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Maria Amalia of the Two Sicilies


Maria Amalia of the Two Sicilies

Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily
Queen consort of the French
Tenure 9 August 1830 – 24 February 1848
Spouse Louis Philippe I
Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans
Louise, Queen of the Belgians
Marie, Duchess Alexander of Württemberg
Prince Louis, Duke of Nemours
Princess Françoise of Orléans
Clémentine, Princess August of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Prince François, Prince of Joinville
Prince Charles, Duke of Penthièvre
Prince Henri, Duke of Aumale
Prince Antoine, Duke of Montpensier
Full name
Maria Amalia Teresa
House House of Orléans (by marriage)
House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (by birth)
Father Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
Mother Maria Carolina of Austria
Born (1782-04-26)26 April 1782
Caserta Palace, Caserta, Kingdom of Naples
Died 24 March 1866(1866-03-24) (aged 83)
Claremont, Surrey, England
Burial Chapelle royale de Dreux, Dreux, France
Religion Roman Catholic

Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily sometimes known as Maria Amalia of the Two Sicilies (Maria Amalia Teresa; 26 April 1782 – 24 March 1866) was a Princess of Naples and Sicily[1] and later the Queen of the French from 1830–1848, consort to Louis Philippe I.


Early years

Maria Amalia was born on 26 April 1782 at the Caserta Palace just outside of Naples. Her father was King Ferdinand IV & III of Naples and Sicily (later Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies). Her mother was Ferdinand's wife Maria Carolina of Austria, an Austrian archduchess and daughter of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor and Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. Maria Carolina was a sister of the famous French queen Marie Antoinette. Maria Amalia's parents had a total of nine children, of which Maria Amalia was the seventh.

As a young Italian princess, she was educated in the Catholic tradition which she appears to have taken to heart. Her mother, Maria Carolina, like her famous mother before her,[2] Empress Maria Theresa, made an effort to be a part of her daughter's life, though she was cared for daily by her governess, Donna Vicenza Rizzi.[3] As a child, Maria Amalia's mother and her aunt, Marie Antoinette, arranged for her to be engaged to Marie Antoinette's son, Louis Joseph, Dauphin of France, the future king of France, due to which, her mother encouraged her to remember that she would someday be his queen.[4] Tragically, her young fiance died in 1789.[5]

Maria Amelia faced chaos and upheaval from a young age. The death of her aunt Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution and her mother's subsequent dramatic actions emblazoned the event in the young girl's memory.[6]

On the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 the Neapolitan court was not hostile to the movement. When the French monarchy was abolished and her aunt and uncle were executed, her parents joined the First Coalition against France in 1793.

Although peace was made with France in 1796, by 1798 conflict was again fierce. It was decided that the royal family flee to the Kingdom of Sicily. The family left Naples on 21 December 1798 on board the HMS Vanguard, a British Royal navy vessel which was in turn protected by two Neapolitan warships.

It was on board the warship that her younger brother Alberto died of exhaustion on Christmas Day aged 6, 1798.[2] He was buried in Palermo soon after the family arrived there; his funeral was the first official engagement his family attended in Sicliy.[2]

She was forced to leave her home at the age of 18 and spent the next few years jumping from various royal dwellings to escape turbulent times in Italy.

While in flight, she encountered her future husband, Louis Philippe d'Orléans, also forced from his home in France due to political complications of the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon. Louis-Philippe's father, the previous Duke of Orléans, had been guillotined during the French Revolution, though he had advocated it in the early years.[7]

The two were married in 1809, three years after they met in Italy whereupon Marie-Amelie became the Duchess of Orléans. Marlie-Amelie went to France with her new husband in 1814, where she attempted to make a home with her growing family, but with Napoleon's brief return, she was forced to flee yet again. Prior to her husband's rise to power, Maria Amalia and her husband had to cope with a persistent money problem due to the fact that they had no income aside from that which they were given by the English crown.[8]

During the Orléans’ time in France prior to Louis-Philippe's coronation, the family lived in the Palais-Royal which had been the home of Louis Philippe's father, the previous Duke of Orléans. Despite the monetary worries of the family, in total, the house was returned to its original splendor at cost to the couple of eleven million francs.[9]

Tenure as Queen

In 1830, following what is known as the July Revolution, Louis-Philippe became king of France, with Maria Amalia as his consort and queen of the July Monarchy. Maria Amalia did not play an active role in politics and in fact made a concerted effort to remove herself from it.[10] This seems to have been the result of her personality, training, and conception of the role of monarchy. She may also have been aware of the backlash in France against women asserting power over politics where, it was thought, they had undue influence. This became painfully clear with the example of her late aunt, Marie Antoinette. Though she was not a political woman, as a queen known to be a staunch supporter of monarchy in its traditional conception, Maria Amalia was able to escape the suspicion of many of the French who worried that her husband's ideology was not monarchical enough and tended toward middle class, bourgeois, values at the expense of the proper treatment and conduct of royalty.

Exile and death

After her husband was forced from kingship in the extremely turbulent events of the Revolution of 1848, the royal family fled to England. Louis Philippe died two years later. After the death of her husband, Maria Amalia continued to live in England where she attended daily Mass and was well known to Queen Victoria.[11] Queen Maria Amalia died on 24 March 1866.[12] After her death, the dress she had kept since 1848 when her husband had left France was put on her, according to her last wishes.[13]


Name Picture Birth Death Notes
Prince Ferdinand d'Orléans 3 September 1810 13 July 1842 Married Duchess Helene of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, had issue.
Louise d'Orléans 3 April 1812 11 October 1850 Married Leopold I of Belgium, had issue.
Princess Marie d'Orléans 12 April 1813 6 January 1839 Married Duke Alexander of Württemberg, had issue.
Prince Louis d'Orléans 25 October 1814 26 June 1896 Married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, had issue.
Princess Françoise Louise Caroline d'Orléans 26 March 1816 20 May 1818 Died aged two. Baptised on 20 July 1816, with Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor as her godfather.
Princess Clémentine d'Orléans 6 March 1817 16 February 1907 Married Prince August of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, had issue.
Prince François d'Orléans 14 August 1818 16 June 1900 Married Princess Francisca of Brazil, had issue.
Prince Charles d'Orléans 1 January 1820 25 July 1828 Died aged eight.
Prince Henri d'Orléans 16 January 1822 7 May 1897 Married Princess Maria Carolina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, had issue.
Prince Antoine d'Orléans 31 July 1824 4 February 1890 Married Infanta Luisa Fernanda, Duchess of Montpensier, had issue.


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 26 April 1782 – 25 November 1809 Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily
  • 25 Nov 1809 – 9 August 1830 Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Orléans
  • 9 August 1830 – 24 February 1848 Her Majesty The Queen of the French
    • 24 February 1848 – 26 August 1850 Her Majesty The Queen of the French (preteder)
  • 24 February 1848 – 26 August 1850 Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Orléans
  • 26 August 1850 – 24 March 1866 Her Royal Highness The Dowager Duchess of Orléans
    • 26 August 1850 – 24 March 1866 Her Majesty The Dowager Queen of the French

Further reading

  • Howarth, T.E.B. Citizen-King, The Life of Louis-Philippe, King of the French. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1961.
  • Margadant, Jo Burr. "The Duchesse de Berry and Royalist Political Culture in Postrevolutionary France. History Workshop Journal, No. 43, (Spring, 1997).
  • Margadant, Jo Burr. "Gender, Vice, and the Political Imagery in Postrevolutionary France: Reinterpreting the Failure of the July Monarchy 1830–1848." American Historical Review 104.5, (1995).
  • Paris, Isabelle comtesse de. La Reine Marie-Amelie, Grand-mere de l'Europe. Paris: Perrin, 1998.



External links

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Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily
Cadet branch of the House of Bourbon
Born: 26 April 1782 Died: 24 March 1866
French royalty
Title last held by
Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte of France
as Queen of France and of Navarre
Queen consort of the French
9 August 1830–24 February 1848
Title next held by
Eugénie de Montijo
as Empress of the French
Titles in pretence
Title last held by
Marie Thérèse of France
as Queen of France and of Navarre
Queen consort of the French
24 February 1848–26 August 1850
Title next held by
Marie Isabelle d'Orléans
Preceded by
Marie Thérèse of Austria-Este
as consort of the disputed king, also titular queen until 1883
Title next held by
Marie Beatrice of Austria-Este
as Queen of France and Navarre
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