Author Topic: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family  (Read 154187 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
    • View Profile
Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #195 on: July 05, 2011, 01:10:38 AM »
I forgot to add above that I think authors who state that Maria Theresa was to blame for her daughters' miserable lives at foreign courts are not exactly being fair. One can blame  MT only up to a certain point -- for forcing such marriages. Now, what said archduchesses did with their respective marriages were entirely up to them.  And I think, given how Maria Anna and Maria Elisabeth were treated later on (it must've been a shock to Maria Elisabeth, who was used to her mother's favour due to her unusual beauty until she became "useless" to MT), whatever the shortcomings of Louis XVI, Ferdinand of Naples, and Ferdinand of Parma, all three princes were a picnic compared to dealing with their mother's extremely bad temper and likely harsh treatment as that of their older sisters!  For instance, Maria Amalia could've easily said (what Lady Pamela Mountbatten more or less said when she defended her gay husband, with his "boys") something along the lines of: "When you have a mother like mine, you can put up with anything.  Besides, Ferdinand is a very good father and he's very nice to me. He gives me everything I want, seldom scolds me, does everything for me, and lets me be..."
« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 01:16:31 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
    • View Profile
Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #196 on: July 05, 2011, 02:28:19 AM »
According to a German forum on Marie Antoinette, Maria Theresa wrote this line in her farewell letter to Maria Amalia, who was to depart for Parma:

"Sie solle in ihrer Heimat nicht allzu viel reden; das was sie sage, sei meist langweilig usw" which I think (generally) means: "You should not talk too much in your new home; what you say is mostly boring."? (Anyone who knows German well and could provide a better translation?)

Nice, hmmm?

So, Maria Amalia was to just keep her mouth shut and concentrate on having babies as soon as possible (also contained in the same letter) but what was she she to do while her husband couldn't perform his marital duty yet (happened after 3 months)? Author Paul Tabori wrote that Maria Theresa feared what the "young philosopher" (Ferdinand) would think of her "stupid but sweet girl" and cautioned her from shocking her husband with her "girlish nonsense".

While I think Maria Theresa was rightly apprehensive (in her mind)  that her "ill-educated" daughter would not interest her husband, who was indeed very well-educated and very knowledgeable... but surely the words could have been phrased better; and anyway, little did she know that for Ferdinand, being very pretty and voluptuous was enough..."Vacuous" conversation or not, Ferdinand (very early on) appeared to have been very taken with his wife!

« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 02:56:13 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline ivanushka

  • Boyar
  • **
  • Posts: 141
    • View Profile
Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #197 on: July 05, 2011, 08:35:57 AM »
For instance, Maria Amalia could've easily said (what Lady Pamela Mountbatten more or less said when she defended her gay husband, with his "boys") something along the lines of: "When you have a mother like mine, you can put up with anything.  Besides, Ferdinand is a very good father and he's very nice to me. He gives me everything I want, seldom scolds me, does everything for me, and lets me be..."

This reminds me of that great line from the film "Dangerous Liaisons" which Madame de Merteuil says to the young and innocent Cecile de Volanges; "When it comes to marriage one man is as good as the next and even the least accomodating is a lot less bother than a mother!"


Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
    • View Profile
Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #198 on: July 05, 2011, 10:04:44 AM »
This reminds me of that great line from the film "Dangerous Liaisons" which Madame de Merteuil says to the young and innocent Cecile de Volanges; "When it comes to marriage one man is as good as the next and even the least accomodating is a lot less bother than a mother!"

That's a great line, Ivanushka!  We can say then with certainty that Maria Amalia won the "jackpot" in this respect by ending up with the ever-accommodating Ferdinand of Parma!

Speaking of Ferdinand, Joseph II wrote to Maria Theresa from Verona in early June 1775 about how he was with his brothers (Leopold, Ferdinand, and Maximilian) and the Duke of Parma in Venice, where they watched a regatta. Maria Amalia was not mentioned at all, which I think lends support to the information that she had a miscarriage or stillbirth in mid-May 1775 (an old Dutch almanac listed a "Prince N of Parma" on said dateline, but since another live baby - Carlotta Maria - was not produced until Sept 1777, it certainly ended as a miscarriage or was stillborn) for I cannot imagine Maria Amalia - who seemed to suffer from the wanderlust and cannot stay put at one place  -  staying home in Parma while she had another opportunity to travel!      
« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 10:09:00 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
    • View Profile
Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #199 on: July 06, 2011, 03:27:42 AM »
Ferdinand and Maria Amalia's grandson Charles II of Parma seemed to have inherited his paternal grandmother's very capricious nature. His great-granddaughter Archduchess Louise of Austria (Tuscany line) related in her memoirs about how her great grandfather could not be depended upon. Once, he promised to have supper at a nobleman's house but a little less  than an hour of the appointed time, he suddenly had the urge to go to Parma so he left for it immediately, without any explanations or word to his host. Likewise, his homes were always kept ready for his stays, for the servants never knew when their master would turn up.  

Does anyone know about the nature of their other grandchild (sister of Charles II), Maria Luisa Carlota of Parma?  
« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 03:31:12 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline Eric_Lowe

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 17014
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #200 on: July 06, 2011, 12:16:03 PM »
Very interested where you pick up the Pamela Mountbatten line on her gay husband.  ;)

Maria Carolina was very strategic in a way that she knew in order to budge into politics, she need to provide an heir first, so she bid her time (her first few were daughters) and when her son was born, she got to move into the privy counsel and sit in political meetings. It was then she started her direct involvement with politics since (unlike Marie Antoinette or Maria Amalia) it was stated in her marriage contract.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
    • View Profile
Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #201 on: July 06, 2011, 11:03:36 PM »
From author/writer Gwen Robyns, it supposedly came from a conversation between her and Lady Pamela.
Very interested where you pick up the Pamela Mountbatten line on her gay husband.  ;)

From the author/writer Gwen Robyns, supposedly from a conversation between her and Lady Pamela Mountbatten.  :)

Maria Carolina was very strategic in a way that she knew in order to budge into politics, she need to provide an heir first, so she bid her time (her first few were daughters) and when her son was born, she got to move into the privy counsel and sit in political meetings. It was then she started her direct involvement with politics since (unlike Marie Antoinette or Maria Amalia) it was stated in her marriage contract.

Oh. But Maria Carolina interfered in politics early on, by the time Marie Antoinette married both MC and Maria Amalia were being perceived in Europe as interfering consorts. It's clear that she did not bid her time to enter politics. Her main goal was to get rid of Tanucci (she wished to get rid of Tanucci early on because according to her for she will  "never be (truly) a Queen with Tanucci around" and listening to him (and Spain) was like "listening to the devil"), in which she was unsuccessful for 8 years (and with a seat at the State Council for a year)  until.... Mimi helped her plot his downfall. So I don't think she was such a strategic planner. To add to that, she didn't enjoy seem to enjoy much credit with her husband. Nor did Ferdinand seem to dislike Tanucci.  No wonder it took her so long to get rid of her nemesis but it wasn't as if she bided her time regarding him.

Maria Amalia got rid of Du Tillot (and his successor Del Llano) much quicker but what most authors overlook (or they were simply lazy to bother with the facts) is that Ferdinand deeply disliked Du Tillot and wished to be given a free hand on his duchy. Even the minister Pacaudi (spelling?) who was allied with Du Tillot recognised that "the Infante (Ferdinand) hates Felino (Du Tillot, who was Marquis de Felino) more than his wife...."  Maria Amalia indeed achieved her goal, but it was also because her husband wanted the same thing.  With Del Llano, it seemed to be Maria Amalia who was more antagonistic, not Ferdinand.  
« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 11:34:39 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
    • View Profile
Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #202 on: July 06, 2011, 11:37:04 PM »
Regarding the post above, I should have written that Maria Amalia was the only one who was antagonistic to the minister Del Llano, not her husband.  I have not read anything yet that suggests Ferdinand disliked said minister. So, on the firing of Del Llano (Charles III of Spain's nominee) and the political mess that it created, Maria Amalia seems solely responsible.  
« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 11:48:46 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline Eric_Lowe

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 17014
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #203 on: July 07, 2011, 02:33:08 PM »
That is very interesting. I only read that Maria Carolina was the only one given the chance to sit in the privy council after she gave birth to the heir. Marie Antoinette never really was that into politics than having a good time (balls, dresses, jewels & favorites/lovers). I think Maria Amalia was in the middle perhaps, since she was not given a clear political role in her marriage contract (unlike her sister). For a time both sisters (Maria Carolina & Maria Amalia) operated independently through their willful ways (the lack of strategic ways, but by outbursts and pestering their husbands). Maria Carolina worked closely with what Austrian interest (hence the approval of MT) while Maria Amalia (as most historians seem to indicate) according to her personal likes and dislikes of the person/ministers.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
    • View Profile
Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #204 on: July 07, 2011, 09:47:32 PM »
That is very interesting. I only read that Maria Carolina was the only one given the chance to sit in the privy council after she gave birth to the heir. Marie Antoinette never really was that into politics than having a good time (balls, dresses, jewels & favorites/lovers). I think Maria Amalia was in the middle perhaps, since she was not given a clear political role in her marriage contract (unlike her sister).  

Yes, it was only Maria Carolina who had that clause in her marriage contract, neither Marie Antoinette or Maria Amalia had the same privilege.  But MC interfered early on and started clashing with Tanucci over various matters. There's not much difference between Maria Amalia, Maria Carolina, and Marie Antoinette in this respect, all 3 interfered whether they were given the explicit right or not.   Maria Amalia indeed wanted to rule in the early months but she didn't have any formal role. She gave up the idea (of ruling) quite fast, what she subsequently wanted was for husband to rule (not France or Spain through Du Tillot and Del Llano).  We see that she stuck to her resolve later on, she dropped out of politics mainly. So she was sincere in her wish to have Ferdinand a free hand in his duchy: "I want nothing more so that he can enjoy public esteem...". Of course, she didn't feel shy asking her husband for this and that later on, but mainly she dropped out of it.  

For a time both sisters (Maria Carolina & Maria Amalia) operated independently through their willful ways (the lack of strategic ways, but by outbursts and pestering their husbands). Maria Carolina worked closely with what Austrian interest (hence the approval of MT) while Maria Amalia (as most historians seem to indicate) according to her personal likes and dislikes of the person/ministers.

I don't think Maria Amalia needed to bully her husband (as much as Maria Carolina did to her Ferdinand) regarding Du Tillot. I can only think of one clear instance when she forced his hand on this. We have to remember that as much as Maria Amalia disliked Du Tillot (and she truly hated him), her animosity was lesser than her husband's. Perhaps Ferdinand couldn't bring himself to defy his grandfather Louis XV and his uncle Charles III so openly but Maria Amalia didn't share his hesitation. While Du Tillot was portrayed as an enlightened minister who made many reforms and made Parma  a great cultural center, we have to keep in mind that the locals (except for his favoured local nobles) were quite left out of it, and the good results of reforms passed only came in trickles... very slow in coming. In the meantime, Parma was saddled with a staggering state debt of 31,000,000 liras, a big chunk  which was due to his "reforms" and "ambitions". The people greatly resented that. It was a clearly a question of who actually benefited from his administration.

On top of it all, Du Tillot wasn't to be trusted as far as the duke and duchess were concerned: there were unsatisfactory answers to what he did with some of Ferdinand's personal money (the cash inheritance Ferdinand got from his grandmother Elisabeth Farnese); another issue was his instructions to the head of the archives in Piacenza to destroy certain documents so as to favour the family of his mistress Marchesa Malaspina over some inheritance issue. Maria Amalia and Ferdinand couldn't also be blind to the fact that Du Tillot slandered her at the foreign courts (no doubt including the stories about alleged affairs with bodyguards, of which there is no concrete proof) and made it appear that Ferdinand wa someone who "amounted to nothing."  We need to get hard facts like that (aside from Ferdinand being offended at Du Tilot's anti-clerical policies and Maria Amalia's willfulness) to understand why Maria Amalia and Ferdinand wanted to get rid of him.

On Del Llano,  so far I think it was only Maria Amalia who disliked him, not Ferdinand. So in this particular minister, she seems solely responsible for his dismissal and the political mess it created.  But to be fair, she was also motivated by her wish (and Ferdinand also wanted it himself) that Ferdinand would be the real ruler of Parma, not someone else controlled by France and Spain. We have to remember that Ferdinand never blamed Maria Amalia for any of their troubles - even when their families cut off correspondence and their appanages - and he seemed grateful to her for taking the flak from everyone else. 
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 10:18:39 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
    • View Profile
Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #205 on: July 08, 2011, 12:15:40 AM »
Maria Carolina worked closely with what Austrian interest (hence the approval of MT) while Maria Amalia (as most historians seem to indicate) according to her personal likes and dislikes of the person/ministers.

Maria Amalia's arrival in Parma signalled the end of reforms and Parma being closer to Austrian interests. I haven't read much about it, except that Ferdinand had some common laws and agreements with both the Duchy of Milan and Grand Duchy of Tuscany. However, the fact that Louis XVI's minister Vergennes acknowledged Austria's primacy in the Italian peninsula, including the fact that Parma was no longer a satellite of France but that of Austria's, strongly suggests that Parma was, at some level, under Austrian influence. Vergennes knew it was useless to change this because the 2 Austrian archduchesses not only stayed at their posts (in contrast to the French princess Charlotte Aglae d'Orleans, Duchess of Modena, who ran off to France whenever she could) but also did their duties, including looking out for Austrian interests in their respective domains.  In this, one has to give credit to Maria Amalia for doing her "archduchess duties" while getting & maintaining her people's trust and affection... Maria Amalia walked a fine line regarding this matter (one just has to look at how Maria Carolina and Marie Antoinette were very badly regarded by Neapolitans/Sicilians and the French respectively but Maria Amalia escaped such odium from her people). And indeed it supports the statement that she had a very keen perception even if she wasn't "bookish". She had many faults and committed many mistakes as well...on the other hand, quite a lot of what has been written about her are also untrue.  

So I don't think most historians who write about this matter have possession of full or at least sufficient facts of the political situation, just as many are not in possession of the full/sufficient facts of Maria Amalia's "rebellion" in Parma. Or maybe they don't bother to look for facts? Or if they do, they are biased and insisted on a certain viewpoint/slant. For example, I fully agree - based on facts - with a forum member that the failed marriage plans with Karl of Zweibrucken was a mere footnote in Maria Amalia's life but many authors insist on highlighting it and citing it as the main reason for her "rebellion".      
« Last Edit: July 08, 2011, 12:43:16 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline Eric_Lowe

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 17014
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #206 on: July 08, 2011, 09:28:15 AM »
I totally agree, so it would be great if you (processed of such knowledge) to write a paper or book on Maria Amalia, that would help her image in history. I would love to do it (as I wanted to know more about the ignored or misunderstood royals in history), but do not have your knowledge or access to materials.  :)

Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
    • View Profile
Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #207 on: July 08, 2011, 10:02:44 AM »
Thank you for your kind words, Eric_Lowe. However, as much as I love Maria Amalia (and most of her sisters and brothers), I don't think I am sufficiently qualified to do such a huge undertaking --- it would mean balancing a number of viewpoints (Parma's, Austria's, Spain's and France's) as well as sifting through more than 2 centuries of sources in various languages on her and Ferdinand, among others.

Besides, someone much more qualified seems to be very interested in doing so. It'll be a great pleasure to -- finally --  have a balanced and well-researched biography on Maria Amalia (hopefully it'll be soon). My contribution on this will just be mainly at this forum. :)  

Tomorrow, I will try to add something on Maria Amalia's caprices... those that are not so well-known.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2011, 10:07:21 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline Eric_Lowe

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 17014
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #208 on: July 08, 2011, 10:09:34 AM »
Well...We may have to start somewhere. I would like to write a paper on her (starters) and if I can quote your sources to begin the undertaking that would be helpful. More interested in Maria Amalia herself and her private life than the whole political business, as you said she bowed out of it rather early compared to her sister Mimi & Maria Carolina (who was more of a political animal than Amalia). To be honest, I think Maria Carolina will fit in right at home with Hillary Clinton, Nancy Polosi or even Michelle Bachman...

Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 479
    • View Profile
Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #209 on: July 09, 2011, 08:35:53 AM »
Well, I'm glad that someone else finds Maria Carolina useful in politics... because I have not read anything that convinces me that she was so brilliant at it. I think she just fancied herself to be, because the results of her administration/rule at Naples and Sicily are not so encouraging. to say the least ....  :-\

If you would give me an outline via PM on what you wish to cover about Maria Amalia's life, I'd be glad to give you information. However, since most of my sources are in Italian & French (and some in German), you may wish to have a professional look over the translations as I'm not so proficient yet ( I can get by, so to speak, but far from perfect, and I sometimes leave out parts that I can't comprehend...). And I also rely on friends to help me out.

I just read an excerpt of Mimi's letter to a friend,  the Princess of Liechtenstein, in which she wrote a series of letters expressing her sadness/being heartbroken over what was happening in France 1789-1793): that Louis XVI is too good to her sister (Marie Antoinette) but he or she  is (or both are)  capricious, and that she is now suffering for it. Yes, Mimi, after all, had some heart.  :)

It's fortunate that Maria Amalia knew how to avoid the pitfalls in being capricious because I think she was even more capricious than Marie Antoinette.      
« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 08:54:34 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love