Robert I, Duke of Parma

Robert I, Duke of Parma
Robert I
Duke of Parma
Reign 27 March 1854 - 9 June 1859
Predecessor Charles III
Successor Duchy disbanded
Regent Louise Marie Thérèse d'Artois
Spouse Maria Pia of the Two Sicilies
Maria Antonia of Portugal
Marie Louise, Princess of Bulgaria
Henry, Duke of Parma
Joseph, Duke of Parma
Elias, Duke of Parma
Beatrice, Countess Lucchesi-Palli
Prince Sixtus
Prince Xavier
Zita, Empress of Austria
Felix, Prince of Luxembourg
Prince René
Father Charles III, Duke of Parma
Mother Louise Marie Thérèse d'Artois
Born 9 July 1848(1848-07-09)
Died 16 November 1907(1907-11-16) (aged 59)
Florence, Italy

Robert I (Italian: Roberto I Carlo Luigi Maria di Borbone, Duca di Parma e Piacenza; 9 July 1848 – 16 November 1907) was the last sovereign Duke of Parma and Piacenza from 1854 to 1859, when the duchy was annexed to Sardinia-Piedmont during the unification of Italy. He was a member of the House of Bourbon, descended from Philip, Duke of Parma the third son of King Philip V of Spain and Elizabeth Farnese.



Born in Florence, Robert was the son of Charles III, Duke of Parma and Louise Marie Thérèse d'Artois, daughter of Charles Ferdinand, duc de Berry and granddaughter of King Charles X of France. He succeeded his father to the ducal throne in 1854 upon the latter's assassination, when he was only six, while his mother stood as regent.

When Duke Robert was eleven years old he was deposed, as Piedmontese troops annexed other Italian states, ultimately to form the Kingdom of Italy.

Despite losing his throne, Robert and his family enjoyed considerable wealth, traveling in a private train of more than a dozen cars from his castles at Schwarzau am Steinfeld near Vienna, to Villa Pianore in northwest Italy, and the magnificent château de Chambord in France.

Less than four months after Duke Robert's death in 1907 the Grand Marshal of the Austrian court declared six of the children of his first marriage legally incompetent (they were mentally retarded), at the behest of his widow, Duchess Maria Antonia. Nonetheless, Robert's primary heir was Elias of Parma (1880–1959), the youngest son of his first marriage and the only one of his sons by that marriage to beget children of his own. Elias also became the legal guardian of his six elder siblings. Although the eldest half-brothers, Sixte and Xavier, eventually sued their half-brother Elias for trying to obtain a greater share of the ducal fortune, they lost in the French courts, leaving the issue of Robert's second marriage with modest prospects. Some of his younger sons served in the Austrian armed forces.


In 1869, in exile, he married Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (1849–1882), daughter of king Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies. She was his half first cousin once removed, as her father (Ferdinand II) and Robert's maternal grandmother (Princess Caroline Ferdinande of Bourbon-Two Sicilies) were half-siblings, both children of Francis I of the Two Sicilies. Maria Pia belonged to the deposed Royal Family of the Two Sicilies, and was thus a Bourbon, like her husband. She bore him 12 children, before dying in childbirth:

Name Birth Death Notes
Princess Marie Louise 17 January 1870 31 January 1899(1899-01-31) (aged 29) Married Ferdinand I of Bulgaria and had issue.
Prince Ferdinando 5 March 1871 14 April 1871(1871-04-14) (aged 0) Died in infancy.
Princess Luisa Maria 24 March 1872 22 June 1943(1943-06-22) (aged 71) She had learning difficulties.
Prince Henry (Principe Enrico) 13 June 1873 16 November 1939(1939-11-16) (aged 66) Titular pretender of Parma 1907-1939. He had learning difficulties, and from 1907 (his father's death), his brother Elias took up the role as head of the family, although Enrico continued to be considered the nominal pretender to the ducal throne. He held the title till his death.
Princess Maria Immacolata 21 July 1874 16 May 1914(1914-05-16) (aged 39) She had learning difficulties.
Prince Joseph (Principe Giuseppe) 30 June 1875 7 January 1950(1950-01-07) (aged 74) Titular pretender to the throne of Parma 1939-1950. He also had learning difficulties, and his brother Elias continued the role as head of the family as he had done with their brother Enrico.
Princess Maria Teresa 15 October 1876 25 January 1959(1959-01-25) (aged 82) She had learning difficulties.
Princess Maria Pia 9 October 1877 29 January 1915(1915-01-29) (aged 37) She had learning difficulties.
Princess Beatrice 9 January 1879 11 March 1946(1946-03-11) (aged 67) Married Pietro Lucchesi-Palli (a grandson of Princess Caroline of Naples and Sicily and her second husband) and had issue.
Prince Elias (Principe Elia) 23 July 1880 27 June 1959(1959-06-27) (aged 78) Head of the Ducal Family of Parma (1950–1959). Married Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria and had issue.
Princess Maria Anastasia 25 August 1881 7 September 1881(1881-09-07) (aged 0) Died in infancy.
Prince Augusto (or Princess Augusta)[1][2][3] 22 September 1882 22 September 1882(1882-09-22) (aged 0) (stillborn). Maria Pia died giving birth to this child.

It is not clear whether the last two children had learning difficulties also, like six older siblings.

After his first wife's death in childbirth, he remarried in 1884 to Maria Antonia of Portugal, daughter of the deposed Miguel I of Portugal and Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. Maria Antonia was his second cousin once removed, as her paternal grandmother (Charlotte of Spain) and Robert's paternal great-grandmother (Maria Luisa of Spain) were siblings, both children of Charles IV of Spain and Maria Luisa of Parma. She bore him another 12 children:

Name Birth Death Notes
Princess Maria della Neve Adelaide 5 August 1885 6 February 1959(1959-02-06) (aged 73) A Benedictine nun at St. Cecilia's Abbey, Solesmes.
Prince Sixtus (Sisto, "Sixte") 1 August 1886 14 March 1934(1934-03-14) (aged 47) Married Hedwige de La Rochefoucauld and had a daughter, Isabelle.
Prince Xavier of Parma 25 May 1889 7 May 1977(1977-05-07) (aged 87) Married Madeleine de Bourbon-Busset and had issue. Head of the Ducal Family of Parma (1974–77). Carlist pretender to the throne of Spain.
Princess Francesca 22 April 1890 7 October 1978(1978-10-07) (aged 88) A Benedictine nun at St. Cecilia's Abbey, Solesmes.
Princess Zita 9 May 1892 14 March 1989(1989-03-14) (aged 96) Married Emperor Karl of Austria.
Prince Felix 28 October 1893 8 April 1970(1970-04-08) (aged 76) Married Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, his first cousin (their mothers were sisters).
Prince René 17 October 1894 30 July 1962(1962-07-30) (aged 67) Married Princess Margrethe of Denmark and has issue.
Princess Maria Antonia 7 November 1895 19 October 1977(1977-10-19) (aged 81) A Benedictine nun at St. Cecilia's Abbey, Solesmes.
Princess Isabella 14 June 1898 28 July 1984(1984-07-28) (aged 86) Died unmarried.
Prince Louis (Luigi) 5 December 1899 4 December 1967(1967-12-04) (aged 67) Married Princess Maria Francesca of Savoy and had issue.
Princess Henrietta Anna 8 March 1903 13 June 1987(1987-06-13) (aged 84) Died unmarried, was deaf.
Prince Thomas (Gaetano was used) 11 June 1905 9 March 1958(1958-03-09) (aged 52) Married Princess Margarete of Thurn and Taxis. They had a daughter, Diana and later divorced.



  1. ^ Sources differ on the child's sex
  2. ^ Willis, Daniel, The Descendants of Louis XIII, Clearfield Co., Inc., Baltimore, Maryland, 1999, ISBN 0-8063-4942-5, p. 342.
  3. ^ Beate Hammond: "Maria Theresia, Elisabeth, Zita; Jugendjahre großer Kaiserinnen", Ueberreuter 2002

See also

Robert I, Duke of Parma
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 9 July 1848 Died: 16 November 1907
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charles III
Duke of Parma
Succeeded by
Annexation by the
Kingdom of Italy
Titles in pretence
New title — TITULAR —
Duke of Parma
9 June 1859-16 November 1907
Reason for succession failure:
Annexed by Kingdom of Italy
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Charles II
(Louis II of Etruria)
King of Etruria
16 April 1883-16 November 1907

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