Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma: Wikis


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Marie Louise
Marie-Louise, Duchess of Parma
Empress consort of the French
Queen of Italy
Tenure 11 March 1810 – 6 April 1814
Queen consort of Italy
Tenure 11 March 1810 – 6 April 1814
Duchess of Parma
Tenure 11 April 1814 – 17 December 1847
Spouse Napoleon I of France
Adam Albert von Neipperg
Charles Réné de Bombelles
Napoleon II of France
Wilhelm Albrecht
Full name
Maria Ludovica Leopoldina Francisca Theresa Josepha Lucia
House House of Bonaparte
House of Habsburg
Father Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Maria Teresa of Naples and Sicily
Born 12 December 1791(1791-12-12)
Hofburg, Vienna, Austria, HRE
Died 17 December 1847 (aged 56)
Parma, Italy
Burial Imperial Crypt, Vienna

Marie Louise of Austria (German: Maria Ludovica Leopoldina Francisca Theresa Josepha Lucia von Österreich 12 December 1791 – 17 December 1847) was the second wife of Emperor Napoleon I of France. During her first marriage, she was Empress of the French. In 1817, she became Duchess of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla.

She was the mother of Napoleon II, King of Rome.


Early life

Marie Louise (who was given the Latin baptismal name of Maria Ludovica Leopoldina Francisca Theresa Josepha Lucia) was born in at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, the daughter of Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor (Francis I of Austria) and of his second wife, Maria Teresa of Naples and Sicily. Marie Louise was also a double great-granddaughter of Maria Theresa of Austria, thus a double grandniece of Marie Antoinette, as she was a paternal granddaughter of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor (Maria Theresa's son, Marie Antoinette's brother) and a maternal granddaughter of Maria Carolina of Austria, Queen of Naples and Sicily (Maria Theresa's daughter, Marie Antoinette's sister).

To make her more marriageable, her parents had her tutored in many languages. In addition to her native German, she became fluent in English, French, Italian, Latin, and Spanish [1].

Empress of the French

Marie Louise, Empress of the French (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)

On 11 March 1810, the 18-year-old archduchess married French Emperor Napoléon I by proxy, with a subsequent ceremony taking place in the chapel of the Louvre on 1 April 1810.

The bride's father intended the marriage to strengthen links between the Austrian Empire and the First French Empire. Napoleon sought the validation and legitimation of his Empire by marrying a member of the House of Habsburg, one of the oldest ruling families of Europe. He also hoped to cement his position by fathering a legitimate heir. Napoleon had previously tried to marry Grand Duchess Anna of the House of Romanov, younger sister of Tsar Alexander I of Russia, but his proposal had been refused.

Georges Rouget, Marriage of Napoleon and Marie-Louise (1811)

When Marie Louise moved to France, she brought with her a number of Austrian recipes. She developed a recipe for roquefort-stuffed chopped beef that later became quite popular in restaurants.

On 20 March 1811, Marie Louise (as she was known in France) gave birth to a son, Napoléon François Joseph Charles Bonaparte, styled King of Rome and later Duke of Reichstadt. Marie Louise acted as Regent of France from April to December 1812 during the Russian campaign and again from April 1813 to January 1814 during her husband's absence in the German campaign. After Napoléon was forced to abdicate his throne in April 1814, he was exiled to the island of Elba. Marie Louise returned to Austria, never to see her husband again.

10 soldi coin of Parma, 1815, bearing the head of Marie Louise on the obverse, and her "ML" monogram on the reverse.

Napoléon claimed at one point to prefer Marie Louise to his first wife Joséphine de Beauharnais; while he had loved Joséphine, he claimed, he had not respected her, whereas with Marie Louise, there was "Never a lie, never a debt" — presumably a reference to Josephine's rumoured extramarital affairs and reputation as a spendthrift [2].

Duchess of Parma

Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma with her son Napoleon II

After Napoleon's abdication in April 1814, Marie Louise and her son fled Paris to Blois, and then to Vienna. The Treaty of Fontainebleau of 11 April 1814 allowed her to retain her imperial rank and style (Her Imperial Majesty The Empress Marie Louise) and made her the ruler of the duchies of Parma, Piacenza, and Guastalla, with her son as heir. However, in 1815, the Congress of Vienna revised this arrangement and made her Duchess of Parma for her life only, with the details of who would become Duke of Parma after her death unspecified. In 1817, a treaty was signed which would leave the duchies to a member of the House of Bourbon. In 1844 it was determined that the duchy of Guastalla would be inherited by the Duke of Modena.

In 1821, four months after Napoleon's death, Marie Louise married morganatically her lover, Count Adam Albert von Neipperg (1775-1829). The couple had three children, the first two of whom were born before Marie Louise and Neipperg were married:

  • Albertine, Countess of Montenuovo (1817-1867), married Luigi Sanvitale, Count of Fontanellato)
  • Wilhelm Albrecht, Count of Montenuovo, later created Prince of Montenuovo (1819-1895), married Countess Juliana Batthyány von Németújvár)
  • Mathilde, Countess of Montenuovo (born 1822)
The Duke of Reichstadt was the son of Marie Louise and Napoleon I. He was at one time in the line of succession to become the Duke of Parma and, prior to that, was known as Napoleon II.

On 17 February 1834 Marie Louise married, again morganatically, her grand chamberlain, Charles-René, Count of Bombelles (1785-1856).[3]

By most accounts, Marie Louise was an able and intelligent ruler of Parma, introducing various reforms and working hard to benefit her new subjects. She died in 1847 at Parma.

Titles, styles, honours and arms


Title and styles

  • 12 December 1791 – 11 August 1804 Her Royal Highness Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, Princess of Hungary and Bohemia
  • 11 August 1804 – 2 April 1810 Her Imperial and Royal Highness Princess Imperial & Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, Princess Royal of Hungary and Bohemia
  • 2 April 1810 – 6 April 1814 Her Imperial Majesty The Empress of the French, Queen of Italy
    • 2 April 1810 – 22 June 1815 Her Imperial Majesty the Queen of Italy
  • 22 June 1815 – 17 December 1847 Her Imperial Majesty The Empress Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla (1815-1847)

Marie Louise also held, by marriage, the title Countess of Neipperg (1821-1834) and later Countess of Bombelles (1834-1847). She retained her imperial rank due to the 1814 Treaty of Paris as well as her titles Princess Imperial and Archduchess of Austria, Princess Royal of Hungary and Bohemia.



  1. ^ Schom, Alan. Napoleon Bonaparte. p. 548
  2. ^ Markham, Felix, Napoleon, p.245
  3. ^ The

Further reading

  • Potocka-Wąsowiczowa, Anna z Tyszkiewiczów. Wspomnienia naocznego świadka. Warszawa: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1965.

External links

Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma
Cadet branch of the House of Lorraine
Born: 12 December 1791 Died: 17 December 1847
French royalty
Preceded by
Joséphine de Beauharnais
Empress consort of the French
11 March 1810–22 June 1815
Succeeded by
Marie Thérèse of France
as Queen of France and Navarre
Regnal titles
Part of the First French Empire Duchess of Parma, Piacenza, and Guastalla
Succeeded by
Charles II

See also


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