Author Topic: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina  (Read 191822 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 #75 on: June 03, 2010, 08:46:22 PM »
Many thanks! The explanation/scenario written above seems very likely.  :) Does anyone know why Ferdinand of Naples seemingly got into Maria Carolina's way in all this?
« Last Edit: June 03, 2010, 08:50:29 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 #76 on: June 03, 2010, 10:21:51 PM »
One of the reasons is that he was a very selfish man (unlike his cousin Ferdinand of Parma).

Offline CountessKate

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #77 on: June 04, 2010, 06:41:04 AM »
One of the reasons is that he was a very selfish man (unlike his cousin Ferdinand of Parma).

In this, for once, Ferdinand was acting as a responsible ruler.  It was impossible for a small state such as the Two Sicilies to effectively take on a powerful nation such as France (as indeed was amply demonstrated in the French Revolutionary Wars, where the French won resounding victories over German, Austrian and Italian opposition).  For the Two Sicilies to intervene in French government business would have to become a target for the highly efficient French army and on a more commercial level, have disrupted trade and ruined Neopolitan businesses.  Given the ruthless efficiency of the French revolutionary government’s spy network, it would also have been difficult for the Two Sicilies to have helped Marie Antoinette clandestinely, as I have previously suggested.  It would have been very noble for Ferdinand to at least attempt to intervene – but it would have jeopardised his subjects’ lives and trade as well. 

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #78 on: June 07, 2010, 01:39:33 AM »
Ferdinand of Naples certainly thought he wasn't as "dumb" as people thought him to be.... he declared himself with as much common sense as Joseph II and Leopold II. Perhaps when he wanted to, he could be politically astute. I think Maria Carolina only outshone him in this respect because of her strong ambition to rule whereas he mostly didn't want to get involved because of his indolence. He doesn't sound stupid in his letters to his father (at least when he talked about serious matters).

Has anyone seen any of Maria Carolina's drawings and paintings? I've read from an article on Empress Maria Theresa that she was good at both, just like Mimi. However, MC's daughters didn't seem to take after their mother in this respect. I've read that MC hired Angelica Kauffman to teach her daughters to draw but the arrangement soon faltered. Madame Kauffman claimed she didn't have the patience to teach but perhaps that's just an excuse. I mean, who wouldn't want to teach a child with a promising talent?

Regarding the posts above on Marie Antoinette needing money, the same article on Maria Theresa said that most of Franz Stephan's personal money/estate was used to set up the establishment of his children (dowries, jewels, wedding expenses, etc.) and that  a portion of it was also left in trust for members of the family who might need financial assistance later on...... I would think MA was qualified for such assistance considering her circumstances in 1789-1793. :(   
« Last Edit: June 07, 2010, 02:06:00 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline CountessKate

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #79 on: June 07, 2010, 05:35:39 AM »
Quote
Has anyone seen any of Maria Carolina's drawings and paintings? I've read from an article on Empress Maria Theresa that she was good at both, just like Mimi. However, MC's daughters didn't seem to take after their mother in this respect. I've read that MC hired Angelica Kauffman to teach her daughters to draw but the arrangement soon faltered. Madame Kauffman claimed she didn't have the patience to teach but perhaps that's just an excuse. I mean, who wouldn't want to teach a child with a promising talent?

It may have been an excuse, but plenty of painters are not natural teachers - and there may well have been an ambivalence over the role of a teacher anyway.  It was not especially high-status at the time, especially amongst royalty, and could have been perceived by Angelica Kauffmann as being in the position of a superior servant.  Very much a come-down for AK, particularly since she could operate independently as a painter which would have been both financially more advantageous, and psychologically more satisfying.  Looking at other eighteenth century painters, novelists and musicians, Fanny Burney did not do well at the court of George III, being unable to write any novels and suffering illnesses which might have been depressive in origin, and Mozart's relations with royalty were prickly (although Joseph II eventually paid him a modest salary possibly to keep him in Vienna).  Royalty and high-class talent didn't always mix very well in the eighteenth century, largely over this question of status - at a time when the position of an artist (used as a generic term) was changing significantly from the servant to the celebrity.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #80 on: July 06, 2010, 08:16:31 PM »
I forgot to add that to be fair to Maria Carolina, she didn't even have a garden of her own (a thing she always wanted, she said), a large money/deposit or any substantial personal jewels, aside perhaps the ones she brought with her from Vienna and anything else Maria Theresa or other family members may have given her as presents. I'd be the first to say she at least deserved to have a pleasure garden of her own! :) 
« Last Edit: July 06, 2010, 08:28:30 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 #81 on: July 10, 2010, 06:24:22 PM »
The main difference even you have to admit that MT did not have to marry outside her country and she selectred her husband. MC did not even have the luxury of meeting Ferdinand  or make a choice. I am sorry not ALL royal brides had to weep over their bedside. MT's parents had a very happy married life as do herself.

Ferdinand's second wife was a nobody and of course she had to please him, and to MC (Antoinette and Amaila as well) he was lucky one to marry a daughters of MT. She was proud of that fact. I don't think you can compare the two marriages. The marriage with MC represents a treaty with Austria and a dynasty marriage, the second a love match. It would be a mistake to compare them.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #82 on: July 11, 2010, 12:57:31 AM »
The main difference even you have to admit that MT did not have to marry outside her country and she selectred her husband. MC did not even have the luxury of meeting Ferdinand  or make a choice. I am sorry not ALL royal brides had to weep over their bedside. MT's parents had a very happy married life as do herself.

Now, we're into the "debate" that MT married for love and stayed in her home, whereas Maria Carolina had no choice into her marriage and had to accept Ferdinand as her husband, whether she liked it or not. That is beside the point. What we were discussing was that whether or not MT and MC were both unprepared for their roles, and both appeared to be so. Not their marriages and how MT got to choose her husband whereas MC had no choice. But while you're at it, MT may have had a love match but Franz Stephan was NOT faithful to her and was a BIG embarrassment as well due to his many failures in battles. Do you think that was easy for MT? She wasn't always nice to FS either and I've read that he suffered most from her unshackled rages. There is no way one can call their marriage 100% made in heaven either in the 29 years that they were married. There is evidence that their relationship also suffered setbacks.

Yes, NOT all royal brides wept at their marriage beds. But can you cite one princess back then who married for state reasons who did not feel sad about leaving her home and family behind and who did not have any difficulties adjusting to a new court, an unknown husband and perhaps uncongenial family members... that was just what I said in the earlier post.  MC wasn't alone in that.

Ferdinand's second wife was a nobody and of course she had to please him, and to MC (Antoinette and Amaila as well) he was lucky one to marry a daughters of MT. She was proud of that fact. I don't think you can compare the two marriages. The marriage with MC represents a treaty with Austria and a dynasty marriage, the second a love match. It would be a mistake to compare them.

If you have read about Lucia Migliaccio's life thoroughly and from reliable sources at that, then I will gladly accept your statement about her having to please Ferdinand because "she was a nobody", as you put it. Please back it up with solid evidence. But if you are merely stating an opinion, then please say so and do not make it a fact.  Besides, a political marriage could result into a good relationship. I can cite quite a number of them and I'm sure you can, too.

I'd also like to read about MC's kindness that you asserted in reply #235, maybe I can change my mind and blame it all on Ferdinand of Naples if and when you share clear and specific instances of her kindness and how Ferdinand was lucky to have her as a wife.      
« Last Edit: July 11, 2010, 01:16:16 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline CountessKate

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #83 on: July 11, 2010, 11:30:43 AM »
I have to say that I haven't read anything about Ferdinand of Naples which puts him in an attractive light, and the liking for certain aspects of peasant life and common Neopolitan entertainment and food which made him popular doesn't seem to have translated into a greater breadth of vision or rule compared to his wife, since his government when they were separated was as dominated by Austrian conservatism as she would have wished.  However, Maria Carolina's personal power was derived from Ferdinand and at the end of the day, if she wished to rule, she needed his consent.  It's possible to speculate that if she had maintained at least some semblance of cordiality, Ferdinand's lethargy might have overcome what had become a truly awful marriage - and I agree it was Maria Carolina who was the one who let things get out of hand to the point where Ferdinand simply couldn't stand her enough to save him the trouble of ruling.  Her brothers Joseph and Leopold were concerned that she would alienate Ferdinand to that stage by her intransigence, and they were right to be worried.  When push came to shove, Ferdinand could rule without her - but she couldn't rule without him.  It was something she should have realised - and I agree with prinzheinelgirl that some modicum of tact and conciliation might well have worked with Ferdinand.

On a slightly different note, the idea that Maria Theresa 'married for love' is not entirely correct, to my mind.  It was rather that the man she was in love with met the political requirements of her father at that particular time.  Franz Stephan, after all, was one of a few reasonably suitable candidates - he was heir to an independent duchy which was in alliance with Austria, a grandmother was an archduchess, and the Lorraines were not really powerful enough to contest the issue if Charles VI had a son and they missed the chance of the Holy Roman Empire.  Indeed, Franz Stephan had to give up Lorraine which he didn't at all want to do, to satisfy the Habsburg's political needs.  Charles VI didn't give an inch just because his daughter was in love - she wouldn't have married Franz Stephan if it hadn't suited him. 

Eric_Lowe

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #84 on: July 11, 2010, 12:27:53 PM »
Well...But they did have a love match as for as MT was concerned and she became very possessive of him.

I don't know if MC being nicer would have any effect, but the time the marriage went sour, MC had already lost her looks, youth through constant childbearing and work. Ferdinand was not a very sentimental man and would have had his mistress anyway. I still believe Ferdinand also used MC and dumped her when her rule became ineffective.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #85 on: July 11, 2010, 05:55:47 PM »
I have to say that I haven't read anything about Ferdinand of Naples which puts him in an attractive light, and the liking for certain aspects of peasant life and common Neopolitan entertainment and food which made him popular doesn't seem to have translated into a greater breadth of vision or rule compared to his wife, since his government when they were separated was as dominated by Austrian conservatism as she would have wished.  However, Maria Carolina's personal power was derived from Ferdinand and at the end of the day, if she wished to rule, she needed his consent.  It's possible to speculate that if she had maintained at least some semblance of cordiality, Ferdinand's lethargy might have overcome what had become a truly awful marriage - and I agree it was Maria Carolina who was the one who let things get out of hand to the point where Ferdinand simply couldn't stand her enough to save him the trouble of ruling.  Her brothers Joseph and Leopold were concerned that she would alienate Ferdinand to that stage by her intransigence, and they were right to be worried.  When push came to shove, Ferdinand could rule without her - but she couldn't rule without him.  It was something she should have realised.

I agree 100%.  And it wasn't only Ferdinand she alienated...... there were quite a number of people too, like her nephew and son-in-law Emperor Francis and John Acton, who was her favorite and should've remained loyal to her. But Acton grew weary of her, too. So I don't think it was all Ferdinand's fault. I'm sorry to say this because I liked MC a lot when I first started to read about the Austrian archduchesses, but all those people she alienated.... what does that say about MC as a person? Because there could be no doubt that MC had the talent to alienate people and was unpleasant -- even nasty and ill-natured at times. Also, I think it was in The Queen of Naples and Lord Nelson - already a rather fawning book - that I read MC used people.

On a slightly different note, the idea that Maria Theresa 'married for love' is not entirely correct, to my mind.  It was rather that the man she was in love with met the political requirements of her father at that particular time.  Franz Stephan, after all, was one of a few reasonably suitable candidates - he was heir to an independent duchy which was in alliance with Austria, a grandmother was an archduchess, and the Lorraines were not really powerful enough to contest the issue if Charles VI had a son and they missed the chance of the Holy Roman Empire.  Indeed, Franz Stephan had to give up Lorraine which he didn't at all want to do, to satisfy the Habsburg's political needs.  Charles VI didn't give an inch just because his daughter was in love -she wouldn't have married Franz Stephan if it hadn't suited him.  

I also agree.  It was long process of marrying Franz Stephan and Maria Theresa's father Charles VI wavered many times. Indeed, it was FS who had to sacrifice a lot to marry MT not the other way around. The marriage suited Austria's interest because giving up Lorraine guaranteed (the very vital)  French support for MT as the Habsburg heiress (or so they thought because France was guilty of duplicity in this matter).  Charles VI knew that Elector Charles Albert of Bavaria was only bold enough to contest the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 because France was behind him.      

I don't know if MC being nicer would have any effect, but the time the marriage went sour, MC had already lost her looks, youth through constant childbearing and work. Ferdinand was not a very sentimental man and would have had his mistress anyway. I still believe Ferdinand also used MC and dumped her when her rule became ineffective.

It doesn't make sense that Ferdinand only dumped her when she became old and lost her looks, added to her ineffective rule.  Unless there is solid evidence that Ferdinand was indeed a selfish lout as you claimed in this thread. They were married for 30 years before all that and that should count for something, not to mention MC being the mother of his children. Her sister Maria Amalia was also said to have lost her good looks (and was even described as "mannish", vulgar and bad-mannered) but she maintained a good relationship with her Ferdinand. Why? Because she made an effort to conciliate with her husband all those years and even sought to please him -- and there is plenty of evidence on that.    

« Last Edit: July 11, 2010, 06:26:44 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 #86 on: July 12, 2010, 09:40:03 AM »
I totally agree with CountessKate that "it took Ferdinand's behavior to drive Maria Carolina to the point where shewas so full of rage she could no longer maintain an even balance either in her political life or in her marriage." Most certainly Maria Carolina and Ferdinand did have their good times after she decided to win him over to her side through sex (seduction by her gloves) and reasoning (she once locked herself and Ferdinand in a room and argued until Ferdinand agree that her arguements merit a point. Did she love him ? No, but did she grew fond of him yes. She wrote to her brother and called Ferdinand "My crazy half-wit" (in an affectionate way). So I do not believe she govern her husband by only shouting and screaming (unless that is the only way she could do to make him listen). Also I think Maria Carolina was pretty enough in her own way. She has youth and really lovely skin (a trait that she shread with her sister Antoinette).

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #87 on: July 12, 2010, 09:24:22 PM »
If MC had been wiser and was really intelligent as generally claimed, she could've coped with the unchangeable Ferdinand differently rather than rage and rage about it. After all, as pointed out earlier by CountessKate, she did depend on his good will.... Also, if not for him, then for her own sanity then.  I very much agree that there is evidence that they shared good times, why then was that not enough to sustain them in bad 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 #88 on: July 20, 2010, 10:07:12 AM »
I think you totally ignored the situation when MC was married. She was too young to marry aboard and cling on to her sister Antonia till the last. I don't think she was overtly ambitious at that period of life, it came later. MC was one of the more intellegent daughters of MT who actually took time to read (unlike her more beautiful but lazy sister in France). MT had drilled into her the need for her to work for Austria, her country. MC was being a good and dutiful daughter and achieved what her mother had wanted her to be (dominanted her husband but not overtly so (like Maria Amalia seem to be in her early days)). I felt a bit sorry for her trying so hard and it is difficult to tread the road between love of one's own country and the adopted one. It was a transition that MC never did pass (her insistance on her own German cook is another indication). So I think ultimately it was a blessing for her to go home to die. She had definitely left her heart in Austria.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #89 on: July 20, 2010, 05:48:15 PM »
I was talking about Maria Carolina's long-terms prospects had she stayed in Vienna and not married abroad, not about how young she was when she married; I know that fact already and did not ignore it. Please just answer the possible scenarios had she stayed in Vienna - what would've been her marriage prospects there, possible posts, role at court? Does anyone think she could've done better than her older sisters Maria Anna, Maria Christina, and Maria Elisabeth, who all stayed in Vienna and/or near it?  Especially Marianna and Elisabeth, who did not marry, and did not have any influence at court and consigned to the single life. Elisabeth certainly wanted to marry, despite having the smallpox.

Is reading books is an indicator of high intelligence? I think it just shows that a person is curious and wanted to learn and/or at least to improve one's mind. You keep on mentioning about how MC was one of the more intelligent daughters of Maria Theresa, what's the proof of that besides her love of reading (in itself not a clear indicator of high intelligence).  Unless there was some sort of I.Q. tests back then.... or records of MC's stellar  academic performance while in Vienna. To be frank, only Marianna seems to have clear evidence of high intelligence among the sisters because her scientific studies point to that.    

There is evidence that MC was only nice - and even pretended to be passionately in love with him - to Ferdinand at first because she wanted to gain his confidence. Even quite fawning books (The Queen of Naples and Lord Nelson, A Sister of Marie Antoinette) on her point to that.  Yes, her sister Maria Amalia wasn't very nice to her Ferdinand at first. She was wrong in that but at least she never seemed to deceive him, like MC did to her Ferdinand, about her feelings. Amalia also realized that she made mistakes with her husband, made up for it, and tried to see her husband in a better light (if she didn't, she never would've declared that she loved him very much and make concessions in her marriage).  That is the difference betweeen the two sisters, proud as they both were, and which I think spelled the difference in the long run in their respective marriages (not that Amalia had a perfect relationship with her Ferdinand).      

Yes, MC loved Austria so much she declared that the death of her imbecile (her own words, not mine) sons is no big loss and then she'd marry her eldest girl to her brother (Joseph? who declared he wouldn't marry for the 3rd time; how irrational of her) and just take Naples back home with her to Austria. I think that is yet another reason why she failed as a ruler -- a good ruler should at least love her domain and her people. Honestly, she could've done much better in politics and in her personal life because she did have great energy, was willful (I mean to use this trait in a constructive way), capable of ruling, undertook necessary reforms, and was not stupid.   Of course, living in the Napoleonic times was hard for all royals but there's evidence that MC's faults got the better of her good side, which led to certain sad consequences.    
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 06:18:22 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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