Princess Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily

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Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily (14 December 1784 – 21 May 1806), was the youngest daughter of Ferdinand, King of Naples and Sicily, and Maria Carolina of Austria. As the wife of the future Ferdinand VII of Spain, then heir apparent to the Spanish throne, she held the title of Princess of Asturias.

Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily
Princess of Asturias
Maria Antonietta Borbone Napoli 1784 1806
Portrait by Vicente López Portaña, c. 1805
Born 14 December 1784
Caserta Palace, Caserta, Naples
Died 21 May 1806 (aged 21)
Royal Palace of Aranjuez, Aranjuez, Spain
Burial El Escorial, Madrid
Spouse Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias
Full name
Maria Antonietta Teresa Amelia Giovanna Battista Francesca Gaetana Maria Anna Lucia
House Bourbon-Two Sicilies
Father Ferdinand IV of Naples and III of Sicily
Mother Maria Carolina of Austria
Religion Roman Catholicism

Biography

She was known as Maria Antonia and was born at the Caserta Palace in Caserta, Italy. Named after her mother's favorite sister, Queen Marie Antoinette of France, she was an intelligent girl, having by the age of seventeen learned several languages.

Marriage

Brunetti after Carnicero - Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily
Princess Maria Antonietta

In a series of dynastic alliances, Maria Antonia became engaged to Infante Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias (who later became King Ferdinand VII of Spain), while her eldest brother, Francis, became engaged to Infante Ferdinand's sister Infanta Maria Isabella of Spain. On 6 October 1802, Maria Antonia married Infante Ferdinand in Barcelona, Spain.

Carlos IV y su familia homenajeados por la Universidad de Valencia
Maria Antonia (fourth from left), together with the rest of the Spanish royal family, visits the University of Valencia in 1802, shortly after her wedding. Oil painting by Vicente López.

The princess failed to provide the expected heir to the throne: her two pregnancies, in 1804 and 1805, ended in miscarriages. Her mother, Maria Carolina, was highly anti-French after the execution of her sister and brother-in-law during the French Revolution. She was also strongly opposed to the military expansion of the French republic. As Spain became more easily dominated by Napoleon Bonaparte, there were rumours that Maria Carolina wanted her daughter to poison the Queen of Spain and Manuel Godoy, Spain's prime minister. However, as with most poison rumours of the period, it is unlikely to be true, not least because both women were devout Roman Catholics and secondly because the Spanish court's ties to France were in no way greater or lesser than most in Europe's after Bonaparte's early victories. Maria Antonia's mother-in-law, Queen Maria Luisa, disliked her daughter-in-law and she encouraged rumours of a Habsburg poisoning plot, even subjecting her books and clothes to scrutiny in order to discredit her daughter-in-law further. In spite of all of this campaign of character assassination, Maria Antonia managed to gain considerable influence over her husband and created an opposition party against Queen Maria Luisa and Godoy.

Death

She died of tuberculosis on 21 May 1806 at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez in Aranjuez, Spain. It was rumoured that Maria Antonia had been poisoned by Maria Luisa and Godoy, although again there is no actual evidence. However, Queen Maria Carolina, who was devastated, truly believed this. Maria Antonia's father, King Ferdinand, consolidated Naples and Sicily into the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies a decade after her death.

The Neapolitan princess was buried at El Escorial in Spain. Her husband was to marry three more times: -

Ancestry

Ancestors of Princess Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
16. Louis, Grand Dauphin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
8. Philip V of Spain
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
17. Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4. Charles III of Spain
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
18. Odoardo Farnese, Hereditary Prince of Parma
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
9. Elisabeth Farnese
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
19. Dorothea Sophie of the Palatinate
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2. Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
20. Augustus II of Poland
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
10. Augustus III of Poland
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
21. Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5. Maria Amalia of Saxony
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
22. Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
11. Maria Josepha of Austria
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
23. Wilhelmina Amalia of Brunswick
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1. Princess Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
24. Charles V, Duke of Lorraine
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
12. Leopold, Duke of Lorraine
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
25. Eleonora of Austria
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6. Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
26. Philippe I, Duke of Orléans
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
13. Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
27. Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. Archduchess Maria Carolina of Austria
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
28. Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
14. Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
29. Eleonor Magdalene of the Palatinate
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
7. Maria Theresa of Austria
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
30. Louis Rudolph, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
15. Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
31. Princess Christine Louise of Oettingen-Oettingen
 
 
 
 
 
 

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 14 December 1784 - 6 October 1802 Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily
  • 6 October 1802 - 21 May 1806 Her Royal Highness The Princess of Asturias, Infanta of Spain etc.

Honours

Bibliography

  • EPTON, Nina, The Spanish mousetrap: Napoleon and the Court of Spain (London: Macdonald, 1973).
  • HILT, Douglas, The troubled trinity: Godoy and the Spanish monarchs (Tuscaloosa; London: University of Alabama Press, 1987).

External links

Media related to Princess Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily at Wikimedia Commons

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