans for such - most likely it was harder to do so in times of war - or resort to real paper money like Maria Theresa did. But what she did was shocking, even more than the so-called  'systematic hyprocrisy' she was said to practice on her husband.  The author of the book John Cordy Jeaffreson seemed quite fawning over MC (he even claimed that she liked her husband's looks!) and made a great effort in trying to disprove the greatest slanders against her, and also cites Colletta, the author of Storia di Naples, as also mentioning this despoiling of private funds.  :(
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on May 17, 2010, 10:51:58 PM
Sorry, the phrase Storia di Naples should read Storia di Napoli instead on the last paragraph in the post above.

I think it's understandable why Maria Carolina was anxious to spend so much on the army and navy; after all, it was to protect Naples and its people as well.  But the method she resorted to was quite questionable, I don't think even an absolute monarchy in place could justify it.   The motive was quite necessary and good, though.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 18, 2010, 10:18:50 AM
I think MC deal with the problem the only way she knew how. It is easy to critize her now, but one must realise her situation as an alien in a strange land. I do not think Ferdinand resented being "handled" while his needs for amusements (sex and  hunting among them)  were being taken care of.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on May 18, 2010, 08:25:01 PM
I don't know how much weight the alien factor had in this situation; after all, Maria Carolina had been in Naples for 26 long years by 1794 and presumably had done a lot of good with her 'laudable schemes for the welfare of her people' although she also encountered criticisms in doing so (because apparently her schemes harassed the interests of certain sectors of society, which of course was natural effect in setting new policies).  

Pietro Colletta who wrote Storia di Napoli said of her regarding this matter: 'state necessity, the instincts of despotism, the ease with which the money could be obtained, and the hope of replacing the missing sum before before it could be discovered, and finally, the  belief entertained by all absolute monarchs that the property as well as the lives of subjects belongs to  them, were reasons enough for extending a rapacious hand towards the deposits'.  

I may have found one reason for MC's deteriorating relationship with her son-in- law and nephew Emperor Francis in the early 1800s... it seems that MC wanted some territorial compensation for all the help Naples did in the coalition against France. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on May 19, 2010, 04:49:57 AM
While Pietro Colletta is undoubtedly correct as to Maria Carolina's removal of the neopolitan gold, he has drawn some rather unfair conclusions - that it was somehow a corrupt and illegal proceeding.  However, a modern parallel can be drawn in the withdrawal of the Norwegian national treasury which went with King Haakon VII into exile at a time of war, and some of it was used to buy weapons and finance operations against the Germans.  That of course was done with the agreement of the Norwegian government, in a much more democratic way, but nevertheless it was a similar situation in which the undemocratic but legitimate government of Naples, in the form of Maria Carolina with the agreement of the absolute ruler Ferdinand, acted in precisely the same way.  Colletta was on the opposing side to the Bourbons, who threw him in prison at one stage, and eventually exiled him, so he was rather likely to take the dimmest view of the proceedings.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on May 28, 2010, 04:34:27 AM
Okay, note to self: get Harold Acton's book on the Bourbons of Naples soon!  ;)  That might help in determining Maria Carolina's friendships and loyalty.

Has anyone read on Maria Carolina's pastimes/hobbies/interests, aside from reading and the Enlightenment?  
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 28, 2010, 05:28:47 AM
She likes to read and prefers German food than Italian dishes.  ;)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on May 29, 2010, 04:42:11 AM
Why didn't Maria Carolina like Italian food? Or did she just think that German was superior in every way to the Neapolitan ways? 

I've recently read her sister Maria Amalia was part of the famous "Maria Triumvirate" (which of course includes Maria Carolina and Marie Antoinette), who was very much German in manners and in arrogance. I guess the same description could be applied to MC and Marie Antoinette (although I'm not very sure how MA remained German in her ways, certainly she could be arrogant at times).....
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on May 31, 2010, 05:15:17 AM
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Why didn't Maria Carolina like Italian food? Or did she just think that German was superior in every way to the Neapolitan ways? 

I think one should remember that to a girl of sixteen, made to marry a young man of no great attractions, living in a strange country and in strange surroundings after never having left Austria before, speaking a foreign language, and incessantly pregnant, the food of her home country may well have seemed one of the few anchors which she could hang on to without reproach - when people she knew such as maids and ladies and gentlemen in waiting were not encouraged to stay or were sent back to Vienna.  I've felt the same on a (thankfully) few occasions when I've been in a foreign country where I'm not sure what the food described on the menu is, and I'm tired and hungry and seen a MacDonald's - providing food I would never dream normally of eating, but I know what the food is and it's a sort of respite from all the foreigness. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on May 31, 2010, 09:37:49 AM
Yes. I agree that clinging on to German food is one of her ways of coping on a foreign land. However it seems her sister Maria Amalia like Italian food more than MC. Also I agree with Princess Michael of Kent on a good personal bio should include what sort of food people like (for example MC like galerto, while Pauline Bonaparte like light pasta), what type of clothes they like (satin, silks, velvets or tulle), books they read (Vicky read Karl Marx) and places they visit. It brings the story to life.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on May 31, 2010, 03:05:10 PM
Yes. I agree that clinging on to German food is one of her ways of coping on a foreign land. However it seems her sister Maria Amalia like Italian food more than MC. Also I agree with Princess Michael of Kent on a good personal bio should include what sort of food people like (for example MC like galerto, while Pauline Bonaparte like light pasta), what type of clothes they like (satin, silks, velvets or tulle), books they read (Vicky read Karl Marx) and places they visit. It brings the story to life.

I agree - though it's not always easy to extract this information from the literature we have about these people, which is often so dry.  It is interesting that once she too had been dragged off, kicking and screaming (metaphorically speaking) to Italy like her sister, Maria Amalia seemed to acclimatise in certain respects more readily than her sister Maria Carolina.  Though on the general note of tastes, Maria Amalia didn't seem very interested in books, or even clothes after a while, but threw herself into country pursuits.  Maria Carolina seemed to feel country pursuits were a good way to get her husband out of her hair.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on May 31, 2010, 10:24:57 PM
I've never thought of German food being some sort of comfort to Maria Carolina but it is possible...... she seemed quite unsentimental to me, even with her seemingly utter devotion to some people.

So, MC also liked to ride horses? I haven't read of any country pursuits yet except walking.....

How do you find Stefan Zweig (best known, I think, for his book on Marie Antoinette) as an author?  This relates to one of my earlier posts.... that I haven't read anything yet on MC helping Marie Antoinette 1789-1793 except have some talks with Leopold about how they can rescue their sister. I reread a few portions of said book last night and Zweig claimed in his book that Louis XV and MA wanted to get a few millions on loan from the courts of Austria, England, Spain, and Naples  (before their disastrous flight to Varennes) but not one of the courts loaned them any money....... If true, I  must say MC's devotion to her sister, despite her protestations of love, confuses me because Zweig said it was Count Fersen who (solely) came up with money by mortgaging 2 of his estates for 600,000 livres (and even borrowed 3,000 livres from his valet to add to the funds). I think it was also Zweig also claimed Fersen was never repaid, even partially, by any of the Bourbon courts later on. So I don't know what to think about MC about this matter. Although he was wrong in claiming that none of the surviving Habsburgs showed him gratitude to trying to save Marie Antoinette (Maria Amalia did and Fersen wrote about how moved he was about it). 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 03, 2010, 04:34:49 AM
Harold Acton, in The Bourbons of Naples writes very briefly that due to her sister's treatment, Maria Carolina wanted to make a complete break from revolutionary France (i.e. cut off all diplomatic communication, trade etc.), but was prevented from doing this by Ferdinand.  If in this instance Maria Carolina was unable to sway Ferdinand, it would not have been possible for her to commit sufficient funds from the royal treasury or her personal jewels (again difficult to turn into cash if her husband vetoed this) to effectively undermine the French government by procuring the escape of their prisoner - and I assume she would have needed a lot of money to carry out an escape (Fersen spent his whole fortune on his abortive escape plan, I believe, and he was very rich).  Moreover, even if she had managed to get some money together, she would have had to try to obtain Marie Antoinette's escape not using any established Neopolitan network of agents in France (as this would have been forbidden by Ferdinand) but via persons she could trust to work independently in a foreign country (and there wouldn't have been many of them).  Such personal agents would have needed more time probably than Marie Antoinette had, to learn about possibilities of bribing guards, setting up a more effective escape route, etc. - and this in the teeth of what must have been much more effective guarding than previously.  I think it was a much greater job than just raising enough money - and Maria Carolina did not have the backing in this case of the head of state.  If he wouldn't allow her to raid the treasury, or sell her jewels, or use official diplomatic (or unofficial government) channels to help her sister, she was pretty much stymied.  Ferdinand, when push came to shove, was the ruler and his views prevailed. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 03, 2010, 08:46:22 PM
Many thanks! The explanation/scenario written above seems very likely.  :) Does anyone know why Ferdinand of Naples seemingly got into Maria Carolina's way in all this?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 03, 2010, 10:21:51 PM
One of the reasons is that he was a very selfish man (unlike his cousin Ferdinand of Parma).
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 04, 2010, 06:41:04 AM
One of the reasons is that he was a very selfish man (unlike his cousin Ferdinand of Parma).

In this, for once, Ferdinand was acting as a responsible ruler.  It was impossible for a small state such as the Two Sicilies to effectively take on a powerful nation such as France (as indeed was amply demonstrated in the French Revolutionary Wars, where the French won resounding victories over German, Austrian and Italian opposition).  For the Two Sicilies to intervene in French government business would have to become a target for the highly efficient French army and on a more commercial level, have disrupted trade and ruined Neopolitan businesses.  Given the ruthless efficiency of the French revolutionary government’s spy network, it would also have been difficult for the Two Sicilies to have helped Marie Antoinette clandestinely, as I have previously suggested.  It would have been very noble for Ferdinand to at least attempt to intervene – but it would have jeopardised his subjects’ lives and trade as well. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 07, 2010, 01:39:33 AM
Ferdinand of Naples certainly thought he wasn't as "dumb" as people thought him to be.... he declared himself with as much common sense as Joseph II and Leopold II. Perhaps when he wanted to, he could be politically astute. I think Maria Carolina only outshone him in this respect because of her strong ambition to rule whereas he mostly didn't want to get involved because of his indolence. He doesn't sound stupid in his letters to his father (at least when he talked about serious matters).

Has anyone seen any of Maria Carolina's drawings and paintings? I've read from an article on Empress Maria Theresa that she was good at both, just like Mimi. However, MC's daughters didn't seem to take after their mother in this respect. I've read that MC hired Angelica Kauffman to teach her daughters to draw but the arrangement soon faltered. Madame Kauffman claimed she didn't have the patience to teach but perhaps that's just an excuse. I mean, who wouldn't want to teach a child with a promising talent?

Regarding the posts above on Marie Antoinette needing money, the same article on Maria Theresa said that most of Franz Stephan's personal money/estate was used to set up the establishment of his children (dowries, jewels, wedding expenses, etc.) and that  a portion of it was also left in trust for members of the family who might need financial assistance later on...... I would think MA was qualified for such assistance considering her circumstances in 1789-1793. :(   
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 07, 2010, 05:35:39 AM
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Has anyone seen any of Maria Carolina's drawings and paintings? I've read from an article on Empress Maria Theresa that she was good at both, just like Mimi. However, MC's daughters didn't seem to take after their mother in this respect. I've read that MC hired Angelica Kauffman to teach her daughters to draw but the arrangement soon faltered. Madame Kauffman claimed she didn't have the patience to teach but perhaps that's just an excuse. I mean, who wouldn't want to teach a child with a promising talent?

It may have been an excuse, but plenty of painters are not natural teachers - and there may well have been an ambivalence over the role of a teacher anyway.  It was not especially high-status at the time, especially amongst royalty, and could have been perceived by Angelica Kauffmann as being in the position of a superior servant.  Very much a come-down for AK, particularly since she could operate independently as a painter which would have been both financially more advantageous, and psychologically more satisfying.  Looking at other eighteenth century painters, novelists and musicians, Fanny Burney did not do well at the court of George III, being unable to write any novels and suffering illnesses which might have been depressive in origin, and Mozart's relations with royalty were prickly (although Joseph II eventually paid him a modest salary possibly to keep him in Vienna).  Royalty and high-class talent didn't always mix very well in the eighteenth century, largely over this question of status - at a time when the position of an artist (used as a generic term) was changing significantly from the servant to the celebrity.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on July 06, 2010, 08:16:31 PM
I forgot to add that to be fair to Maria Carolina, she didn't even have a garden of her own (a thing she always wanted, she said), a large money/deposit or any substantial personal jewels, aside perhaps the ones she brought with her from Vienna and anything else Maria Theresa or other family members may have given her as presents. I'd be the first to say she at least deserved to have a pleasure garden of her own! :) 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 10, 2010, 06:24:22 PM
The main difference even you have to admit that MT did not have to marry outside her country and she selectred her husband. MC did not even have the luxury of meeting Ferdinand  or make a choice. I am sorry not ALL royal brides had to weep over their bedside. MT's parents had a very happy married life as do herself.

Ferdinand's second wife was a nobody and of course she had to please him, and to MC (Antoinette and Amaila as well) he was lucky one to marry a daughters of MT. She was proud of that fact. I don't think you can compare the two marriages. The marriage with MC represents a treaty with Austria and a dynasty marriage, the second a love match. It would be a mistake to compare them.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on July 11, 2010, 12:57:31 AM
The main difference even you have to admit that MT did not have to marry outside her country and she selectred her husband. MC did not even have the luxury of meeting Ferdinand  or make a choice. I am sorry not ALL royal brides had to weep over their bedside. MT's parents had a very happy married life as do herself.

Now, we're into the "debate" that MT married for love and stayed in her home, whereas Maria Carolina had no choice into her marriage and had to accept Ferdinand as her husband, whether she liked it or not. That is beside the point. What we were discussing was that whether or not MT and MC were both unprepared for their roles, and both appeared to be so. Not their marriages and how MT got to choose her husband whereas MC had no choice. But while you're at it, MT may have had a love match but Franz Stephan was NOT faithful to her and was a BIG embarrassment as well due to his many failures in battles. Do you think that was easy for MT? She wasn't always nice to FS either and I've read that he suffered most from her unshackled rages. There is no way one can call their marriage 100% made in heaven either in the 29 years that they were married. There is evidence that their relationship also suffered setbacks.

Yes, NOT all royal brides wept at their marriage beds. But can you cite one princess back then who married for state reasons who did not feel sad about leaving her home and family behind and who did not have any difficulties adjusting to a new court, an unknown husband and perhaps uncongenial family members... that was just what I said in the earlier post.  MC wasn't alone in that.

Ferdinand's second wife was a nobody and of course she had to please him, and to MC (Antoinette and Amaila as well) he was lucky one to marry a daughters of MT. She was proud of that fact. I don't think you can compare the two marriages. The marriage with MC represents a treaty with Austria and a dynasty marriage, the second a love match. It would be a mistake to compare them.

If you have read about Lucia Migliaccio's life thoroughly and from reliable sources at that, then I will gladly accept your statement about her having to please Ferdinand because "she was a nobody", as you put it. Please back it up with solid evidence. But if you are merely stating an opinion, then please say so and do not make it a fact.  Besides, a political marriage could result into a good relationship. I can cite quite a number of them and I'm sure you can, too.

I'd also like to read about MC's kindness that you asserted in reply #235, maybe I can change my mind and blame it all on Ferdinand of Naples if and when you share clear and specific instances of her kindness and how Ferdinand was lucky to have her as a wife.      
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on July 11, 2010, 11:30:43 AM
I have to say that I haven't read anything about Ferdinand of Naples which puts him in an attractive light, and the liking for certain aspects of peasant life and common Neopolitan entertainment and food which made him popular doesn't seem to have translated into a greater breadth of vision or rule compared to his wife, since his government when they were separated was as dominated by Austrian conservatism as she would have wished.  However, Maria Carolina's personal power was derived from Ferdinand and at the end of the day, if she wished to rule, she needed his consent.  It's possible to speculate that if she had maintained at least some semblance of cordiality, Ferdinand's lethargy might have overcome what had become a truly awful marriage - and I agree it was Maria Carolina who was the one who let things get out of hand to the point where Ferdinand simply couldn't stand her enough to save him the trouble of ruling.  Her brothers Joseph and Leopold were concerned that she would alienate Ferdinand to that stage by her intransigence, and they were right to be worried.  When push came to shove, Ferdinand could rule without her - but she couldn't rule without him.  It was something she should have realised - and I agree with prinzheinelgirl that some modicum of tact and conciliation might well have worked with Ferdinand.

On a slightly different note, the idea that Maria Theresa 'married for love' is not entirely correct, to my mind.  It was rather that the man she was in love with met the political requirements of her father at that particular time.  Franz Stephan, after all, was one of a few reasonably suitable candidates - he was heir to an independent duchy which was in alliance with Austria, a grandmother was an archduchess, and the Lorraines were not really powerful enough to contest the issue if Charles VI had a son and they missed the chance of the Holy Roman Empire.  Indeed, Franz Stephan had to give up Lorraine which he didn't at all want to do, to satisfy the Habsburg's political needs.  Charles VI didn't give an inch just because his daughter was in love - she wouldn't have married Franz Stephan if it hadn't suited him. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 11, 2010, 12:27:53 PM
Well...But they did have a love match as for as MT was concerned and she became very possessive of him.

I don't know if MC being nicer would have any effect, but the time the marriage went sour, MC had already lost her looks, youth through constant childbearing and work. Ferdinand was not a very sentimental man and would have had his mistress anyway. I still believe Ferdinand also used MC and dumped her when her rule became ineffective.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on July 11, 2010, 05:55:47 PM
I have to say that I haven't read anything about Ferdinand of Naples which puts him in an attractive light, and the liking for certain aspects of peasant life and common Neopolitan entertainment and food which made him popular doesn't seem to have translated into a greater breadth of vision or rule compared to his wife, since his government when they were separated was as dominated by Austrian conservatism as she would have wished.  However, Maria Carolina's personal power was derived from Ferdinand and at the end of the day, if she wished to rule, she needed his consent.  It's possible to speculate that if she had maintained at least some semblance of cordiality, Ferdinand's lethargy might have overcome what had become a truly awful marriage - and I agree it was Maria Carolina who was the one who let things get out of hand to the point where Ferdinand simply couldn't stand her enough to save him the trouble of ruling.  Her brothers Joseph and Leopold were concerned that she would alienate Ferdinand to that stage by her intransigence, and they were right to be worried.  When push came to shove, Ferdinand could rule without her - but she couldn't rule without him.  It was something she should have realised.

I agree 100%.  And it wasn't only Ferdinand she alienated...... there were quite a number of people too, like her nephew and son-in-law Emperor Francis and John Acton, who was her favorite and should've remained loyal to her. But Acton grew weary of her, too. So I don't think it was all Ferdinand's fault. I'm sorry to say this because I liked MC a lot when I first started to read about the Austrian archduchesses, but all those people she alienated.... what does that say about MC as a person? Because there could be no doubt that MC had the talent to alienate people and was unpleasant -- even nasty and ill-natured at times. Also, I think it was in The Queen of Naples and Lord Nelson - already a rather fawning book - that I read MC used people.

On a slightly different note, the idea that Maria Theresa 'married for love' is not entirely correct, to my mind.  It was rather that the man she was in love with met the political requirements of her father at that particular time.  Franz Stephan, after all, was one of a few reasonably suitable candidates - he was heir to an independent duchy which was in alliance with Austria, a grandmother was an archduchess, and the Lorraines were not really powerful enough to contest the issue if Charles VI had a son and they missed the chance of the Holy Roman Empire.  Indeed, Franz Stephan had to give up Lorraine which he didn't at all want to do, to satisfy the Habsburg's political needs.  Charles VI didn't give an inch just because his daughter was in love -she wouldn't have married Franz Stephan if it hadn't suited him.  

I also agree.  It was long process of marrying Franz Stephan and Maria Theresa's father Charles VI wavered many times. Indeed, it was FS who had to sacrifice a lot to marry MT not the other way around. The marriage suited Austria's interest because giving up Lorraine guaranteed (the very vital)  French support for MT as the Habsburg heiress (or so they thought because France was guilty of duplicity in this matter).  Charles VI knew that Elector Charles Albert of Bavaria was only bold enough to contest the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 because France was behind him.      

I don't know if MC being nicer would have any effect, but the time the marriage went sour, MC had already lost her looks, youth through constant childbearing and work. Ferdinand was not a very sentimental man and would have had his mistress anyway. I still believe Ferdinand also used MC and dumped her when her rule became ineffective.

It doesn't make sense that Ferdinand only dumped her when she became old and lost her looks, added to her ineffective rule.  Unless there is solid evidence that Ferdinand was indeed a selfish lout as you claimed in this thread. They were married for 30 years before all that and that should count for something, not to mention MC being the mother of his children. Her sister Maria Amalia was also said to have lost her good looks (and was even described as "mannish", vulgar and bad-mannered) but she maintained a good relationship with her Ferdinand. Why? Because she made an effort to conciliate with her husband all those years and even sought to please him -- and there is plenty of evidence on that.    

Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 12, 2010, 09:40:03 AM
I totally agree with CountessKate that "it took Ferdinand's behavior to drive Maria Carolina to the point where shewas so full of rage she could no longer maintain an even balance either in her political life or in her marriage." Most certainly Maria Carolina and Ferdinand did have their good times after she decided to win him over to her side through sex (seduction by her gloves) and reasoning (she once locked herself and Ferdinand in a room and argued until Ferdinand agree that her arguements merit a point. Did she love him ? No, but did she grew fond of him yes. She wrote to her brother and called Ferdinand "My crazy half-wit" (in an affectionate way). So I do not believe she govern her husband by only shouting and screaming (unless that is the only way she could do to make him listen). Also I think Maria Carolina was pretty enough in her own way. She has youth and really lovely skin (a trait that she shread with her sister Antoinette).
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on July 12, 2010, 09:24:22 PM
If MC had been wiser and was really intelligent as generally claimed, she could've coped with the unchangeable Ferdinand differently rather than rage and rage about it. After all, as pointed out earlier by CountessKate, she did depend on his good will.... Also, if not for him, then for her own sanity then.  I very much agree that there is evidence that they shared good times, why then was that not enough to sustain them in bad times?         
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 20, 2010, 10:07:12 AM
I think you totally ignored the situation when MC was married. She was too young to marry aboard and cling on to her sister Antonia till the last. I don't think she was overtly ambitious at that period of life, it came later. MC was one of the more intellegent daughters of MT who actually took time to read (unlike her more beautiful but lazy sister in France). MT had drilled into her the need for her to work for Austria, her country. MC was being a good and dutiful daughter and achieved what her mother had wanted her to be (dominanted her husband but not overtly so (like Maria Amalia seem to be in her early days)). I felt a bit sorry for her trying so hard and it is difficult to tread the road between love of one's own country and the adopted one. It was a transition that MC never did pass (her insistance on her own German cook is another indication). So I think ultimately it was a blessing for her to go home to die. She had definitely left her heart in Austria.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on July 20, 2010, 05:48:15 PM
I was talking about Maria Carolina's long-terms prospects had she stayed in Vienna and not married abroad, not about how young she was when she married; I know that fact already and did not ignore it. Please just answer the possible scenarios had she stayed in Vienna - what would've been her marriage prospects there, possible posts, role at court? Does anyone think she could've done better than her older sisters Maria Anna, Maria Christina, and Maria Elisabeth, who all stayed in Vienna and/or near it?  Especially Marianna and Elisabeth, who did not marry, and did not have any influence at court and consigned to the single life. Elisabeth certainly wanted to marry, despite having the smallpox.

Is reading books is an indicator of high intelligence? I think it just shows that a person is curious and wanted to learn and/or at least to improve one's mind. You keep on mentioning about how MC was one of the more intelligent daughters of Maria Theresa, what's the proof of that besides her love of reading (in itself not a clear indicator of high intelligence).  Unless there was some sort of I.Q. tests back then.... or records of MC's stellar  academic performance while in Vienna. To be frank, only Marianna seems to have clear evidence of high intelligence among the sisters because her scientific studies point to that.    

There is evidence that MC was only nice - and even pretended to be passionately in love with him - to Ferdinand at first because she wanted to gain his confidence. Even quite fawning books (The Queen of Naples and Lord Nelson, A Sister of Marie Antoinette) on her point to that.  Yes, her sister Maria Amalia wasn't very nice to her Ferdinand at first. She was wrong in that but at least she never seemed to deceive him, like MC did to her Ferdinand, about her feelings. Amalia also realized that she made mistakes with her husband, made up for it, and tried to see her husband in a better light (if she didn't, she never would've declared that she loved him very much and make concessions in her marriage).  That is the difference betweeen the two sisters, proud as they both were, and which I think spelled the difference in the long run in their respective marriages (not that Amalia had a perfect relationship with her Ferdinand).      

Yes, MC loved Austria so much she declared that the death of her imbecile (her own words, not mine) sons is no big loss and then she'd marry her eldest girl to her brother (Joseph? who declared he wouldn't marry for the 3rd time; how irrational of her) and just take Naples back home with her to Austria. I think that is yet another reason why she failed as a ruler -- a good ruler should at least love her domain and her people. Honestly, she could've done much better in politics and in her personal life because she did have great energy, was willful (I mean to use this trait in a constructive way), capable of ruling, undertook necessary reforms, and was not stupid.   Of course, living in the Napoleonic times was hard for all royals but there's evidence that MC's faults got the better of her good side, which led to certain sad consequences.    
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 20, 2010, 06:06:55 PM
You think it is easy to go to Naples to figure a way to try to rule ? MC had very good EQ and judged the situation after drying her tears after her husband told people she sweat like a pig. He did not love her like Ferdinand of Parma did (he was much older than his young cousin). MC was the younger partner in a strange land, she had to think of something fast. I think she did read her marriage contact well as it indicated that she must have a son before she could go into the marriage council. She had to seduce her husband and win her to his side if her life in Naples had any kind of future. It is surivial not love that faced young MC. Amalia being the older partner in the marriage had wrecked havok to change at once, a luxury that MC did not have. Ferdinand of Parma was much kinder to his older wife, and eventually they had a better life togather. MC had to fight her way to rule and gain influence. MT in her letter to Antonia said she had no excuse since her sister in Naples's situation was more difficult and yet still manage to kept herself afloat. You must remember royal marriages were made with treaties and not love (that is extra). MC's marriage was a political one, and I think she did quite a good job until the French Revolution came. Princess Michael of Kent came to the same conclusion in her book "Crowned in a far country". At least MC's marriage ended better than Catherine the great's.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on July 20, 2010, 06:52:03 PM
Ruling is NOT always easy for consorts, especially since the standard of education for princesses in the 18th century was not particularly high. There was no such thing like a poltical science course for them. I never said it was. The thing is, Maria Carolina was not the only princess who had the ambition to rule or was instructed by one's family to do so.... certainly she had to survive and Ferdinand of Naples was not an easy person to like, let alone love. Had she dealt with the Ferdinand situation differently - she can't change her husband but she can certainly change her reactions to him - she could've done much better. Deceit is deceit and while it might have been the only recourse in the early months, why then did she choose to (mostly) bully her husband after winning him over to her side?  That is why I posted earlier in this thread that she could've done better, if not for him then for her sanity then as well as to keep his goodwill. Ferdinand's goodwill was essential to her ruling and also her personal life. That is also survival.      

MC was quite an upleasant girl, even way back in Vienna -- MT scolded her on her rudeness, bad-temper and making fun of people.  We also see her screeching like an eagle at her ladies-in-waiting in Naples.... that speaks of a very good EQ?  

Also, there seems to be no evidence that Ferdinand of Parma, only a few weeks younger than his cousin Ferdinand of Naples, loved Maria Amalia, at least the way she wanted to be loved (a romantic love, that is). He was blatantly unfaithful to her - which seemed to drive her to seek "refuge" at Sala Baganza, instead of staying in the capital or in Colorno, most of the time. I don't think it is easy for any woman in love with her husband to live with that.  But she - and Ferdinand - managed to have a good relationship and spent conjugal time together. It wasn't only a matter of Ferdinand's kindness.  Both made efforts to please  and support each other. There is plenty of evidence for that (one only has to look at/find the right sources). As for Amalia wreaking havoc at once, a luxury MC didn't have, there seemed to be no recourse either for her - either she finishes Du Tillot (who, according to a history book on Piacenza, slandered her at the foreign courts) or he finishes her. The only good things she had going - and I don't agree with all her actions back then either - for her at that time was that Ferdinand disliked Du Tillot and she had the masses - if not all of the of the nobility - on her side. Even Vienna was wont to believe Du Tillot and MT's various spies, not her.    

Yes, MC had a better marriage compared to Catherine the Great - but Catherine II of Russia managed to keep herself - and Russia - together until the very end.  Both indeed had very "challenging" husbands. And in both women, rage was a decisive factor in their eventual end (MC raging at her husband and becoming unstable while Catherine II raged at Gustavus IV for breaking off the marriage plans with her granddaughter, she had a stroke that finished her off soon after).
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 21, 2010, 07:44:55 AM
I think it is very Asian or oriental to think that it was up to her to please her husband. Catherine the great most certainly did not and furthermore the husband (the legitamite ruler) ended up dead. MC was not that. She was a child of enlightenment and saw her mother rule as a natural course of matters. Once again I understood why she did what she did as she believed that she had no other recourse. Most certainly she was not particularly sexy or romantic as she did not seem to take lovers like her youngest sister Antoinette (who rumoured to be bi-sexual). Using politics as a subsitude for love is a recipe for inblance in one's life. Her sister Antoinette used exscessive spending, gambling and building to fill that void. I have a lot of sympathy for her. As the Lord says judge others and you will be judged.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 21, 2010, 10:00:30 PM
Well...Catherine the great did not take her husband's dislike lying down and seized power (do remember she was a contempory of MT as well). MT was a queen regent and heiress of all the Hapsburg lands. She did not share power with her husband at all. MC was her daughter and saw how natural a woman could rule. It was also MT's expressed wish as her daughters should rule their husbands abit indirectly. MC did suceeded in gaining her husband's influrence and ruled (although it was only through him she could do so). If Ferdinand I did not allow her to rule, she could not have done so. So it was by mutual consent that she rule, but the minute things got wrong it was MC's fault ? I think Ferdinand was very sly in letting his wife took the blame for it when it suited him. MC's problem was that she was too honest, direct (through her outburst & passions). Had she been more wily like Catherine de Medici or even Catherine the great, she would have made it and stayed on the throne.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on July 21, 2010, 10:29:11 PM
It was a consort's duty to please her husband at that time. And Catherine the Great did  so for many years, until Peter III began treating her with more and more contempt and finally made no bones about wanting to replace her with his mistress. So she had to plot to keep herself and her children (most likely not Peter's and they both knew it) alive.

No, the problem between Maria Carolina  and Ferdinand started way back before 1798 when the French invaded Naples.  It seems it was only the catalyst that made Ferdinand finally take action regarding his wife.  Was it MC's fault? Partly. Her unpopular policies and her rages - she made no secret of her contempt for Ferdinand - did her in, both with the people and her husband. As CountessKate pointed out earlier, her brothers Joseph and Leopold were concerned she would eventually alienate Ferdinand and they were right in that.   A staff of the French embassy at court, Denon, reported to France that John Acton was detested at court, Maria Carolina described as "fragile" (most likely the code for unstable); still, to keep peace, Ferdinand signed whatever she desired.  It was also MC who put distance between her and husband and felt justified in doing so. She has clearly forgotten - or disregarded - that  she needed his goodwill, both for ruling and in her marriage.

Why is it so hard to undertsand why Ferdinand eventually blamed her for everything? It clear that MC was highly unpopular with her people, with unfortunate political policies, and a woman who raged and made his life miserable (if he did not do what she wanted)..... any other recourse for Ferdinand? It must've been building up on him for years as well.  A book on the Pompeii ruins, with quite extensive details on MC and Ferdinand, states that many times Ferdinand must've wished someone had cast out MC into the sea, as she declared when told she was to marry Ferdinand. MC, as many accounts and evidence point out, was not a nice but a rather difficult woman. 

And no, giving in to rages is not a sign of being too honest. For one can be honest without raging.  In fact, there's not much evidence that that MC  was an honest person altogether. She used the people's money in the banks without them knowing, she deceived her husband early on.  Even Emma Hamilton was first snubbed by her when Emma was a nobody (merely a mistress of William Hamilton), newly arrived in Naples ...MC only warmed up to her when she married Hamilton.  
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 21, 2010, 11:02:43 PM
I do not believe that if Ferdinand could be forced to do something that he did not want to. He was happy to leave the work to her and go hunting and having mistresses and generally enjoyed life. In a marriage it takes two to tango. I simply do not agree it is fair to place ALL the blame on to MC. She had tried but failed. I really prefer her "honest outburst" than to Catherine de Medici's poison or Catherine the Great's military coups. As for Catherine the great, she despised her husband's stupidity and weakness and did not love him (like MC) and made a pretence to win him over. In politics decit is not despised upon and used often. It is grossly unfair to blame MC on this point.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on July 21, 2010, 11:39:39 PM
Yes, Ferdinand wanted a peaceful life above all - hence he gave in to Maria Carolina  to enjoy life and not be bothered by the duties of ruling and with her rages as well.  That is very clear to me. But the mere fact that he  gave in to keep peace indicates something was very wrong in their relationship and in MC's behavior/reactions.

Catherine II  never pretended to love her husband but made sincere efforts - until the Peter made it known he wanted to replace her with his mistress and did not disguise his contempt for her - to conciliate and humour him for many years. This mostly happened when Peter went to her for consolation when his aunt, Empress Elisabeth, scolded him or sent away his favorites, etc. She said she felt sorry for him and understood the situation (being subject to the Empress' caprices and moods herself). She wrote in her memoirs that had Peter been a bit lovable, she could've loved him, despite his oddity, drunkenness,  ill-humour, and offensive ways. She wrote that she knew how he was and if she did, she'd be the most miserable woman on earth. But she resolved to be a friend to him and wished for him to be the same to her. When the Empress was very sick, Peter came to her all alarmed about the succession and their chances, and Catherine assured her husband she had some plans and arrangements to keep them both safe.   By the 1760s, the situation was either life or death - at the very least banishment to a convent -  for herself and children so she seized power. By then, Peter III was all too eager to get rid of her, and who knew what would happen to her children (who were seemingly  not Peter's)?  I never saw that kind of sincerity from MC to make friends with her husband.....  

You were the one who claimed MC was honest but there is not much evidence that she was; she clearly used deceit in her dealings, and as you pointed out, that was perfectly all right in politics. My point is that it doesn't seem right to assign an attribute to someone when that attribute isn't there.  I did say she was only partly to blame for her disgraced state with her husband, and not wholly to blame. It seems you're so bent on defending MC and putting all the blame on her husband for treating her badly 1798 onwards, perhaps you can speculate ]on the ways in which Ferdinand could've dealt with his extremely difficult wife then.... Yes, it takes two to make a relationship work or not but a wiser person would have also known his/her limits and acted accordingly..... especially for consorts like MC, who, rightly or wrongly and like it or not, depended on the husband's goodwill.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 22, 2010, 12:10:54 AM
MC was too honest with her feelings about people and sometimes see things in b/w. I however saw MC accepting advice when she she needed it (her allies the Hamilitons, Nelson and others do praise her as hardworking). Most certainly the early years of ruling did not create a lot of problems until Napoleon came into the scene. Much as she hated him, she could stiull blame her granddaughter ML for deserting him. She was not someone who cannot change her mind about a person when situation arises. The same with her friendly treatment woith Louis Philippe. She could have screamed and shout verbal abuse as you so love to point out, but she didn't. She got along with all her children and some even loved her deeply. I see a woman misguided but totally capable of love. If Ferdinand was willing to love her and guide her into his life, she would have responded in kind. However most historians believev that Ferdinand was emotional immature. He most certainly did not care for her feelings in terms of love and used her sexually. In today's term she might even been raped (most royal brides experienced a rude awakening on their wedding night). How could she expect to love such a man ? Later she could laugh at his crazy acts, but deep down she must have known it would be futile to expect love from him. Yes she did seduced him after she knew what she had to do to survive (have children and eventually a son who would get her aseat in the council). She loved her children and did what she could to try and save her sister. I love her humanity and faults as they were so clear in many of us too. As she told ML " when one marries it is for life..." one could alomost hear her regrets perhaps in the way she had failed in her relationship with her husband. However I never read anything about any sort of regrets on the part of Ferdinand.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on July 22, 2010, 02:00:24 AM
I still think Maria Carolina being the more intelligent and willful of the two could've taken the wiser route in all of this..... of course, your view that it was difficult to keep a cordial relationship with the boorish Ferdinand is valid -- but like I pointed out earlier, if not for him then for sanity then. It's clear that Ferdinand's behavior, including his passing on of sexual diseases to her, did a lot of mental damage to her. But MC was also by nature rash, proud, unpleasant and vengeful.  It seems that nothing could be expected from Ferdinand of Naples in terms of making sacrifices and MC could've done much better by taking her mother's advice to Maria Amalia : up to her - and only her - to make her marriage work. I think there was nothing, absolutely nothing, that could be expected from Ferdinand in that respect, both from his nature and his position (he was her husband and king, and therefore he had the final authority on her). Her screaming and bullying certainly did not help matters......

Perhaps for Ferdinand the bad times overwhelmed the good times?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 22, 2010, 02:40:35 AM
That is the reason why I said it wasn't fair to MC since she could only rule with him. However Ferdinand had developed a pattern that only her screams or bullying could have claimed his attention, MC had no choice but to carry on. You are right though that she should have known that such tactics could only work short term, and at the end even that would not have worked was plain to see. She was proud but he was stubborn and stupid. It was a sad situation. Even MC's enemies though that she should have deserved better treatment from her husband, that itself is very telling of the nature of the situation.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on July 22, 2010, 09:34:04 PM
One certainly can't blame Maria Carolina for not doing her duty of producing heirs.....in that, she deserved more than full marks :)  One very useful thing she didn't emulate her mother in was to just finally - when clearly there was nothing she could do -  ignore anything unpleasant in her husband/marriage (MT had jealous fits of Franz Stephan's affairs but also wearied of it after many years - it was futile to do so - and finally, she just pretended she didn't know).

Ferdinand of Naples thought an older wife would be dominating and he disliked the thought, little did he know..... ::)   I can't imagine Maria Amalia paired with Ferdinand of Naples. Both sure liked hunting and behaved very unconventionally for royals .... and what else? Maria Amalia seemed more open on forgiving than her sister Maria Carolina and seemed to have quite mellowed down when she accepted her husband and situation. But apart from that, I can't think of anything else that would've helped her coped at a personal level. She was, from some accounts, a  rather reserved child (and adult) who didn't let people easily into her life. Amalia could be bad-tempered too but she had her ways of coping (like heading off to her country villa, but then she probably won't have gotten such a gift from Ferdinand of Naples - who was quite mean (stingy) by nature -had she married him).  Of course, Amalia & Ferdinand of Parma and MC & Ferdinand of Naples had very different dynamics and were different people.  
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 23, 2010, 07:31:45 AM
Yes. However I think MC would have a better chance with Ferdinand of Parma (closer to age) than Ferdinand of Naples, who was I stressed spoilt from being a boy king and selfish to a large degree. I think MC could be forgiving too (as shown in her actions towards Napoleon and Louis Philippe), but I think Ferdinand brought out the worst in her. As for her being bad tempered before she left for Naples, most historians believe it was that she was nervous and stressful. It was her way of coping (by the way being seperated from your favourite sister did not help).
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on July 24, 2010, 08:49:56 PM
I'm basing my view on Maria Carolina in Vienna as very unpleasant because of the letter by Maria Theresa to her dated August  1767, when Archduchess Maria Josepha was still the designated bride for Naples so clearly it wasn't because her enforced marriage to Ferdinand of Naples.  It (unpleasantness) was there already although perhaps aggravated by her mother's decision.   I know some historians made it appear that said letter was written way after but it wasn't.  The date was clear, they just didn't verify it and copied from previous (erroneous) works or whatever.  

Also, Ferdinand of Parma was also born in Jan. 1751, only 9 days later after his cousin in Naples. So there no significant age difference between two.  
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on July 24, 2010, 10:34:46 PM
MT is not a very easy mother to have and very strict, if MC reacted out of unhappiness and frustration, that should be viewed more charitably. My parents had wrote me some unpleasent letters too, should I be judged by this too ? The strength of one letter cannot establish character. MT's letters to MC's Antonia was widely published and no secret, she on one hand preaches one thing and insist the opposite done (the famous case being Madame du Burry). She also told someone she loved her mother (the Empress) but feared her even more. MC of course was far from perfect and seems to allow her passions to run wild when she felt fru Xstrated and cornered. Had she being given a more patient husband, she might have mellowed down. Maybe Louis XVI would have been better for MC.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on July 25, 2010, 05:03:21 AM
You may make excuses for Maria Carolina but the it  is clear from MT's letter that other people - including strangers at court (most likely guests and not servants and/or courtiers, hence the term) - also noticed and commented that MC was  bad tempered and thus, brought discredit upon herself with it....

(My own loose translation)

(letter dated 9 August 1767)

".....To my great surprise, I have heard not only from the (Countess) Brandeis but your other women as well that you say your prayers carelessly, without any reverence and with even less fervour.....when they remonstrate with you, you only have harsh words and become ill-tempered.  I know it even from strangers who are concerned about the matter, and such can only bring you discredit.  Even when they are dressing you, you are ill-tempered.  I will never forget this and you don't have the slightest excuse.  You must treat your ladies with gentleness, otherwise you will not be loved by them.  Your voice and the way you speak are already (naturally) unpleasant. You must take care to improve them and you raise your voice too much..."

(rest of the letter lectures MC to concentrate on her studies, etc.. but ends with an assurance to her daughter of her love and support all of MT's life)

Sorry to say, the young MC appears already quite unpleasant even in Vienna (and without even being told yet that she was to marry Ferdinand of Naples, with Archduchess Maria Josepha still very well and alive).  Even when dressing, a very benign and routinary task, she was still bad tempered! And such was noticed even by other people (not part of the family circle or people residing or serving at court).  I'm no great admirer of MT as a mother but not all her letters/advice were useless or without basis.  It is also quite prophetic of her mother to say that she must treat people with gentleness otherwise she would not be loved. Bad temper, rudeness, and the tendency to scream/shout were already there at age 15...... paired with the insensitive Ferdinand of Naples, it is not very surprising their marriage ended the way it did. Frankly, next to Mimi, there is evidence that MC was the next in line as to being unpleasant (either her or Archduchess Maria Anna, who seemed to be a problem with her household staff) among the archduchesses of that generation......of course Archduchess Maria Elisabeth's tantrums and ill temper were also no secret but it happened only after the smallpox.

  
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on July 25, 2010, 06:29:12 AM
I think perhaps it's a little harsh to extrapolate Maria Carolina's later problems from behaviour which wouldn't be extraordinary in a teenager of 15 today, and which doesn't usually survive into adulthood.  It isn't even particularly unusual in even younger children, at the tail end of a family and who need to be noticed.  My feeling however is that the problems developed with a very inexperienced girl being put into a foreign country, forced into sexual intimacy with an unprepossessing stranger (and she wrote very movingly of the dreadfulness of this experience), and left to do her duty without any of the people she had grown up with to help her in what must have been a very frightening situation.  One of the ways which she took to gain some control overy her life was to build up her political power base - as sex and intimate family life with her husband certainly seemed not to be something she wished to invest her energies in - and she unfortunately seemed to find that Ferdinand responded well (from her point of view) to harshness and bullying, which probably satisfied something in her which wanted to punish her husband for his part in her unhappy beginnings of marriage.  I can't disagree that clearly she had those propensities, but I do think they may have worn off as many teenage rebellions do had not the shock of her new circumstances channelled them into basically, fighting her husband for dominance.  In the end, I think it got to be almost a habit, and she couldn't conceive of a different relationship with Ferdinand - ultimately to her own great disadvantage. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 14, 2010, 06:37:18 AM
I'll try to translate from the other forum some specific information from Gagniere's book on Maria Carolina in the next few days.  Although I remember reading that Ferdinand of Naples showed his contempt for her in many ways after her death (I can't think of anything right now except he married his mistress very soon after her death; anyone has any ideas what else?) and that MC's stroke, which killed her, happened the night after she got word from Russia that they weren't willing to help her recover Naples.  And that MC tried to betray the British (she asked Napoleon to drive them out of Sicily?) so they demanded that she be exiled.  
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 22, 2010, 02:49:47 AM
I think Maria Carolina would've done much better if she were less "action" oriented..... too bad she didn't realise that! Marie Antoinette became more political later on, although Louis XVI never really allowed her much free rein on state matters, except during the period when he became depressed in the late 1780s. Maria Amalia apparently lost interest in politics later on, and threw herself into her country pursuits and traveling, to the point that she couldn't even be bothered to attend court events except those she liked.

Excerpts from Gagniere's book on MC seems to show a highly disturbed, enraged and embittered woman...(my own loose translation below). It is clear that the author did not like MC so other views/evidence would be welcome...... :)

=======

According to Gagniere,  boxes containing the correspondence of Maria Carolina and Emma Hamilton were “buried” for 70 seventy years at the British Museum and such proved beyond doubt the collaboration among  MC, Hamilton and Lord Nelson  in the harsh executions and punishments in Naples. These letters, said Mr. Gagniere,along with  R. Palumbo’s work, General Mariano Ayala’s and G. Fortunato’s leave no doubts as to the role of said persons in said horror.

According to the Prince de Ligne, Napoleon called the Queen of Naples as "a very unworthy daughter of Maria Theresa”.

Gagniere also regards Hamilton as MC’s lesbian lover and cites Michelet, Coletta and Palumbo as his sources for this accusation.

Gagnčre mentions  in his book a letter from Marie-Caroline to Lady Hamilton, who shows her double game involving Spain and Naples, and England before the military advances of Napoleon in 1795.  Spain planned to ally with France against England and the King of Spain sent letters to his brother Ferdinand to tell him of this choice and attempt to convince him to do the same.  MC then passed on the contents of said letters to Hamilton.

Gagniere said it was only MC who wanted the war with France, not Ferdinand. She was already planning the family’s escape, even before a decisive battle occurred. Ferdinand criticized his wife after his return from Rome, saying, “See, Madame, my people would rather dance than fight.” Then Ferdinand publicly manifested his disgust for her, mentioning the odor of her red hair(?) “l'odeur des cheveux rouges de la reine".

As the family was forced to flee from the French forces in 1798, Gagniere said MC apparently took everything she could, even money that did not belong to them… her letter indicates the sum of over 2.5 M pounds in cash.  Gagniere also mentioned that through all this, MC only spoke/wrote of her anger at the cowardice of her people, never mentioning any of the sufferings of Naples.  

Then when the family reached Palermo, MC distributed money to the British officers, staff and crew members who accompanied them in their flight but gave nothing to the Neapolitans who went with them.  Of this, the author Palumbo, cited by Gagniere,  said the “generous” queen gave money to "strangers" but nothing to her people, and the money was stolen from the latter.   MC, in a letter to Hamilton, calls her people cowards but she was the one who fled….. ("I am so distressed that I prefer the entry of the Franch and that they take these wretches to their shirts, rather than seeing our own vile (animal) subjects, cowards and bullies behave this way”)

Then MC turns her wrath to Pignatelli accusing him of abandoning his post without blowing up the arsenal and burn the granary without having to set ablaze the entire city.

Gagniere kept on coming back to two points regarding MC’s actions and letters: revenge on her enemies and a certain contempt for her people.

Gagniere also cites the private journal of Lord George Anesley on the affairs of Sicily. Lord Anesley was a spy for the British government, apparently suspicious early on that MC would betray them to Napoleon.   It reads the following passages on MC : “The present wretched state of Sicily is due to the follies and violence of her character.  Her vices are innumerable. The King in government counts for zero.”  Also,  in 1800, at age 48: “She still believes that she is estimated as the beautiful Queen of Naples but if she took a fancy to look at a mirror, she will see a wrinkled old hag.”  Then another… “Her profligacy has degenerated into extravagance, extravagance in her madness and this madness is so criminal that it has earned her contempt." He explains further: “The violent nature of the queen, embittered by misfortunes, was aggravated by the repeated use of opium. The scenes that result from such abuse (of opium) are appalling.”

Another: “Maria Carolina stays in her apartments most of the day to receive reports of her special police, she talks to the ministers, gives them her instructions, and then uses her secret agents to do the opposite she had ordered her ministers.”

=======

I feel extremely sorry for MC!
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 22, 2010, 08:46:49 AM
I think he did a hatchet job on her, the idea of her being a lesbian to Lady Hamiliton is laughable. It is just the same charges that made to Marie Antoinette or Maria Amalia taking lovers. She was the enemy to the Frech hero Napoleon, so they paint a bad picture of her. No doubt she was guilty of "too much action".
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 24, 2010, 09:02:42 AM
Thanks. I partly agree that it is quite a hatchet job, especially the accusation that Maria Carolina had a lesbian relationship with Hamilton. And Gagniere/Gagnere seems to have featured only the second half of her reign, definitely much more problematic than the earlier years, so I guess he was indeed quite bent on showing MC in the worst light possible.  Although I'm not sure that the summary I  read is totally false for I remember reading that her son in law Orleans also spoke of MC's violence, etc... Or  was he (Orleans) on the English "payroll" at that time to discredit MC?

Oh, and the name given (in French) of the supposed English spy was "Lord George Anesley, vicomte de Valentia".
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on August 24, 2010, 12:21:49 PM
On investigation, George Anesley was the 2nd Earl of Mountnorris and the 9th Viscount Valentia, author of a book of travels particularly focused on India and Ceylon, not Italy.  This was a time when spying was not considered an acceptable occupation for an aristocrat, and indeed, he does not appear to be known as being a British spy or indeed for any particular sympathy with Neopolitan affairs.  It sounds as if he was picking up a lot of gossip reflecting the unquestionable unpopularity of Maria Carolina, none of it especially insightful, which he helpfully passed on to the British government as many aristocratic travellers were apt to do.

I think it is quite genuine that Maria Carolina was prone to rages - whether real or put on to intimidate (as one might suspect she did with Ferdinand).  And a woman's fury was certainly was something which eighteenth century men reacted to with considerable fear and anger - it really pushed their buttons.  It was not attractive and it eventually became self-indulgent for Maria Carolina - she eventually lost allies and indeed her marriage through this.  But I can't say I think that it helps to have all the things which went wrong with the regime laid entirely at her door, together with all the salacious gossip which Gagniere could dredge up - it makes it hard to identify things which are actually true, when so much is either false or presented in the worst possible light.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 24, 2010, 07:42:48 PM
Thanks CountessKate!  It's true that NOT all that was reported was entirely true and certainly many 'reports" were at least biased at that time, not only with Maria Carolina but with many royals as well.  

I think no one came to Maria Carolina's rescue because she alienated almost everyone by then... (rightly or wrongly) she should have known better not to antagonize the British; aside from the protection, they also heavily subsidized Sicily and the royal family. I don't know if I remember it right but the amount I remember was 300,000 pounds a year. A very princely sum in those days.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong because I haven't read that book by Acton yet but I read some feedback that the book was somewhat bent to "clean up" John Acton, Maria Carolina, and Ferdinand of Naples. John Acton, after all, was related to the author Harold Acton.... does anyone share the same view?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 24, 2010, 09:38:10 PM
I think one should read any book with an open mind. If maybe it is in favour of MC, but the book was respected in many ways in its historical accuracy. Harold Acton is a respected historian who wrote a continuacton book (The Last Boubons of Naples) which is also excellent. Do read it, I think it would give you a more balanced view of MC & Ferdinand.  ;)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 24, 2010, 11:34:19 PM
I agree that we should read books with an open mind.  Although we should also put critical thinking into it. I, for one, have many many excerpts of letters by royals but once I have read the whole letter or the larger part of the letter, the omitted part(s) put a quite different context and meaning (most of the time).  Many authors, past and present,  seem to feature only excerpts of letters and accounts, to support their own views and biases.

Wasn't the book by Acton a bit "gossipy"? At least, that's what I read.. and I do want a rigorous reading, not a "light" one.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on August 25, 2010, 04:43:20 AM
Acton certainly has a lighter touch than modern historians tend to have - 'The Bourbons of Naples' was published in 1956 - and he is naturally on the side of the British, though he is not in fact especially reverential towards Acton.  But he has a solid bibliography, with English, French and Italian sources, and is well worth reading.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 25, 2010, 07:18:57 AM
Thanks again!  I have this impression that Acton's book was not like Derek Beales on Joseph II (IMHO, one of the worthiest books in recent years)  but your comments definitely make it to be in the "worth it" category.   :)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on September 09, 2010, 06:04:57 AM
I  managed to  get a copy of Crowned in Far Country last weekend and while it was indeed very interesting on the details ignored  in many other biographies, it was a bit on the 'fluff" side for me, as far as Maria Carolina and Marie Antoinette were concerned (I enjoyed the section  on Maria Leopoldina of Brazil, but then I'm not so knowledgeable on her). Statements like "Maria Carolina had culture and charm", etc. are not backed up by any evidence at all. And according to the author,  Marie Antoinette was (just) so misunderstood.  

This seems to be a relatively new work on Maria Carolina and other women who opposed Napoleon; limited view only on Google books but it seems very interesting... Women Against Napoleon. It mentions MC's fictionalisation and dramatisation in her letters (needs further investigation), her memoirs, how she was subject to her husband's intermittent credit and caprices, and that she denied to Cornelia Knight that she was responsible for the executions and other reprisals in Naples. It seems to  present MC quite differently and fairly and appears quite well-researched, including the notes found after the narrative:

http://books.google.com/books?id=c_4gco3b9SwC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=maria%20carolina&f=false
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on September 09, 2010, 10:19:31 AM
Yes. Crown in a far country is more fluff than substance. But have you read the Harold Acton book "The Bourbons of Naples" ? That is not a fluff book and most English historians based their judgement on MC on that particular work. If you are a critic of MC, you could not understand it without reading it. I think Queen Louisa of Prussia also qualify as a woman against Napoleon.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on September 10, 2010, 06:07:18 AM
Yes, I would like to read Harold Acton's book on the Bourbons of Naples soon. It's not easy to get such books where I am though but who knows?  :)

I am a bit wary of English historians/authors on Maria Carolina....they tend to be fawning over her, at times without solid facts/details to back up their statements. For example, I read about how "beautiful" she was at some point (in her early 20s), but her portraits from said period do not seem to back it up. And charming and very brilliant?  She can't even write properly!   

I'd love to read her memoirs though and the books by that German or Austrian writer, Helfert, if I'm not mistaken.    
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on September 12, 2010, 01:35:40 AM
There is no doubt that Maria Carolina was a complex person and had a good side.  And I'd like to read more about her charity work......  

Incidentally, there is an English biography on her (very curiously or strangely titled) "In the Web of the Pink Spider" (1967) by an author surnamed Bott.  I've also read in passing that although an important source of information, her memoirs were a jumble of facts, exaggerations, and fiction.  I think it was entitled Memoire de Marie Caroline, Reine de Naples.  It was edited by RM Johnston and originally published in 1912.  Available in French, reprinted in 2004 by Book Surge Publishing. ISBN-13: 9781421208459 - ISBN-10: 1421208458, 376 pages. Her diaries were destroyed at the state archives of Naples in 1945.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on September 12, 2010, 01:40:57 PM
Yes that is another fluff bio on MC. I think there is one by Mrs. Beane that is better.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on September 13, 2010, 08:25:11 AM
I don't know, I find the one by Mrs Bearne exaggerated and fawning at times. It seems that she was the author of some romantic tittle tattle biographies and certainly no famed historian as one author claimed. Her work dpes not seem a very rigorous read. I wonder if anyone has read the biographies by Helfert (in German) and by Johnston (in French)?  They seem to be the most promising work on Maria Carolina so far.....
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on March 06, 2011, 11:43:36 PM
Going back to Maria Carolina, has anyone else read that she was not only an advocate of Free Masonry but was an Illuminati member as well? I though the Illuminati only admitted men (at least in her time)?  It was also said that some of Maria Carolina's brothers and sisters were free masons (let's see....Joseph, Leopold (?), Maximilian, Maria Anna (?) and Maria Christina (?); there seems to be no evidence that Maria Antoinette ever dabbled into it nor Maria Amalia, who didn't have any intellectual interests, same with Maria Elisabeth).    

Also, anyone can corroborate the statement that unlike Marie Antoinette, who strived to gain the love of the common people (at least at first? this claim is not very convincing for me either), MC despised them?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on March 09, 2011, 04:31:06 AM
Quote
Also, anyone can corroborate the statement that unlike Marie Antoinette, who strived to gain the love of the common people (at least at first? this claim is not very convincing for me either), MC despised them?

I can't say I've read anything about Maria Carolina 'gaining the love of the common people' but to me this sounds the sort of commonplace stuff any decent eighteenth century supporter of monarchy would say about a royal woman, and despising the common people would be the standard criticism of their oponents.  Maria Carolina was routinely subjected to comparisons with her folksy, peasant-loving husband Ferdinand in which she was represented as the arrogant foreigner who despised the common people, but Ferdinand's pleasure in sleeping with peasant women and enjoying unsophisticated peasant pastimes did not prevent him from repressing them politically just as much as his wife and any other ruler of the time.  No doubt both Maria Carolina and Marie Antoinette would have said that they wished to gain the love of the common people and do right by them - it was an obligatory part of their upbringing as proper princesses.  However, Maria Carolina saw no reason to enjoy peasant pastimes in the way her husband did, nor did she have a Petit Trianon - she probably thought giving them good government was the best way to promote their happiness. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on March 10, 2011, 09:50:14 PM
Thank you, CountessKate, what you wrote makes food for thought.

Indeed, there seems to be nothing I have read so far - except when Maria Carolina solicited funds herself after a huge earthquake - seems to point that she actively tried to gain the love of the common people. In this, she was same as Marie Antoinette, who ignored the common sentiment of the masses for years (which is why the aboev statement also seems exaggerated to me). I think perhaps MC was also like her brother Joseph II, who though his reforms and decisions would be appreciated by the people. It would not be very surprising, it seems that MC also "copied" her two older brothers in government.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on March 12, 2011, 02:10:34 AM
Actually, I'm having a hard time thinking about any royal person of the time who 'actively tried to gain the love of the common people'.  Just exactly what was that supposed to mean?  Works of charity were considered proper for royal women and the poor were then supposed to reciprocate with gratitude, and Maria Carolina certainly did not neglect that role as prinzheinelgirl has shown, although her political efforts overshadowed any such efforts (as indeed did Marie Antoinette).  But acts which might make the common people love them were not in themselves deemed appropriate by the family - Maria Carolina's sister Maria Amalia was not at all considered to be behaving properly by being friendly with her guards, although she was popular in Parma because of it.  The 'love of the people' seemed more to be a product of a common perception of a Queen or Princess as an iconic figure of general beauty, graciousness, virtue, fertility, charity and non-participation in politics, and the many individuals such as Maria Carolina who did not live up to this idealised image were condemned for it. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on March 15, 2011, 12:36:18 AM
Well, Catherine the Great said in her own words, that she actively endeavoured "to please the nation"; I think that  qualifies as actively trying to gain the love of the common people, wouldn't it?  I haven't read yet much on said topic on Maria Carolina, hence I was a bit surprised to read a statement that she despised the common people.  Not being that active in said respect doesn't necessarily mean she despised them, does it?

I think there is more to Maria Amalia showing her love for the common people than being very much friendly with the guards. I'll reply on her own thread on this.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Naslednik Norvezhskiy on March 15, 2011, 04:17:39 AM
Well, Catherine the Great said in her own words, that she actively endeavoured "to please the nation"; I think that  qualifies as actively trying to gain the love of the common people, wouldn't it?

Not necessarily. Many at the time saw the nobility (in Catherine's case including the intellectuals) as the representatives of the nation and contended themselves with pleasing this upper crust.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on March 15, 2011, 05:05:06 AM
Well, Catherine the Great said in her own words, that she actively endeavoured "to please the nation"; I think that  qualifies as actively trying to gain the love of the common people, wouldn't it?

Not necessarily. Many at the time saw the nobility (in Catherine's case including the intellectuals) as the representatives of the nation and contended themselves with pleasing this upper crust.

I think what I was trying to say was that the eighteenth century perception of how to 'gain the love of the common people' was vastly different from how we would perceive such actions today, and as Fyodor Petrovich suggests, was usually seen achieved through the means of strong, benevolent government, appropriate private charity, and consultation with the upper classes.  It would not necessarily translate as a desire to seek the views of the common people, and indeed I've always felt that Ferdinand has unfairly gained some sort of reputation for doing just that, when in fact the only available evidence suggests that although he enjoyed the company and pastimes of common people, he was not especially interested in promoting their interests and his politics with or without his first wife were as repressive as any conservative government would have wished. 

I don’t know where the quote originates from, and perhaps that’s the problem for me – so much of the discussion depends on context.  Was it a contemporary writer or historian, what did they base their remarks on, was there likely to be any bias towards Maria Carolina?  She has had a bad press from Italian historians and a good one from British historians – both schools with agendas to pursue.  So I tend to be skeptical about such statements unless I have an idea of where the writer is coming from. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on March 21, 2011, 02:26:08 AM
I think what I was trying to say was that the eighteenth century perception of how to 'gain the love of the common people' was vastly different from how we would perceive such actions today, and as Fyodor Petrovich suggests, was usually seen achieved through the means of strong, benevolent government, appropriate private charity, and consultation with the upper classes.  It would not necessarily translate as a desire to seek the views of the common people, and indeed I've always felt that Ferdinand has unfairly gained some sort of reputation for doing just that, when in fact the only available evidence suggests that although he enjoyed the company and pastimes of common people, he was not especially interested in promoting their interests and his politics with or without his first wife were as repressive as any conservative government would have wished.  

I don’t know where the quote originates from, and perhaps that’s the problem for me – so much of the discussion depends on context.  Was it a contemporary writer or historian, what did they base their remarks on, was there likely to be any bias towards Maria Carolina?  She has had a bad press from Italian historians and a good one from British historians – both schools with agendas to pursue.  So I tend to be skeptical about such statements unless I have an idea of where the writer is coming from.  

It was from an Italian source.   :)

I also agree that while Ferdinand enjoyed great popularity with the common people by mixing with them, he didn't also do much to promote their interests. Yes, he "enjoyed" them but also very much in the context of his "amusements".
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on March 21, 2011, 03:24:43 AM
Here is something on Ferdinand and his second (morganatic) wife, Lucia:

Ferdinand loved his second wife very much. He wrote her tender letters, which began with "To my dear and good Lucia" and signed off his letters with "Your affectionate companion who loves you dearly".  Not only was he tender in his letters but also they were also full of gratitude. Perhaps because she made his last years sweet and cheerful, especially after a lifetime spent at the side of the "unbearable" and "intriguing" Maria Carolina, who was nicknamed by the people as the "Austrian Erinyes".  In fact, Ferdinand considered his affair with Lucia as a "miracle".

In addition, Ferdinand (whom MC described as not one to give presents and indeed she never got a even a garden from him, which she greatly desired) was very generous to his 2nd wife and her children (from her first marriage): countless ducats, fabulous jewels (diamonds and parures), a palace and a country villa (complete with a zoo), among others.   

Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on March 21, 2011, 11:29:34 AM
Here is something on Ferdinand and his second (morganatic) wife, Lucia:

Ferdinand loved his second wife very much. He wrote her tender letters, which began with "To my dear and good Lucia" and signed off his letters with "Your affectionate companion who loves you dearly".  Not only was he tender in his letters but also they were also full of gratitude. Perhaps because she made his last years sweet and cheerful, especially after a lifetime spent at the side of the "unbearable" and "intriguing" Maria Carolina, who was nicknamed by the people as the "Austrian Erinyes".  In fact, Ferdinand considered his affair with Lucia as a "miracle".

In addition, Ferdinand (whom MC described as not one to give presents and indeed she never got a even a garden from him, which she greatly desired) was very generous to his 2nd wife and her children (from her first marriage): countless ducats, fabulous jewels (diamonds and parures), a palace and a country villa (complete with a zoo), among others.   


Hopefully by then he had recovered from the venereal disease with which he had infected his first wife, and was less prone to marital rape, or if not, the money, jewels and property were some compensation to Lucia.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on March 21, 2011, 10:35:58 PM
Hopefully by then he had recovered from the venereal disease with which he had infected his first wife, and was less prone to marital rape, or if not, the money, jewels and property were some compensation to Lucia.

I have no doubt that (marital rape) was NOT a thing to do to one's wife, no matter how unpleasant she was (which Maria Carolina could be).  I'm wondering if it some kind of "vengeance" on Ferdinand's part?  The quotes about MC being "unbearable" and "intriguing" were not mine, but from the source I read.  :)  In contrast to said allegations,  Lucia was said to have behaved with "infinite tact" in her dealings with everyone, whether with Ferdinand or the rest of the royal family, ministers, or the general public.  

Well, Lucia was from rich family. After her older brother died, she was the sole heiress of her father. Perhaps even richer than MC, for except her dowry and jewels from Austria, MC was not entitled to any of the family wealth. She didn't seem to have received anything substantial from either Franz Stephan or Maria Theresia, except some of her mother's personal effects. I have no idea how much her allowance was as queen.  Or if she indeed was as thrifty as she claimed to be, for I have also read that she also (very much) patronised Madame Bertin and Monsieur Leonard (both very expensive and extravagant),  her sister Marie Antoinette's  dressmaker and hairdresser, respectively.  
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Paul on March 22, 2011, 04:10:52 AM
Perhaps his second marriage was happier because a Royal Marriage united two crowns, while a morganatic marriage united two human beings?

Here is something on Ferdinand and his second (morganatic) wife, Lucia:

Ferdinand loved his second wife very much. He wrote her tender letters, which began with "To my dear and good Lucia" and signed off his letters with "Your affectionate companion who loves you dearly".  Not only was he tender in his letters but also they were also full of gratitude. Perhaps because she made his last years sweet and cheerful, especially after a lifetime spent at the side of the "unbearable" and "intriguing" Maria Carolina, who was nicknamed by the people as the "Austrian Erinyes".  In fact, Ferdinand considered his affair with Lucia as a "miracle".

In addition, Ferdinand (whom MC described as not one to give presents and indeed she never got a even a garden from him, which she greatly desired) was very generous to his 2nd wife and her children (from her first marriage): countless ducats, fabulous jewels (diamonds and parures), a palace and a country villa (complete with a zoo), among others.

Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on March 22, 2011, 05:05:11 AM
Perhaps his second marriage was happier because a Royal Marriage united two crowns, while a morganatic marriage united two human beings?

Here is something on Ferdinand and his second (morganatic) wife, Lucia:

Ferdinand loved his second wife very much. He wrote her tender letters, which began with "To my dear and good Lucia" and signed off his letters with "Your affectionate companion who loves you dearly".  Not only was he tender in his letters but also they were also full of gratitude. Perhaps because she made his last years sweet and cheerful, especially after a lifetime spent at the side of the "unbearable" and "intriguing" Maria Carolina, who was nicknamed by the people as the "Austrian Erinyes".  In fact, Ferdinand considered his affair with Lucia as a "miracle".

In addition, Ferdinand (whom MC described as not one to give presents and indeed she never got a even a garden from him, which she greatly desired) was very generous to his 2nd wife and her children (from her first marriage): countless ducats, fabulous jewels (diamonds and parures), a palace and a country villa (complete with a zoo), among others.


I am somewhat skeptical of the implication that the couple was drawn together by pure romance.  While Lucia does seem to be a nice woman, and not especially avaricious, and uninterested in politics so Ferdinand was able to hand the government over to the direction of the Austrians, I can’t see what the attraction of an elderly man with disgusting personal habits would be had he not been the King.  I’ve always thought the same about Catherine Dolgorukaya – would she have been attracted to a middle-aged Mr Alexander Romanov?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on March 25, 2011, 03:38:55 AM
Yes, Ferdinand was already old by then, still ugly, and presumably carrying on with his disgusting habits....

On the other hand, aside from the material benefits (and Lucia was already a rich woman anyway, being her father's sole heiress and her hsuband was rich too)  there was nothing much to make her want a union with Ferdinand.  By the way, it was mentioned that Lucia, in her 40s when she married Ferdinand, still retained much of her beauty. I have seen a couple of her younger portraits, and yes, she was very beautiful. IMHO, a lot prettier than Maria Carolina at approximately the same age (she wasn't one of the prettier sisters at any rate).
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on March 28, 2011, 11:47:54 AM
Sotheby's has an auction on 14 April called 'Noblesse Oblige' (http://www.sothebys.com/app/ecatalogue/fhtml/index.jsp?event_id=30625#/r=index-fhtml.jsp?event_id=30625|r.main=event.jsp event_id=30625/) in which there is an interesting portrait of Ferdinando gazing soulfully at a bust of Lucia, by Jaques Berger, which very much illustrates his state of delighted infatuation.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on March 31, 2011, 11:25:46 AM
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a42/cfarnon/Italian%20Courts/MariaCarolina13.jpg)

I've seen this portrait by Francesco Liani of Maria Carolina before, but hopefully this shows a bit more detail than the usually pretty small reproductions.  It's interesting that the dressing table behind her shows an ink pot, quill, and letters rather than the more conventional toilet items such as appear in Zoffany's portrait of Queen Charlotte - I don't think Maria Carolina was uninterested in dress, but she certainly wanted her role with more than purely 'womanly' pursuits clearly depicted.  The dress is full court dress with hoops and is fur trimmed, but has no gold or silver embroidery; the only jewellery she is wearing are large pearl earrings with diamond surrounds.  There are no robes of state or royal diadem, and the table has a mirror and stool so is clearly a dressing table rather than a writing desk.  So the portrait seems to deliver a mixed message of formality and informality, neither one thing nor the other.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on April 01, 2011, 08:57:42 AM
I need to update a program in my laptop  because I can't view the Sotheby's catalogue above.

I think the portrait shown above captures her personality..... Any idea what year it was done? She had lovely arms!

Maria Carolina's bathroom at Caserta Palace is featured here (at the end )...

http://www.pozzi-ginori.it/storia-2/mc_3.swf
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on April 01, 2011, 10:53:36 AM
Quote
Any idea what year it was done?

I believe it was painted in 1775 - she would have been 22. 

Her bathroom looks gorgeous - very civilized.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on April 02, 2011, 05:17:27 AM
Here is Ferdinando with the bust of Lucia, if you're having difficulties:

(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a42/cfarnon/Italian%20Courts/Ferd1NaplesLuciabust.jpg)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on April 13, 2011, 11:30:52 PM
Oh, thank you so much CountessKate, for the portrait and the info (age) of Maria Carolina's portrait!  You're right, Ferdinand seemed so "enamoured" of Lucia!

===============

Excerpts from a book (Naples in 1799) by Constance Giglioli:
 
"Ferdinand was born to be ruled by others not so much that he had a yielding character as that he hated to be disturbed, hated scenes, difficulties, opposition, mental effort ; and to avoid these things let others govern in his name. If he could have fallen into good hands, there would perhaps have been no great harm ; but in an evil day for him and for Naples he was given to wife, when he was seventeen, Maria Carolina of Austria, daughter of the great Maria Theresa, sister of Marie Antoinette, of Pietro Leopoldo, Grand-Duke of Tuscany, and of the Emperor Joseph II. of Austria, and she lived to be his ruin and that of the Bourbon dynasty at Naples, and the scourge of the kingdom she insisted on governing.

The new queen, still in her teens, was devoured by the ambition to shine among the crowned heads of Europe, as her mother had shone and Catherine II., the famous Empress of Russia. The king, embarrassed by his conscious ignorance, and dazzled and subdued by the brilliant qualities and high spirit of his wife no less than by her violent temper, soon became to her like clay in the hands of the potter, and the queen, " consummate mistress," as Hugh Elliot called her, " in the experienced management of every female wile and snare," now by flatteries and concessions, now by furious scenes and tears, led or drove him whatever way she chose.  

He complained of these things occasionally in his letters to his father, where he gives a ludicrous picture of the part he was forced to play in these domestic scenes. The queen, after some six years, and the birth of two daughters, became at last the mother of a son, and acquired thereby the right, most ardently desired, to a seat in the Council of State ; after which event she considered it superfluous to have any more children. She was destined, however, in the lapse of some five-and-twenty years, to have no less than seventeen a course of things which interfered intolerably with her extreme love of activity and amusement, for which she took her revenge in outbursts of ungovernable rage against the author of her misfortunes.

The queen tacitly encouraged as much as possible all these tastes that kept the king out of public affairs and allowed her to rule in his name. She gradually substituted for the policy of Carlo III. that of the royal family from which she came. The tendency of Carlos III had been towards friendship with the kindred houses of France and Spain and enmity with England. The young queen aimed at withdrawing altogether from the Spanish tutelage, drawing closer to Austria, and looking, as time went on, to the English navy for protection by sea. This personal policy of Maria Carolina led her to disaster, and caused the ultimate ruin of the Bourbons of Naples. The queen never sought to identify herself with the country of her adoption ; and as her sister, Marie Antoinette remained always F Autrichienne at her French Court, so Maria Carolina at Naples was Austrian, nor dreamed of being anything else. All one can see in her is personal interest, and personal passion still stronger than interest. The country merely supplies the instruments or the objects of her private desires and revenges. The kingdom, in the gross, she regards as the " patrimony " of her children, and she intrigues and fights over it with the instincts of a mother-tiger rather than of a queen. She gave much to the poor, and at the same time heaped wealth and presents on swarms of utterly unworthy people spies, informers, favourites, and persons of whom she made use in ignoble and underhand ways, besides ministers and others whom she honoured lavishly in public.

Ferdinand found himself placed in the dilemma of having to choose between offending his father at Madrid or his wife at home, and naturally chose to break with Madrid if only he might hope for peace within his domestic walls. The lelters in which, with many transparent falsehoods and equivocations, he lays these matters before his father are characteristic and very amusing.

It is remarkable how the many descriptions and portraits given of the queen by various contemporary diplomatists and others, English, French, and Italian, correspond, almost down to the use of the same images and phrases, through a long series of years.

It is said, by people who should know, that diaries and letters of the queen, now in the keeping of the royal house of Italy, were withdrawn from the archives, by special request, lest the publication of their scandalous contents should give pain to the reigning house of Austria. Meanwhile, we are not seriously at a loss, for want of these documents, to know what to make of Maria Carolina. The exact extent of her private immorality matters little to us in comparison with her failure and her crimes as a queen.

Gorani, for instance, the Lombard adventurer, seems to  know her very well when he writes thus in his open letter to Ferdinand 1 : " Since, Sire, you have never studied, you have a great idea of the learning of the queen . . . she is an absurd pedant who has read a few books without in the least understanding them, and who has no real knowledge, no talent, no virtue. ... If this woman were nothing else but licentious and pedantic she would be merely contemptible . . . but upon her lover, upon her favourites, she lavishes the blood of your people." The queen, he says, is execrated by all her subjects, "who accuse her, and justly, of all the evils which they suffer." Gorani seems rather to have admired Ferdinand than not in those days, as a man who, however deficient in education, might at least have been open to reason and good influence. It is no wonder, he says indulgently, that Ferdinand should be covered with relics and charms, and that during thunderstorms he should walk about his apartments ringing a little bell taken from the Holy House at Loreto. But that the queen, with all her pretensions to philosophy, should be taken, on and off, with fits of superstitious devotion, he considers as a strong proof of the real inferiority of her understanding."

============

The whole book can be read at:

http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/constance-h-d-giglioli/naples-in-1799-an-account-of-the-revolution-of-1799-and-of-the-rise-and-fall-of-ala/page-2-naples-in-1799-an-account-of-the-revolution-of-1799-and-of-the-rise-and-fall-of-ala.shtml

I have yet to read the whole book to see if the author is fair enough (in the other sections) to Maria Carolina....

What does anyone think?







Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on April 14, 2011, 12:49:56 AM
Re: Giglioli's book on Naples

The author also criticizes Ferdinand (liar and coward) but not as much as Maria Carolina. I do agree that MC was too fond of "applause" and that her intelligence was greatly overrated. She, more or less,  merely copied her brothers' reforms. She did seem to have intellections pretensions but not much intelligence of her own (sister Mimi had to plot for her re: Tanucci's ouster). I also concur that she also trusted too much foreigners (i.e. Acton), and did not govern very well.  MC claimed she has been thrifty but it seemed that she was extravagant to her favorites as well (Tanucci's annual salary was 10,000 ducats while Acton's was at least 30,000 ducats). To be fair, if she was extravagant to her favourites, she was said to be also generous to the poor.

What is most striking as well is that MC's ambitions cost Naples 22,000,000 ducats in deficit by 1790. That is around 286,000,000 liras or 858,000 sterling pounds (more or less) at that time. What is also ironic is that a great sum of money was spent to build Naples' fleet but the same proved to be useless in defending Naples.

That she could be unpleasant is uncontestable, but I am more interested in how she fared as a ruler rather than her (supposed) affairs and other vices. I also think it's also extremely unrealistic to expect her NOT to be loyal to Austria.

 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on April 14, 2011, 05:39:46 AM
The book seems the pretty standard view of 1903.  I'm not convinced by the portrait of either Ferdinando or Maria Carolina as especially heinous rulers - no, they weren't brilliant, but they didn't mismanage any worse than the highly sophisticated economy, France, and the favoritism to 'foreigners' was the standard criticism of the time and could be levelled at any number of rulers.  Naturally the point of view is that of the revolutionaries against the government and Ferdinand as usual gets the let out of being a pathetic coward governed by his virulent wife, and Maria Carolina the standard treatment of ambition, not as clever as she thought she was, etc. etc. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on April 14, 2011, 08:22:26 AM
Thank you!

No truth then as to the (alleged) explosive/scandalous letters and diaries of Maria Carolina that had to be withdrawn from the royal archives?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on April 14, 2011, 09:41:19 AM
Quote
No truth then as to the (alleged) explosive/scandalous letters and diaries of Maria Carolina that had to be withdrawn from the royal archives?

Well, proof of "explosive/scandalous letters and diaries" based on "It is said, by people who should know" would hardly stand up in a tabloid newspaper today, let alone a serious historical work!  As evidence, it is utterly meaningless.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 06, 2011, 04:54:09 AM
Reading (some parts of) the memoirs of Henry Swniburne, I wasn't very surprised about his recollection that Maria Carolina had an unpleasant voice, etc. What surprised me was the fact that Ferdinand, perhaps out of jest or to get back at his wife, actually escorted one of MC's favourites to sit right next to her at a banquet, saying that was his (favourite's) place.  I'm not convinced that Ferdinand (despite what some authors claim) he loved her and they had a strong marriage but this instance is just too much!  It seems to me that he disrespected MC (or at least didn't care to protect her from rumours) and didn't care that the whole world knew!
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 06, 2011, 08:21:41 AM
Reading (some parts of) the memoirs of Henry Swniburne, I wasn't very surprised about his recollection that Maria Carolina had an unpleasant voice, etc. What surprised me was the fact that Ferdinand, perhaps out of jest or to get back at his wife, actually escorted one of MC's favourites to sit right next to her at a banquet, saying that was his (favourite's) place.  I'm not convinced that Ferdinand (despite what some authors claim) he loved her and they had a strong marriage but this instance is just too much!  It seems to me that he disrespected MC (or at least didn't care to protect her from rumours) and didn't care that the whole world knew!

It certainly doesn't seem to be consistent with his behaviour over Acton, whom he apparently suspected of being Maria Carolina's lover and threatened to kill together with the Queen.  But as for respect, didn't Ferdinand tell his servants after their wedding night that Maria Carolina "slept like the dead and snored like a pig"?  The relationship undoubtedly improved, but it doesn't seem very likely to have begun on a basis of mutual esteem or affection, and it certainly didn't end that way.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 07, 2011, 05:04:33 AM
It certainly doesn't seem to be consistent with his behaviour over Acton, whom he apparently suspected of being Maria Carolina's lover and threatened to kill together with the Queen.  But as for respect, didn't Ferdinand tell his servants after their wedding night that Maria Carolina "slept like the dead and snored like a pig"?  The relationship undoubtedly improved, but it doesn't seem very likely to have begun on a basis of mutual esteem or affection, and it certainly didn't end that way.

I don't know CountessKate. It seems to me that Ferdinand was "inconsistent", depending on how it suited him? I don't know much about Ferdinand's "jealousy" over Acton. But in the case that I rleated above,  Swinburne said Ferdinand was complaining loudly of his wife's "jealousies" and said that his life was very hard, saying he couldn't go anywhere he pleased. Then, Maria Carolina's friend (Duchess of San Severo) had a quarrel with her, then had her revenge and told Ferdinand about his wife's (supposed) gallantries.  Which pleased Ferdinand (so tortured about his wife's "jealousies"-- real or imagined) so that he can "torture" MC. So he set about doing that, going as far as escorting Guarini (the favourite) to MC's side at the table, saying that was his place. MC was livid but could not do anything but "swallow" the situation. As soon as she could, MC then had him removed to Turin, where she furnished a house for Guarini. MC went as far as giving a magnificent set of porcelain, originally a present from Joseph to her, plus a fine diamond star and cross.

Swinburne also mentioned that MC's allowance was (only) 50,000 ducats/year so she cannot be very generous. In this case, Maria Amalia's allowance was larger (about 55% more) than MC (plus access/privilege to making second requests from available means, aside from her annual allowance).  Do you know how rich was Naples compared to Parma? It seems to me that Naples was at least 10x bigger than Parma in land area and in population, and their allowances had quite a big variance.    
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 07, 2011, 05:24:51 AM
It certainly sounds like both were rather manipulative in their relationship - it's very interesting to see that Ferdinand was jealous when it suited him to be so.  Perhaps it was his way of trying to assert himself occasionally in the marriage when he felt his wife to be particularly dominant. 

Quote
Swinburne also mentioned that MC's allowance was (only) 50,000 ducats/year so she cannot be very generous. In this case, Maria Amalia's allowance was larger (about 50% more) than MC. Plus access/privilege to making second requests from available means, aside from her annual allowance.

It's difficult to tell what the actual value of the allowances made to the two queens was.  Marie Antoinette never seemed to have enough money however much it was, Maria Carolina seemed to do all right on hers.  Of course both had access to court patronage, which was a huge resource, one which Marie Antoinette squandered on her friends such as the Princesse de Lamballe and the Polignac family who really had no need of it.   While Maria Carolina unquestionably had her political favorites, I don't think she channelled the resources at her disposal into personal favorites in the same way Marie Antoinette did.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 07, 2011, 05:31:47 AM
Please ignore my last remarks - I had misread Marie Antoinette for Maria Amalia, a rather different kettle of fish!  But as a general observation, both sisters had access to court patronage, which was a common way of making an allowance go further - the purchase of government and court appointments was a standard means of raising more money which could supplement a personal allowance, but I don't know that either Maria Carolina or Maria Amalia misused that patronage in the way Marie Antoinette did.  Their political patronage in itself was considered reprehensible by Maria Theresa, not the buying and selling of court offices.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 07, 2011, 06:02:10 AM
It certainly sounds like both were rather manipulative in their relationship - it's very interesting to see that Ferdinand was jealous when it suited him to be so.  Perhaps it was his way of trying to assert himself occasionally in the marriage when he felt his wife to be particularly dominant.  

I agree with both. And Ferdinand, despite what most authors claim that he was foolish or stupid, certainly used his (not inconsiderable) brain whenever he wanted to!

It's difficult to tell what the actual value of the allowances made to the two queens was.  Marie Antoinette never seemed to have enough money however much it was, Maria Carolina seemed to do all right on hers.  Of course both had access to court patronage, which was a huge resource, one which Marie Antoinette squandered on her friends such as the Princesse de Lamballe and the Polignac family who really had no need of it.   While Maria Carolina unquestionably had her political favorites, I don't think she channelled the resources at her disposal into personal favorites in the same way Marie Antoinette did.

Please ignore my last remarks - I had misread Marie Antoinette for Maria Amalia, a rather different kettle of fish!  But as a general observation, both sisters had access to court patronage, which was a common way of making an allowance go further - the purchase of government and court appointments was a standard means of raising more money which could supplement a personal allowance, but I don't know that either Maria Carolina or Maria Amalia misused that patronage in the way Marie Antoinette did.  Their political patronage in itself was considered reprehensible by Maria Theresa, not the buying and selling of court offices.


Yes, I figured you must've mixed up Marie Antoinette with Maria Amalia. :) Maria Amalia's critics said the court were filled with her favourites as ministers and other key persons.  That I have yet to read more about but she seemed to get along well with her husband's Italian (chief) ministers. Certainly, she pushed for important posts/apprenticeships for some of her godchildren (both in Parma and abroad), so I can't see her being shy about getting whoever she wanted appointed as such-and-such at her own court.

It's difficult to tell what the actual value of the allowances made to the two queens was.  Marie Antoinette never seemed to have enough money however much it was, Maria Carolina seemed to do all right on hers.  Of course both had access to court patronage, which was a huge resource, one which Marie Antoinette squandered on her friends such as the Princesse de Lamballe and the Polignac family who really had no need of it.   While Maria Carolina unquestionably had her political favorites, I don't think she channelled the resources at her disposal into personal favorites in the same way Marie Antoinette did.

I'm not an authority on old currency, did ducats have the same value everywhere? If it did, then certainly Maria Amalia's allowance was greater than Maria Carolina's when Amalia's was converted into ducats. Also, Ferdinand & Maria Amalia had their appanages in Spain, something that Maria Carolina (and her Ferdinand) did not seem to enjoy.   But however larger Maria Amalia's funds were (allowance from the duchy +  money from the appanages in Spain, which Ferdinand shared with her), it apparently wasn't enough for she had "money troubles". In this respect, MC was apparently better in handling money than Maria Amalia!
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 10, 2011, 05:13:00 AM
The memoirs of Maria Carolina (or at least, this was presented as such)...... in French by Robert Matteson Johnson (1867-1920); it seems to cover only her latter years, specifically in Sicily:

http://www.archive.org/details/memoiredemarieca00caro
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 10, 2011, 08:03:24 AM
The memoirs of Maria Carolina (or at least, this was presented as such)...... in French by Robert Matteson Johnson (1867-1920); it seems to cover only her latter years, specifically in Sicily:

http://www.archive.org/details/memoiredemarieca00caro

It is certainly interesting as a presentation of what could be Maria Carolina's view of the transactions of Lord William Bentinck with the Neopolitan royal family in particular (he had "un ton de superiorite" and was "insolent.....audacieux.....ecument de rage...") though Johnson's establishment of the documents' provenance wasn't fully convincing.  The genuine correspondence cited in the footnotes however certainly endorses the memoires' view of the struggle between Maria Carolina and the British for domination of the king, albeit from opposing points of view. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 14, 2011, 11:45:27 PM
Thank you, CountessKate, for that feedback. I'll keep it in mind. I'm having a friend read the book, so much faster and better than when I read it myself!  :-[
======

Does anyone know what Harold Acton wrote in his book about Maria Carolina and money, if any? I think it was discussed earlier in this thread (if not deleted) that she borrowed the people's personal money in the banks without letting them know (used to finance the army and navy in the 1790s) and it was discovered so the people were angry with her.. Now, I have read another distressing information, if true, that MC asked the people to pay for a road tax in the amount of 300,000 ducats but when the money was raised, no roads were repaired..... I don't know what to make of it!  That information was not from an Italian or French writer so it does not seem from a "hostile" source....
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 15, 2011, 09:08:19 AM
I don't think that it is true. There is enormous corruption in Naples and unlike Marie Antoinette, Maria Carolina did not spent a lot on herself or her family. What she took was for the expenses of running the court, so that Ferdinand can concentrate on his pleasures of hunting & mistreses...
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 15, 2011, 09:26:33 PM
I don't think that it is true. There is enormous corruption in Naples and unlike Marie Antoinette, Maria Carolina did not spent a lot on herself or her family. What she took was for the expenses of running the court, so that Ferdinand can concentrate on his pleasures of hunting & mistreses...

That's why I want to know whether Acton wrote something (if any) about Maria Carolina herself mishandling public/state funds. Do you mean that the money for the road tax might have disappeared (with nothing to show for it) but she herself had nothing to do with it because of the (general) corruption in Naples?  

I agree that Maria Carolina herself didn't seem so extravagant or very generous but then, her personal money (allowance) wasn't that much. She was only allowed  50,000 ducats a year. Clearly, money was not plenty if she had to recycle Joseph II's present to her (magnificent set of porcelain) and gave it to a favourite. Or melting down a brooch when she didn't have any cash and selling the gold.... Maria Amalia in Parma had 50% more from her duchy, and counting her share from the appanages in Spain and the annual subsidy from France (I had forgotten about the latter), the total amount certainly would've been more than double to what MC had.  
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 16, 2011, 11:44:18 AM
In the Acton book, she generally portrayed as someone who tried to govern in the midst of chaos. Also you have to remember MC was only one woman, and although she was effective, she had to depend on bribes and force to keep a lid on her power (which is why she was feared). I think the money most likely bwent to the bribes to keep the government and armed forces running and not to mention the royal household (so many children to feed & cloth). I think if she took money from the people, she did not spent it lavishly on pleasures but through governing. MC did strike me as more of a Hillary Clintonese person than a traditional queen consort. If she is born today, she would most likely be the CEO of some corporation.

Interesting comparison to Maria Amalia ! Both sisters seem to pay very little to their appearances at later stage of their life, while their little sister remained appearance conscious till the last.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 16, 2011, 08:35:29 PM
In the Acton book, she generally portrayed as someone who tried to govern in the midst of chaos. Also you have to remember MC was only one woman, and although she was effective, she had to depend on bribes and force to keep a lid on her power (which is why she was feared).

What chaos was it, Eric_Lowe? Do you mean in the 1790s when unrest started in Naples and the French took over Italy?  But Maria Carolina was long in power before than, surely her reforms if they were good for Naples and if she were a capable and effective ruler, would've taken root and produced good results (and would've been appreciated by the people) by then irregardless of the events in the 1790s and beyond. But it doesn't seem that way, does it?  I'm not sure about bribing people + using force = effective ruler, either.

I think the money most likely bwent to the bribes to keep the government and armed forces running and not to mention the royal household (so many children to feed & cloth). I think if she took money from the people, she did not spent it lavishly on pleasures but through governing.  

I agree that it likely went to bribes and spending, perhaps in the army or navy,  not luxuries for MC.  Although if that was so, it's no wonder the people felt cheated because she promised to fix or build roads (Naples had very bad roads then) but it went to something else. Again, a reason for the people to mistrust and dislike her. I don't think the cost of having children would've been much of a factor. Although she had a total 17 or 18 children, there were no more than 8-10 children at any point, and even less at many points during her rule.  And surely the upkeep/cost of a bigger royal household would've been sourced elsewhere, not from a bogus "road tax"?  

Interesting comparison to Maria Amalia! Both sisters seem to pay very little to their appearances at later stage of their life, while their little sister remained appearance conscious till the last.

Yes, Eric_Lowe, I finally found the amounts that the sisters got as their personal money. I'm afraid your impression that Maria Amalia was unlucky she didn't have Marie Antoinette's or Maria Carolina's riches is not quite right, at least as far as MC was concerned. Maria Amalia got much more in terms of allowance than MC did. Marie Antoinette got the biggest allowance of the 3, but since France was essentially bankrupt (and Parma seemingly wasn't), all that show of money was just... a show in essence.  I think MC was more concerned with her appearance than Maria Amalia until the end, even if she was never as "vain" as MA was. As for Maria Amalia, she was just quite appallingly unconcerned with keeping up with a royal appearance later on, it also didn't help her image with some people.  
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 19, 2011, 11:46:28 AM
Well governing Naples is not an easy task. Maria Carolina was intelligent but she learn her craft from the local people and how they run things. Emperor Josef II reported to their mother that his sister took on the Southern dialect (which is not very polite or nice) with gusto but was still very naive. In the long run, Maria Carolina learn how to fight fire with fire. If she was faulted, it was at the hands of those who taught her how to reach power in that way. I think the corruption happened way before she got there, but she did participate it.

Not quite sure if Maria Carolina did as much as Marie Antoinette did on appearance. Unlike her graceful sister she did grew stout and her portraits did not show a very attractive woman, even those who try to emphasize on her resemblance to her more tragic and lovely sister.

Indeed. Mimi's report to their mother about Amalia losing her "glamour" did have a ring of truth.   
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 20, 2011, 07:05:37 AM
When Cornelia Knight (later lady companion to Princess Charlotte) visited Naples in 1785, she related that "We were presented to the queen [Maria Carolina] by the Duchess d'Andria.  Her Majesty stood beside a great table in a large room, and with only two candles lighted.  She asked us two or three commonplace questions, and then made us a civil curtsey, whereupon we took our leave.  Her Majesty was not at all well dressed, nor was she at all graceful.  She is said to have a fine hand and arm, which she leaned upon the table.  She spoke to us in French."

These brief remarks seem to emphasise that Maria Carolina at age 33 was not noted for extravagance or elegance in dress, for graceful bearing, or for keeping great state (only two candles in a large room were lighted!).
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 20, 2011, 06:56:43 PM
Well governing Naples is not an easy task. Maria Carolina was intelligent but she learn her craft from the local people and how they run things. Emperor Josef II reported to their mother that his sister took on the Southern dialect (which is not very polite or nice) with gusto but was still very naive. In the long run, Maria Carolina learn how to fight fire with fire. If she was faulted, it was at the hands of those who taught her how to reach power in that way. I think the corruption happened way before she got there, but she did participate it.

I'm not very convinced that Maria Carolina was indeed intelligent as authors claim. It just appeared that she was because her husband's ways; she definitely outshone him. If she was paired with her brother Leopold (of course I'm only doing this in theory), who was both intelligent and capable, where would she be?  It wasn't even clear that she **understood** all those books she liked to read. It was said that she was very witty but Marie Antoinette was also described as such... I don't think anyone can be convinced that MA was intelligent otherwise she wouldn't have done all those foolish things. Wit does not denote high intelligence.  The only archduchess who was undoubtedly very intelligent was Maria Anna.  Mimi is said to be very intelligent as well but it  is seemingly more of using her feminine wiles, not being a genius in the intellectual sense.

I think what one can give MC credit for was her willingness to work hard; she meddled in politics and became de facto ruler but she, at least, took time to know something of the matter on hand and devoted a lot of time of time in state matters. Of all the sisters who played (or tried to play) a role in politics, she seemed to have taken it most seriously. I'm not familiar with Mimi's achievements (or lack thereof) in Hungary or the Austrian Netherlands.,..but the lack of literature on it doesn't seem to point to that (outstanding results). Marie Antoinette just meddled without even knowing anything. Maria Amalia meddled for some years, but was full of caprice I won't be surprised if she only devoted a few hours a day to state matters, then seemingly grew "weary" of the work it entailed (or maybe she thought her job was finished after getting rid of France and Spain) and devoted herself to traveling and country living (that is not to say that she didn't meddle ever after 1775 but grew complacent).  Maria Elisabeth seemed to enjoy her role as "first lady" or the Habsburg representative in Tyrol later on but was seemingly concerned mainly with various forms of entertainments.  Now, as far as MC is concerned, what seemed to be her "downfall", despite her hard work, consisted of wrong judgement (i.e. putting in the wrong and/or extravagant policies which Naples did not really need), not cleaning up or minimising the the corrrupt system in Naples, and losing her people's trust.  She replaced many ministers with Austrian ones or those nominated by Austria, didn't she?  

Not quite sure if Maria Carolina did as much as Marie Antoinette did on appearance. Unlike her graceful sister she did grew stout and her portraits did not show a very attractive woman, even those who try to emphasize on her resemblance to her more tragic and lovely sister.

Indeed. Mimi's report to their mother about Amalia losing her "glamour" did have a ring of truth.  

When Cornelia Knight (later lady companion to Princess Charlotte) visited Naples in 1785, she related that "We were presented to the queen [Maria Carolina] by the Duchess d'Andria.  Her Majesty stood beside a great table in a large room, and with only two candles lighted.  She asked us two or three commonplace questions, and then made us a civil curtsey, whereupon we took our leave.  Her Majesty was not at all well dressed, nor was she at all graceful.  She is said to have a fine hand and arm, which she leaned upon the table.  She spoke to us in French."

These brief remarks seem to emphasise that Maria Carolina at age 33 was not noted for extravagance or elegance in dress, for graceful bearing, or for keeping great state (only two candles in a large room were lighted!).
 

Thanks for this. I didn't know Maria Carolina had, more or less, gone the same way as Maria Amalia did. The only thing that seemed to differ was that MC got stout and Maria Amalia became thinner than ever. I've read both sisters had "hooked" nose and red hair later on. Maria Amalia did not even take care of her hair, she had "tousled" hair. Now, it couldn't be she couldn't afford a gold comb, LOL. Marie Antoinette was described as graceful but she also stout quite early on, by her early or mid 20s, in fact.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 21, 2011, 09:59:24 AM
Yes. Maria Theresa once said of her daughters, MC resembled her the most. Unfortunately, The Empress was governing her own dominions while her daughter tired to govern foreigners in a country she married into, whose people she neither liked or trusted.

Yes, I once saw a portrait of MC that actually looked like a man, done in her last days. It was devoid of all glamor of a queen. Looking at that portrait I could see why she eventually lost the love of her husband...
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 22, 2011, 12:28:39 AM
Yes. Maria Theresa once said of her daughters, MC resembled her the most. Unfortunately, The Empress was governing her own dominions while her daughter tired to govern foreigners in a country she married into, whose people she neither liked or trusted.

Yes, I once saw a portrait of MC that actually looked like a man, done in her last days. It was devoid of all glamor of a queen. Looking at that portrait I could see why she eventually lost the love of her husband...

Unlike some authors (not that I am one), I don't think that comparison by Maria Theresa about Maria Carolina being the daughter most like her is a much of a compliment. There's no evidence that MT was a very nice person (nor particularly intelligent like the two acknowledged "greats" of her time:  Catherine and and Frederick) and if her hands hadn't been tied with 2 long (and costly) wars, she was likely to have committed more injustices and irrational acts, as she was very stubborn, vengeful and prejudiced. But yes, as far as diligence and being hard at work, MC took after her. If MC was indeed distrustful, then it's another (bad) trait she took after her mother.  I also think she was too full of herself - thinking she was the greatest thing to happen to her husband (and his family); perhaps she felt the same for her people. It was her loss, since there's no strong evidence they thought of her that way!

I haven't come across any hard evidence that Ferdinand of Naples indeed loved her. At most, there was some semblance of it early on, while she pretended to flatter him and all, but it was quickly over as well... not more than a few years. And she seemingly enjoyed only intermittent credit with her husband. Mostly, Ferdinand gave in to her demands because he wanted
(above all) a peaceful life, and she became more and more difficult. While loss of looks (not that she was one of the prettier sisters in the first place) can be a factor, it doesn't seem to be the main reason why Ferdinand turned against her and despised her in the end. I think what did her in was her personal attitude to him, her tantrums, her costly mistakes (both personal and as de facto ruler), her stubborness to intrigue (wiser people know when to let go). While Ferdinand was also not prize, it is quite easy to see why he finally had enough...after all, MC was dependent (on all levels) on him for her welfare! Ferdinand was her husband & sovereign, she was his property in essence. Not even a lot of goodwill was left in the end.  It's sad for MC.    
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 22, 2011, 02:22:47 AM
Quote
I haven't come across any hard evidence that Ferdinand of Naples indeed loved her. At most, there was some semblance of it early on, while she pretended to flatter him and all, but it was quickly over as well... not more than a few years.

I would agree that there wasn't much, if any, love in the marriage, right from the word go.  But I don't think either partner expected this - it was a contracted relationship and there were expected norms of behaviour which neither partner lived up to.  As a proper wife of her time, Maria Carolina should have deferred more to Ferdinand at least in appearance, and Ferdinand as her "husband & sovereign" and thus her natural protector should have supported her when the chips were down. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 22, 2011, 08:24:54 AM
I would agree that there wasn't much, if any, love in the marriage, right from the word go.  But I don't think either partner expected this - it was a contracted relationship and there were expected norms of behaviour which neither partner lived up to.  As a proper wife of her time, Maria Carolina should have deferred more to Ferdinand at least in appearance, and Ferdinand as her "husband & sovereign" and thus her natural protector should have supported her when the chips were down.  

That's right, it was a marriage for state reasons and neither partner also practiced friendship and tolerance in the long run-- the ideal combination for at least a "tolerable" royal marriage. I fully agree that in this case, Ferdinand could've been the bigger person (as Maria Carolina's protector) by displaying a bit of goodwill/support at the end. It entirely depended on him when everything has been said and done.    

As for her supposed high intelligence, I think she gave that impression because she was witty, liked to read and at least made an effort at her studies (unlike some of her siblings, namely Maria Elisabeth, Maria Amalia, Ferdinand,and Marie Antoinette; I'm not sure about Maria Johanna and Maria Josepha like the rest). Besides, people liked to flatter/exaggerate the traits of royals.  But unlike her sister Maria Anna (who was no doubt naturally very intelligent and scientifically inclined), she wasn't blessed with a phenomenal memory and very good concentration.  
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 23, 2011, 03:38:35 AM
Quote
As for her supposed high intelligence, I think she gave that impression because she was witty, liked to read and at least made an effort at her studies (unlike some of her siblings, namely Maria Elisabeth, Maria Amalia, Ferdinand,and Marie Antoinette; I'm not sure about Maria Johanna and Maria Josepha like the rest). Besides, people liked to flatter/exaggerate the traits of royals.  But unlike her sister Maria Anna (who was no doubt naturally very intelligent and scientifically inclined), she wasn't blessed with a phenomenal memory and very good concentration. 

We don’t know what Maria Anna would have done had she been in Maria Carolina’s position, so to compare their intelligence by comparing their interests seems a little unfair.  Maria Carolina was clearly not an intellectual but I don't think she was unintelligent.  She had poor people skills, but it wasn’t until Ferdinand was handed an excuse on a plate that he was able to send her away – had the British not used their political dominance it seems unlikely he would ever have done this himself.  And since she hung on until 1812, two years before her death, it was pretty good going – even Napoleon didn’t manage to hack it much longer and there was a great deal more on his side!  She was genuinely interested in the arts and commerce and actually did read books.  I do agree she made mistakes and certainly shared in the political repressions of her state but frankly, there was no regime that didn’t in the aftermath of the French revolution, not excluding Britain.  I agree she may not have been as intelligent as she has been credited with, but neither is there evidence to discredit it.  She could have done better – but she could have done much worse. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 23, 2011, 08:06:53 AM

We don’t know what Maria Anna would have done had she been in Maria Carolina’s position, so to compare their intelligence by comparing their interests seems a little unfair.  Maria Carolina was clearly not an intellectual but I don't think she was unintelligent.  She was genuinely interested in the arts and commerce and actually did read books.  I agree she may not have been as intelligent as she has been credited with, but neither is there evidence to discredit it.  She could have done better – but she could have done much worse.  

Sorry, maybe I wasn't able to phrase what I said above (regarding Maria Carolina's intelligence compared to Maria Anna's) very well. I was not referring to Maria Anna's capacity to rule linked to her high intelligence. It was more of a comparison to the sisters' intelligence in general.  Maria Anna was said to be very intelligent and there's enough evidence for that.  Maria Carolina was also said to be very intelligent but there's not much evidence for that...Wit? Not really a sign of high intelligence. Liked to read? Yes, but how much was actually absorbed and applied? She had poor discernment, wrote messily, was not very good at languages, plotted for 8 years but couldn't get rid of Tanucci on her own (Mimi had to help her), and  referred to both by Joseph and Leopold as their crack brained sister (years before Marie Antoinette was killed when most authors claim "she lost her (great) mind"). That's why claims of her supposed high intelligence make me so skeptical.  I agree that she could've done better if only she improved her people skills; honestly, she seems so unstable to me. As for the possibility of MC doing much worse than she did, what could be worse than how everything came out in the end?

I also agree that she was intelligent to a certain degree but definitely not as high as many authors claim. Another sister whose supposed high intelligence also makes skeptical is Mimi... her writing was also quite messy although she was better than most of her siblings in French and Italian (not that her siblings were such experts, of course). Manipulative? Without a doubt, but that's not a great sign of being highly intelligent/intellectual, more like skillful in having influence and control. Other than that, I draw a **blank** as to why she was described as such.  It must be because her mother adored her and believed her to be...and many authors also exaggerate Maria Theresa's traits (believing she was so intelligent). So favourite daughter and second favourite daughter (MC) get the same "billing" as their mother?  Marianne was not a favourite but her intellectual gifts couldn't be denied..    

She had poor people skills, but it wasn’t until Ferdinand was handed an excuse on a plate that he was able to send her away – had the British not used their political dominance it seems unlikely he would ever have done this himself.

You certainly phrased it well. Maria Theresa also had poor people skills but at least no one could turn her away for she was the sovereign. It was different with MC... I mean, her husband, allies, and other close relations all turned against her.        
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 23, 2011, 11:15:49 AM
I agree with you absolutely that Maria Carolina was not as intelligent as she has been depicted, and made many errors of judgement, especially in her relationships, both personal and political.  I feel however that the historical considerations of her seem to be biased one way or another - she is either the heroic, intelligent, witty antagonist of Napoleon, or the hysterical termagant who bullied her poor husband and forced him to institute repressive, pro-Austrian policies.  And of course she was probably neither exactly but somewhere in between. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 23, 2011, 12:28:37 PM
Indeed. However Maria Theresa did gave her children a golden childhood and it was so hard for them to forget how much of it was due to the indulgences of their parents. Maria Antonia found it hard to deal with the French Etiquette after the freedom she had in Schonbronn. Not to mention during the family concerts, Mozart once kissed the Empress and asked for the hand of an archduchess (Maria Antonia, later Marie Antoinette) for marriage (in jest only of course). It portrayed a happy family as oppose to other royals at the time. MC was particularly loyal to Austria (even more so than her sisters). 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 23, 2011, 02:08:23 PM
Maria Carolina certainly seems to have recalled her Viennese youth with affection.  Elizabeth, Lady Webster (later Lady Holland) wrote in her diary in 1793 of various meetings with her during a tour of France and Italy and recorded "The Queen was, as she always is, very conversable and clever, but appears to have a most impetuous temper....She was very flattering in her compliments to me, and shook my hand with cordiality....her reason for liking me that I had been in Vienna and knew many of her old friends."  Ferdinand was similarly taken with Lady Webster, though without the excuse of common Austrian friends, and she wrote, "The King was very pleasant and conversable....He was so gallant to me that they  [i.e. the Italian friends she was with] joked and said I would be sent to Calabria, the common way the Queen takes to remove her rivals...."

Although her husband was a brute and she got on very badly with him, Lady Webster managed to resist the King of Naples and several others and instead ran away with Lord Holland.  Here she is, painted by Robert Fagan at the time of her stay in Naples in 1793:

(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a42/cfarnon/Great%20Ladies/ElizHolland.jpg)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Svetabel on June 23, 2011, 10:59:18 PM
Dear posters

I have to remind you one more time: try to avoid repetitions. Your discussion is interesting but since post 162 (as always Mr Lowe said what he had said more than 3 times in old threads) has began repetition.
The old threads had been cleaned becouse of such things.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 24, 2011, 06:56:44 AM
I feel however that the historical considerations of her seem to be biased one way or another - she is either the heroic, intelligent, witty antagonist of Napoleon, or the hysterical termagant who bullied her poor husband and forced him to institute repressive, pro-Austrian policies.  And of course she was probably neither exactly but somewhere in between.  

I agree, and I think a new biography of Maria Carolina should  be coming along in the next few years.  A balanced,  well-researched, insightful one, of course. I haven't read  Archduchess Catharina Maria's biography of Empress Elisabeth (Sisi) nor that of Marie Antoinette's but perhaps she can do one on Maria Carolina? I feel that someone in the Habsburg family would be able to come up with a balanced book, and she seems the best one for it (not that I know the family personally, of course). I'd be the among the first to buy it!

Indeed. However Maria Theresa did gave her children a golden childhood and it was so hard for them to forget how much of it was due to the indulgences of their parents.  MC was particularly loyal to Austria (even more so than her sisters).  

Maria Carolina certainly seems to have recalled her Viennese youth with affection.  Elizabeth, Lady Webster (later Lady Holland) wrote in her diary in 1793 of various meetings with her during a tour of France and Italy and recorded "The Queen was, as she always is, very conversable and clever, but appears to have a most impetuous temper....She was very flattering in her compliments to me, and shook my hand with cordiality....her reason for liking me that I had been in Vienna and knew many of her old friends."

Yes, it was said that Franz Stephan wasn't demanding on his daughters (only with his sons) regarding their studies. Maria Elisabeth and Maria Amalia both absolutely **refused** to study but seemingly got away with it as far as their father was concerned.  Maria Theresa was displeased but apparently couldn't do anything.  MT was stricter with the next girls, Maria Johanna and Maria Josepha.   A courtier bewailed the musicals and plays that the archdukes and archduchesses participated in, saying that the children (already naturally inclined to frivolity) were not given the proper opportunity and enough time to hone their minds instead.  We see some of the results!

I agree that Maria Carolina seemed to be sister who was most loyal to Austria. Marie Antoinette in the mid-1780s started to think more about whether it was proper (or not) for her to support Joseph II's demands. Maria Amalia was, more or less, into her own interests (and Parma's as well in some ways) and seemingly couldn't be bothered much by demands from Vienna.  I guess MC also recalled her years in Vienna with much pleasure because she had the unhappiest marital situation among the 3? Logically, if the years are the point of reckoning, it should be Amalia who should most likely feel that way, because she lived there for 23 years vs. MC's 16 years and MA's 15 years...  

Ferdinand liked Lady Webster? Wasn't Lucia Migliaccio already a lady in waiting to MC at that time or was that while they were in Sicily already?
 
Dear posters
I have to remind you one more time: try to avoid repetitions. Your discussion is interesting but since post 162 (as always Mr Lowe said what he had said more than 3 times in old threads) has began repetition.
The old threads had been cleaned becouse of such things.

Thank you, Svetabel. I'll keep your reminder in mind.  :)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 25, 2011, 03:01:58 AM
Quote
Ferdinand liked Lady Webster? Wasn't Lucia Migliaccio already a lady in waiting to MC at that time or was that while they were in Sicily already?

They were in Naples, and Ferdinand's affairs were still controlled by Maria Carolina in that, as Lady Webster wrote, she banished any serious candidates to Calabria.  She also wrote to the effect that Maria Carolina didn't care about any peasants he slept with.  If Lucia Migliaccio had seemed a player at the time, she would no doubt have been given her marching orders.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 25, 2011, 07:05:40 AM
Another visitor to Naples in 1803 was Katherine Wilmot, who was presented to the King and Queen though she never received any particular attention such as happened with Lady Webster.  "The Queen is a sturdy looking dame by no means elegant in her deportment, and trotted about in her black and blue robes, much more as if she was crying "tooky, tooky, tooky!" after her poultry, like a housewife, than a Queen doing the dignities of her drawing room" she wrote in a journal letter home.  "The King looks like an overgrown ass, tho' in his demeanour he is exceeding civil.  However, his face surpasses any abridgement of imbecility I ever saw in all my life, and the vulgar debauchee reigns triumphant throughout his Majestic exterior".  Of "The hereditary Prince", she wrote "Vulgar is no expression to apply to his appearance , for vulgarity becomes genteel within his presence.  He....[makes] a sort of noise like the braying of an ass.  His sisters are prettyish, thin and light hair'd, and glittering like all the court in diamonds...."

Katherine Wilmot was of Irish extraction and travelled to Italy with Lord and Lady Mount Cashel.  She was not however an avowed republican, unlike her friend Lady Mount Cashel (who had been one of the pupils of Mary Wollstonecraft), but was prepared to be fairly open-minded about royalty.  Both she and Lady Webster commented on Ferdinand's civility though clearly he was not as civil to Miss Wilmot as he was to Lady Webster! 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 25, 2011, 12:10:13 PM
I do wonder how much of MC's correspondence is actually in the public domain for study ? She wrote to her sisters in France, Parma and Vienna. Only snippets of them seem to be in books. That is the reason for so much speculation about her.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 25, 2011, 01:05:51 PM
I do wonder how much of MC's correspondence is actually in the public domain for study ? She wrote to her sisters in France, Parma and Vienna. Only snippets of them seem to be in books. That is the reason for so much speculation about her.

I don't believe much remains of Maria Carolina's correspondence with her sisters in France and Parma, and I have no idea what is available in the Neopolitan archives, but presumably her correspondence with her mother in Vienna remains and would be in 'Briefe der Kaiserin Maria Theresa an ihre Kinder and Freunde (4 vols, 1881)'.  'Correspondance inédite de Marie-Caroline, reine de Naples et de Sicile, avec le marquis de Gallo', 1911, (Marzio Mastrilli, Marchese di Gallo, was the Neopolitan ambassador to Vienna) is available from Amazon.com in one of those reprint volumes if you read French and care to spend $44.  Boulay de la Meurthe produced 'Quelque lettres de Marie-Caroline, Reine des Deux-Sicilies' in 1888 and any volumes of correspondence covering Napoleon and Nelson, if complete, should contain letters she sent them.  Maria Carolina's correspondence with Emma Hamilton is contained in Raffaele Palumbo's 'Maria-Carolina, Regina delle due Sicilie, suo carteggio con Lady Hamilton', 1877.  So it would appear that there is quite a lot of Maria Carolina's correspondence available, providing you read in languages other than English.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 25, 2011, 01:11:19 PM
That would make sense, although I don't think Emma Harte (Lady Hamilton) was very well educated.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 26, 2011, 05:51:17 AM
They were in Naples, and Ferdinand's affairs were still controlled by Maria Carolina in that, as Lady Webster wrote, she banished any serious candidates to Calabria.  She also wrote to the effect that Maria Carolina didn't care about any peasants he slept with.  If Lucia Migliaccio had seemed a player at the time, she would no doubt have been given her marching orders.

Thank you. I guess I was confused by some of the references that I read.

Another visitor to Naples in 1803 was Katherine Wilmot, who was presented to the King and Queen though she never received any particular attention such as happened with Lady Webster.  "The Queen is a sturdy looking dame by no means elegant in her deportment, and trotted about in her black and blue robes, much more as if she was crying "tooky, tooky, tooky!" after her poultry, like a housewife, than a Queen doing the dignities of her drawing room" she wrote in a journal letter home.  

This made me laugh!  Maria Carolina "fussing over" (imaginary) poultry!

"The King looks like an overgrown ass, tho' in his demeanour he is exceeding civil.  However, his face surpasses any abridgement of imbecility I ever saw in all my life, and the vulgar debauchee reigns triumphant throughout his Majestic exterior".  Of "The hereditary Prince", she wrote "Vulgar is no expression to apply to his appearance , for vulgarity becomes genteel within his presence.  He....[makes] a sort of noise like the braying of an ass.  His sisters are prettyish, thin and light hair'd, and glittering like all the court in diamonds...."

It sounds like a very unflattering view of Ferdinand and his eldest surviving son. I guess one of the reasons why Maria Carolina didn't seem to like her son Francis very much is that he was, in many ways, like his father!

I do wonder how much of MC's correspondence is actually in the public domain for study ? She wrote to her sisters in France, Parma and Vienna. Only snippets of them seem to be in books. That is the reason for so much speculation about her.

I don't believe much remains of Maria Carolina's correspondence with her sisters in France and Parma, and I have no idea what is available in the Neopolitan archives, but presumably her correspondence with her mother in Vienna remains and would be in 'Briefe der Kaiserin Maria Theresa an ihre Kinder and Freunde (4 vols, 1881)'.  
 

I agree that MC's letters to her sisters should provide very good insights on Maria Carolina the person and her relationship with her family from Vienna and  Naples. In Maria Amalia's case, her letters to friends and those of Ferdinand to his minister-friends prove to be very interesting and debunks, without any doubt, any claims that they had a very "bad" relationship. Or that it was that bad in the beginning either. On the contrary.....
 
There were letters found (perhaps 10 years ago) in Maria Amalia's hunting lodge/country villa. That was when a crystal container of her perfume was also found. It's quite surprising that the letters survived to this day intact and were not touched by either Napoleon's minions, Empress Marie Louise (who later owned the villa) or the subsequent noble family who bought the villa much later. I'm not sure what happened to the letters (hopefully they were turned over to Parma's archives or the Bourbon Parma family archives) and if they contained some copies of letters for Maria Carolina or those from MC. Some German historians state that they corresponded but so far no letters seem to extant to date or at least published. I think Alfred Arneth was quite a biased historian. I think he only featured 1 letter/reply of Maria Amalia to her mother in 'Briefe der Kaiserin Maria Theresa an ihre Kinder and Freunde' and compared to her siblings, I think this particular correspondence between mother and daughter were not featured much on it.   No doubt Maria Carolina was much more prominent. So far, I haven't come across any references to Maria Carolina as far as Maria Amalia's letters to her friends are concerned. I also think later on Maria Amalia was more inclined to her sister-in-law Maria Luisa of Parma (at least until the familial fight over Parma/Tuscany swap), with whom she also corresponded and also asked favours from.  Perhaps that's one reason why MC took quite a dislike to or at least became critical of Maria Amalia (being friendly to ML), among other things.

Maria Carolina corresponded with Maria Anna in Klagenfurt. She also gave donations to Maria Anna's convent. There seems to be no evidence that MC corresponded with Maria Elisabeth on a regular basis.    
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: trentk80 on June 26, 2011, 08:06:28 AM
Maria Carolina's letters to her friend Roger de Damas have also been published.

There's also a recently published book, 'Un anno di lettere coniugali : da Caserta, il carteggio inedito di Ferdinando IV con Maria Carolina', edited by Nadia Verdile (2008), which includes several letters written by Ferdinand to Maria Carolina between 1788 and 1789.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: trentk80 on June 26, 2011, 09:48:15 AM
According to Wikipedia (sometimes an unreliable source), Lady Hamilton advised Maria Carolina on how to react to the threats from the French Revolution. Does anyone know if Lady Hamilton ever had any real political influence in Naples?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 26, 2011, 11:28:52 AM
I think with more of MC's letters published. One could get a more balanced and fair picture of her.

Lady Hamilton's only political influence or usage to MC was through her husband and her lover Lord Nelson. She was able to create a niche for herself in Naples.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on June 26, 2011, 11:35:05 AM
According to Wikipedia (sometimes an unreliable source), Lady Hamilton advised Maria Carolina on how to react to the threats from the French Revolution. Does anyone know if Lady Hamilton ever had any real political influence in Naples?

I think with more of MC's letters published. One could get a more balanced and fair picture of her.

Lady Hamilton's only political influence or usage to MC was through her husband and her lover Lord Nelson. She was able to create a niche for herself in Naples.

The evidence from Harold Acton's 'The Bourbons of Naples' suggests that Maria Carolina got useful political gossip from Emma Hamilton which she would not have obtained from Sir William, but if she was influenced by anyone, it was Nelson, though Maria Carolina was slower to act than he would have liked.  But broadly I would agree with Eric that Emma Hamilton was not an influence on Maria Carolina.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 26, 2011, 11:44:06 AM
Yes Countesskate more the other way round, with MC using Emma who carried tales to her. She also supported the lovers (Emma & Nelson)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 26, 2011, 06:07:53 PM
Maria Carolina's letters to her friend Roger de Damas have also been published.

There's also a recently published book, 'Un anno di lettere coniugali : da Caserta, il carteggio inedito di Ferdinando IV con Maria Carolina', edited by Nadia Verdile (2008), which includes several letters written by Ferdinand to Maria Carolina between 1788 and 1789.

Have you read both books, trentk80?  If yes, can you please give an overview of both?  :)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: trentk80 on June 27, 2011, 06:31:32 AM
Have you read both books, trentk80?  If yes, can you please give an overview of both?

I have read Maria Carolina's letters to Roger de Damas. Most of them are from her period in Sicily and later Vienna. She discusses topics such as politics, family issues, Napoleon, etc.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 27, 2011, 05:39:17 PM
Maybe you can write a bio on MC !  ;)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on June 28, 2011, 02:23:09 AM
I have read Maria Carolina's letters to Roger de Damas. Most of them are from her period in Sicily and later Vienna. She discusses topics such as politics, family issues, Napoleon, etc.

Many thanks!  It would be interesting to have a good and balanced idea of her frame of mind during that period.  
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on June 28, 2011, 05:32:11 PM
Once again it has hard if you only read English...unable to excess those newly published sources...Alas !  :(
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on July 31, 2011, 06:11:08 AM
According to Maria Carolina's doctor (the 18th century equivalent of an obstetrician), she admitted to him about being unfaithful.... I'm going to check if her sister Maria Amalia made a similar "confession" (they shared this doctor for so many years, who was appointed by their mother Maria Theresa to oversee their pregnancies).
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 02, 2011, 11:53:21 PM
What did Harold Acton's book state about Maria Carolina's exile from Sicily to Vienna? It was because her enemy, the British envoy, demanded it? According to the online state archives of Naples, Maria Carolina left Sicily following the discovery of a plot against her husband. Was it just attributed to her or did she have something to do with it?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 03, 2011, 12:22:50 PM
In the Acton book, the British Envoy was the main reason for her exile. Unlike the Hamiltons, he treated the Queen with scant respect and labelled her a troublemaker. He reasoned that he could rule much better without the Queen's interference. That is the reason why Maria Carolina was so bitter towards the English, when she met her granddaughter Marie Louise in Vienna, she rebuked her for being weak and encouraged her to share her husband Napoleon's fate in Elba.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on August 03, 2011, 12:59:46 PM
Quote
What did Harold Acton's book state about Maria Carolina's exile from Sicily to Vienna? It was because her enemy, the British envoy, demanded it? According to the online state archives of Naples, Maria Carolina left Sicily following the discovery of a plot against her husband. Was it just attributed to her or did she have something to do with it?

Quote
In the Acton book, the British Envoy was the main reason for her exile. Unlike the Hamiltons, he treated the Queen with scant respect and labelled her a troublemaker. He reasoned that he could rule much better without the Queen's interference. That is the reason why Maria Carolina was so bitter towards the English, when she met her granddaughter Marie Louise in Vienna, she rebuked her for being weak and encouraged her to share her husband Napoleon's fate in Elba. 

Yes indeed, Bentinck (a Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in Sicily and far, far from being an 'envoy' or any kind of diplomat at all) ignored the instructions of his government to "study the political views and inclinations of their Sicilian Majesties, and endeavour to make yourself as agreeable to them as possible....You will assure the Court of Palermo that no design was ever countenanced by his Majesty...to sacrifice the legitimate rights and interests of His Sicilian Majesty....[and] that this Government has never entertained or countenanced a design of interfering in the internal government of Sicily..."  He was also instructed to 'signify' to the "Court of Palermo" that the British would not be happy with enforcing "a system of Government against the resistance of the people of Sicily" which unfortunately gave Bentinck a rationnale to start on some heavy internal plotting against the King and Queen, essentially to enforce a British style of parliamentary government and constitution which ultimately pitted him against Maria Carolina, since neither Ferdinand nor Francesco could stand up to him.  The 'plot' which Acton suggests was helped by the French, alleged that Maria Carolina had been involved in intrigue to drive the British out of Sicily but was not the eventual cause of her leaving.  He also attributes much of her rage and frustration at Bentinck's crude and high-handed bullying of the royal family, completely in defiance of the instructions from his superiors.  He was able to cover this by presenting his government with dispatches which emphasised Maria Carolina's hostility to the British, which in reality was her resentment of the current British Commander-in-Chief, and emphasised her temper and fury - much provoked by himself.  Bentinck however was not able to prevent Ferdinand from deferring to his wife and indeed his continuous pressure on the King to get rid of her had the opposite effect of what he had intended.  Howver, eventually after incessant threats and bullying (much of which consisted of unsubstantiated accusations against the Queen) Bentinck finally forced Ferdinand to order the Maria Carolina to withdraw and she eventually ended up in Vienna, never seeing her husband again.  The constitutional reforms initiated by Bentinck were not followed through effectively by the Sicilians and ultimately failed, Ferdinand restoring autocratic rule, and after the defeat of Napoleon Britain lost interest in Neopolitan affairs and Bentinck was not supported further.  Acton certainly perceived no plot on Maria Carolina's side against Ferdinand, rather the reverse, and Ferdinand actually supported her until pressure from Bentinck got too intense. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 03, 2011, 02:59:16 PM
Absolutely. Bentinck was the villain in Acton's book who forced Ferdinand to dispose of Maria Carolina. Considering Maria Carolina supported the British interest in Naples vs the French, it was shabby of them to treat her so bad. She was very disillusioned at the British after she was forced out by the ally she chose. Had she supported Napoleon instead, her life might have been much easier (especially since he married her granddaughter). 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 04, 2011, 12:22:30 AM
Thank you for your replies. They were very helpful. I see, based on Acton's view, that Maria Carolina was sort of a victim here. But why was the relatively low-ranking Bentnick "allowed" to create so much trouble in Sicily?

I'm still confused as to why the Neapolitan state archives stated that MC was sent away after the discovery of a plot against her husband.

I seem to recall that the British monarchy supported Ferdinand and MC with very substantial funds to run their court, etc. So I don't think the British treated her shabbily in that light. Wasn't she accused of plotting against the British? Is this true? If so, it seems a similar scenario with her mother Maria Theresa, who was heavily subsidised by the British, but she turned away from their alliance.    
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on August 04, 2011, 06:36:08 AM
Bendinck was there as the military leader of the British forces which were allied with the sovereign of the Two Sicilies against Napoleon.  The British government were uninterested in Ferdinand's government except insofar as it supported the alliance although it did not wish to be involved in activities against the Sicilian 'parliament' which it (and Bentinck) misunderstood and believed to be something similar to the then current British setup of essentially aristocratic rule (and this should equally not be misunderstood today as anything really equivalent to modern democracy, although the British romanticised it as at least aiming that way).  Bentinck certainly found Maria Carolina his strongest opponent in his aim of introducing this type of government to Sicily and constantly accused her of plotting against 'the British' by which he meant himself.  He however was able to offer no proofs which Acton was able to unearth and if Maria Carolina had been plotting against him, it hardly ranks as plotting against 'the British' - indeed she had worked very successfully with the Hamiltons and Lord Nelson.  But essentially the area of operations was too much out of the main frame of British interests to make the British government wish to interfere too much as long as Bentinck was holding the line against the French (at which he wasn't brilliantly successful but actions elsewhere eventually helped).  Ferdinand opposed Bentinck by bowing out of the government for a time, refusing to see either his wife or Bentinck (but corresponding with Maria Carolina - hence she kept her influence over him as this was much easier on him than her actual presence) and actively resented the attempts of a foreign representative to part the King from the Queen and thus grossly insult a foreign sovereign.  Their son Francesco, for some time Bentinck's preferred tool, also proved less malleable insofar as he did not wish to see his mother sent away from his father at the behest of a foreigner in this extraordinary way.  Bentinck was constantly representing Maria Carolina to his government as a hysterical, fury-driven and almost insane harridan who was plotting against them, and the distance and overall lack of compelling interest in the region ensured that the British allowed him to continue his activities as long as he wasn't actually doing anything to interfere with the main objective of driving Napoleon out.  Maria Carolina's deep unpopularity with the general populace of the Two Sicilies, which ensured she got a bad press despite Ferdinand's sincere support for her policies, could be an explanation of the archival information presenting this picture of her being sent away for plotting against the British.  After all, archival material in itself might well simply represent a certain viewpoint which might not have been correct - i.e. the common perception of the man or woman in the street who had no notion of what had really been going on.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 04, 2011, 09:20:03 AM
Indeed. Maria Carolina was "in the way" of Bentinck controlling Sicily completely. Like her sister Marie Antoinette, she was a victim here. However Ferdinand was tired of his wife at that point and didn't protest too much for her. In fact later he told his brother, King Charles IV of Spain that "it is much fun free without a wife" and led to the short separation between him and Luisa of Parma, who later died alone in Rome.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: trentk80 on August 04, 2011, 12:36:23 PM
I'm still confused as to why the Neapolitan state archives stated that MC was sent away after the discovery of a plot against her husband.

I have checked the website of the State Archives of Naples. There's a part with a brief overview of the history of the kingdom of Naples and indeed it states that Maria Carolina was expelled after it was discovered that she plotted against the king. Just because this information is found in the website of the State Archives of Naples doesn't necessarily mean that it's accurate. Here it is and you can read its sources at the bottom of the page:

http://patrimonio.archiviodistatonapoli.it/xdams-asna/public/application/jsp/infoAutherLemma.jsp?theDb=asnaAutherFamiglie&codeToFind=0000000266&nameToFind=

I haven't read these books so I don't know exactly where this statement comes from or how accurate these books are. That said, just because an article or book mentions a list of fine sources, it doesn't necessarily mean that the author made a good use of these sources. Some authors don't have time to read the whole books, so they just quickly search for what they want and skip the rest. Some authors read it all, but don't make a deep analysis. Some authors don't read or use some of the books mentioned in their bibliography, but still mention them just to give the readers the impression that their work is fine and well-researched with a large list of sources. Of course, not all authors do this, but it may happen and it has happened.

As for Harold Acton's 'The Bourbons of Naples', in my opinion it does a fine job in providing a general overview of the history of the Kingdom of Naples from 1734 to 1825, but it's outdated and, although engaging, the insight it provides is superficial.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 05, 2011, 03:40:42 AM
Thank you again for your detailed and wonderful replies. I like learning more about Maria Carolina although I admit she isn't at the Top 5 of f my favourite royals now (she used to be). Earlier today at a bookstore, I saw a book on Emma Hamilton (Beloved Emma by Flora Fraser - I rather enjoyed her book on Caroline of Brunswick) but I wasn't sure if the book is good so I held off buying it... and I'd rather spend on books on royals.  Has anyone read it?

It's a shame that even resources from state archives couldn't be very much relied upon. Indeed, the author's insight and analysis play a very important role in writing a biography, not just facts. That said, I don't agree that Maria Carolina (or Marie Antoinette) was purely a victim. In some ways, yes, but her choices also shaped her ultimate fate.  

I hope a new book on Maria Carolina and/or Ferdinand will come out soon!
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 06, 2011, 11:42:09 AM
Well...I think Maria Carolina did not have as much luck in a husband as Maria Amalia or Marie Antoinette (both husband evidently loved their wives in their own way). She drew the lot after her 2 sisters died in quick succession. I think of her as a victim of politics, but unlike the helpless Antoinette whose only way of coping was to escape into an artificial world of her creation (Hamlet, Petite Trianon...etc) rather than like Maria Carolina deal with the problem. MT was quite fair when she scold her youngest daughter of being "lazy", "while her sister the Queen of Naples had a more difficult situation than her". One really think if Ferdinand of Naples ever really loved her or just lusted after her. There is a fine line between lust & love. While Ferdinand can appreciate his wife's "fine bosom" & "milky arms", did he ever sought to understand her ? No I would not put too much blame on Maria Carolina especially in the earlier years. She had a job to do and all the tears shed would not have helped. With her sex appeal and willfulness, Maria Carolina was able to gain control of the kingdom as her mother would have expected. Not too much was written on how difficult it was to do the right thing for the kingdom and fulfill MT's approval and expectations.   
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: trentk80 on August 06, 2011, 06:22:05 PM
I hope a new book on Maria Carolina and/or Ferdinand will come out soon!

I heard that a new Italian book on Maria Carolina is on the way, but it will probably take a few more years.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 06, 2011, 09:43:37 PM
I think it would be worth the wait. However Italian books have a limited amount of print.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 07, 2011, 06:06:02 AM
One really think if Ferdinand of Naples ever really loved her or just lusted after her. There is a fine line between lust & love. While Ferdinand can appreciate his wife's "fine bosom" & "milky arms", did he ever sought to understand her ?

Oh, love had nothing to do with an arranged marriage like theirs.  It was job like you said.  Lust may have played its part but it didn't cement her hold over Ferdinand. She had to resort to unpleasantness to do that over the years. Let's turn the question back to you... if you were Ferdinand, would you be able to deal with or love Maria Carolina, who was neither beautiful, very intelligent nor very likable/ loveable? Not to mention rather abusive and intrusive.  I'm not sure either if she knew how to make up for her abuse, unless one counts her "seduction" to get what she wanted (rather selfish). It is rather hard to understand or like/love a character like Maria Carolina.

No I would not put too much blame on Maria Carolina especially in the earlier years. She had a job to do and all the tears shed would not have helped. With her sex appeal and willfulness, Maria Carolina was able to gain control of the kingdom as her mother would have expected. Not too much was written on how difficult it was to do the right thing for the kingdom and fulfill MT's approval and expectations.  

The early years, yes, were excusable. However, circa 1775 onwards were not. You seem to keep praising her willfulness, as if it were a good trait, but look at how her willfulness turned out to be her downfall. Smarter people know when to quit, and they quit when they were ahead.

No, Maria Theresa didn't give her full approval to Maria Carolina later on. She was very much ashamed at how MC so openly dominated her husband. I've read that she had to make excuses to Charles III of Spain about her and that in her desire "appease" him, she went ahead with the expulsion of the Jesuits. Charles III had a 3-way tie to Maria Theresa via Tuscany, Parma, and Naples.  Charles III seemingly had no major complaints about Tuscany so it was mainly done due to the situations in Naples and Parma.  Naples more like it, since Parma was only ruled by a nephew rather a son.  Charles III was seemingly keen to keep his hold over Naples, not much over Parma.

I heard that a new Italian book on Maria Carolina is on the way, but it will probably take a few more years.

That's great news, trentk80!  Please alert me when it's about to come out.... :)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 07, 2011, 08:55:42 AM
Not too much was written on how difficult it was to do the right thing for the kingdom and fulfill MT's approval and expectations.  

Which kingdom is this, Naples & Sicily?  As far I have read (not counting Acton's book, of course), Maria Carolina's rule of Naples & Sicily was not admirable. What "right things" did she do in her adopted land?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 08, 2011, 08:26:54 AM
Well...To put the kingdom under control, satisfy her husband and please MT at the same time. As for MT not satisfy with MC's control over her husband, that was just smoke and mirrors. MT was VERY satisfied that MC was able to dominate her husband (she once told someone she expected her daughters to rule). The problem was that she did not want it to be "so obvious" as to upset Charles III of Spain. MT was a total hypocrite as far as her dealings with her children are concerned. Frederick the Great famously said about MT's outrage on the division of Poland "the more she cry, the more she took". She did it again in the case of Madame Du Barry, and forcing her youngest daughter to set aside the high morals (whom she taught them) and speak to "the favorite". It is to be commended that even they saw through the inconsistencies of MT, but yet still try to do as she wished. I think Maria Amalia was the one who openly rebelled against this type of strict maternal control.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 08, 2011, 08:47:46 AM
Leopold said their mother was also angry at Naples (i.e. Maria Carolina) for reasons I can't remember at this point.  That was in the late 1770s, I think. I've also read that  second favourite daughter Maria Carolina was not above receiving angry letters/criticisms from Maria Theresa so it seems that MT wasn't also fully satisfied with MC.

This is not the thread on Maria Amalia so I'll keep my reply short: her "rebelliousness" can clearly be seen in two contexts: 1) she didn't obey her mother because she fully supported her husband regarding Du Tillot; and 2) many of MT's accusations were not based on facts (either incomplete, false or partly false information) anyway, so why on earth would she change things?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 08, 2011, 08:54:56 AM
Well...I think MT had a problem with dealing with her children when they are supposed to be grown up and independent. MT in the modern sense was a control freak, who does everything in the book to get her own way. I think MC was like that too, which why she understood her. However I don't think she could do it 24/7 and 100% all the time. MT was just too demanding. I read that her treatment of her "useless daughters" (Marianna & Maria Elisabeth) were even worse. No I do admire her courage to try to please her sometimes impossible mother. I think Queen Victoria was like that too.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 08, 2011, 09:09:37 AM
Well...I think MT had a problem with dealing with her children when they are supposed to be grown up and independent. MT in the modern sense was a control freak, who does everything in the book to get her own way. I think MC was like that too, which why she understood her. However I don't think she could do it 24/7 and 100% all the time. MT was just too demanding. I read that her treatment of her "useless daughters" (Marianna & Maria Elisabeth) were even worse. No I do admire her courage to try to please her sometimes impossible mother. I think Queen Victoria was like that too.

Poor Maria Theresa, IMHO she was having some sort of a mental breakdown all those years. There is just something so sad about a great lady who had it all (well, almost all since no one's life is perfect) but who could not seemingly appreciate whatever good there was in her children and in her life. She was angry at the world at large. Sometimes I find myself admiring MT's children (except Mimi) because they all seemed to love their mother regardless of how they were treated, especially in the end.   Certainly, MT was rather fond of MC, she admitted that much to Mimi. MC probably tried to reciprocate.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 08, 2011, 09:20:55 AM
MC most certainly tried to do what is expected of her. She was the one that made the most martial alliances with her own Hapsburg family whenever there was an opportunity. I agree that MT was not a horrible mother, but tried to do what is right for her children & for her country as well. Sometimes they clash and then she put her country's interest above those of a mother. That itself is a recipe for a breakdown.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 11, 2011, 04:32:17 AM
As for MT not satisfy with MC's control over her husband, that was just smoke and mirrors. MT was VERY satisfied that MC was able to dominate her husband (she once told someone she expected her daughters to rule).

What is (are) your source(s)  for this, Eric_Lowe? I reread Derek Beales' book on Joseph II, and it was said that Maria Theresa criticised the political activities of Maria Amalia, Maria Carolina and Marie Antoinette. It also stated that MT was displeased with Maria Carolina (as well as Maria Amalia and Marie Antoinette), that their behaviour caused deep concern in Vienna.

As for Harold Acton's 'The Bourbons of Naples', in my opinion it does a fine job in providing a general overview of the history of the Kingdom of Naples from 1734 to 1825, but it's outdated and, although engaging, the insight it provides is superficial.

I fully agree with this. I have just read 3 chapters of Acton's book, specifically on Maria Carolina's arrival until 1788/89, and the book is indeed quite superficial.  I didn't finish the chapters feeling Maria Carolina was such a victim either because Ferdinand, despite his horrible habits and childish pranks,  was not a total beast either and was actually more intelligent/insightful than I thought. Neither am I convinced that MC was such a brilliant ruler nor very intelligent because there was nothing in there that proved it.  Definitely, a more updated and insightful resource on Maria Carolina and Ferdinand is needed.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 11, 2011, 09:30:56 AM
I would quote the book I read when I can find it. Most likely an English book. As I said MT was concerned about her daughters "ruling" her husbands directly, she found no problems of them ruling "indirectly" behind the scenes. This is the hypocritical part of MT I do not like, she wanted her daughters to rule, but not openly. The proof is that she constantly spoke to Marie Antoinette about being a good wife and submitting to her husband...etc. But she also insist that she remember she is Austrian and must work for Austrian interests. Had Marie Antoinette followed that instruction, she would have been miserable as she cannot be either French or Austrian and could not pleased either. Maria Carolina was very faithful to the Austrian interest her mother drilled into her and cared less for the people she reigned over. So in a sense she did deserve to retire back in Austria where her heart always was.   
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 12, 2011, 03:11:58 AM
I would quote the book I read when I can find it. Most likely an English book. As I said MT was concerned about her daughters "ruling" her husbands directly, she found no problems of them ruling "indirectly" behind the scenes. This is the hypocritical part of MT I do not like, she wanted her daughters to rule, but not openly. The proof is that she constantly spoke to Marie Antoinette about being a good wife and submitting to her husband...etc. But she also insist that she remember she is Austrian and must work for Austrian interests. Had Marie Antoinette followed that instruction, she would have been miserable as she cannot be either French or Austrian and could not pleased either. Maria Carolina was very faithful to the Austrian interest her mother drilled into her and cared less for the people she reigned over. So in a sense she did deserve to retire back in Austria where her heart always was.  

Thanks. I'd appreciate the exact source and quote about it. Many English authors tend to exaggerate Maria Carolina's traits and gloss over her faults/mistakes but  I'd like to reserve assessment until I have read the quotation and the context by the author.

I think that was one of the problem with Maria Carolina, all she seemingly thought about were herself (i.e. wanting to cling to power and her need for vengeance) and seemingly did not bother much to identify with her adoptive land and people and try to understand what was truly needed in her husband's kingdom.    
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 14, 2011, 11:50:58 AM
I completely agree with you on that. MC was guilty of not even trying to identify herself with the people. Marie Antoinette had good intentions, but too lazy & dumb to reach out to the public. Only Maria Amalia appear to realize the importance of this, yet she was also exiled like MC...
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 14, 2011, 05:52:35 PM
I completely agree with you on that. MC was guilty of not even trying to identify herself with the people. Marie Antoinette had good intentions, but too lazy & dumb to reach out to the public. Only Maria Amalia appear to realize the importance of this, yet she was also exiled like MC...

I seldom read anything - not much of it, even at  Acton's book - that Maria Carolina was truly concerned with the Neapolitans or Sicilians. Acton wrote about the king and queen's good reforms for the last 30 years (I guess he counted a few years during Ferdinand of Naples' minority) but failed to elaborate on such reforms, save for the colony that was made into a silk production center (sorry I forgot the name). The navy was mentioned but I very much agree with the critique elsewhere that while a navy was essential, it was far too grand and costly for Naples.    

As for Maria Carolina & Marie Antoinette, they were far too self-absorbed (in their "dramas") to "absorb" the undercurrents that surrounded their people. Maria Amalia was rather good at that, although I'd be the first to say that she had her many, many "dramas" as well. It does show though that she had the capacity to go beyond herself and her dramas, unlike her two sisters.  With Marie Antoinette, it seemed to be self validation though her (physical) vanity while MC opted for a self validation by mental/power vanity. Well, Maria Amalia did go into exile but she wasn't exiled by the people, she decided on it herself - knowing what was to come from the French (Parma was to be absorbed by France because of the Treaty of Aranjuez and with the French announcing that they didn't recognise her regency). A very big difference with MC (exiled by her husband at the 'order' of a certain British official, and she was deeply unpopular with all classes by then).   France only announced that Parma was part of its empire after Maria Amalia left, not as soon as Ferdinand died. Which tells us something about how Ferdinand and Amalia were regarded by their people.....  
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 14, 2011, 10:35:45 PM
I have just finished chapters 8-16 of Acton's book. IMHO, Maria Carolina, despite her paranoia, comes off better in the late 1780s/early 1790s since she wasn't nagging Ferdinand so much.  Although I find it sad that having married for many years to Ferdinand and bearing him numerous children, she still had to feign interest on his pleasure of the outdoors in order to get him to sign the documents that she wanted. That means her credit with him was never firmly established if she still had to resort to tactics after all their years together. I loved reading excerpts of her letters (when she wasn't being so critical, that is). Although I get the feeling that sometimes, she was still overdramatising things.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 15, 2011, 08:18:23 AM
Yes. I think after I read the Acton book, I found out that MC did have a hard life dealing with her husband. Yet it was also her personality that contributed to her drama, so she of course was partically to blame for that. Yes, her letters that were quoted in the Acton book made her appear more sympathetic.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 18, 2011, 09:57:50 AM
Yes. I think after I read the Acton book, I found out that MC did have a hard life dealing with her husband. Yet it was also her personality that contributed to her drama, so she of course was partically to blame for that. Yes, her letters that were quoted in the Acton book made her appear more sympathetic.

I (generally) agree although I'm a bit suspicious of her letters as she was prone to drama and exaggeration...
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 18, 2011, 11:07:37 AM
Well...She was a drama queen.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 18, 2011, 10:56:49 PM
Well...She was a drama queen.

That is why I can identify with Ferdinand of Naples not learning to love his wife and wanting to be away from her (hunting, fishing & womanising) at daytime, although I believe he could have treated her better (especially in the end).    
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 19, 2011, 08:59:46 AM
But it also be that had he really loved her (instead of just desiring her physically), he might be ale to ease some of her inner frustration. I think Ferdinand of Parma did a better job of "caring" about Amalia, while still maintaining his independence. A little kindness goes a long way for a girl/woman who just left home and felt lonely & hostile in a foreign country.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 19, 2011, 09:59:36 AM
But it also be that had he really loved her (instead of just desiring her physically), he might be ale to ease some of her inner frustration.... A little kindness goes a long way for a girl/woman who just left home and felt lonely & hostile in a foreign country.

That's true. Although I must say, Maria Carolina choosing to deceive her husband by pretending to "love" him was not a good decision. Ferdinand seems smarter than she thought him to be, and he seemingly saw through it after the early months. He seemingly never trusted her fully. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 19, 2011, 11:07:12 AM
In the Acton book, he seems to be happy to leave the ruling to her, while enjoying the physical relationship (their many children seems to testify to that).
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 19, 2011, 05:05:33 PM
Enjoying a physical relationship is not the same as having trust or genuine affection. That is why MC never seemed to have credit with her husband. After many years, she still resorted to pretense of being interested in his outdoor pursuits to get him to sign the documents she wanted. That, or resorting to her dramas.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 19, 2011, 05:22:07 PM
Agreed ! Although it does takes two to tangle. Ferdinand was no saint either.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on August 20, 2011, 01:16:17 AM
Ferdinand had disgusting habits and was very ugly as well. It's also easy to see why Maria Carolina couldn't love him (not that it was a requirement).  Although one good thing about it was that she was prepared for the worst when she arrived in Naples; yet she admitted he was better than described.  

I think it's important for couples to have intimacy as wel.  That is why I never believed those assertations that  Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI "loved" each other. Or should I say Louis XVI loved MA?  MA declared after having Sophie-Beatrix that she didn't want any more children. That is tantamount to  putting a stop to their intimacy. And Louis XVI was seemingly fine with it. Maria Carolina and Ferdinand did have many, many children yet it didn't seem to cement their relationship or result to affection for each other.

 I think 18th century expectations ut the burden more on women rather than men to bear with whatever shortcomings there are in a royal marriage.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on August 23, 2011, 03:53:33 PM
Yes. women in power is a rarity, it so happens that Maria Theresa & Catherine the Great's reign overlap each other.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on October 11, 2011, 04:15:15 AM
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a42/cfarnon/Italian%20Courts/MariaCarolinafamily.jpg)

Quite a nice picture of Maria Carolina and her 5 eldest children in 1777 - Vesuvius puffing away in the background.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 11, 2011, 04:41:26 PM
I think the eldest daughter on the right must be Carolina Maria Theresa who married into the Saxon Royal Family.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on October 11, 2011, 10:37:39 PM
I think the people at the portrait are (based on her children living by 1777:

(L-R): Prince Carlo, Princess Luisa, Prince Francesco (baby on the bassinette), Maria Carolina holding Princess Maria Anna, and Princess Maria Teresa.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Marc on October 12, 2011, 07:11:20 AM
I think the eldest daughter on the right must be Carolina Maria Theresa who married into the Saxon Royal Family.

Eric,none of her daughters married into the Saxon Royal Family...
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on October 12, 2011, 04:02:35 PM
Perhaps Eric was thinking of Maria Amalia's daughter Carolina Maria Teresa Giuseppa of Parma, who married Maximillian of Saxony.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 13, 2011, 09:23:29 AM
Yes. You are right. I got mixed up with Maria Amalia's eldest daughter. The eldest daughter here was Maria Teresa, future Empress of Austria.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on October 13, 2011, 10:56:58 PM
The full names of the two cousins are very close:

Caroline of Parma: Carolina Maria Teresa Giuseppa
Maria Theresa of Naples & Sicily: Maria Teresa Carolina Giuseppina

Caroline of Parma was named after Charles III, Empress Maria Theresa and (perhaps) Joseph II. I presume Maria Theresa of Naples was also named after Empress Maria Theresa, Charles III (or maybe Maria Carolina herself?), and Joseph II.  If Maria Amalia had her way, Caroline's names would've been Maria Teresa Carolina Giuseppa. It would've been more confusing!  And both girls took after the Bourbons in looks (although they never looked exactly alike, except maybe for the Bourbon nose)!
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 15, 2011, 02:12:01 PM
I do wonder if the two princesses ever met in person ?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on October 16, 2011, 06:03:46 AM
I think that would've happened only in their bridal journeys. There seems to be no record that the cousins traveled outside of their realms prior to marrying. Caroline of Parma did pass by Austrian territory on her way to Dresden in 1792  but it's unclear to me  whether she passed by the capital. And I'm not sure if Maria Theresa of Naples and her family (parents and her sister Luisa) passed by Parma on the way to Vienna in 1790, when she married.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 16, 2011, 01:34:20 PM
I think their mothers met at some point in their lives. I wonder if they being the elder daughters accompany their mothers on their reunions.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on October 16, 2011, 07:36:08 PM
Maria Amalia and Ferdinand visited Naples in 1783 but it was a "husband and wife time" for them; they didn't bring any child along.  Maria Carolina and her Ferdinand only left their  realm in 1785/786 (to show off Naples' ships throughout Italy, they didn't bring any child along) and in 1790 for the marriages of their 2 eldest daughters. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on October 17, 2011, 08:45:17 AM
Yes. That would leave only the bridal stops. It would be interesting if Maria Teresa of Naples pass through Parma on her way to Austria.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on December 22, 2011, 06:56:10 PM
I don't know of Maria Theresa of Naples & Sicliy passed by Parma on her way to Austria - via Bologna was used by Maria Carolina in her bridal journey instead of Parma. And Caroline of Parma did not seem to pass by Vienna on her way to Dresden in 1792; it appears that she proceeded west of Innsbruck (wrong way to Vienna) after making a brief visit/stop to her aunt Archduchess Maria Elisabeth.

It also appears that Caroline and her siblings did not have much interaction with their cousins in Naples.  They were, from several journals and other references, close to their cousins in the Tuscany and Modena lines.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on December 23, 2011, 04:26:35 AM
It also appears that Caroline and her siblings did not have much interaction with their cousins in Naples.  They were, from several journals and other references, close to their cousins in the Tuscany and Modena lines.

Why was that, prinzheinelgirl?  Was it because the familiies of Parma, Modena and Tuscany were simply closer and more in visiting distance, and able to share experiences etc. more easily and thus be more able to build more intimate friendships? 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on December 24, 2011, 09:40:33 AM
Why was that, prinzheinelgirl?  Was it because the familiies of Parma, Modena and Tuscany were simply closer and more in visiting distance, and able to share experiences etc. more easily and thus be more able to build more intimate friendships?  

I'm unsure as to why, CountessKate.  Perhaps because Maria Carolina did not appear to be very warm toward her relations in Parma and did not encourage friendship?  I think it was because Archduke Ferdinand and Maria Amalia seemingly became close in Italy and Leopold appeared warm and concerned to his sister.. that their parents may have encouraged their children to keep in touch with each other and most likely spoke of their relations in a good way.  From what I have read, Caroline of Parma was extremely close to her cousin Archduchess Maria Theresa (Leopold's daughter), who was also her sister-in-law. She also wrote regularly to another child of Leopold, Archduke Ferdinand (1769-1824), later Grand Duke of Tuscany. Maria Antonia of Parma appears close to her cousin Archduke Francis, eldest surviving son of her uncle Archduke Ferdinand, who later on became Duke of Modena. The youngest daughter of Archduke Ferdinand (1754-1806)  Maria Ludovica, later Empress of Austria, also saw her cousins in Parma (Maria Antonia and Carlotta) as good models to follow (she wished to enter the convent but was married to their cousin Emperor Franz).  The only thing I read so far on any Parma-Naples interaction among the cousins was when Prince Leopold of Naples visited Princess Maria Antonia in Rome, he visited her with his wife Archduchess Clementine (Franz's daughter), but this was much later in life.

A Happy Christmas to you, by the way!
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on December 24, 2011, 01:20:07 PM
I think it was more Maria Carolina than her sister in Parma that failed to foster a close relationship between the families. Maria Amalia was portrayed by Maria Theresa as a "bad girl" , and perhaps the snooty Maria Carolina agreed with their mother (they were forbidden to write to her for awhile). The more I read about Maria Carolina, the more I think of her as a political figure. She always seem to have a motive and agenda in doing anything. Amalia & Parma did not fit into her plans, so she dropped her older sister, while fostering ties with Antoinette, Joseph II and Leopold.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on December 24, 2011, 01:47:47 PM
Maria Amalia was portrayed by Maria Theresa as a "bad girl", and perhaps the snooty Maria Carolina agreed with their mother (they were forbidden to write to her for awhile).

The BIG question is: what would Maria Carolina be snooty about? Indeed Maria Amalia was far from being perfect, but she had, no doubt, redeeming qualities. MC was not, at any point, particularly and consistently attractive, intelligent, talented, likeable, honest nor good-hearted. As much as I try to find redeeming qualities in her, she appears short of them.  

The more I read about Maria Carolina, the more I think of her as a political figure. She always seem to have a motive and agenda in doing anything. Amalia & Parma did not fit into her plans, so she dropped her older sister, while fostering ties with Antoinette, Joseph II and Leopold.

A political figure indeed but a FAILURE at that! I don't understand why you seem to give her more importance than she actually merited. She was a middling political figure at best.  That she didn't find any "use" for her relations in Parma - and therefore did not foster any close relations - also shows the kind of person she was (certainly not complimentary). Maria Amali had a good relationship with  Archduke Ferdinand, and Leopold and vice versa,  without seemingly having any particular use/agenda to each other. I fail to see why you seem to find that side of MC... errr... "complimentary".
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on December 24, 2011, 02:38:35 PM
Well...I pity her more than I like her. She was more isolated in her position than Amalia or Antoinette did (both of them had friends, while MC was more like a single agent). She think she was smart (maybe book smart), but really not (especially in the long term). I understood why she toe the line with MT, she so wanted her mother's praise and approval (actually most of her daughters craved that, but few got any only crumbs from time to time).
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on December 24, 2011, 03:01:51 PM
Well...I pity her more than I like her. She was more isolated in her position than Amalia or Antoinette did (both of them had friends, while MC was more like a single agent). She think she was smart (maybe book smart), but really not (especially in the long term).  

I have some sympathy for Maria Carolina although it is quite hard for me to like her a lot (but between Mimi and MC, I'd pick MC). It seems to me that many of her problems were of her own making. And she was seemingly always fighting/unpleasant with someone (as a youngster in Vienna with her servants & ladies-in-waiting, with her husband, her ladies-in-waiting in Naples, her sister-in-law Maria Luisa of Parma, some of her children, Napoleon, etc. -- the list is very long); it must be a very exhausting life!  I also find her both arrogant and insecure, hence her false belief in her intellect and abilities (very much like her brother Joseph II) -- another awkward and unpleasant character.

I understood why she toe the line with MT, she so wanted her mother's praise and approval (actually most of her daughters craved that, but few got any only crumbs from time to time).

I think they all wanted their mother's praise and approval (except for Mimi, who got it and who had the gall to mistreat MT later on; but not seemingly much from Maria Elisabeth) or at the very least, signs of affection from her.  Maria Amalia certainly did, whatever historians seem to insist on, but refused to toe the line if she thought she was right; MC also did things her way, only MT's affection (one has to remember that she was the 2nd favourite daughter after Mimi and that many of her troubles were after MT died) kept MT  from exploding like she did with Maria Amalia.  I don't think MT's anger at MC was feigned in her last years since MT was basically disgusted at the world at large, which included many of her children. It's interesting to think had MT lived long enough up to French Revolution and the Napoleonic years, how she would've reacted to each child's fate.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on December 26, 2011, 09:46:15 AM
I agree that her intellect was greatly exaggerated, but she was a child of enlightenment and did support the ideals (which her mother did not). MC was put in a not so easy situation. I liked that she decided to fight back rather than lay die (like Isabella of Parma). Napoleon considered her a dangerous opponent (Amalia was not) and sought to destroy her, yet in her hour of triumph (and Napoleon's humiliation), she advised her granddaughter Marie Louise to share her husband's fate. I believe that there were flickers of greatness in MC that never got off the ground. She was herself's worse enemy. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on December 27, 2011, 04:52:27 AM
I agree that her intellect was greatly exaggerated, but she was a child of enlightenment and did support the ideals (which her mother did not). MC was put in a not so easy situation. I liked that she decided to fight back rather than lay die (like Isabella of Parma). Napoleon considered her a dangerous opponent (Amalia was not) and sought to destroy her, yet in her hour of triumph (and Napoleon's humiliation), she advised her granddaughter Marie Louise to share her husband's fate. I believe that there were flickers of greatness in MC that never got off the ground. She was herself's worse enemy.  

It appears that Maria Carolina had pretensions of being a child of enlightenment but failed to live up to them. There's a difference between the two. She herself said she was into power and all that for (personal) glory. Even if she "forgave" her enemies (those who supported the republic in Naples), there was that element of "triumph" and flaunting  her power of life and death over them.  Nothing was easy for princesses married into foreign princes back then.  MC  wasn't the only one who had to put up with a "disgusting" spouse and a difficult situation. At any rate, her "martyrdom" at the early years had a ring of exaggeration in it, and she certainly turned the situation around (with dire consequences later on). From what I have read, Napoleon considered her more of a nuisance (he didn't think much of the archduchesses, whose upbringing and education he deplored) rather than a truly dangerous opponent. And if Maria Amalia was inconsequential (at least in her duchy), why then did the French only proclaim the annexation of Parma after she left?

I don't consider such situations (advising Marie Louise to share her husband's fate) as "greatness" -- for one to be considered great/kind, one has to be consistent, despite the difficulties.  MC only showed such kindness very rarely.... from all evidence, she was deficient in kindness (among other things) and never seemingly worked on it,  and that sealed her fate (you get exactly what you put out).  For all of Maria Theresa's blind spots and favouritism, I have never read that she praised praised MC for having a good heart or being kind. Or did she?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on December 27, 2011, 08:27:44 AM
No. In fact her life was a reaction to the frustration in her life. Like Amalia, she did not want to marry "the old man of Naples". It manifested itself in bad tempers and tears. MT was forever in the watch for missteps in her daughter's faults in behavior and that did not make MC's life any easier.  I found it moving that she jumped out of the carriage for one last embrace before leaving. She was a strong character in body and determination. Her sister Antoinette was lazy, and I do speculate what would happen had MC married Louis XVI instead. I seriously doubt that something like "the affair of the diamond necklace" would ever happen. Both MC & Amalia were survivors in their own way. 
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on December 27, 2011, 09:24:21 PM
No. In fact her life was a reaction to the frustration in her life. Like Amalia, she did not want to marry "the old man of Naples". It manifested itself in bad tempers and tears. MT was forever in the watch for missteps in her daughter's faults in behavior and that did not make MC's life any easier.

For all of Maria Theresa's fault-finding, I think she did rein in her daughter. Not all of MT's advice was bad or self-serving. No doubt some of the scoldings were from  imagined or exaggerated faults. But we must remember that most of Maria Carolina's troubles happened after her mother died so I don't think it's fair to entirely place the blame on MT -- MC was, by temperament, very highly strung and prone to treat others badly. That, coupled with her inability to reflect and be compassionate and have empathy, did her in.  To be honest, if her behaviour was just a reaction to her frustrations, then she must be much less intelligent than I think she was.

I found it moving that she jumped out of the carriage for one last embrace before leaving. She was a strong character in body and determination. Her sister Antoinette was lazy, and I do speculate what would happen had MC married Louis XVI instead. I seriously doubt that something like "the affair of the diamond necklace" would ever happen.

Indeed it was moving, but just one of those rare instances that she showed kindness or love. She was strong and determined indeed but did not manifest it in the best ways or where it mattered most (self control, for one). I agree that Marie Antoinette was lazy but so was Maria Amalia. However, the difference is that Amalia acted in  right "causes" while MA acted way too late. No, MC wasn't so alert either --- in her arrogance, she let public perception slide against her for years. It was only when the French Revolution erupted did she bother to find out what people thought of her.While she knew she was unpopular with certain sectors, MC as very much surprised to learn that she was unpopular with all sectors.  So she sent police spies all over the kingdom to control the people....
    
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on December 28, 2011, 09:48:46 AM
Of course I did not say that MT was a bad person, but her advice could be sometimes very trying and confusing. For example, she advise Antoinette to think of herself as French (she was from her father's side), but never forget she was Austrian. How can one do that without making a mess of things ? She tried to be ruler and mother at the same time, I do sympathize with her dilemma, but that kind of advice was not very helpful to say the least (even though in her heart, she did believe she loved her children).

I think MC wanted love, but never really got it (except from her sister Antoinette). She jumped through hoops for her mother and the cause for Austria. In fact she was proud that she was the daughter of the Great Austrian Empress from the most noble house of Hapsburg. She looked down on others. It was this pride in her house that she preferred to wed her children. She got what she wanted after Joseph II passed away. In her bid to win her mother's approval, she did not sympathize with Amalia, but agree that she was a "bad girl". Yes I agree that she only reflect upon herself when she suffered misfortune. However for some people it is the only way they learn.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Svetabel on December 28, 2011, 12:56:54 PM
Dear posters

Observing the last posts in this topic I see that the repetitive discussion has begun again. And even with the same sentences about Maria Amalia and Maria Carolina as they were in the old threads ! Amazing...

Please - don't repeat the discussion - it's not that exciting to read the same things 2 or 3 times.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on December 28, 2011, 02:12:56 PM
Understood.

It is interesting to time when the relationship between Ferdinand & Maria Carolina turned sour. I guess once the sex started to go, her hold on her husband started to lessen. In fact I think in the last years, he made love to her out of habit than love or respect. He gradually began to have mistresses and the last being his favorite, whom he married after the death of Maria Carolina.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on December 28, 2011, 07:45:32 PM
Noted, svetabel, and thanks.

In line with the reminder above, i'll try to not rehash the same things....

Of course I did not say that MT was a bad person, but her advice could be sometimes very trying and confusing. For example, she advise Antoinette to think of herself as French (she was from her father's side), but never forget she was Austrian. How can one do that without making a mess of things ? She tried to be ruler and mother at the same time, I do sympathize with her dilemma, but that kind of advice was not very helpful to say the least (even though in her heart, she did believe she loved her children).

Then please don't make general statements blaming Maria Theresa for Maria Carolina's tears, tantrums and mistakes.

The Dukes of Lorraine and Alsace considered themselves German, not French. Hence, Franz Stephan, despite having a Bourbon-Orleans for a mother, was considered German.  Marie Antoinette and her siblings considered themselves German. I think  MT's advice to MA about becoming French must not to be taking too literally -- tie it up with MT's advice to do so much good to the French people and it becomes much clearer.

I guess discernment then played a big role regarding MT's advice.

I think MC wanted love, but never really got it (except from her sister Antoinette).

It's an interesting premise but since she treated people badly, how can she be loved?

In her bid to win her mother's approval, she did not sympathize with Amalia, but agree that she was a "bad girl".  

She continued to disapprove of Amalia long after Maria Theresa died. In fact, she "allied" herself with Mimi on this.  Not only Amalia but also disparaged her nephew and niece in Parma. 

Yes I agree that she only reflect upon herself when she suffered misfortune. However for some people it is the only way they learn.

I never stated that MC learned to reflect. In fact, I've been trying to find that in her. Until the very end, she was scheming. She never learned.

It is interesting to time when the relationship between Ferdinand & Maria Carolina turned sour. I guess once the sex started to go, her hold on her husband started to lessen. In fact I think in the last years, he made love to her out of habit than love or respect. He gradually began to have mistresses and the last being his favorite, whom he married after the death of Maria Carolina.
 

Ferdinand of Naples always had other girls -- whether casual bedmates (peasant girls) and later on, mistresses. There is no evidence (other than Joseph's claims that Ferdinand was "in love" with MC) that Ferdinand was very taken with MC. His criticisms of MC to his father was a way of "exonerating" himself and placing the blame on her; still they had a ring of truth in them. It turned sour early on, if his letters to his father were an indication.


Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on December 28, 2011, 08:34:36 PM
sorry, i meant dukes of lorraine and bar in the above post, not alsace.

i also think her brothers joseph and leopold loved maria carolina, although as to how far it went, i'm not sure. more love from leopold, i guess. since he agreed to wed his children to hers, although not so much as to take put their discussions into place regarding marie antoinette and france.    
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on December 30, 2011, 08:35:28 AM
The Dukes of Lorraine are considered French not German. When Marie Antoinette came to France, she literally had family at court.

Well...I don't think MC was born bad. It was part of her nature. MT was a demanding mother, there was no doubt here.

It is an impression that although Ferdinand reigns, MC rules. How much is the truth I do not know. However I got a suspicion that he is smarter that what people generally give him credit for.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: ivanushka on January 07, 2012, 01:36:58 PM
only MT's affection (one has to remember that she was the 2nd favourite daughter after Mimi and that many of her troubles were after MT died) kept MT  from exploding like she did with Maria Amalia.

I'd always thought that Marie Antoinette was Maria Theresa's daughter after Mimi because she was sweet, the baby of the family and always gave the impression of being the most obedient of the three sisters (the other two being Caroline and Amalia) in following her mother's instructions.  I'm probably wrong but that was the impression I had.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: ivanushka on January 07, 2012, 01:45:18 PM
Her sister Antoinette was lazy, and I do speculate what would happen had MC married Louis XVI instead. I seriously doubt that something like "the affair of the diamond necklace" would ever happen.

I speculate too.  For one thing I wonder whether the marriage would have remained sexless for the first seven years if Caroline had been the bride.  I suspect that she would have complained to Louis XV (who was her godfather) for him to put pressure on Louis XVI to take the necessary steps without delay.  It's quite possible that they would have had their first child by the time Louis XVI became King which would have given more certainty to the continuation of the dynasty (particularly if the child in question was a boy).  I also don't think Caroline would have spent nearly as much time partying as Antoinette did in her first years as Queen.  She was clearly far more interested in politics and the exercise of power than her younger sister and would probably have tried to involve herself in government as much as she was allowed to do so - which would probably have been a great deal as she certaintly appears to have been a far stronger personality than Louis XVI.  Whether such involvement would have benefitted France is debatable but thngs could well have gone very differently in France had Caroline been Queen.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on January 08, 2012, 11:33:06 AM
Quote
I speculate too.  For one thing I wonder whether the marriage would have remained sexless for the first seven years if Caroline had been the bride.  I suspect that she would have complained to Louis XV (who was her godfather) for him to put pressure on Louis XVI to take the necessary steps without delay.  It's quite possible that they would have had their first child by the time Louis XVI became King which would have given more certainty to the continuation of the dynasty (particularly if the child in question was a boy).  I also don't think Caroline would have spent nearly as much time partying as Antoinette did in her first years as Queen.  She was clearly far more interested in politics and the exercise of power than her younger sister and would probably have tried to involve herself in government as much as she was allowed to do so - which would probably have been a great deal as she certaintly appears to have been a far stronger personality than Louis XVI.  Whether such involvement would have benefitted France is debatable but thngs could well have gone very differently in France had Caroline been Queen.

I'm not convinced Maria Carolina would have complained to Louis XV about her husband's sexual problems which she would have been as ignorant about as her sister - her own wedding night came as a horrible shock to her, and it seems unlikely that she would have gone to her grandfather-in-law to complain about so intimate a problem which she might well have thought her own fault, just because he was her godfather.  I agree she was unlikely to have turned to partying to work off her frustrations and worries as Marie Antoinette did, and she was certainly uninterested in fashion and jewels to anything approaching the same extent - so she would probably not have been a 'Madame Deficit'.  Her initial tendencies politically, like many of her siblings, were towards enlightened liberalism, which of course closed down with the excesses of the French revolution, so indeed things may have gone differently in France with a Queen Caroline.  On the other hand, the French government was in a pretty rotten state, and while Marie Antoinette was the focus for much of the rage against the regime, another scapegoat might well have been found in some royal favorite (and Maria Carolina was just as guilty as her sister of favoritism if not to exactly the same extent).  But I suspect that she might have been a bit more efficient at escaping than her sister.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on January 24, 2012, 01:06:27 AM
I'd always thought that Marie Antoinette was Maria Theresa's daughter after Mimi because she was sweet, the baby of the family and always gave the impression of being the most obedient of the three sisters (the other two being Caroline and Amalia) in following her mother's instructions.  I'm probably wrong but that was the impression I had.

There seems to be a quotation in a letter by Maria Theresa to one of her daughters, which confirmed that MT was fond of Maria Carolina and that next to the recipient of said letter, it was MC who also showed MT true affection and willingness to follow her advice. There seems to be some confusion, whether said letter was written to Mimi or Marie Antoinette. Based on the general warmth/openness/tone of the letter, I'm inclined to believe it was written to Mimi, not Marie Antoinette.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on January 24, 2012, 08:33:47 AM
Mimi has always been a favorite to their mother but a bane to her siblings.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: joahannagabriela on March 18, 2012, 11:05:25 AM
can anyone help me identify who are these princess?

http://www.photo.rmn.fr/cf/htm/CSearchZ.aspx?o=&Total=429&FP=13349862&E=2K1KTSGT0TM3L&SID=2K1KTSGT0TM3L&New=T&Pic=231&SubE=2C6NU0C4XNVD

http://www.photo.rmn.fr/cf/htm/CSearchZ.aspx?o=&Total=429&FP=13349862&E=2K1KTSGT0TM3L&SID=2K1KTSGT0TM3L&New=T&Pic=260&SubE=2C6NU0CL11NN

Thanks!!!
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on March 22, 2012, 06:20:23 AM
I'd be inclined to identify the first as Marie Antonia of Naples, later Princess of the Asturias, as it somewhat resembles other portraits of her at the Reunion des Musees nationaux:

http://www.photo.rmn.fr/cf/htm/CSearchZ.aspx?o=&Total=6&FP=16848634&E=2K1KTSGTI0F81&SID=2K1KTSGTI0F81&New=T&Pic=1&SubE=2C6NU0CVC72A

http://www.photo.rmn.fr/cf/htm/CSearchZ.aspx?o=&Total=6&FP=16848634&E=2K1KTSGTI0F81&SID=2K1KTSGTI0F81&New=T&Pic=5&SubE=2C6NU0MJ3WPS

http://www.photo.rmn.fr/cf/htm/CSearchZ.aspx?o=&Total=6&FP=16848634&E=2K1KTSGTI0F81&SID=2K1KTSGTI0F81&New=T&Pic=3&SubE=2C6NU0CVCAVT

Her eyes are slightly more drooping than those of at least some of her sisters, her nose is long and has a rounded end, and she has a small, pursed mouth.  Her sister Maria Luisa had similar eyes but her nose was much larger at the end.  It is really hard to tell the sisters apart in these images, but that's my view on balance.

The second is harder as the child's features haven't formed as much, but I wonder about Maria Luisa, later Grand Duchess of Tuscany, as she seems to have the rather bulbous-tipped nose and a slightly longer mouth:

http://www.photo.rmn.fr/cf/htm/CSearchZ.aspx?o=&Total=8&FP=16857250&E=2K1KTSGTIQYHK&SID=2K1KTSGTIQYHK&New=T&Pic=6&SubE=2C6NU0CR214R

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9b/Joseph_Dorffmeister_001.jpg
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on May 19, 2012, 12:57:36 AM
Maria Carolina looks a bit grim in this portrait - clearly not a happy woman:

(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a42/cfarnon/Italian%20Courts/MariaCarolina16.jpg)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on May 19, 2012, 08:02:13 AM
thanks for the portrait.

well, she has that lovely skin and slim build. at least, she seems appropriately dressed although no jewels. any idea what year it was done?

maria carolina's portraits always struck me as a bit "harsh" looking, IMHO. she only appeared "soft" in that one by anton raphael mengs (as a young queen) and in the family portrait by angelica kauffmann. i guess painters only soften her up if that was asked.....  

incidentally, from her portraits, mc does not seem to resemble her mother much either. in a study on the imperial children, it was said that only she and maria johanna among the girls (maria elisabeth was not included in the study) resembled their mother physically. i'm wondering if she did take after her grandfather charles VI, even with her blue eyes.  
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on May 19, 2012, 03:35:32 PM

The date given for the portrait of Maria Carolina is c.1800 but I don't believe that for a second.  The hair and the gown suggest a dating of around 1785-1790.

(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a42/cfarnon/German%20and%20Austrian%20courts/KarlVI-5.jpg)  (http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a42/cfarnon/German%20and%20Austrian%20courts/KarlVI-6.jpg)

I certainly see in Maria Carolina a resemblance to Charles VI - she has his elongated face and high forehead (which Marie Antoinette also inherited), with a tendency to jowls around the jaw, and the shapes of their mouths were very similar (the second portrait is rather fuzzy but shows Charles VI's high forehead).  Her colouring was, as you say, that of her fair, blue-eyed parents, however.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on May 20, 2012, 08:18:43 PM
The portraits above of Charles VI indeed show a certain resemblance to Maria Carolina. I was quite curious on whom she took after in looks, and  looked up several portraits of both her paternal and maternal grandparents.  

A portrait of MC holding her baby son Leopoldo shows an older woman than in the previous post. I also very much doubt it was done circa 1800.  
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on April 07, 2013, 03:22:13 AM
An interesting joint portrait of Ferdinand and Maria Carolina, by 'the circle' of Francesco Liani :

(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a42/cfarnon/Italian%20Courts/Ferdinand4ampMariaCarolina-Liani_zps9c069136.jpg)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on April 07, 2013, 12:32:20 PM
Both at the hight of their attractiveness. Where is this paining now ? In Naples ?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on April 08, 2013, 01:47:50 AM
The painting is in the Museo Civico di Foggia.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on April 08, 2013, 11:53:20 PM
In Naples ?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: CountessKate on April 15, 2013, 08:56:05 PM
In Naples ?

Foggia is not, as far as I am aware, in Naples.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on April 16, 2013, 04:03:54 AM
Where is that located ?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: REMI on April 16, 2013, 11:07:44 AM
Foogia is an important city, situated in Apulia, capital of the province of Foggia (population: 153469 foggians)
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on April 17, 2013, 09:44:09 AM
Close to Naples ? Get there by train ?
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: REMI on April 20, 2013, 12:45:30 PM
Close to Naples ? Get there by train ?

Look at "the map of Apulia" and go to " How to get to Foggia" !

REMI
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on April 21, 2013, 01:24:12 AM
I see. Thanks Remi. Not everybody knew the locations in Italy. It took me quite awhile to get from Vienna to Gmunden. I had to change trains.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on February 23, 2015, 04:30:05 AM
Quite a new and well-researched material on Maria Carolina and Marie-Antoinette (Jacobin Public Opinion on the sisters) by Cinzia Recca...

http://www.rsj.winchester.ac.uk/index.php/rsj/article/view/4/27
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: Eric_Lowe on February 24, 2015, 04:31:46 AM
Thanks. Love the comparisons.
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: jehanbosch on December 13, 2015, 04:15:37 PM
I searched the internet for some material on Maria Carolina and found far too many items on Lady Hamilton.
Although Lady Hamilton's behaviour was rather on the kinky side i do not believe she had an affair with the Queen.
Far too many impossible , often gay or lesbian, relationships are ascribed to royals.
It all started with the first dynasty of Imperial Rome. The killings are often real, the orgies not.
For the Roman histories have been written down by aristocratic republicans, after the dynasty was extinct.
Again during the religious wars in 16th century France where almost every royal was accused of gross indecency.
Which gave rise to modern republicanism..
Even more with Queen Marie Antoinette who settled down in a rather bourgeois life.
I know the royal couple of Napels was not as close as that of France.
But you have to realise most royal males in those days were allowed affairs when their consorts were pregnant.
However, i do not believe a word about the lesbian affair as neither of the women ever was in another affair with their own sex..
Title: Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
Post by: prinzheinelgirl on January 07, 2016, 09:56:16 PM
I do not understand the "fuss" over Emma Hamilton and her "role" in history. She was beautiful but..... also unsure of how her friendship with Maria Carolina helped the royal family. aside from her (Emma) being supposedly indiscreet over British information and helping them escape. There seems to be no factual basis on this supposedly lesbian relationship.  Perhaps it was "perpetuated" by the likes of Count Giuseppe Gorani, who maligned MC and other Italian royals....

Here is a rather new study on Maria Carolina by Alison Goudie, "The sovereignty of the royal portrait in revolutionary and Napoleonic Europe: five case studies surrounding Maria Carolina, Queen of Naples," University of Oxford:

http://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:aeecdc4b-d840-4e25-be64-ba1407e18cd2