Princess Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily


Princess Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily
Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily
Princess of Asturias
Tenure 6 October 1802 - 21 May 1806
Spouse Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias
Full name
Maria Antonietta Teresa Amelia Giovanna Battista Francesca Gaetana Maria Anna Lucia
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(1806-05-21) (aged 21)
Royal Palace of Aranjuez, Aranjuez, Spain
Burial Royal Monastery of El Escorial, Spain
Religion Roman Catholic

Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily (14 December 1784 – 21 May 1806), was a Spanish crown princess. She was the youngest daughter of Ferdinand, King of Naples and Sicily, and Maria Carolina of Austria. She was named after her mother's favorite sister, Marie Antoinette, Queen of France.

Contents

Biography

She was known as Maria Antonia and was born at the Caserta Palace in Caserta, Italy. She was an 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."

Marriage

Princess Maria Antonietta

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 one of 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."

Queen Maria Luisa, who feared her daughter-in-law wanted to poison her, began to subject her books and clothes to scrutiny. In spite of all of this, Maria Antonia managed to gain ascendancy over her dull husband and created an opposition party against Queen Maria Luisa and her favorite Manuel Godoy.

Death

Her reign was short however, as she was claimed by tuberculosis on 21 May 1806 at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez in Aranjuez, Spain.

It was rumoured that Maria Antonia had been poisoned by Maria Luisa and Godoy, although there is no actual evidence. However, 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

Titles and styles

  • 14 December 1784 - 6 October 1802 Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily
  • 6 October 1802 - 21 May 1806 Her Royal Highness 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

External links

Media related to Princess Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily at Wikimedia Commons


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