Author Topic: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina  (Read 192459 times)

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Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #90 on: July 20, 2010, 06:06:55 PM »
You think it is easy to go to Naples to figure a way to try to rule ? MC had very good EQ and judged the situation after drying her tears after her husband told people she sweat like a pig. He did not love her like Ferdinand of Parma did (he was much older than his young cousin). MC was the younger partner in a strange land, she had to think of something fast. I think she did read her marriage contact well as it indicated that she must have a son before she could go into the marriage council. She had to seduce her husband and win her to his side if her life in Naples had any kind of future. It is surivial not love that faced young MC. Amalia being the older partner in the marriage had wrecked havok to change at once, a luxury that MC did not have. Ferdinand of Parma was much kinder to his older wife, and eventually they had a better life togather. MC had to fight her way to rule and gain influence. MT in her letter to Antonia said she had no excuse since her sister in Naples's situation was more difficult and yet still manage to kept herself afloat. You must remember royal marriages were made with treaties and not love (that is extra). MC's marriage was a political one, and I think she did quite a good job until the French Revolution came. Princess Michael of Kent came to the same conclusion in her book "Crowned in a far country". At least MC's marriage ended better than Catherine the great's.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #91 on: July 20, 2010, 06:52:03 PM »
Ruling is NOT always easy for consorts, especially since the standard of education for princesses in the 18th century was not particularly high. There was no such thing like a poltical science course for them. I never said it was. The thing is, Maria Carolina was not the only princess who had the ambition to rule or was instructed by one's family to do so.... certainly she had to survive and Ferdinand of Naples was not an easy person to like, let alone love. Had she dealt with the Ferdinand situation differently - she can't change her husband but she can certainly change her reactions to him - she could've done much better. Deceit is deceit and while it might have been the only recourse in the early months, why then did she choose to (mostly) bully her husband after winning him over to her side?  That is why I posted earlier in this thread that she could've done better, if not for him then for her sanity then as well as to keep his goodwill. Ferdinand's goodwill was essential to her ruling and also her personal life. That is also survival.      

MC was quite an upleasant girl, even way back in Vienna -- MT scolded her on her rudeness, bad-temper and making fun of people.  We also see her screeching like an eagle at her ladies-in-waiting in Naples.... that speaks of a very good EQ?  

Also, there seems to be no evidence that Ferdinand of Parma, only a few weeks younger than his cousin Ferdinand of Naples, loved Maria Amalia, at least the way she wanted to be loved (a romantic love, that is). He was blatantly unfaithful to her - which seemed to drive her to seek "refuge" at Sala Baganza, instead of staying in the capital or in Colorno, most of the time. I don't think it is easy for any woman in love with her husband to live with that.  But she - and Ferdinand - managed to have a good relationship and spent conjugal time together. It wasn't only a matter of Ferdinand's kindness.  Both made efforts to please  and support each other. There is plenty of evidence for that (one only has to look at/find the right sources). As for Amalia wreaking havoc at once, a luxury MC didn't have, there seemed to be no recourse either for her - either she finishes Du Tillot (who, according to a history book on Piacenza, slandered her at the foreign courts) or he finishes her. The only good things she had going - and I don't agree with all her actions back then either - for her at that time was that Ferdinand disliked Du Tillot and she had the masses - if not all of the of the nobility - on her side. Even Vienna was wont to believe Du Tillot and MT's various spies, not her.    

Yes, MC had a better marriage compared to Catherine the Great - but Catherine II of Russia managed to keep herself - and Russia - together until the very end.  Both indeed had very "challenging" husbands. And in both women, rage was a decisive factor in their eventual end (MC raging at her husband and becoming unstable while Catherine II raged at Gustavus IV for breaking off the marriage plans with her granddaughter, she had a stroke that finished her off soon after).
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 07:20:15 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #92 on: July 21, 2010, 07:44:55 AM »
I think it is very Asian or oriental to think that it was up to her to please her husband. Catherine the great most certainly did not and furthermore the husband (the legitamite ruler) ended up dead. MC was not that. She was a child of enlightenment and saw her mother rule as a natural course of matters. Once again I understood why she did what she did as she believed that she had no other recourse. Most certainly she was not particularly sexy or romantic as she did not seem to take lovers like her youngest sister Antoinette (who rumoured to be bi-sexual). Using politics as a subsitude for love is a recipe for inblance in one's life. Her sister Antoinette used exscessive spending, gambling and building to fill that void. I have a lot of sympathy for her. As the Lord says judge others and you will be judged.

Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #93 on: July 21, 2010, 10:00:30 PM »
Well...Catherine the great did not take her husband's dislike lying down and seized power (do remember she was a contempory of MT as well). MT was a queen regent and heiress of all the Hapsburg lands. She did not share power with her husband at all. MC was her daughter and saw how natural a woman could rule. It was also MT's expressed wish as her daughters should rule their husbands abit indirectly. MC did suceeded in gaining her husband's influrence and ruled (although it was only through him she could do so). If Ferdinand I did not allow her to rule, she could not have done so. So it was by mutual consent that she rule, but the minute things got wrong it was MC's fault ? I think Ferdinand was very sly in letting his wife took the blame for it when it suited him. MC's problem was that she was too honest, direct (through her outburst & passions). Had she been more wily like Catherine de Medici or even Catherine the great, she would have made it and stayed on the throne.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #94 on: July 21, 2010, 10:29:11 PM »
It was a consort's duty to please her husband at that time. And Catherine the Great did  so for many years, until Peter III began treating her with more and more contempt and finally made no bones about wanting to replace her with his mistress. So she had to plot to keep herself and her children (most likely not Peter's and they both knew it) alive.

No, the problem between Maria Carolina  and Ferdinand started way back before 1798 when the French invaded Naples.  It seems it was only the catalyst that made Ferdinand finally take action regarding his wife.  Was it MC's fault? Partly. Her unpopular policies and her rages - she made no secret of her contempt for Ferdinand - did her in, both with the people and her husband. As CountessKate pointed out earlier, her brothers Joseph and Leopold were concerned she would eventually alienate Ferdinand and they were right in that.   A staff of the French embassy at court, Denon, reported to France that John Acton was detested at court, Maria Carolina described as "fragile" (most likely the code for unstable); still, to keep peace, Ferdinand signed whatever she desired.  It was also MC who put distance between her and husband and felt justified in doing so. She has clearly forgotten - or disregarded - that  she needed his goodwill, both for ruling and in her marriage.

Why is it so hard to undertsand why Ferdinand eventually blamed her for everything? It clear that MC was highly unpopular with her people, with unfortunate political policies, and a woman who raged and made his life miserable (if he did not do what she wanted)..... any other recourse for Ferdinand? It must've been building up on him for years as well.  A book on the Pompeii ruins, with quite extensive details on MC and Ferdinand, states that many times Ferdinand must've wished someone had cast out MC into the sea, as she declared when told she was to marry Ferdinand. MC, as many accounts and evidence point out, was not a nice but a rather difficult woman. 

And no, giving in to rages is not a sign of being too honest. For one can be honest without raging.  In fact, there's not much evidence that that MC  was an honest person altogether. She used the people's money in the banks without them knowing, she deceived her husband early on.  Even Emma Hamilton was first snubbed by her when Emma was a nobody (merely a mistress of William Hamilton), newly arrived in Naples ...MC only warmed up to her when she married Hamilton.  
« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 10:59:42 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #95 on: July 21, 2010, 11:02:43 PM »
I do not believe that if Ferdinand could be forced to do something that he did not want to. He was happy to leave the work to her and go hunting and having mistresses and generally enjoyed life. In a marriage it takes two to tango. I simply do not agree it is fair to place ALL the blame on to MC. She had tried but failed. I really prefer her "honest outburst" than to Catherine de Medici's poison or Catherine the Great's military coups. As for Catherine the great, she despised her husband's stupidity and weakness and did not love him (like MC) and made a pretence to win him over. In politics decit is not despised upon and used often. It is grossly unfair to blame MC on this point.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #96 on: July 21, 2010, 11:39:39 PM »
Yes, Ferdinand wanted a peaceful life above all - hence he gave in to Maria Carolina  to enjoy life and not be bothered by the duties of ruling and with her rages as well.  That is very clear to me. But the mere fact that he  gave in to keep peace indicates something was very wrong in their relationship and in MC's behavior/reactions.

Catherine II  never pretended to love her husband but made sincere efforts - until the Peter made it known he wanted to replace her with his mistress and did not disguise his contempt for her - to conciliate and humour him for many years. This mostly happened when Peter went to her for consolation when his aunt, Empress Elisabeth, scolded him or sent away his favorites, etc. She said she felt sorry for him and understood the situation (being subject to the Empress' caprices and moods herself). She wrote in her memoirs that had Peter been a bit lovable, she could've loved him, despite his oddity, drunkenness,  ill-humour, and offensive ways. She wrote that she knew how he was and if she did, she'd be the most miserable woman on earth. But she resolved to be a friend to him and wished for him to be the same to her. When the Empress was very sick, Peter came to her all alarmed about the succession and their chances, and Catherine assured her husband she had some plans and arrangements to keep them both safe.   By the 1760s, the situation was either life or death - at the very least banishment to a convent -  for herself and children so she seized power. By then, Peter III was all too eager to get rid of her, and who knew what would happen to her children (who were seemingly  not Peter's)?  I never saw that kind of sincerity from MC to make friends with her husband.....  

You were the one who claimed MC was honest but there is not much evidence that she was; she clearly used deceit in her dealings, and as you pointed out, that was perfectly all right in politics. My point is that it doesn't seem right to assign an attribute to someone when that attribute isn't there.  I did say she was only partly to blame for her disgraced state with her husband, and not wholly to blame. It seems you're so bent on defending MC and putting all the blame on her husband for treating her badly 1798 onwards, perhaps you can speculate ]on the ways in which Ferdinand could've dealt with his extremely difficult wife then.... Yes, it takes two to make a relationship work or not but a wiser person would have also known his/her limits and acted accordingly..... especially for consorts like MC, who, rightly or wrongly and like it or not, depended on the husband's goodwill.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 11:57:10 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #97 on: July 22, 2010, 12:10:54 AM »
MC was too honest with her feelings about people and sometimes see things in b/w. I however saw MC accepting advice when she she needed it (her allies the Hamilitons, Nelson and others do praise her as hardworking). Most certainly the early years of ruling did not create a lot of problems until Napoleon came into the scene. Much as she hated him, she could stiull blame her granddaughter ML for deserting him. She was not someone who cannot change her mind about a person when situation arises. The same with her friendly treatment woith Louis Philippe. She could have screamed and shout verbal abuse as you so love to point out, but she didn't. She got along with all her children and some even loved her deeply. I see a woman misguided but totally capable of love. If Ferdinand was willing to love her and guide her into his life, she would have responded in kind. However most historians believev that Ferdinand was emotional immature. He most certainly did not care for her feelings in terms of love and used her sexually. In today's term she might even been raped (most royal brides experienced a rude awakening on their wedding night). How could she expect to love such a man ? Later she could laugh at his crazy acts, but deep down she must have known it would be futile to expect love from him. Yes she did seduced him after she knew what she had to do to survive (have children and eventually a son who would get her aseat in the council). She loved her children and did what she could to try and save her sister. I love her humanity and faults as they were so clear in many of us too. As she told ML " when one marries it is for life..." one could alomost hear her regrets perhaps in the way she had failed in her relationship with her husband. However I never read anything about any sort of regrets on the part of Ferdinand.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #98 on: July 22, 2010, 02:00:24 AM »
I still think Maria Carolina being the more intelligent and willful of the two could've taken the wiser route in all of this..... of course, your view that it was difficult to keep a cordial relationship with the boorish Ferdinand is valid -- but like I pointed out earlier, if not for him then for sanity then. It's clear that Ferdinand's behavior, including his passing on of sexual diseases to her, did a lot of mental damage to her. But MC was also by nature rash, proud, unpleasant and vengeful.  It seems that nothing could be expected from Ferdinand of Naples in terms of making sacrifices and MC could've done much better by taking her mother's advice to Maria Amalia : up to her - and only her - to make her marriage work. I think there was nothing, absolutely nothing, that could be expected from Ferdinand in that respect, both from his nature and his position (he was her husband and king, and therefore he had the final authority on her). Her screaming and bullying certainly did not help matters......

Perhaps for Ferdinand the bad times overwhelmed the good times?
« Last Edit: July 22, 2010, 02:08:29 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #99 on: July 22, 2010, 02:40:35 AM »
That is the reason why I said it wasn't fair to MC since she could only rule with him. However Ferdinand had developed a pattern that only her screams or bullying could have claimed his attention, MC had no choice but to carry on. You are right though that she should have known that such tactics could only work short term, and at the end even that would not have worked was plain to see. She was proud but he was stubborn and stupid. It was a sad situation. Even MC's enemies though that she should have deserved better treatment from her husband, that itself is very telling of the nature of the situation.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #100 on: July 22, 2010, 09:34:04 PM »
One certainly can't blame Maria Carolina for not doing her duty of producing heirs.....in that, she deserved more than full marks :)  One very useful thing she didn't emulate her mother in was to just finally - when clearly there was nothing she could do -  ignore anything unpleasant in her husband/marriage (MT had jealous fits of Franz Stephan's affairs but also wearied of it after many years - it was futile to do so - and finally, she just pretended she didn't know).

Ferdinand of Naples thought an older wife would be dominating and he disliked the thought, little did he know..... ::)   I can't imagine Maria Amalia paired with Ferdinand of Naples. Both sure liked hunting and behaved very unconventionally for royals .... and what else? Maria Amalia seemed more open on forgiving than her sister Maria Carolina and seemed to have quite mellowed down when she accepted her husband and situation. But apart from that, I can't think of anything else that would've helped her coped at a personal level. She was, from some accounts, a  rather reserved child (and adult) who didn't let people easily into her life. Amalia could be bad-tempered too but she had her ways of coping (like heading off to her country villa, but then she probably won't have gotten such a gift from Ferdinand of Naples - who was quite mean (stingy) by nature -had she married him).  Of course, Amalia & Ferdinand of Parma and MC & Ferdinand of Naples had very different dynamics and were different people.  
« Last Edit: July 22, 2010, 09:46:36 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #101 on: July 23, 2010, 07:31:45 AM »
Yes. However I think MC would have a better chance with Ferdinand of Parma (closer to age) than Ferdinand of Naples, who was I stressed spoilt from being a boy king and selfish to a large degree. I think MC could be forgiving too (as shown in her actions towards Napoleon and Louis Philippe), but I think Ferdinand brought out the worst in her. As for her being bad tempered before she left for Naples, most historians believe it was that she was nervous and stressful. It was her way of coping (by the way being seperated from your favourite sister did not help).

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #102 on: July 24, 2010, 08:49:56 PM »
I'm basing my view on Maria Carolina in Vienna as very unpleasant because of the letter by Maria Theresa to her dated August  1767, when Archduchess Maria Josepha was still the designated bride for Naples so clearly it wasn't because her enforced marriage to Ferdinand of Naples.  It (unpleasantness) was there already although perhaps aggravated by her mother's decision.   I know some historians made it appear that said letter was written way after but it wasn't.  The date was clear, they just didn't verify it and copied from previous (erroneous) works or whatever.  

Also, Ferdinand of Parma was also born in Jan. 1751, only 9 days later after his cousin in Naples. So there no significant age difference between two.  
« Last Edit: July 24, 2010, 08:56:44 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #103 on: July 24, 2010, 10:34:46 PM »
MT is not a very easy mother to have and very strict, if MC reacted out of unhappiness and frustration, that should be viewed more charitably. My parents had wrote me some unpleasent letters too, should I be judged by this too ? The strength of one letter cannot establish character. MT's letters to MC's Antonia was widely published and no secret, she on one hand preaches one thing and insist the opposite done (the famous case being Madame du Burry). She also told someone she loved her mother (the Empress) but feared her even more. MC of course was far from perfect and seems to allow her passions to run wild when she felt fru Xstrated and cornered. Had she being given a more patient husband, she might have mellowed down. Maybe Louis XVI would have been better for MC.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #104 on: July 25, 2010, 05:03:21 AM »
You may make excuses for Maria Carolina but the it  is clear from MT's letter that other people - including strangers at court (most likely guests and not servants and/or courtiers, hence the term) - also noticed and commented that MC was  bad tempered and thus, brought discredit upon herself with it....

(My own loose translation)

(letter dated 9 August 1767)

".....To my great surprise, I have heard not only from the (Countess) Brandeis but your other women as well that you say your prayers carelessly, without any reverence and with even less fervour.....when they remonstrate with you, you only have harsh words and become ill-tempered.  I know it even from strangers who are concerned about the matter, and such can only bring you discredit.  Even when they are dressing you, you are ill-tempered.  I will never forget this and you don't have the slightest excuse.  You must treat your ladies with gentleness, otherwise you will not be loved by them.  Your voice and the way you speak are already (naturally) unpleasant. You must take care to improve them and you raise your voice too much..."

(rest of the letter lectures MC to concentrate on her studies, etc.. but ends with an assurance to her daughter of her love and support all of MT's life)

Sorry to say, the young MC appears already quite unpleasant even in Vienna (and without even being told yet that she was to marry Ferdinand of Naples, with Archduchess Maria Josepha still very well and alive).  Even when dressing, a very benign and routinary task, she was still bad tempered! And such was noticed even by other people (not part of the family circle or people residing or serving at court).  I'm no great admirer of MT as a mother but not all her letters/advice were useless or without basis.  It is also quite prophetic of her mother to say that she must treat people with gentleness otherwise she would not be loved. Bad temper, rudeness, and the tendency to scream/shout were already there at age 15...... paired with the insensitive Ferdinand of Naples, it is not very surprising their marriage ended the way it did. Frankly, next to Mimi, there is evidence that MC was the next in line as to being unpleasant (either her or Archduchess Maria Anna, who seemed to be a problem with her household staff) among the archduchesses of that generation......of course Archduchess Maria Elisabeth's tantrums and ill temper were also no secret but it happened only after the smallpox.

  
« Last Edit: July 25, 2010, 05:28:40 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
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