Today in History / OnThisDay - July 6th. 1789 - María Isabella of Spain

On July 6th. 1789 a noble girl was born in Madrid.
The girl received the name Maria Isabella of Spain.

Her parents were King Charles IV of Spain and Maria Luisa of Parma.
However at the moment of the birth of Maria Isabella there were a lot of
court rumors that King Charles IV of Spain wasn't her father at all.

According to the rumors her mother would have a relationship with the
young Godoy, who became later Prime Minister of Spain.

 Infanta Maria Isabella of Spain - picture: Wikipedia

The negotiations for Maria Isabella's marriage started soon. First she was
offered as a bride for Lucien Bonaparte (younger brother of Napoleon),
but Napoleon wasn't keen that he
should marry someone from the Bourbon family.

Then her mother tried to find another husband for her daughter. She wanted
someone who could become a King.

On July 6th. 1802, on Maria's 13th. B-Day, she married her 25 years old
cousin Francis of the Two Sicilies by proxy in Madrid. The two were
married by person on October 4th.. The festivities lasted till
October 12th., when Maria Isabella left Barcelona and traveled to Naples.

Unfortunately Maria Isabella didn't make a good first impression by her
arrival in Naples. She was described as short and plain. Some people
mentioned her as "Little and round as a ball."

Maria Isabella and Francis became a good match.
Maria Isabella was only 15! when she had her first child and the couple
would have 12 children, six daughters and six sons.

On January 4th. 1825 King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies died and
Francis, Maria Isabella's husband became King. King Francis was
a large and heavy man, in fact he was more interested in farming than
in politics.

And the new Queen? Well Maria Isabelle loved theater, balls and
public activities. Simple and generous she finally became more popular
than her husband.

After the death of her husband in 1830, Maria Isabella's eldest son
became the new King. He would reign as Ferdinand II.

 In 1835 Maria Isabella fell in love with Baron Peter von Schmuckher,
a married Austrian officer. In 1837 Schmuckher 's wife died and the
two love birds could finally marry, but he wanted a new title and she
rejected him. She appealed her son, King Ferdinand II and he expelled
him from Naples in January 1838.

But Maria Isabella was determinated to remarry. King Ferdinand II gave
her a list of young noblemen from which she could chose.

She selected Francesco, Count del Balzo dei Duchi di Presenzano.
Their marriage took place privately on January 15th. 1839. He was 34
years old, she 50.

Due to her character and her generosity towards the poor, Maria Isabella
stayed popular till the end of her life. She died on September 13th. 1848
at the age of 59.