Marie Louise d'Orléans (1662–1689)
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Marie Louise d'Orléans (26 March 1662 – 12 February 1689), Queen Consort of Spain from 1679 to 1689 as the first wife of King Charles II of Spain. She was a granddaughter of Louis XIII of France; this made her a petite-fille de France ("Granddaughter of France"). In her adopted country, she was known as Maria Luisa de Orléans.
Marie Louise d'Orléans, Mademoiselle d'Orléans at birth, was born at the Palais Royal in Paris. She was the eldest daughter of Philippe de France, Duke of Orléans, the younger brother of King Louis XIV of France, and of his first wife, Princess Henrietta Anne of England. As a petite-fille de France, she was allowed the style of Her Royal Highness. She was descended also from the royal families of Austria, England and Spain: her paternal grandparents were Louis XIII of France and Anne of Austria and her maternal grandparents were Charles I of England and Henrietta Maria of France. Two uncles and one aunt included King Charles II of England, King James II of England and Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange.
Charming, pretty and graceful, Marie Louise, who was her father's favourite child, had a happy childhood, residing most of the time in the Palais-Royal, and at the Château de Saint-Cloud situated a few kilometers west of Paris. Marie Louise spent a lot of time with both her paternal and maternal grandmothers - Anne of Austria, who doted on her and left the bulk of her fortune to her when she died in 1666; and Henriette Marie de France, who lived in Colombes, where she met her young cousin Anne, the future Queen Anne I of Great Britain.
1669 saw the birth of a sister;
- Anne Marie d'Orléans (27 August 1669 – 26 August 1728), the future Queen consort of Sardinia and the maternal grandmother of Louis XV of France.
Marie Louise's mother died in 1670. The following year, her father married Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate, Liselotte, who became a real mother to Marie Louise and her younger sister Anne Marie. All her life, Marie Louise would maintain an affectionate correspondence with her stepmother. From her father's second marriage, she gained three other siblings.
- Alexandre Louis d'Orléans, Duke of Valois (2 June 1673 – 16 March 1676).
- Philippe Charles d'Orléans (2 August 1674 – 2 December 1723),
- Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans (13 September 1676 – 24 December 1744),
As the eldest daughter of Monsieur le Duc d'Orléans, known as Monsieur, Marie Louise was addressed as Mademoiselle. Her mother was known as Madame, and was the most important lady at the royal court behind the Queen, Maria Teresa; her younger cousin Marie Thérèse de France, then her mother Princess Henriette Anne. Marie Louise, saw the construction of the château de Versailles in her youth and the reign of Madame de Montespan.
|Family of Marie Louise in 1670|
Marie Louise, Queen of Spain as consort
|Reference style||Her Majesty|
|Spoken style||Your Majesty|
It has been said that she wanted to marry her cousin, Louis, the Dauphin of France; however, the surviving letters of her stepmother, Liselotte, prove that Marie Louise and the Dauphin were never in love. In any case, Europe was in an era of constant change and war. Her father and uncle were the informants of her marriage, which was seen as a way to induce better relations between France and Spain; the two nations had been on bad terms because of her uncle’s battles in the Spanish Netherlands. A famous, though inaccurate, scene occurred when the sixteen-year old girl was told that she was to be the Queen of Spain. Her uncle, Louis XIV, told her:
I could not have done more for my own daughter
To which Marie Louise replied:
Yes sire, but you could have done more for your niece.
The proxy marriage ceremony took place at the Palace of Fontainebleau on 30 August 1679; standing for the groom was her distant cousin Louis Armand I, Prince of Conti. Till mid-September there were a series of formal occasions in honor of the new Queen. Before leaving for Spain, Marie Louise went to the convent of Val-de-Grâce where the heart of her mother was kept. She would never return to France.
On 19 November 1679, Marie Louise d'Orléans' real marriage ceremony to King Charles II of Spain, took place in Quintanapalla, near Burgos, Spain. This was the start of a very lonely existence at the Spanish court. Her new husband had fallen madly in love with her, whose beauty and charm were renowned, and his passion for her remained with him until the end of his life. The very rigid etiquette of the Spanish Court (it was even forbidden to touch the Queen), and her unsuccessful attempts to bear a child, however, caused her to suffer from depression. Her French attendants were all accused of plotting against the king and his family and, as a result, one of her personal maids was tortured under allegations. Due to the nature of the times, and the Spanish Court’s hatred of the young French princess, there were even riots outside the Palace in Madrid where she resided. Far away from the glamor and lavish courts at Versailles, Saint-Cloud and Paris, her new residences were the dark and forbidding Royal Alcazar of Madrid (Real Alcázar de Madrid) and the more homely Buen Retiro Palace (Palacio del Buen Retiro) - a country palace where Marie Louise was allowed to keep her French horses. She also liked to spend time in the Royal Palace of Aranjuez (Palacio Real de Aranjuez), south of Madrid, which was probably her favourite residence.
In early 1688, a witness wrote that when Charles and Marie Louise went to church to pray for children, they did so:
with such faith that even the stones would move in order to join them and ask God for the issue they desire.
Within the ten years of the couple's marriage, the couple had no children. Marie Louise confided in the French ambassador, that
she was really not a virgin any longer, but that as far as she could figure things, she believed she would never have children.
After years of trying and of increasing homesickness of her happy years at the court in Paris with her family, Marie Louise turned to food. During the last years of her life, she became overweight. After horseback riding on 11 February 1689, she felt a severe pain in the abdomen which forced her to lie down the rest of the evening. She died the following night. According to a witness, on her deathbed Marie Louise said farewell to her husband:
Your Majesty might have other wives, but no one will ever love you as I do.
When Marie Louise died, her husband was completely heartbroken. At the time, there were rumours saying that she had been poisoned by the notorious intrigante Olympia Mancini, Countess of Soissons, at the behest of the dowager queen, Mariana of Austria, her mother-in-law, because Marie Louise had not given birth to any children. This is questionable since Mariana and Marie Louise were close and the dowager queen was also devastated at the young queen's death. It seems likely that the real cause of Marie Louise's death was appendicitis. She died in her twenty-sixth year like her mother, and her niece, Princess Marie-Adélaïde of Savoy.
Shortly after the Queen's death, the Spanish ministers began to look for a second wife for the King. The main candidates were the Italian princess Anna Maria Luisa of Tuscany and the German princess Maria Anna of Neuburg. Upon showing the portraits of the princesses to Charles, the King observed:
The lady from Tuscany is pretty and the lady from Neuburg seems not to be ugly either.
But then Charles turned towards a portrait of the deceased Marie Louise and, sighing, said:
This lady was really beautiful.
|Ancestors of Marie Louise d'Orléans (1662–1689)|
- Calvo Poyato, José, La vida y época de Carlos II el Hechizado (Barcelona: Editorial Planeta, 1998).
- Fisas, Carlos, Historias de las reinas de España: la Casa de Austria (Barcelona: Editorial Planeta, 1999).
- Gonzàlez-Doria, Fernando, Las reinas de España (Madrid: Trigo, 2003).
- Maura Gamazo, Gabriel, María Luisa de Orléans, Reina de España: leyenda e historia (Madrid: Saturnino Calleja).
- Maura Gamazo, Gabriel, Vida y reinado de Carlos II (Madrid: Espasa Calve, 1942).
- Pfandl, Ludwig, Carlos II (Madrid: Afrodisio Aguado, 1947).
Titles and Styles
- 26 March 1662 – 30 August 1679 Her Royal Highness Princess Marie Louise of Orléans
- 30 August 1679 – 12 February 1689 Her Majesty the Queen of Spain
- Mademoiselle - 1662-1679. This style later passed to her younger sister Anne Marie. The birth of Marie Louise meant that the previous Mademoiselle (another Orléans princess), HRH Anne Marie Louise of Orléans, gained her more famous style of la Grande Mademoiselle due to being the elder of the two princesses.