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Marie Louise d'Orleans (1662–1689)

Marie Louise d'Orleans (1662–1689)

Queen-consort of Spain as wife of Charles II. Name variations: Marie Louise of Orleans or Orléans; Marie-Louise Bourbon-Orleans; Maria Luisa de Orleans, Maria Luisa de Borbon. Born April 26 (some sources cite March 27), 1662; died on February 12, 1689; daughter of Henrietta Anne (1644–1670) and Philip also known as Philippe I (1640–1701), 1st duke of Orléans (r. 1660–1701); married Charles II (1661–1700), king of Spain (r. 1665–1700), on August 31, 1679 (some sources cite November 19); no children.

Born on April 26, 1662, Marie Louise d'Orleans was the daughter of Philip, 1st duke of Orléans, and Henrietta Anne , daughter of the king and queen of England. Louis XIV was Marie's uncle. To strengthen peace between Spain and France, Louis XIV betrothed her to Charles II, the last Habsburg monarch of Spain. The marriage contract was signed on August 30, 1679, and Marie Louise wed Charles by proxy at Fountainbleau a day later.

In several ways, Marie Louise faced a difficult situation. Her husband, known as Charles the Bewitched, was mentally retarded and physically deformed. Nor did he prove capable of fathering an heir, to her disappointment. Meanwhile, Spain had fallen from its former glory, and the monarchy faced a prolonged financial retrenchment. Marie Louise comported herself with dignified piety, occasionally ruling for her husband, but governmental councils generally determined policy. Her death on February 12, 1689, at age 27, occasioned rumors that she had been poisoned, although little evidence substantiated the allegation. Marie Louise was buried in the royal pantheon at the Escorial.

sources:

Bassene, Marthe. La vie tragique d'une reine d'Espagne, Marie Louise de Bourbon-Orleans. Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1939.

Maura Gamazo, Gabriel, duke of Maura. María Luisa de Orléans, reina de España: leyenda e historia. Madrid: Saturnino Calleja, 1943.

suggested reading:

Harrison, Kathryn. Poison (fiction). NY: Random House, 1995.

Kendall W. Brown , Professor of History, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

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