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Maria Antonietta of Naples: Wikis

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Princess Maria Antonia of Naples
Princess of Asturias
Spouse Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias
House House of Bourbon
House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
Father Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
Mother Maria Carolina of Austria
Born 14 December 1784(1784-12-14)
Caserta Palace, Caserta, Italy
Died 21 May 1806 (aged 21)
Royal Palace of Aranjuez, Aranjuez, Spain
Burial Royal Monastery of El Escorial, Spain

Princess Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily, Princess of Asturias, also called Princess Marie Antoinette of Naples and Sicily (14 December 1784, Caserta Palace, Caserta, Italy - 21 May 1806, Royal Palace of Aranjuez, Aranjuez, Spain). She was the youngest daughter of Ferdinand, King of Naples and Sicily and Queen Maria Carolina. She was named after her mother's favorite sister, Marie Antoinette, Queen of France.

Contents

Biography

Baptised Principessa Maria Antonietta Teresa Amelia Giovanna Battista Francesca Gaetana Maria Anna Lucia di Napoli e Sicilia, she was known as Maria Antonia and was born at the Caserta Palace in Italy. The daughter of the King of Naples ans Sicily, she was an Infanta of Spain as well as a Princess of her native Naples.

Maria Antonia was a sweet, delicate and intelligent girl, having by the age of seventeen learned several languages. One witness described her with the following words:

"The Princess of Asturias is a worthy granddaughter of Maria Theresa of Austria, and seems to inherit her character as well as her virtues."

In a series of dynastic alliances, Maria Antonia became engaged to Infante Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias (who later became King Ferdinand VII of Spain), while her eldest brother, Francis, became engaged to Infante Ferdinand's sister Infanta Maria Isabella of Spain. On 4 October 1802, Maria Antonia married Infante Ferdinand in Barcelona, Spain. However, her letters to her mother showed her deep disillusionment with her husband, who was ugly and bad-mannered. Her mother, Queen Maria Carolina, wrote the following lines on the subject to one of her friends:

The Prince of Asturias has an ugly face, a tubby figure, round knees and legs, a piping delicate voice, and is utterly stupid. Though he is physically amorous, they are not yet husband and wife after sleeping together a week. He is disagreeable, dull, as lazy as his sister, and he never leaves his wife a single moment. He has no education, an unpleasant continuous giggle; and their existence is cramped, without comforts or amenities, and subjected to scandalous espionage. Poor Antoinette sends letters that make me weep. She writes: "Mother, you have been deceived. For you are too good a mother to have sacrificed me like this if you had known." She says again: "I shall not live, but I wish to behave well and deserve eternal life."
Maria Antonia (fourth from left), together with the rest of the Spanish royal family, visits the University of Valencia in 1802, shortly after her wedding. Oil painting by Vicente López.

In addition, the princess failed to provide the expected heir to the throne: her two pregnancies, in 1804 and 1805, ended in miscarriages. Her mother, Maria Carolina, always full of hatred towards France and the Spanish monarchs, tried to plot to destroy Spain's ties to France and used her daughter for this end, even suggesting to poison the Queen of Spain and Godoy. Maria Antonia's mother-in-law, Maria Luisa, discovered the plot and started to despise Maria Antonia. In her letters she described Maria Antonia as

"the spittle of her mother, a venomous viper, an animal filled with gall and poison instead of blood, a half-dead frog and a diabolical snake."

To top it all, Queen Maria Luisa began to subject Maria Antonia's books and clothes to scrutiny and once, in order to frighten the young princess, she took her down to the dark royal vault in El Escorial so she could contemplate the place where she would be laid to rest one day.

In spite of all of this, the brave Maria Antonia managed to gain ascendancy over her dull husband and created an opposition party against Queen Maria Luisa and her favorite Manuel Godoy. The Duchess of Abrantes, a French lady, wrote in her memoirs that Maria Antonia and Ferdinand were very close:

"The attachment of these unfortunate young people was the only alleviation they found in a life of constant trouble and vexations. Always when they are together the Prince follows with his eyes those of the Princess that he may be guided in what he is to do."

In 1805 Queen Maria Carolina wrote to Maria Antonia:

My daughter, I can scarcely conceive how you endure what you described to me... There is no throne that can be worth being purchased so dearly... Rather leave Spain and come back to me. But if you cannot resolve to leave Ferdinand, from whom you derive the little share of happiness you enjoy in that country, then, my daughter, learn to be, not a weak woman, but a great and courageous Princess. Recollect the words of Catherine II: "It is better to kill the Devil than to let the Devil kill us!"

But it didn't last for too long, since the frail princess' health was undermined by tuberculosis and she died on 21 May 1806.

It was widely rumoured that Maria Antonia had been poisoned by Maria Luisa and Godoy, and Queen Maria Carolina, who was devastated, truly believed this. Maria Antonia's father, King Ferdinand, consolidated Naples and Sicily into the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies a decade after her death.

The Neapolitan princess was buried at El Escorial in Spain. Her husband was to marry three more times;

Bibliography

  • EPTON, Nina, The Spanish mousetrap: Napoleon and the Court of Spain (London: Macdonald, 1973).
  • HILT, Douglas, The troubled trinity: Godoy and the Spanish monarchs (Tuscaloosa; London: University of Alabama Press, 1987).

Ancestry

Titles, styles, honours and arms

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Titles and styles

  • 14 December 1784 - 6 October 1802 Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily, Infanta of Spain,
  • 6 October 1802 - 21 May 1806 Her Royal Highness Dona Maria Antonia, the Princess of Asturias, Infanta of Spain etc

Honours

  • Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931).svg 6 October 1802 - 21 May 1806 108th Member of the Royal Order for Nobles Ladies of Maria Luisa

Titles


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