Author Topic: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina  (Read 178770 times)

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Offline trentk80

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #180 on: June 26, 2011, 09:48:15 AM »
According to Wikipedia (sometimes an unreliable source), Lady Hamilton advised Maria Carolina on how to react to the threats from the French Revolution. Does anyone know if Lady Hamilton ever had any real political influence in Naples?
« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 09:57:49 AM by trentk80 »
Ladran los perros a la Luna, y ella con majestuoso desprecio prosigue el curso de su viaje.

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #181 on: June 26, 2011, 11:28:52 AM »
I think with more of MC's letters published. One could get a more balanced and fair picture of her.

Lady Hamilton's only political influence or usage to MC was through her husband and her lover Lord Nelson. She was able to create a niche for herself in Naples.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #182 on: June 26, 2011, 11:35:05 AM »
According to Wikipedia (sometimes an unreliable source), Lady Hamilton advised Maria Carolina on how to react to the threats from the French Revolution. Does anyone know if Lady Hamilton ever had any real political influence in Naples?

I think with more of MC's letters published. One could get a more balanced and fair picture of her.

Lady Hamilton's only political influence or usage to MC was through her husband and her lover Lord Nelson. She was able to create a niche for herself in Naples.

The evidence from Harold Acton's 'The Bourbons of Naples' suggests that Maria Carolina got useful political gossip from Emma Hamilton which she would not have obtained from Sir William, but if she was influenced by anyone, it was Nelson, though Maria Carolina was slower to act than he would have liked.  But broadly I would agree with Eric that Emma Hamilton was not an influence on Maria Carolina.

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #183 on: June 26, 2011, 11:44:06 AM »
Yes Countesskate more the other way round, with MC using Emma who carried tales to her. She also supported the lovers (Emma & Nelson)

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #184 on: June 26, 2011, 06:07:53 PM »
Maria Carolina's letters to her friend Roger de Damas have also been published.

There's also a recently published book, 'Un anno di lettere coniugali : da Caserta, il carteggio inedito di Ferdinando IV con Maria Carolina', edited by Nadia Verdile (2008), which includes several letters written by Ferdinand to Maria Carolina between 1788 and 1789.

Have you read both books, trentk80?  If yes, can you please give an overview of both?  :)
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Offline trentk80

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #185 on: June 27, 2011, 06:31:32 AM »
Have you read both books, trentk80?  If yes, can you please give an overview of both?

I have read Maria Carolina's letters to Roger de Damas. Most of them are from her period in Sicily and later Vienna. She discusses topics such as politics, family issues, Napoleon, etc.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 06:35:05 AM by trentk80 »
Ladran los perros a la Luna, y ella con majestuoso desprecio prosigue el curso de su viaje.

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #186 on: June 27, 2011, 05:39:17 PM »
Maybe you can write a bio on MC !  ;)

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #187 on: June 28, 2011, 02:23:09 AM »
I have read Maria Carolina's letters to Roger de Damas. Most of them are from her period in Sicily and later Vienna. She discusses topics such as politics, family issues, Napoleon, etc.

Many thanks!  It would be interesting to have a good and balanced idea of her frame of mind during that period.  
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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 #188 on: June 28, 2011, 05:32:11 PM »
Once again it has hard if you only read English...unable to excess those newly published sources...Alas !  :(

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #189 on: July 31, 2011, 06:11:08 AM »
According to Maria Carolina's doctor (the 18th century equivalent of an obstetrician), she admitted to him about being unfaithful.... I'm going to check if her sister Maria Amalia made a similar "confession" (they shared this doctor for so many years, who was appointed by their mother Maria Theresa to oversee their pregnancies).
« Last Edit: July 31, 2011, 06:26:32 AM 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 #190 on: August 02, 2011, 11:53:21 PM »
What did Harold Acton's book state about Maria Carolina's exile from Sicily to Vienna? It was because her enemy, the British envoy, demanded it? According to the online state archives of Naples, Maria Carolina left Sicily following the discovery of a plot against her husband. Was it just attributed to her or did she have something to do with it?
« Last Edit: August 03, 2011, 12:20:11 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 #191 on: August 03, 2011, 12:22:50 PM »
In the Acton book, the British Envoy was the main reason for her exile. Unlike the Hamiltons, he treated the Queen with scant respect and labelled her a troublemaker. He reasoned that he could rule much better without the Queen's interference. That is the reason why Maria Carolina was so bitter towards the English, when she met her granddaughter Marie Louise in Vienna, she rebuked her for being weak and encouraged her to share her husband Napoleon's fate in Elba.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #192 on: August 03, 2011, 12:59:46 PM »
Quote
What did Harold Acton's book state about Maria Carolina's exile from Sicily to Vienna? It was because her enemy, the British envoy, demanded it? According to the online state archives of Naples, Maria Carolina left Sicily following the discovery of a plot against her husband. Was it just attributed to her or did she have something to do with it?

Quote
In the Acton book, the British Envoy was the main reason for her exile. Unlike the Hamiltons, he treated the Queen with scant respect and labelled her a troublemaker. He reasoned that he could rule much better without the Queen's interference. That is the reason why Maria Carolina was so bitter towards the English, when she met her granddaughter Marie Louise in Vienna, she rebuked her for being weak and encouraged her to share her husband Napoleon's fate in Elba. 

Yes indeed, Bentinck (a Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in Sicily and far, far from being an 'envoy' or any kind of diplomat at all) ignored the instructions of his government to "study the political views and inclinations of their Sicilian Majesties, and endeavour to make yourself as agreeable to them as possible....You will assure the Court of Palermo that no design was ever countenanced by his Majesty...to sacrifice the legitimate rights and interests of His Sicilian Majesty....[and] that this Government has never entertained or countenanced a design of interfering in the internal government of Sicily..."  He was also instructed to 'signify' to the "Court of Palermo" that the British would not be happy with enforcing "a system of Government against the resistance of the people of Sicily" which unfortunately gave Bentinck a rationnale to start on some heavy internal plotting against the King and Queen, essentially to enforce a British style of parliamentary government and constitution which ultimately pitted him against Maria Carolina, since neither Ferdinand nor Francesco could stand up to him.  The 'plot' which Acton suggests was helped by the French, alleged that Maria Carolina had been involved in intrigue to drive the British out of Sicily but was not the eventual cause of her leaving.  He also attributes much of her rage and frustration at Bentinck's crude and high-handed bullying of the royal family, completely in defiance of the instructions from his superiors.  He was able to cover this by presenting his government with dispatches which emphasised Maria Carolina's hostility to the British, which in reality was her resentment of the current British Commander-in-Chief, and emphasised her temper and fury - much provoked by himself.  Bentinck however was not able to prevent Ferdinand from deferring to his wife and indeed his continuous pressure on the King to get rid of her had the opposite effect of what he had intended.  Howver, eventually after incessant threats and bullying (much of which consisted of unsubstantiated accusations against the Queen) Bentinck finally forced Ferdinand to order the Maria Carolina to withdraw and she eventually ended up in Vienna, never seeing her husband again.  The constitutional reforms initiated by Bentinck were not followed through effectively by the Sicilians and ultimately failed, Ferdinand restoring autocratic rule, and after the defeat of Napoleon Britain lost interest in Neopolitan affairs and Bentinck was not supported further.  Acton certainly perceived no plot on Maria Carolina's side against Ferdinand, rather the reverse, and Ferdinand actually supported her until pressure from Bentinck got too intense. 

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #193 on: August 03, 2011, 02:59:16 PM »
Absolutely. Bentinck was the villain in Acton's book who forced Ferdinand to dispose of Maria Carolina. Considering Maria Carolina supported the British interest in Naples vs the French, it was shabby of them to treat her so bad. She was very disillusioned at the British after she was forced out by the ally she chose. Had she supported Napoleon instead, her life might have been much easier (especially since he married her granddaughter). 

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #194 on: August 04, 2011, 12:22:30 AM »
Thank you for your replies. They were very helpful. I see, based on Acton's view, that Maria Carolina was sort of a victim here. But why was the relatively low-ranking Bentnick "allowed" to create so much trouble in Sicily?

I'm still confused as to why the Neapolitan state archives stated that MC was sent away after the discovery of a plot against her husband.

I seem to recall that the British monarchy supported Ferdinand and MC with very substantial funds to run their court, etc. So I don't think the British treated her shabbily in that light. Wasn't she accused of plotting against the British? Is this true? If so, it seems a similar scenario with her mother Maria Theresa, who was heavily subsidised by the British, but she turned away from their alliance.    
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 12:35:31 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
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