12. 12. 1791 Calendary

12.12. 1791 Marie Louise of Habsburg-Lorraine

Categories: Personalities , Calendar

Marie Louise of Habsburg-Lorraine was an Austrian duchess who became the wife of Napoleon. He was convinced that the marriage would bring great happiness to his nation.

Marie Louise, the first child of Emperor Francis I. and his second wife and his own cousin, Marie Therese, princess of both Sicilies, was said to be of average beauty with a somewhat naive face, sky-blue eyes and a slightly ungainly figure. Napoleon, however, was convinced that Austrian fashion had more to do with it. "When they dress her with French elegance, she will be a real queen," he said.

He learned from General Berthier that Marie Louise had a mild, friendly disposition and could be very agreeable. After the jealous dramatic scenes he had enjoyed with Josephine, this suited him just fine. Moreover, the Austrian princess was also quite educated and spoke not only German, but also Italian, Hungarian, French, English, and even Turkish.

On 23 February 1809, Napoleon wrote a message to his former enemy Francis I. "My lord, tomorrow I will send my cousin, the Viceroy Prince of Neuchatel, to ask Your Imperial Majesty for the hand in marriage of Your daughter, the Archduchess Marie Louise. The excellent qualities which the princess possesses in so great a degree, and the rare advantage of being your daughter, are the reasons why I am so anxious for this marriage. I am told that I may hope for Your Majesty's consent. I do not hesitate a moment, therefore, to send my aide, Count Lauriston, whom your Majesty already knows, with a letter for you. I have instructed him to tell you what value I attach to this marriage. I expect much happiness from him for myself and my people."

The wedding took place in Vienna on 11 March 1810, and the groom was represented by Marshal Louis Alexandre Berthier. Then the eighteen-year-old Marie Louise set off for France with a large entourage. The impatient Napoleon rode out to meet her, accompanied by Marshal Murat. At the village of Courelles, he unexpectedly entered her carriage, and the archduchess was more than pleasantly surprised.

"Berthier, who represented Napoleon during the ceremony at Vienna, was very much like him. He was small and had too large a head in proportion to his body. But the reality exceeded expectations. The Archduchess immediately confided this to Napoleon and added that fortunately there was a difference between us and Berthier," writes Jan Bauer in Women of the House of Habsburg.

She bore Napoleon a son called Orlik. But she could not raise him much because Napoleon Francis grew up at the court of his grandfather, who was Emperor Francis I. The archduchess died on 17 December 1847.

Jan Bauer, Women of the House of Habsburg, Luboš Tabara, Congress of Vienna, https://zenysostylom.sk/

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