Maria Luisa of Parma

Maria Luisa of Parma
Queen consort of Spain
Tenure 14 December 1788 – 19 March 1808
Born (1751-12-09)9 December 1751
Parma, Duchy of Parma
Died 2 January 1819(1819-01-02) (aged 67)
Barberini Palace, Rome, Papal States
Burial El Escorial
Spouse Charles IV of Spain
Carlota Joaquina, Queen of Portugal
Infanta Maria Amalia
Maria Luisa, Queen of Etruria
Ferdinand VII
Infante Carlos, Count of Molina
Maria Isabel, Queen of the Two Sicilies
Infante Francisco de Paula
Full name
Luisa María Teresa Ana
House Bourbon-Parma
Father Philip, Duke of Parma
Mother Princess Louise Élisabeth of France
Religion Roman Catholicism

Maria Luisa of Parma (9 December 1751 – 2 January 1819) was Queen consort of Spain from 1788 to 1808 as the wife of King Charles IV of Spain. She was the youngest daughter of Philip, Duke of Parma and his wife, Princess Louise-Élisabeth of France, the eldest daughter of King Louis XV.


The family of the Duke of Parma.

Born in Parma, she was christened Luisa Maria Teresa Anna, but is known to history by the short Spanish form of this name: María Luisa.[1] Her parents had been the Duke and Duchess of Parma since 1749, when the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) awarded the duchy to the Bourbon. She, her brother Ferdinand, and her sister Isabella were educated in Parma by Étienne Bonnot de Condillac, a well-known French philosopher.

María Luisa's mother tried to engage her to Louis, Duke of Burgundy, heir to the French throne. However, the young duke died in 1761. In 1762 Maria Luisa instead became engaged to Charles, Prince of Asturias, later King Charles IV of Spain, whom she married on 4 September 1765 in La Granja Palace.

As there was no queen in Spain at that time, María Luisa became the first lady in precedence at the court from the beginning of her residence there. Her husband was the son and heir of the widowed Charles III of Spain, previously Duke of Parma and King of Naples and Sicily.

María Luisa was believed to have had many love affairs, but there is no direct evidence that she had any lovers, not even Manuel de Godoy, her husband's prime minister, whom contemporary gossip singled out in particular as a long-time lover. She was unpopular during her husband's reign, her poor historical reputation being attributed to her support of pro-French political policies that were not deemed beneficial for Spain in the long term.

Due to pressure from Napoleon I, María's husband abdicated the throne of Spain and spent the rest of his life in exile. When Napoleon's army invaded the country, several pamphlets blamed her for the abdication. María Luisa spent some years in France and then in Rome. Both María Luisa and her husband died in Italy in early 1819.

In 1792, the Order of Queen Maria Luisa for women was founded on her suggestion.


Maria Luisa married her first cousin Charles IV, in 1765. The couple had fourteen children, six of whom survived into adulthood:

Name Portrait Lifespan Notes
Carlos Clemente
Infante of Spain
19 September 1771

7 March 1774
Born and died at El Escorial; baptized on the same day he was born, with Charles III representing "the Holy Father" at the christening. Pope Clement XIV celebrated Carlos' birth and sent the infant consecrated swaddling clothes.[2]
Carlota Joaquina
Queen of Portugal and the Algarves
25 April 1775

7 January 1830
Born at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, she married John VI of Portugal in 1785 and became Queen consort of Portugal in 1816. Had issue, including the future Pedro I of Brazil. She died at Queluz National Palace.
Maria Luisa
Infanta of Spain
11 September 1777

2 July 1782
Born and died at the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso.[3]
María Amalia
Infanta of Spain
9 January 1779

22 July 1798
Born at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, she married her uncle Infante Antonio Pascual of Spain in 1795. She gave birth to a stillborn son in 1798 and died shortly thereafter.
Carlos Domingo
Infante of Spain
5 March 1780

11 June 1783
Born at the Royal Palace of El Pardo and died at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez.[3] After his birth, his father pardoned all of the convicts from Puerto San Julián as a sign of celebration.[4]
Maria Luisa
Queen of Etruria
Duchess of Lucca
6 July 1782

13 March 1824
Born at the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, she married Louis, King of Etruria in 1795 and had issue, including Charles II, Duke of Parma. Became Duchess of Lucca in her own right in 1817 and died in Rome in 1824 of cancer.
Carlos Francisco de Paula
Infante of Spain
5 September 1783

11 November 1784
Twins, born and died at the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso.[5] Their birth was an important event for the people of Spain and provided security for the succession, a security which was truncated with the early deaths of Carlos and Felipe.[6]
Felipe Francisco de Paula
Infante of Spain
5 September 1783

18 October 1784
Fernando (VII)
King of Spain
14 October 1784

29 September 1833
Born and died at El Escorial, he succeeded his father as King in 1808, but was deposed by Joseph Bonaparte one month later. Married Princess Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily in 1802, no issue. Re-instated as King in 1813. Married Maria Isabel of Portugal in 1816, had issue. Married Maria Josepha Amalia of Saxony in 1819, no issue. Married Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies in 1829 and had issue, including the future Isabella II of Spain. Died in 1833.
Carlos María Isidro Benito
Count of Molina
29 March 1788

10 March 1855
Born at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. Married Infanta Maria Francisca of Portugal in 1816 and had issue. Married Maria Teresa, Princess of Beira in 1838, no issue. First Carlist pretender to the throne of Spain as "Carlos V". Use the title "Count of Molina" between 1845 and his death in 1855.
María Isabel
Queen of the Two Sicilies
6 July 1789

13 September 1848
Born at the Royal Palace of Madrid, she married Francis I of the Two Sicilies in 1802 and had issue, including the future Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies. Queen consort between 1825 and 1830, her husband's death. Died at the Palace of Portici in 1848.
Maria Teresa
Infanta of Spain
16 February 1791

2 November 1794
Born at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez and died at El Escorial[7] of smallpox.[8]
Felipe Maria
Infante of Spain
28 March 1792

1 March 1794
Born at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez and died at the Royal Palace of Madrid.[7]
Francisco de Paula
Duke of Cadiz
10 March 1794

13 August 1865
Born at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, he married Princess Luisa Carlotta of Naples and Sicily in 1819 and had issue. Died in Madrid in 1865.

In addition, Maria Luisa had ten other pregnancies who ended in miscarriages:[9][10][11]



  1. E. Harding, A Chronological Abridgement of the History of Spain (Frogmore Lodge, Windsor, 1809), xxxi
  2. von Pastor, Ludwig Freiherr (1952). The History of the Popes, from the Close of the Middle Ages. Michigan: Kegan Paul. p. 201.
  3. 1 2 Real Academia Matritense de Heráldica y Genealogía (2007). Anales de la Real Academia Matritense de Heráldica y Genealogía. Vol. X. (in Spanish). Madrid: RAMHG. p. 330.
  4. Senatore, Mar'a Ximena (2007). Arqueolog'a e historia en la colonia espa–ola de Floridablanca, Patagonia, siglo XVIII (in Spanish). Madrid: Teseo. p. 149. ISBN 978-987-1354-08-5.
  5. Real Academia Matritense de Heráldica y Genealogía (2007). Anales de la Real Academia Matritense de Heráldica y Genealogía. Vol. X. (in Spanish). Madrid: RAMHG. p. 332.
  6. Palazón, Juan Manuel Abascal (2010). José Vargas Ponce (1760–1821) en la Real Academia de la Historia (in Spanish). Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia. p. 54. ISBN 978-84-15069-00-3.
  7. 1 2 Hilt, Douglas (1987). The Troubled Trinity: Godoy and the Spanish Monarchs. Alabama: University of Alabama Press. p. 292. ISBN 978-0-8173-0320-4.
  8. Zavala, José María (2013). La maldición de los Borbones (in Spanish). Mexico: Random House Mondadori. p. 16. ISBN 978-84-01-34667-5.
  9. Fernando González-Doria: Las Reinas de España
  10. Los abortos de las «Borbonas» in: (in Spanish) [retrieved 27 May 2015].
  11. Ignacio Martín Escribano: La plaga de los Borbones, p. 158. (in Spanish) [retrieved 27 May 2015].
  12. Queen Arms description. Encuadernación Real Biblioteca. Royal Library. Royal Palace of Madrid (In Spanish).
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Maria Luisa of Parma
Cadet branch of the House of Bourbon
Born: 9 December 1751 Died: 2 January 1819
Spanish royalty
Preceded by
Maria Amalia of Saxony
Queen Consort of Spain
Succeeded by
Julie Clary
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