Maria Carolina (1752–1814)
Maria Carolina (1752–1814)
Maria Carolina (1752–1814)
Queen-consort of Ferdinand I, king of Naples and Sicily, who exercised the real power behind the throne . Name variations: Maria of Austria; Marie Caroline; Mary Carolina or Mary Caroline; Maria Karolina. Born on August 13, 1752, in Vienna, Austria; died on September 7 or 8, 1814, in Vienna, Austria; 13th of 16 children of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria (1717–1780, queen of Hungary, Bohemia and the Netherlands, archduchess of Austria) and Francis I, Holy Roman emperor (r. 1745–1765), also known as Francis Stephen of Lorraine, grand duke of Tuscany; sister of Marie Antoinette (1755–1793); married Ferdinand IV (1751–1825), king of Naples (r. 1759–1806, 1815–1825), later known as Ferdinand I, king of the Two Sicilies (r. 1816–1825), on May 13, 1768; children: Maria Teresa of Naples (1772–1807); Louisa Amelia (1773–1802), grand duchess of Tuscany; Anna (1775–1780); Carlo or Charles (1776–1778); Gennaro (d. 1789); Carlo or Charles (d.1789); Leopold; Carlo Alberto or Charles Albert (d.1798); Francis I (1777–1830), king of the Two Sicilies (r. 1825–1830); Maria Amalia (1782–1866), later queen of France (r. 1830–1848); Christine of Bourbon (1779–1849); Maria Antonia of Naples (1784–1806); and six others who did not survive to adulthood.
Crowned queen of Naples and Sicily on her marriage to Ferdinand I (1768); dominated her passive, uneducated husband; within a few years of marriage, was ruling the country in Ferdinand's name; first 20 years of her joint reign were extremely successful and marked by several efforts to reform and modernize Naples; last 20 years were clouded by the results of the French Revolution, including the execution of her sister Marie Antoinette, the temporary occupation of Naples by Jacobin forces, and finally the annexation of Naples as part of the Napoleonic empire; died at the very end of the Napoleonic wars, just before Naples was restored to her husband by the Congress of Vienna.
Maria Carolina was born in 1752, the 13th of 16 children of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and Francis Stephen, duke of Lorraine (Holy Roman Emperor Francis I). Trained from infancy to become part of Europe's ruling aristocracy, all of Maria Theresa's children were carefully tutored in the arts of music, drawing, history, geography, and Latin. Maria Theresa zealously oversaw not only her children's education, but also their religious training (she was a devoted Catholic who attended masses every morning and evening), their recreation, their behavior, and their dress. She was instantly suspicious of any tendency to idleness or carelessness in her children, determined that they would grow up to become wise, thoughtful, diligent, and intensely religious rulers.
Maria Theresa was determined to secure for her children diplomatically advantageous marriages. She had decided early on that one of her daughters would marry the king of Naples, Ferdinand I. Because he was too young to be a good match for her older daughters, Maria Theresa decided that her daughter Johanna , then only 12 years old, would be betrothed to Ferdinand. When Johanna died of smallpox in December 1762, Maria Theresa still refused to give up the idea of the Naples match, so she simply substituted her daughter Josepha , who was one year younger. Josepha objected to the match, but Maria Theresa put her under the care of a governess with the intention of sending her to Naples when she reached the age of 16. To the Countess von Lerchenfeld , whom she had chosen to educate Josepha for her future role, she admitted, "My mother's heart is very uneasy. I look upon poor Josepha as a sacrifice to politics. If only she fulfills her duty to God and her husband and attends to the welfare of her soul, I shall be content even if she is not happy." When the time arrived for Josepha to set off to Italy in 1767, Maria Theresa insisted that she visit the family vault at the Capuchin church in Vienna to pay respects to her father, the Emperor Francis, who had died two years previously. Josepha was horrified, and begged to be spared from such a gloomy and melancholy task, but Maria Theresa was obstinate. Josepha burst into tears and shuddered throughout the visit to the vault, in which not only her father but her sister-in-law Maria Josepha of Bavaria , who had died of smallpox four months earlier, lay. Within hours of returning to the palace, Josepha began to complain of illness, and she soon showed signs of having contracted smallpox herself. On October 15, 1767, the day on which she was to have begun her journey to Italy, Josepha died.
Undaunted in her determination to elevate one of her daughters to the throne of Naples, Maria Theresa wrote to Charles III of Spain, Ferdinand I's father, who had given up the throne of Naples in order to inherit the throne of Spain from his brother when Ferdinand was but a child. She proposed that Charles choose between two of her daughters: Maria Amalia , who was five years older than Ferdinand, and Maria Carolina, who was but eighteen months younger than Josepha. Ferdinand begged his father not to saddle him with a wife five years older than himself, and the betrothal, therefore, fell upon Maria Carolina. Maria Carolina cried and entreated her mother not to force her into this match; in light of her sisters' deaths, she proclaimed the Neapolitan match must be cursed. But Maria Theresa would not be moved. Maria Carolina was placed under the tutelage of Josepha's teacher, the Countess von Lerchenfeld, who was given all of nine months to prepare the 15-year-old to become a queen. Maria Theresa had confidence that Maria Carolina could succeed in her future role. Maria Carolina resembled her mother remarkably in physical appearance, and her mother considered Maria Carolina, like herself, to be a born ruler.
As Maria Carolina was preparing for her journey to Italy, her mother gave her specific advice on how to prosper in her new role. Even if Maria Carolina could not bring herself to love her new husband, Maria Theresa warned, she should be careful to make Ferdinand think that she was enchanted by him, so that she could eventually bend him to her will, since Ferdinand was not considered competent to rule on his own. After a proxy marriage on April 17, 1768, Maria Carolina set out on the long journey to Italy. When she arrived, she described her new husband as "very ugly," and complained that "he thinks he is handsome and clever, and he is neither one nor the other." She was dreadfully homesick when first left on her own in a foreign land, depressed and unhappy, but remembering the advice of her mother, she promised Frau von Lerchenfeld in a letter that she was doing all in her power to hide her feelings from Ferdinand: "I don't love him except from duty," she admitted, "but I do all I can to make him think I have a passion for him." At first she was frustrated by Ferdinand's obstinacy in his old habits—on the morning of their wedding he arose early to go out shooting—but gradually Maria Carolina was able to inspire his interest, his respect, and finally his utter devotion. Never interested in the grueling work of administration, Ferdinand eventually entrusted all major decisions to Maria Carolina: "My wife," he bragged in later years, "knows everything."
Maria Carolina's rise in her husband's esteem and confidence earned her her first political enemy in Naples. Bernardo Tanucci had been appointed as regent for young Ferdinand I in 1759 by Charles III. As regent, Tanucci exercised ruling authority in Naples and Sicily, subject only to the oversight of Charles, to whom he sent frequent reports. Tanucci sorely neglected Ferdinand's education and training for leadership during his youth in favor of outdoor activities, in part because of Charles' fear that a contemplative life would catapult Ferdinand into the hereditary insanity which had been exhibited by Charles' brothers as well as by his oldest son. Tanucci had taken Charles' prescription a bit too far, and as a result Ferdinand was well known to be one of the most profoundly ignorant sovereigns in Europe. Maria Carolina's arrival and her
growing political power were a threat to Tanucci's position as the power behind the throne.
Even as Maria Theresa's children dispersed throughout Europe—her daughter Maria Amalia married the duke of Parma in 1769, and Marie Antoinette married the dauphin of France, later Louis XVI, in 1770—she continued to maintain contact with them by sending correspondence three times a week. Maria Carolina was the most attentive of all of the younger daughters to their mother's advice, and Maria Theresa gave her detailed instructions for influencing Ferdinand and governing his kingdom, which Maria Carolina followed to the best of her abilities. As part of the marriage contract, Maria Theresa had wisely insisted upon a clause giving Maria Carolina the right to sit and vote in the State Council as soon as she had borne an heir for the kingdom. Although for the first few years Maria Carolina and Ferdinand had no children, a matter of some consternation for both of them, their first child, daughter Maria Teresa of Naples , was born in 1772, followed in quick succession by another daughter, Louisa Amelia , and finally a son, Carlo, in 1776 (he would die in 1778). In all, Maria Carolina gave birth to 18 children between 1772 and 1794. As was common during the 18th century, a number did not live to adulthood.
Of all my daughters, she is the one who resembles me the most.
—Maria Theresa of Austria
The 18th century was the great age of the Enlightenment, and Maria Carolina could not fail to be affected by the spirit of reform that was sweeping through Europe. Her own brother, Joseph II, was deeply moved by reforming zeal, and was already laying the groundwork in the Holy Roman Empire for the abolition of serfdom, the reduction of the influence of the Roman Catholic Church over secular policy, and the spread of education. Soon after her arrival in Naples, Maria Carolina had been drawn to the intellectual circles where professors, philosophers and civil servants reveled in the same utopian dreams of government based on reason. From the beginning of their reign, Ferdinand and Maria Carolina showed great concern for the plight of the poor, and their projects of public charity brought them great popularity among the lazzaroni, or common people.
During the eight years of his personal reign, Tanucci had followed an anti-clerical policy, even banishing the Jesuit order from Naples and confiscating their land, but he was not, in the Enlightenment sense, an avid reformer. He did nothing to ease the feudal burdens on the common people, and jealously guarded the rights and privileges of the landed aristocracy. He had no interest in building schools, hospitals, or orphanages. In comparison with England, France, and even Maria Carolina's native Austria, Naples was hopelessly feudal and backward. Maria Carolina's great chance to change the direction of public policy came with the birth of her first son, the prince royal, in 1776. When she formally requested the privilege of sitting on the Council which had been promised as part of her marriage agreement, Tanucci insisted to Ferdinand that she must be blocked. Ferdinand, more in love with his wife than ever now that she had given him an heir, refused to break his promise to her, and Tanucci's fate was sealed. By 1777, he had been driven from the Council, and he retired to the country, where he died six years later. Maria Carolina, now 25, quickly rose to become the practical head of state.
Under Ferdinand and Maria Carolina's rule, Naples and Sicily broke off their previous connection with the Bourbons, severing relations with Spain and even giving preference to England over France. Maria Carolina dreamed of creating a large navy, and to that end in 1779 she appointed Sir John Acton, a French-born adventurer and son of an English Jacobite, to lead the admiralty. Acton would rise in Maria Carolina's favor, in part due to her father-in-law Charles III's objections to him, to the extent that he would become her political favorite and minister of war. Acton's rapid ascent in the Neapolitan government gave rise to rumors that he was Maria Carolina's lover. These whisperings Maria Carolina vehemently denied, and though Ferdinand teased her about Acton on more than one occasion, the relationship between husband and wife did not seem adversely affected by Acton's position. Under Acton's leadership, the Neapolitan navy became the envy of all Italy, a force able to contend with the major powers of Europe and to discourage threatening exhibitions by Spain.
The 20 years following Maria Carolina's marriage were undoubtedly the most successful and carefree of her life. Ferdinand was willing to continue his outdoor pursuits with his old abandon while Maria Carolina took on the day-today burden of governing the nation. Like Maria Carolina, Ferdinand was concerned with the plight of the poor in Naples, and he supported Maria Carolina's efforts to reform some of the most oppressive feudal laws that worked against the interests of the poor. While open handed with government projects designed to relieve the physical hardship of the common classes, Maria Carolina had no interest in giving the populace greater political rights. Contrary to many of the revolutionary ideas in vogue during the Enlightenment, Maria Carolina considered the people largely unable to govern themselves, and, trained from birth to be a ruler, she viewed the relationship between ruler and subject as similar to that of a parent and children. Although the Habsburgs were very "enlightened" about certain social issues, politically they were all confirmed absolutists. Maria Carolina was no exception.
The outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 shook Maria Carolina's ideals of enlightenment to their very foundations. Within a year of the storming of the Bastille, aristocratic families began fleeing from France in droves, many to settle in the various provinces of Italy until the revolutionary fervor had subsided. With growing horror, Maria Carolina began to see the violent potential of many of the seemingly innocent reform doctrines which she had encouraged and sheltered within her own country. Desperately, she tried to convince her younger sister Marie Antoinette to escape from France with her children, but King Louis XVI, naively convinced of the goodwill of his subjects, vacillated until it was too late, and after an abortive escape attempt in 1792, the entire French royal family was imprisoned. In January 1793, Louis XVI was convicted of treason and sent to the guillotine. Marie Antoinette fell to the same fate the following year.
The barbaric execution of her beloved sister changed Maria Carolina forever. Her zest for reform gave way to a grim determination to survive. Wrote one historian: "Her chief endeavours were to protect herself, her kingdom, and those dear to her from the horrors which threatened them, and, so far as she could, to avenge the sufferings of her friends and punish the wretches who had inflicted them." The queen quickly terminated the protection and support of reformers and intellectuals in Naples. The tendency towards secular education and away from the direct authority of the church, which had begun under Charles III, was halted, and Maria Carolina allowed Neapolitan bishops wide latitude. Government leaders denounced the French Revolution at every turn, and Maria Carolina offered succor to the increasing number of émigrés fleeing from revolutionary France, many of whom were granted pensions.
Terrified that the intellectual movements which she had previously tolerated and even encouraged in Naples were destined to create a similar revolution in her own country, Maria Carolina clamped down on universities, the church, and municipal governments, putting conservative royalists in positions of power and stifling political reformers. She established a circle of spies, who reported to her personally, to root out revolutionaries in coffee houses and salons. She developed a close friendship with Emma Hamilton , the wife of the English ambassador Sir William Hamilton. Through Emma, she forwarded secret correspondence to the English government to aid them in opposing the French forces, which had withstood the opposition of the Austrians, Prussians and English and were poised for expansion—Maria Carolina realized that the divided kingdoms of Italy would be an all-too-tempting target for Republican France.
By the late 1790s, Maria Carolina was tracking with growing interest the rising star of the French general Napoleon Bonaparte. Alarmed by Napoleon's battlefield successes and his bold strategies, she began to offer information and aid to the English admiral Horatio Nelson against Napoleon. In fact, it was the surreptitious offer of the port of Syracuse to Nelson to use for refurbishing and supplying his ships that enabled him to destroy the French fleet at Aboukir Bay, leaving Napoleon's troops stranded in Egypt, in 1798.
The interminable struggle that Maria Carolina and Ferdinand carried on with revolutionary France drained the royal coffers. Rising taxes and repressive political measures whittled away at Maria Carolina's popularity. Murmuring by her own people, combined with French propaganda which accused her of public and personal immorality, gradually changed the public view of the monarchy from one of benevolent absolutism to one of repression and despotism. The widespread rejoicing of Nelson's victory on the Nile was short lived. By the end of 1798, French troops had broken through the Neapolitan defenses and were advancing on the capital. Terrified by the outbreak of rioting in the streets, especially in light of the recent example of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, who had hesitated to leave Paris until it was too late, Ferdinand and Maria Carolina fled Naples in December 1798 to take refuge in Palermo. In the perilous journey to Sicily, the youngest prince, Carlo Alberto, only seven, died of seasickness. Naples became a bloody battleground between the pro-French Jacobin forces and the loyal but savage lazzaroni. To ensure that the Neapolitan navy would not be captured by the advancing French, the ships which had been Maria Carolina's great pride were set on fire. Within two weeks, the French army occupied Naples, rechristening it "The Parthenopian Republic."
The humiliating defeat of the Neapolitan army put a strain on Maria Carolina's relationship with Ferdinand, shaking his faith in his wife's leadership. He announced, after 30 years of neglect, his intention to take over the reins of government and win back Naples at any cost. With the help of the English navy and a fervent anti-Jacobin uprising in the countryside, the French were expelled from Naples in June 1799. After the triumphal reentry of the royal court into Naples in 1799, a purge of the Jacobin rebels who had cooperated with the French invaders began which did much to discredit Maria Carolina among later historians. Although Maria Carolina was criticized widely, especially by French republicans, for her cruelty in punishing the traitors, she authorized pardons for many condemned traitors.
In order to escape the continuing upheaval of Naples, Maria Carolina determined in 1800 to travel to Austria with her younger children, to visit the court of her son-in-law (also her nephew) Francis I of Austria (Holy Roman emperor Francis II), who was married to her daughter Maria Teresa of Naples. After a treacherous journey which took them dangerously close to enemy lines, the royal family was finally reunited with their cousins in Vienna, where they stayed for almost two years. Maria Carolina bided her time renewing her acquaintance with her only living sister, Elizabeth of Austria , and taking care of the many nieces and nephews of the Viennese court. When the Peace of Luneville was signed with Napoleon in 1801, the entire family breathed a sigh of relief, for even though the peace was bought at the cost of losing many of the Habsburg dominions, war had bankrupted and exhausted all of Europe. Much revived in spirits, Maria Carolina and her children finally bid farewell to Austria and traveled towards home in 1802.
Maria Carolina was coldly received by the Neapolitans, who tended to blame her for all the misfortunes suffered under the Jacobin invasion. Ferdinand, on the other hand, was still wildly popular: the people tended to credit him with all the good done during his reign and blame Maria Carolina for all their misfortune. Soon after her return to Naples, Maria Carolina suffered another round of misfortune in the deaths, within weeks of each other, of one of her grandsons, her beloved daughter-in-law Maria Clementina of Austria (wife of Francis, now the prince royal), and her second daughter, Louisa Amelia, grand duchess of Tuscany.
Peace with Napoleon was not destined to last; Napoleon wanted peace only long enough to build up his forces for renewed invasions in Europe. In 1805, Vienna fell to Napoleon's troops, and in the following year Naples suffered the same fate. Maria Carolina, who believed that the royal family's flight in 1798 might have been too precipitous, declared her intention of staying on and fighting to the end, but Ferdinand insisted on sending the family back to Sicily. In February 1806, the royal family entered Palermo much lower in spirits and fortunes. In a storm which blew up during the crossing, the ships containing the family's furniture and much of its supplies were lost. Almost constant warfare had drained the royal treasury, and the royal court was neither as glamorous nor as popular in Sicily as it had been before. Soon after their landing, Maria Carolina received word that her daughter Maria Antonia of Naples , who had been married to the Prince of Asturias (the future Ferdinand VII) in Spain in 1802, had died under mysterious circumstances rumored to be poison. In the following year, 1807, Maria Carolina's eldest daughter, the Empress Maria Teresa of Naples, died in childbirth.
Napoleon sent his brother Joseph Bonaparte to rule Naples while he turned his attention towards the conquest of Spain. It pained Maria Carolina to hear tales of her own courtiers pledging their loyalty to a man she considered a worthless upstart. Using all of her diplomatic connections and skill, she begged the English government to send her military aid. The English agreed to defend Sicily from a French attack, primarily because of their own diplomatic interests, but they refused to help her recapture Naples. The final humiliation for Maria Carolina was to hear that Joseph Bonaparte had been recognized as the lawful sovereign in Naples by the Austrians, who had sent an ambassador to his court.
Ferdinand's response to the royal family's declining fortune was to retreat to his hunting lodge and his mistress, Lucia Migliaccio , sanguinely accepting the current situation with the calm assurance that, one day, Naples would be returned to him. Maria Carolina, once again put in charge of the daily affairs of government, railed against her enemies to everyone who would listen, and spent countless sums subsidizing plots and counterplots in Naples against the pretender to the throne. Joseph Bonaparte was sent to rule Spain in 1808, but the throne of Naples was then given to Napoleon's sister Carolina Bonaparte and her husband Joachim Murat.
Two bright spots for Maria Carolina were the marriages of two of her daughters. In 1807, Christine of Bourbon was married to Charles Felix, duke of Genoa, whose suit for Christine's hand had previously been denied due to his lack of fortune. The subsequent rise in Charles Felix's position due to the death of his brother, and the fall of the Neapolitan royal family's status, made this love match more tolerable. In 1808, Maria Carolina's last unmarried daughter, Maria Amalia, was married to Louis Philippe, duke of Orléans. Although Maria Carolina would not live to see it, Maria Amalia would become queen of France when Louis Philippe was crowned in 1830.
By 1810, Napoleon Bonaparte as emperor of France was the undisputed master of Europe. As such, he was free to pursue his most fervent dream—to provide legitimacy to his seizure of power by marrying into Europe's nobility and producing an heir to his throne. In return for the restoration of his kingdom, king of Austria Francis I offered his daughter Marie Louise of Austria (1791–1847) as a fit sacrifice. On hearing of the engagement of her granddaughter to the man she considered an unregenerate beast, Maria Carolina wrote a series of disparaging letters to her son-in-law, telling him that in her mind he was "dead, lost, dishonored, and soiled." Francis' nonchalant reply was "Better one princess should go to the devil, than the whole monarchy." To her friends she exclaimed, "That's it! That's what is missing in my fortune—to become the devil's grandmother!" As for the stunned Marie Louise, she wrote to Maria Carolina that it all seemed like a dream; all her life she had been told by her family that Napoleon was a usurper, a monster, the anti-Christ. He had driven her family from Vienna twice. How, then, could she be expected to become the wife of the archenemy?
Napoleon was thrilled with the prospect of becoming part of the House of Habsburg. Snobbishness, Maria Carolina later observed, had always been his greatest weakness. He wrote to her soon after the marriage, "Is your Majesty's mind, so distinguished among women, so unable to divest itself of the prejudices of your sex that you must treat affairs of state as if they were affairs of the heart?" The acquisition of this new and unwanted grandson actually worked to Maria Carolina's advantage. In answer to the pleading of his new wife, Napoleon ordered Murat not to invade the island of Sicily, although burdensome taxation and Maria Carolina's absolutist policies were making the position of the ruling family there increasingly tenuous.
Consumed with rage at the unfair treatment of her family, Maria Carolina refused to compromise with her Sicilian nobles on even the smallest points, and continued to oppress the people with taxes to finance her exorbitant but fruitless schemes to retake Naples. She drove the Sicilians to the point of rebellion, precipitating a takeover of the government by the English troops which had been stationed on the island. A governor sent from England to maintain order on Sicily, Lord William Bentinck, set up a parliamentary system on the English model and implemented a constitution placing limitations on the monarchy. When Maria Carolina hinted that she would rather throw over the island to Napoleon and Murat than submit to the illegal interference of the English, Bentinck insisted that Ferdinand send Maria Carolina into retirement in Austria. Unable to resist the force of English arms, Ferdinand was obliged to sign the order for her departure in June 1813.
Maria Antonia of Naples (1784–1806)
Neapolitan princess . Name variations: Antonia of Sicily; Antoinette; Princess of Asturias. Born in 1784; died under mysterious circumstances in 1806; daughter of Maria Carolina (1752–1814), queen of Naples and the Two Sicilies, and Ferdinand IV (1751–1825), king of Naples (r. 1759–1806, 1815–1825), later known as Ferdinand I, king of the Two Sicilies (r. 1816–1825); sister of Maria Amalia (1782–1866, who married Louis Philippe, king of France); became first wife of Ferdinand, prince of Asturias (the future Ferdinand VII, king of Spain, r. 1813–1833), in 1802; no surviving children.
Christine of Bourbon (1779–1849)
Duchess of Genoa . Name variations: Cristina; Maria Christina of Bourbon. Born on January 17, 1779; died on March 12, 1849; daughter of Maria Carolina (1752–1814), queen of the Two Sicilies, and Ferdinand IV (1751–1825), king of Naples (r. 1759–1806, 1815–1825), later known as Ferdinand I, king of the Two Sicilies (r. 1816–1825); married Charles Felix (Carlos Felice) of Sardinia, duke of Genoa (r. 1821–1831) and king of Sardinia, on April 6, 1807.
Reduced in status from a powerful queen to a wandering exile, Maria Carolina returned to the land of her birth, accompanied only by her youngest surviving son Leopold, who had remained fiercely loyal to his mother. Although she was filled with rancor against Bentinck and the English, she also admitted that she had not always acted wisely: "For a long time," she later admitted, "I have believed that I knew how to govern, and I have only found out my mistake when it was too late. In order to rule men wisely one should study and understand them; this I did not do." Francis I provided her with a castle for her household, and she busied herself with caring for her grandchildren and watched while, in the wake of the disastrous Russian campaign, Napoleon was finally defeated by the allies in 1814. Napoleon was forcibly granted the throne of the tiny island of Elba, but Marie Louise, together with her infant son, returned to her father's court in Vienna. Maria Carolina expressed open disapproval that Marie Louise had not followed Napoleon to Elba, had not "tied her bed-curtains together and let herself down from her window to join him." After all, Maria Carolina admonished her granddaughter, "when one is married it is for life." Napoleon II, Maria Carolina's only great-grandchild, was the object of Maria Carolina's untiring caresses and indulgences.
The defeat of France opened the way to a restoration of the Habsburgs to all of their wealth and position in Europe. But Maria Carolina would never see this come to pass. On the night of September 7, 1814, she retired to bed with no apparent symptoms of ill health, but the following morning her ladies-in-waiting found her dead in her bed, apparently having suffered a seizure in the night. Soon after her death, Ferdinand married his mistress, Lucia Migliaccio, and it was they, together with Maria Carolina's sons, who entered Naples victoriously to reclaim the Neapolitan throne.
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Kimberly Estep Spangler , Associate Professor of History and Chair, Division of Religion and Humanities, Friends University, Wichita, Kansas