Author Topic: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico & Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium)  (Read 205795 times)

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Offline felix

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Was he the illegitamate grandson of Napoleon .She the favored  cousin of Queen Victoria? Any info on them.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico & Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium)
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2005, 12:23:04 PM »
He was the brother of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria.

Charlotte was a first cousin of Queen Victoria and apparently quite close based on letters to/from QV and Vicky.

Leopold I of Belgium (Coburg)--Charlotte

(sister) Victoria, Dss of Kent (Coburg)--Queen Victoria

She was in Europe trying to gather support for her husband and his unstable throne when he was arrested and then executed. She seems to have had unstable tendencies before this but this apparently pushed her over the edge. She was basically confined in a family estate until she died over 50 years later.
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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bluetoria

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Re: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico & Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium)
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2005, 12:33:29 PM »


Maximilian met & fell in love with Charlotte in the summer of 1856. Previously it had been hoped she would marry Pedro of Portugal.
They were married in 1857 (July 27th) by which time he was Governor of the Lombardy-Venetian territory.
Prince Albert thought their wedding service' absoluetly ludicrous' because he didn't like Catholic Masses (ONLY bad point in Prince Albert's character!! ;)). They went via Vienna to Italy & while they were there QV wrote:
"Charlotte, they say, has grown so fat that it quite spoils her."
She remained in Venice for quite some time while Max travelled through Italy (which QV did not approve of) but when the Italian Freedom War broke out they had to leave. Max went to Brazil & was infected with VD at one of the many brothels he frequented. He returned & infected poor Carlotta (which may account for her later mental problems.) After that their marriage was little more than a sham although she still loved him.

(I have a lot more...will write it soon :))
« Last Edit: March 09, 2011, 09:17:49 AM by Svetabel »

bluetoria

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Re: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico & Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium)
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2005, 03:54:37 PM »
In 1863 Napoleon III asked Maximilian to be Emperor of Mexico & Charlotte was very much in favour of this even though it meant that he must give up his rights to the Austrian throne.
On hearing they were going to Mexico, Charlotte's grandmother cried,
"They will be killed! They will be killed!"
But they went all the same, leaving Austria in April 1864. They arrived a month later & moved into a lice-infested castle & Max immediately upset the R.C. Church by guaranteeing freedom of religion (good thing too!!!)
Quite often Max was called to different parts of the country & Charlotte ruled in his absence & did a pretty good job! While he was away he had numerous affairs & fathered a son by a 17 year old girl (Shame!)
Knowing he would have no legitimate children he adopted the grandson of a former Mexican Emperor as his heir.
In 1866 the French withdrew their support for Maximilian leaving him in a very precarious position. In August that year, Charlotte hurried to France & begged support from Napoleon III but when he refused to help she said he was, 'possessed by the devil' & called him 'the evil on earth.'
She then went to seek Papal help & becoming increasingly paranoid was convinced someone was trying to poison her so would only eat the Pope's own food & insisted on being housed in the Vatican (the only woman to be ever allowed to stay there officially.) She wore a handkerchief over her face so as not to be recognised and became so deranged that eventually her brother arrived to take her in hand.
He took her to Trieste & then she was confined in Miramar & refused all visitors. Unfounded rumours spread that she was pregnant.
Meanwhile, the French pulled out of Mexico but Max refused to leave. Juarez (the rebel) advanced towards Mexico City & Max fled to Queratero but he was captured.
On 19th June he was shot. He was very brave on his way to his execution but the first salvo didn't kill him but only hit his face.  Later, his skull, hair & skin were sold as souvenirs (urghhhhhh).

Charlotte then became increasingly demented & refused to believe he was dead....

A very very very sad tale...I have several quotations about them that I could post another time.

Robert_Hall

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Re: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico & Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium)
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2005, 04:07:57 PM »
Where did you read the "skull, hair & skin" bit ? I must have missed it ! What was left to send back to Austria ?

bluetoria

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Re: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico & Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium)
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2005, 04:12:03 PM »
I can't remember where I read it...I copied down all different bits from different books & articles in the reference library ages ago....but I'll try to find out!
Perhaps they sent back a few bones  :-/
(I wonder if any Mexicans still have their souvenirs??)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by bluetoria »

Robert_Hall

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Re: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico & Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium)
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2005, 04:20:27 PM »
Well, the Mexicans have this "thing" about the dead- Dia de los Muerte" [or something like that] is a big party around here. Perhaps bits of him are floating around San Francisco somewhere ???

bluetoria

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Re: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico & Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium)
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2005, 04:22:09 PM »
"If you're going to San Francisco,
Be sure to find a tress of Max's hair...." Sorry couldn't resist!  

Robert_Hall

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Re: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico & Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium)
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2005, 04:28:25 PM »
Yeah, one could walk miles with the images that come to mind....some even printable!

bluetoria

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Re: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico & Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium)
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2005, 02:41:54 AM »
Some quotations about Charlotte:


QV 19.6.58  "…They say, has grown so fat that it quite spoils her! She was in Vienna for some time - part of it without Max, who had to go to Venice and now that Max is returned to Vienna she goes to Venice and he remains at Vienna - which I do not approve."

QV 20.10.66 "[her] state is too sad and dreadful and grieves us deeply. So young, so handsome, and so clever!"

Vicky 23.10.66 "She who was so quiet and self-possessed, so calm and serious and yet of cheerful disposition I cannot understand how such a thing could happen. I love her so much…Dear Charlotte, whom I have never seen agitated, who indeed at times often appeared phlegmatic and inanimate, whose reason and caution was always above her years, what she must have suffered, what she must have gone through to come to that!"

QV 25.7.68 "She has refused to get up except at night; and she fancies poor Max was not dead but only said so to enable him to marry again."

Vicky: 31.12.68 "Looked as she always did – but she only talked on indifferent subjects and never mentioned Mexico or her husband. I perceived nothing strange in her manner – but thought her baisseé – no longer making the impression of the very clever intellectual person she was."

QV 24. 3.69 [quoting Leopold II’s letter] "she wishes at all costs to go and fill the throne of Spain. It is necessary at Laeken to shut all the doors and exercise a close watch over her. My poor sister imagines that Max is not dead and that he is kept shut up in England; she writes to him without ceasing and has sent him some presents…"



katieann

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Re: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico & Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium)
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2005, 04:28:15 AM »
I visited the Miramar Palace about 20 years ago on a trip from Yugoslavia.  The grounds are gorgeous, and the Palace itself is extremely pretty.  They had waxworks of Charlotte and Maximillian inside the Palace, but they were extremely creepy and I didn't think it added anything to the place.  The palace although lovely just seemed to be permeated with sadness.

Their story is beyond tragic.

Is it true that Max had a son by his maid?  Does anyone know what happened to the boy after his father's grisly death?

bluetoria

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Re: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico & Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium)
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2005, 04:36:16 AM »
Hi Katieann  :)
Yes it is true aboutthe son. The mother's name was Concepcion Sedano y Leguizano & she was only 17 (Max was 34.) I don't know what happened to him later.

How interesting for you to have seen the palace. The waxworks sound really creepy. It's strange I once worked in a psychiatric hospital that had formerly been a massive 'asylum' with gates & barred doors etc. The moment you entered the place you could feel this sense of everything being drained out of you as though there had been years of desperation & sadness there. I imagine that is how you felt at Miramar.

It really is a very sad sad story & made all the worse, I think, because Carlotta really loved her husband & yet he was so careless of her  :(

Offline Marc

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Re: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico & Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium)
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2005, 04:45:59 AM »
Can anyone post their portraits?I was trying to find the whole portrait of Empress Charlotte(I found Maximilians),but I just found big but croped prt of the portrait or such a small portrait that it could barely be seen!  :(

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico & Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium)
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2005, 10:26:55 AM »
As the political situation Charlotte found herself in in Mexico always confused me with the political wrangling and assorted betrayals, here's some information of her time post-Mexico:

Once in Europe, Charlotte began to evidence symptoms of rampant paranoia: in a letter to Maximilian, Charlotte wrote that Napoleon III was "possessed by the devil". While she was travelling from Paris to Triest, she told her lady-in-waiting that she had identified a farmer in the field as an assassin. She ordered the coachman to increase speed and held an handkerchief in front of her face during the remainder of the ride. Friends began to comment on her strange behaviour. In the villa of Miramar a courier arrived with a request from Maximilian imploring her to go to the pope for help. Charlotte duly left for Rome where she met twice with the pope. Then, one morning, she burst into the pope's quarters, knelt before him and yelled that her staff were trying to kill her by poison: "All food they give me contains poison and I am starving".She insisted on spending the night in the Vatican and the astonished pope had a bed prepared in the library. Officially, it was the only time ever that a woman stayed a night in the Vatican. The next day, the mother superior of a nearby convent persuaded Charlotte to visit an orphanage and talk to the children. She travelled by coach again wearing a handkerchief in front of her face to fool any potential assassins. Afterwards, she was lead about the convent and was going through the kitchen when, without warning, she snatched a piece of meat cooking on the stove. As a result, she fainted from the pain and was rushed to her hotel. Her strange behavior continued: when she was thirsty, she took the pope's glass and walked with it to a public fountain. Her relatives were informed of her condition and soon her brother Philip (Count of Flanders, father of Albert I of Belgium) arrived and escorted her to Triest.

From then on Charlotte was confined to Miramar by Maximilian's relatives (not necessarily for her own good but rather to avoid further embarrassment) and was allowed no visitors. She occupied herself with reading books and writing letters. As a result of the quietness and good food, her health improved (physically anyway) but apparently her strange behaviour continued. People were afraid to disturb her and she was not invited for the marriage of Philip to Princess Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in May. As a result of her long seclusion at Miramar, rumours began to circulate that she had been pregnant when she left Mexico and had given birth in early 1867. Some tried to identify the child as Maxime Weygand but it is unlikely that Charlotte, devoted to Maximilian and conscious of her position, would have taken a lover.

In early 1867 French troops were withdrawn from Mexico and Maximilian cabled his family that he would return to Austria. Neither he nor his family comprehended the seriousness of the situation and his mother wrote to him : "I must still wish that you hold out in Mexico as long as you can with honour do so." Thus, when the supporters of Juarez advanced on Mexico City, Maximilian retreated and, with only a small army , he met Juarez in battle. Not surprisingly, he was quickly defeated, captured and sentenced to death. Many liberals, like Victor Hugo and Garibaldi, took pity on the naive and well-meaning Maximilian and petitioned Juarez to spare his life. It was all for naught: on the morning of June 19, 1867 Maximilian was led out on the hill near Queretaro. Once there, he reportedly presented each man on the firing squad with a gold piece, asking them to aim carefully at his heart. Nevertheless, the first salvo did not kill him, and one of the bullets pierced his face. The second salvo achieved its deadly purpose.

Queen Marie Henriette of Belgium (who Charlotte had always intensely disliked) travelled that summer to Miramar in order to escort Charlotte to Belgium. There at the palace at Laken Charlotte lived contentedly amongst her relatives until the following summer when she was suddenly overcome by fits of frenzy and confined to castle Tervuren. She was able to return to Laeken during the winter but by the spring her condition again deteriorated. From then on Charlotte was to remain at Tervuren. She alternated between fits of wild laughter and tears, held long discussions aloud to herself and babbled incoherently. She still had occasional periods of lucidity during which time she behaved like the Empress she had once been: dignified, perfectly mannered, concerned with her appearance (she was in fact still a beauty despite her troubles) and resonded to normally to questions. She read books, painted and played the paino.

In March 1879, soon after her return, the castle caught fire. Charlotte was tied to her carriage with a shawl and brought to Laken. After remaining there for a few weeks she was confined to castle Bouchout. Once there, her condition deteriorated alarmingly. In her frenzied atacks she smashed furniture and knick-knacks, tore up her books and slashed her paintings. Despite this manic behavior, she never damaged any belongings which reminded her of her late husband. Leopold II , unsuprisingly considering his selfishness and self-absorption, never visited his sister but Queen Marie Henriëtte and her daughters did. Stephanie wrote in her autobiography that even as a small child she her Aunt never frightened her. Charlotte's life thus continued for decades. During WW1 the Kaiser decreed that Bouchout was not to be disturbed, because Charlotte was the sister-in-law of his ally, Emperor Franz Josef of Austria. Despite her life of hardship and mental illness, Charlotte was not released from her sufferings until January 1927 when she died of pneumonia at age 86. She not only outlived many of her relatives (both her brothers, her brother-in-law, a nephew, etc) she had outlived her husband by roughly 60 years.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by grandduchessella »
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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Offline Marc

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Re: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico & Empress Carlota (Charlotte of Belgium)
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2005, 12:13:42 PM »
I read that Empress Charlotte was not so much liked by Empress Elisabeth Amalia Eugenie(read Sissi)!True?
« Last Edit: March 09, 2011, 09:19:20 AM by Svetabel »