Maria Luisa of Parma: Wikis


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Maria Luisa of Parma
Queen consort of Spain
Maria Luisa of Parma in the gardens of Aranjuez (ca. 1766), by Anton Raphael Mengs
Tenure 1788 - 1808
Spouse Charles IV
Charlotte, Queen of Portugal
Maria Louisa, Queen of Etruria
Ferdinand VII
Infante Charles, Count of Molina
Maria Isabella, Queen of the Two Sicilies
Infante Francisco de Paula
Father Philip, Duke of Parma
Mother Princess Louise Élisabeth of France
Born 9 December 1751(1751-12-09)
Parma, Italy
Died 2 January 1819 (aged 67)
Barberini Palace, Rome, Italy

Maria Luisa of Parma, Queen of Spain (9 December 1751, Parma, Italy - 2 January 1819, Barberini Palace, Rome, Italy) was Queen Consort of Spain from 1788 to 1808 as the wife of King Charles IV of Spain. She was the youngest daughter of Duke Philip I of Parma and his wife, Louise-Élisabeth of France, the eldest daughter of King Louis XV.

She was christened Luisa Maria Teresa Ana, but was known as María Luisa.[1]. She, her brother, the next Duke, Ferdinand, Duke of Parma and her sister Princess Isabella of Parma, Archduchess of Austria, deceased at the age of 22, were educated there by Étienne Bonnot de Condillac, (Grenoble, 1715 - Parma, 1780), well known French philosopher and member of the French Academy since 1768, a friend of Denis Diderot and Jean Jacques Rousseau. Her French teacher's works, including many of the texts, some 13, he wrote to educate the three Ducal pupils, were edited in 23 volumes in 1798 being reprinted some 3 times before 1822.

Further, Parma Duchy marriage connections with the Austrian Emperor's family for her brother Ferdinand, later Duke Ferdinand, and sister Isabella, and improvements in wealth and industry with their father, Duke Philip, had been ensured by the Parma Prime Minister, Léon Guillaume du Tillot, (Bayonne, 1711 - Paris, 1774), exiled from France as too liberal by King Louis XV of France.



Maria Luisa di Parma was born in Parma. Her parents had been the Duke and Duchess of Parma since 1749 when the the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) gave the Bourbons the Duchy; Austria had previously owned the Duchy. She was the favourite child of her mother, who tried to engage her to the Duke of Bourgogne, heir to the French throne. However, the young Duke died in 1761, so in 1762 Maria Luisa became engaged to the Crown Prince of Spain, Charles, later King Charles IV of Spain, whom she married on 4 September 1765 in La Granja Palace.

As there was no Queen in Spain at that time, Maria Luisa became the first lady of the court from the beginning. Her husband was the son and heir of the widowed Charles III of Spain, previously Duke of Parma and King of Naples and Sicily. His wife, Maria Amalia of Saxony (aunt of the Duke of Burgundy) had died in 1760 having been Queen of Spain for just a year.

The famous Spanish artist Goya painted several of her portraits. She was often described by contemporaries as an ugly (however, pretty in her youth), vicious, and coarse woman who thoroughly dominated the king. She had well-known rivalries with the Duchess of Alba, the Duchess of Osuna and her sister-in-law, Maria Carolina, Queen of Naples. Her beauty was damaged by her many childbirths - among other things, she lost her teeth - but she made many efforts to look pretty and dress elegantly; she had beautiful arms and often worn short-sleeved dresses to expose them.

She was believed to have had many love affairs, and several men are supposed to have been her lovers. Reportedly Manuel de Godoy, her husband's Prime Minister, was her long-time lover. She was unpopular during her reign and has also long had a bad reputation in history, but this was mainly because of her many reputed love affairs. Maria Luisa dominated her husband and was, in turn, dominated by Godoy. In 1792, the Orden de María Luisa was founded on her suggestion, an order which was given only to women.

Maria Luisa never got along her daughter-in-law Princess Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily. One reason was that she was the daughter of Maria Luisa's main rival Maria Carolina. Once, it is believed that Maria Luisa took Maria Antonia down to the place were she would rest after she had died.

After several miscarriages, Maria Antonia died. She was in delicate health, but it was rumored that she was actually poisoned by Maria Luisa.

Due to pressure from Napoleon, her husband abdicated the throne of Spain in 1808, and together with Maria Luisa and Godoy spent the rest of his life outside Spain. When Napoleon's army invaded the country, the Spanish population blamed her for that. Maria Luisa spent some years in France and then in Rome in Italy. Both Maria Luisa and her husband died in Italy in early 1819.


Reportedly, her two youngest children were not sired by her husband, who was her paternal first cousin. According to Lady Holland, a British lady who visited the Spanish court, the features of Maria Luisa's youngest child, Infante Francisco, resembled very closely those of Godoy. However, Lady Holland was the only one who mentioned this, so there may be some exaggeration in her account. Maria Luisa's 14 children were:

  • Charles Clement (Carlos Clemente) (19 September 1771 – 7 March 1774)
  • Charlotte Joaquina (Carlota Joaquina) (25 April 1775 – 7 January 1830), later Queen consort of Portugal
  • Maria Louisa (Maria Luisa) (11 September 1777 – 2 July 1782)
  • Maria Amalia (9 January 1779 – 22 July 1798), married in 1795 to her uncle Infante Antonio Pascual (1755-1817), no issue
  • Charles Dominic (Carlos Domingo) (5 March 1780 – 11 June 1783)
  • Maria Louisa (Maria Luisa) (6 July 1782 – 13 March 1824), later Queen consort of Etruria and Duchess dowager of Bourbon-Parma
  • Charles Francis (Carlos Francisco) (5 September 1783 – 11 November 1784)
  • Philip Francis (Felipe Francisco) (5 September 1783 – 18 October 1784)
  • Ferdinand (Fernando) (14 October 1784 – 29 September 1833), succeeded his father as King of Spain
  • Charles (Carlos), Count of Molina (29 March 1788 – 10 March 1855), later the first Carlist pretender. Issue: 3 males reached adulthood.
  • Maria Isabella (6 June 1789 – 13 September 1848), later Queen consort of Francis I, King of the Two Sicilies
  • Maria Teresa (16 February 1791 – 2 November 1794)
  • Felipe Maria (28 March 1792 – 1 March 1794)
  • Francisco Antonio de Paula, Duke of Cadiz (10 March 1794 – 13 August 1865). Reported by English gossipers as rather looking as someone sired by Prime Minister Manuel Godoy he married his niece, Princess Luisa Carlotta of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, fathering no less than 11 children.



  1. ^ E. Harding, A Chronological Abridgement of the History of Spain (Frogmore Lodge, Windsor, 1809), xxxi
  2. ^ Queen Arms description. Encuadernación Real Biblioteca. Royal Library. Royal Palace of Madrid (In Spanish).


  • CALVO MATURANA, Antonio Juan, María Luisa de Parma : Reina de España, esclava del mito (Granada: Universidad de Granada, 2007).
  • CAMES, Jean, Marie-Louise, roi d’Espagne : 1751-1819 (Paris: Harmattan, 2004).
  • EPTON, Nina, The Spanish mousetrap: Napoleon and the Court of Spain (London: Macdonald, 1973).
  • GONZÁLEZ-DORIA, Fernando, Las reinas de España (Madrid: Trigo, 2003).
  • HILT, Douglas, The troubled trinity: Godoy and the Spanish monarchs (Tuscaloosa; London: University of Alabama Press, 1987).
  • HUGUES, Robert, Goya (London: Harvill Press, 2003).

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 9 December, 1751 - 4 September, 1765 Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Luisa of Parma, Infanta of Spain
  • 4 September, 1765 - 14 December, 1788 Her Royal Highness the Princess of Asturias
  • 14 December, 1788 - 19 March, 1808 Her Majesty the Queen of Spain
  • 19 March, 1808 - 2 January, 1819 Her Majesty Queen Maria Luisa



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