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Messages - Prince Paul

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You´re surely right, Prinzheinelgirl, in the question of the pairings decided by Maria Theresa. But it would seem that due to the much mentioned favoritism received by Maria Christina from her mother, or just because of lack of empathy between Mimi and Liesl, Maria Elisabeth -on her own accord- preferred to be with Amalia whenever she could (especially from their teenage years and beyond). I imagine both confiding their early crushes -if to anyone- to each other (Maria Elisabeth in relation to the Prince de Ligne and Maria Amalia, later on, in regards to Prince Zweibrücken), and certainly not to tattle-tale Maria Christina.
I wonder how did Maria Elisabeth (with an "s", being a German name, and not with a "z", as in the English version) react to the knowledge that Prince Zweibrücken was considering her as a bride, in the 1770's, having the Prince been the impossible love (as it turned out) of her seemingly favored sister. Maybe she, aside from the negative political considerations had by her mother, her brother and Kaunitz, was herself not keen to such an offer (on account of her sister´s possible reaction). But then again, we need to have more sources at hand on the subject, to be anything more than speculative.
What did you mean (Prinzheinelgirl) when you said "If you see Maria Elisabeth´s paintings, she was good at it" ?? I imagine you refer to the art produced by her, and not to Elisabeth´s portraits done by others (which was the first thing that came to my mind on reading your phrase). I understand Amalia was also very gifted in this, and that there is a very good painting of a Saint (is it Saint Anthony?) attributed to her and kept in a private collection. However, I am inclined to think that many of these paintings were very much "retouched" by the court artists and professors, who wanted to enhance and flatter their pupils´skills (and therefore their own educational abilities !!). Once more, we need more studies on the subject.
I coincide completely with you, in relation to the unfounded belief that Marie-Antoinette was Franz Stephen´s favorite. His much publicized decision to stop the carriage (was it so?) to embrace his youngest daughter one last time, seems to have been a much romanticized exaggeration, the authors (and chroniclers) wanting to match his soon sudden death with this daughter´s tragical end. There doesn´t seem to exist any more evidence as to this pretended favoritism, beyond the natural weakness a parent may feel for cute younger children...

I am inclined to think that Maria Elisabeth never favored her mother´s (and Joseph´s) attitude towards Maria Amalia. It´s only a presumption, but ME seems to have had a "mind of her own" (her sharp tongue, her tantrums, her prolongued silences), even if she wasn´t given much importance within her family or at the Viennese court (Leopold seems to have been more benevolent towards her, increasing her allowance when he became Emperor). Liesl and Mali were only 2 and a half years apart, and the closest sister the latter had in age (aside from the baby Maria Carolina -the second of the three with that name- who died at birth; Joanna Gabriela was four years younger than Maria Amalia). Maria Christina was only a year older than Maria Elisabeth, but seems to have been more independent, more "mature" (with her many talents). She seems to have been placed more in the lot of the elder children (Marianne and Joseph), while the more frivolous Elisabeth seems to have been often paired with Amalia (possibly close to Charles and Leopold, although the boys must have had a different education and a more masculine environment). Sad that no letter from Maria Elisabeth seems to have survived (that I know of) to see what she really thought of Maria Amalia´s ostracism. The very warm reception she gave her younger sister in 1783 clearly indicates she was not in favor of it. I wonder what did she think of Marie-Antoinette, of Maria Christina (according to Kutschera, citing a letter of Leopold, it seems they abhorred each other...), etc.  By the way, I just saw a fantastic exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, called "Vienna, 1780", showing the fabulous "second silver table service" of Maria Christina and her husband, Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen, that they used while being Governors of the Low Countries. The exhibition is only open until this November 7 (reason why I dashed to see it), but there is a very informative (and beautifully illustrated) hard-cover catalogue, that anyone can acquire online.
Prinzheinelgirl: how do I access to the personal message system you mentioned?

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