Author Topic: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina  (Read 175574 times)

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Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #240 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!
« Last Edit: December 24, 2011, 10:03:56 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #241 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.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #242 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".
« Last Edit: December 24, 2011, 02:18:07 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #243 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).

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #244 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.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2011, 03:17:25 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #245 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. 

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #246 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?
« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 05:19:18 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #247 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. 

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #248 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....
    
« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 09:37:47 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #249 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.

Offline Svetabel

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #250 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.

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #251 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.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #252 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.


« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 08:17:55 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #253 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.    
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 08:44:03 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #254 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.