Infanta Maria Teresa Rafaela of Spain

Infanta Maria Teresa Rafaela of Spain
Marie Thérèse Raphaëlle d'Espagne
The future Dauphine by Louis Michel van Loo
Dauphine of France
Tenure 23 February 1745 – 22 July 1746
Spouse Louis, Dauphin of France
Marie Thérèse, Madame Royale
Full name
María Teresa Antonia Rafaela
House House of Bourbon
Father Philip V of Spain
Mother Elisabeth Farnese
Born 11 June 1726
Royal Alcazar of Madrid, Spain
Died 22 July 1746 (aged 20)
Palace of Versailles, France
Burial 6 August 1746
Basilica of St Denis, France

Maria Teresa Rafaela of Spain (María Teresa Antonia Rafaela; 11 June 1726 – 22 July 1746, Infanta of Spain, wife of Louis, Dauphin of France (1729–1765), son of Louis XV of France. She died in childbirth aged 20, leaving no surviving descendants.



Born at the Royal Alcazar of Madrid in Spain, she was the second daughter of Philip V of Spain and Elisabeth Farnese. Prior to her marriage, the Spanish and French royal courts had been on poor terms: the engagement between Louis XV and Infanta Mariana Victoria of Spain, elder sister of Maria Teresa, had been broken off in 1725. Louis XV had instead married Marie Leszczyńska and by her fathered the Dauphin, Louis. The marriage between María Teresa Rafaela and the Dauphin was announced in August 1739 after the marriage of Princess Louise Élisabeth of France (sister of the dauphin) and Infante Felipe of Spain (brother of María Teresa Rafaela) the same month. Both marriages were intended to improve relations between the cousin courts of France and Spain. Under the influence of her mother Elisabeth Farnese, María Teresa Rafaela was not to go to France till she reached a more mature age.[1]

Dauphine of France

She was married to the dauphin by proxy in Madrid on 18 December 1744, departed Spain in January 1745, and arrived at Versailles on 21 February 1745. The official marriage took place at the Palace of Versailles on 23 February 1745 and was performed by the Cardinal de Rohan.[2] On 24 February a ball, named the "Ball of the Clipped Yew", was held in honour of the newlyweds and attended by the royal family at the same time that Madame de Pompadour arrived at Versailles. The marriage did not get off on a good start as it was not consummated on the first night,[citation needed]. Despite this embarrassment, she had a good relationship with the king and queen, and her husband soon fell in love with her.[citation needed]

In France she was known as Marie Thérèse Raphaëlle d'Espagne or de Bourbon. As the Dauphine of France, she was the highest ranking female in the kingdom after Queen Marie. She was the first dauphine since 1712 when Marie Adélaïde of Savoy died. She was styled Madame la Dauphine at court.

Portrait of Marie Thérèse Raphaëlle in circa 1745 by Daniel Klein the younger

Described as beautiful, dignified, pious and well educated, negative remarks were made because of her red hair.[citation needed] Her shy nature further isolated her from the court and she was openly hostile to the king for his affair with Madame de Pompadour.[citation needed] The Dauphin and Dauphine disliked the royal mistress for the way she drew attention away from Queen Marie Leszczyńska.[3] Finally the marriage was consummated in September 1745 thus ending court gossip.[citation needed] The couple became very close and devoted to each other spending most of their time together. On 19 July 1746, Marie Thérèse Raphaëlle gave birth to a daughter before dying herself on 22 July at Versailles. Louis XV had had to physically drag his son away from the death bed of his wife.[4] The child was baptised Marie Thérèse and was styled as Madame Royale but died at Versailles in 1748.[5]

Marie Thérèse Raphaëlle was buried at the Basilica of St Denis, the French royal necropolis outside Paris on 6 August 1746. At her death, her half brother, Ferdinand VI of Spain, proposed that the Dauphin marry her sister the Infanta Maria Antonia Fernanda but Louis XV refused.[6] The following year, her husband married again to Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony a daughter of Augustus III of Poland and Maria Josepha of Austria by whom he had some seven children, including the future Louis XVI. When the Dauphin died in 1765, he requested that his heart be placed beside the grave of Marie Thérèse Raphaëlle.[citation needed]


  1. Princess Marie Thérèse of France.


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 11 June 1726 – 23 February 1745 Her Royal Highness the Infanta Doña María Teresa Rafaela of Spain
  • 23 February 1745 – 22 July 1746 Her Royal Highness the Dauphine of France


  1. ^ Armstrong, p 343
  2. ^ van de Pas, Leo. "Infanta María Teresa Rafaela of Spain". Genealogics .org. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  3. ^ Mitford, p 45
  4. ^ Mitford, p 80
  5. ^ Emmanuel, p 101
  6. ^ Emmanuel, p 124


  • Armstrong. Edward: Elisabeth Farnese: The Termagant of Spain, London, 1892
  • Broglie. Emmanuel de: Le fils de Louis XV, Louis, dauphin de France, 1729-1765, E. Plon, 1877
  • Mitford. Nancy: Madame de Pompadour, Sphere, London, 1964

External links

Media related to Maria Teresa Rafaela of Spain at Wikimedia Commons

See also

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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