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Marie Louise of Savoy (1688–1714)

Marie Louise of Savoy (1688–1714)

Queen of Spain . Name variations: Maria Louisa; María Luisa Gabriela; María Luisa Gabriel of Savoy; Louise Marie. Born María Luisa Gabriela in Savoy, Italy, on September 17, 1688 (some sources cite 1687); died on February 14, 1714; daughter of Anne-Marie d'Bourbon-Orleans (1669–1728) and Victor Amadeus II (1666–1732), duke of Savoy (r. 1675–1713), king of Sicily (r. 1713–1718) and Sardinia (r. 1718–1730); sister of Marie Adelaide of Savoy (1685–1712), duchess of Burgundy (mother of Louis XV of France); became first wife of Philip V (1683–1746), king of Spain (r. 1700–1724, 1725–1746), on November 2, 1701; children: Luis or Louis I (August 25, 1707–August 1724), king of Spain (r. 1724–1724); Felipe (1712–1719); Ferdinand VI (b. September 23, 1713), king of Spain (r. 1746–1759).

The daughter of Victor Amadeus II of Savoy and Anne-Marie d'Bourbon-Orleans , Marie Louise of Savoy was born in Turin on September 17, 1688. Louis XIV arranged her marriage in 1701 to his grandson, Philip of Anjou (the future Philip V of Spain), whom the last Spanish Habsburg monarch, Charles II, had named as his heir to the throne of Spain. She was 13 at the time and chosen by Louis XIV in part because of Savoy's strategic location in France's struggle with Austria to control Italy. As Philip was not in line to succeed to the French throne, Louis had trained him to be docile and pious rather than kingly, and Marie Louise was able to exert considerable influence over him as a result.

Marie Louise of Savoy and Philip V married in November 1701 at Figueras in Catalonia. In an attempt to prevent Marie Louise from pulling Spain toward the interests of Savoy, Louis XIV refused to permit her to take her own ladies-inwaiting to her new home. Before proceeding to Madrid, Marie Louise passed through Zaragoza, where in her husband's name she swore to respect the traditional rights and privileges of Aragon. Accompanying the queen was Marie-Anne de la Trémouille (c. 1642–1722), princess of the Ursins, whom Louis XIV had chosen as head of the queen's bedchamber, with the understanding that Ursins would champion French interests. She did, in fact, exert significant influence over the queen, and consequently over Philip V.

The War of the Spanish Succession overshadowed Marie Louise's reign as queen. In 1706, she acted as regent while Philip was away on military campaign and had to abandon Madrid when the enemy occupied it. The following year, she gave birth to a son and heir, Louis, on August 25, cementing popular support for the new dynasty. With the war still continuing, in 1711 Marie Louise fell ill with scrofula. In a weakened condition she gave birth to another son, Ferdinand, in September 1713. Her health declined, and she died of tuberculosis on February 14, 1714, in Madrid. Marie Louise had four children, all sons, and two reigned as Louis I and Ferdinand VI. Her youth, energy, and kindliness made her more popular among Spaniards than Philip V's second wife, Elizabeth Farnese .

sources:

Bergamini, John D. The Spanish Bourbons. NY: Putnam, 1974.

Hill, Constance. Story of the Princess des Ursins in Spain. NY: R. H. Russell, 1899.

Lynch, John. Bourbon Spain, 1700–1808. Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, 1989.

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

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