Author Topic: The Habsburgs - Grand Dukes of Toscana  (Read 41204 times)

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Re: The Habsburgs - Grand Dukes of Toscana
« Reply #60 on: January 13, 2010, 02:58:03 PM »
Maria Antonia Anna of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, was born in Palermo on 19 December 1814, daughter of Francis I, King of the Two Sicilies and Maria Isabella of Spain. Her paternal grandparents were Ferdinand IV of Naples and Maria Carolina of Austria, while her maternal grandparentes were Charles IV of Spain and Maria Luisa of Parma. She was baptised in honor of Marie-Antoinette and in fact she was always called Maria Antonietta and no Maria Antonia. Her brother Ferdinand nicknamed her Totò.
Her father died when she was eleven and Antonietta suffered a lot. Her mother was not a bad person, but had a scandalous life. So Antonietta had a strong relationship with her brother, the new king Ferdinand II. She was in very good relantionship with her sister-in-law, the virtuous Maria Cristina of Savoy.
When she was 18, she was sought in marriage by Ferdinand of Orléans, son of Louis Philippe, and by Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Ferdinand allowed her to choose and Antonietta chose Leopold.
Leopold II was her cousin, son of Ferdinand III of Tuscany and of Maria Luisa of Naples. He was 37 and widower, but he was famous as the "best prince of Europe".
Antonietta was hailed by Florence people for her beauty and because she was Italian. Initially she had some difficult to understand life-style of her new people; accustomed to the ragged people of Naples she could not understand why she should give to charity to poor people well-dressed of Florence (once she sayed with her strong Neapolitan accent "In Firenze non ce stanno poveri!"/"In Florence, there aren't poors!"). Leopold, who loved her very much, helped his wife and rounded her of very good Florentine noblewomen, particularly Countess Adele Palagi, who was her lady of honor until the end. So Antonietta, who wasn't very cultured, began to love Florence as her new home. She loved very much arts and music, she was very tasteful and she was a big patron of artists. Her and her husband were very simple people and were very loved. People didn't call them "Yours Highnesses" but "Sor Granduca" and "Sora Granduchessa" (it's a very informal use, in English I think is "Mr. Grand Duke" and "Mrs. Grand Duchess"). They came in to the folk festivals and the Granduchess, who loved dancing, danced with the populace.
Leopold had only three daughters from his previous marriage and Antonietta gave him 10 children: 5 boys and 5 girls. They loved very much all their 13 children and suffered a lot when someone died (Antonietta remained with her children until the end, but often fainted from sorrow).

(continue)

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Re: The Habsburgs - Grand Dukes of Toscana
« Reply #61 on: January 13, 2010, 02:59:16 PM »
In 1848, in Northern Italy, broke out in Milan a Revolution to expel the Austrians. Leopold and his brother-in-law, Carlo Alberto of Savoy, helped the revolutionaries and sent their armies. In Florence, the Lorrain flag was changed with the Italian flag and people was very excited: Antonietta sewed clothes for the soldiers. But, when it was evident that Carlo Alberto only wanted to conquer Milan to enlarge his domains, Leopold withdrew troops. But the Florentine Aristocracy, linked to the nobility of Savoy, was unsatisfied, while the democrats wanted Italian unification. In this caos, Leopold, who was a pacifist, didn't want to continue the war. While the hostile democrats proclamed the Republic, Leopold and Antonietta went to Gaeta, receveid by Ferdinand II and the Pope. Antonietta, who feared for the throne of his son, became very reactionary, influenced by her brother. So she advised Leopold to get help from Austrians. The Austrian troops defeted the revolutionaries and Leopold could return to his throne.

The life returned to normal in Florence, Leopold was yet loved and he continued to reclaim marshes and govern well. While Antonietta, the sister of the "Tyrant of Naples", became unloved in the aristocratic and bourgeois circles.

Ten years later war broke out between Piedmont and Austria. Leopold's two nephews, Vittorio Emanuele and Franz Joseph, asked help to their uncle, but the old Grand Duke didn't want bloodshed. Florentine aristocracy was in contact with Savoy aristocracy; so they organized a "revolution". On 27 April 1859, at 9 o' clock am, in Piazza Maria Antonia (Maria Antonia's Square), was waving the tricolor and began a peaceful march towards Pitti Palace. Aristocrats pretended the entry into the war and the abdication of Leopold, but he didn't want it. But he didn't want to use force, because he loved too his people and his city. Moved by honor, he couldn't abdicate, so unwillingly decided to leave Florence. Leopold, Antonietta and all their family, at 6 pm, left the city by chariot, getting out through Boboli door, heading toward Bologna. The people greeted with affection "Goodbye daddy Leopold! Be careful!". Leopold and Antonietta was crying. They went in Austria, but some years later they return in Italy, in Rome. Leopold died in Rome in 1870 shortly before the city was occupied. Antonietta and their children returned to Austria. Her youngest and beloved son Johann became very friend with the Crownprince Rudolf, his cousin. After Mayerling, Johann renounced to his title and departed on a boat; disappeared at sea. Antonietta refused to believe that her son was dead and she continued to seek him (some criminals managed to steal money from her with false informations). Annually Antonietta returned to Rome to pray at the grave of her husband; once she stopped in Florence and people warmly welcomed her. Antonietta died on 7 November 1898 at Schloss Orth, Gmunden, Austria. In Florence there was a solemn Mass in her memory with the greatest participation.

PS: please, forgive my grammatical errors.

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Re: The Habsburgs - Grand Dukes of Toscana
« Reply #62 on: January 13, 2010, 03:00:13 PM »
Francis I's family. Antonietta is the young girl on the left, in white, with a nosegay.


Leopold II




Maria Antonietta by Giuseppe Bezzuoli (chief of Academy of Fine Arts)





Other images






Photos when she was old.








She looks so sad :(


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Re: The Habsburgs - Grand Dukes of Toscana
« Reply #63 on: January 13, 2010, 03:46:12 PM »
Leopold when was old (He resembles Franz Joseph)


Antonietta's son Ferdinand


Antonietta with her son Ferdinand and her daughters Isabella  and Luisa.


Detail of the previous bust. The autor is Ottaviano Giovannozzi.

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Re: The Habsburgs - Grand Dukes of Toscana
« Reply #64 on: January 13, 2010, 04:15:54 PM »
Thanks for nice pictures!
Why was Leopold II considered the "best prince of Europe"?? :)

He ruled his pay "like a father". He was very liberal and Tuscany, before the Italian unification, was very advanced in the social. Tuscany was known not only for its beauty, but also for its hospitality (a lot of English "escaped" in Tuscany... for ex. Elizabeth Barret Browing and his husband!).
Queen Victoria was disgusted by Vittorio Emanuele when he "stole" the throne of his virtuous uncle (who saved him from a fire when he was very little).

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Re: The Habsburgs - Grand Dukes of Toscana
« Reply #65 on: January 14, 2010, 01:56:59 PM »
Lovely photographs/portraits! I also find the biography you posted very interesting and detailed.  Thanks a lot, *§Yue§*  If you find more information on her, please post.  :)  

Unfortunately, there is not much about her (there are some old books about her husband).

A curiosity: Maria Antonietta was in close emotional relationships with her famous half-sister, the beautiful Maria Carolina, Duchess of Berry. During the Revolution of 1848-49, Antonietta wrote to her beloved sister: "Nous nous trouvons ici dans une indicible position, nous sommes à la merci de la populace! Le sort qui nous attend est celui de Louis XVI et de sa famille...".
It's interesting that Marie-Antoinette's indirect descendants felt the weight of her fate.