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Marie Louise of Austria (1791–1847)

Marie Louise of Austria (1791–1847)

Empress and regent of France, duchess of Parma, who was Napoleon's second wife . Name variations: Maria Louisa or Maria Luisa; Marie-Louise; Marie-Louise of France; Marie-Louise Habsburg; Mary Louise of Austria. Archduchess of Austria (1814–1847). Born in Vienna, Austria, on December 12, 1791; died in Parma, Italy, on December 17, 1847; daughter of Francis II, Holy Roman emperor (r. 1792–1806), who was king of Austria as Francis I (r. 1804–1835), and Maria Teresa of Naples (1772–1807); sister of Ferdinand I, emperor of Austria (r. 1835–1848), and Leopoldina of Austria (1797–1817); daughter-in-law of Letizia Bonaparte (1750–1836); became second wife of Napoleon I, emperor of France (r. 1804–1815), in 1810; married Count Adam Adalbert von Neipperg, in 1821; married Count Charles de Bombelles, in 1834; children: (first marriage) Napoleon II (1811–1832), also known as the duc de Reichstadt, king of Rome; (second marriage) two.

Marie Louise of Austria was born in 1791, the daughter of Francis II, Holy Roman emperor, and Maria Teresa of Naples . Marie Louise's marriage to Napoleon I Bonaparte was arranged for the purpose of producing an heir and in hopes of establishing a bond between his regime and the Habsburgs, one of Europe's oldest royal houses. However political the bond may have been, Napoleon, who had reluctantly divorced Josephine , grew genuinely fond of Marie Louise, especially when she gave birth to an heir in 1811. When Napoleon abdicated in 1814 and went into exile on the island of Elba, Marie Louise returned home to her father and was granted sovereignty over Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla. She was a liberal ruler. After Napoleon's death, she married Count Adam von Neipperg in 1821 and had two children. Following Neipperg's demise in 1829 and an uprising in 1831, she was driven from Parma but was later returned by the Austrians. Marie Louise married Count Charles de Bombelles in 1834, 13 years before she died of pleurisy at Parma.


Decaux, Alain. Napoleon's Mother. London: The Cresset Press, 1962.

Seward, Desmond. Napoleon's Family. NY: Viking, 1986.

Stirling, Monica. Madame Letizia: A Portrait of Napoleon's Mother. NY: Harper & Brothers, 1961.

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