Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Sicile, duchess de Berry

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Princess Marie-Caroline
Duchess of Berry
Duchess della Grazia
Berry, Marie-Caroline duchesse de - 1.jpg
Caroline in 1825 by Thomas Lawrence
Spouse Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry
Ettore Carlo Lucchesi-Palli
Issue Louise Marie Thérèse, Duchess of Parma
Henri, Count of Chambord
Anna Maria Rosalia Lucchesi-Palli
Clementina Lucchesi-Palli
Francesca di Paola Lucchesi-Palli
Maria Isabella Lucchesi-Palli
Adinolfo Lucchesi-Palli, 9th Duke della Grazia
Full name
Italian: Maria Carolina Ferdinanda Luisa
French: Marie Caroline Ferdinande Louise
House House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
(by birth)
House of Bourbon (by marriage)
Father Francis I of the Two Sicilies
Mother Archduchess Maria Clementina of Austria
Born (1798-11-05)5 November 1798
Caserta Palace, Caserta, Italy
Died 17 April 1870(1870-04-17) (aged 71)
Brunnsee, Styria, Austria-Hungary
Burial Mureck Cemetery, Mureck, Austria
Religion Roman Catholic

Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Sicile, duchess de Berry[1] (Maria Carolina Ferdinanda Luise; 5 November 1798 – 17 April 1870) was the daughter of the future King Francis I of the Two Sicilies and his first wife, Maria Clementina of Austria.


Caroline was born at the Caserta Palace as the eldest child of Prince Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Naples and Sicily. Her mother was an Archduchess of Austria herself the tenth child and third daughter of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria Luisa of Spain. Her parents were double first cousins.

Caroline was baptised with the names of her paternal grand parents, Maria Carolina of Austria and King Ferdinand of Naples.

She spent her youth in Palermo and in Naples. Her mother died in 1801 having given birth a son the previous year with a difficult birth. She died aged 24; her father married again in 1802 to the Infanta Maria Isabella of Spain, another first cousin. The couple would have a further twelve children.

Caroline married King Louis XVIII of France's nephew, Charles Ferdinand d'Artois on 24 April 1816 in Naples, following negotiations with the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily[a] by the French ambassador Pierre Louis Jean Casimir de Blacas, thus becoming the duchesse de Berry otherwise known as Madame de Berry in France.

Even though it was an arranged marriage, it was a happy marriage Caroline living at the Élysée Palace in Paris which was given to her.

She became an important figure during the Bourbon Restoration after the assassination of her husband in 1820. Caroline's son, Henri, Count of Chambord, was named the "miracle child" because he was born after his father's death and continued the direct Bourbon line of King Louis XIV of France. (The Duke of Berry saw only one child born by Caroline, Louise).

In 1824, King Louis XVIII died and was succeeded by Caroline's father-in-law, King Charles X.

In 1830, she was forced to flee France when Charles X was overthrown during the July Revolution. She lived in Bath and Regent Terrace, Edinburgh for a time.[2]

In 1831 she returned to her family in Naples via the Netherlands, Prussia and Austria.[2] Later, however, with the help of Emmanuel Louis Marie de Guignard, vicomte de Saint Priest, she unsuccessfully attempted to restore the Legitimist Bourbon dynasty during the reign of the Orléanist monarch, King Louis Philippe of the French (1830–1848).

Her failed rebellion in the Vendée in 1832 was followed by her arrest and imprisonment in November, 1832. She was released in June, 1833 after giving birth to a daughter and revealing her secret marriage to an Italian nobleman, Ettore Carlo Lucchesi-Palli, 8th Duke della Grazia. In 1844, she and her husband purchased the beautiful palazzo Ca' Vendramin Calergi on the Grand Canal in Venice from the last member of the Vendramin family line. In the turmoil of the Risorgimento, she was forced to sell the palazzo to her grandson, Prince Henry, Count of Bardi, and many of its fine works of art were auctioned in Paris.[3]

She returned to Sicily, ignored by other members of the House of Bourbon, and died near Graz (Austria-Hungary) in 1870.

French novelist Alexandre Dumas, père wrote two stories about her and her plotting.

Patron of the arts[edit]

Even as member of the royal family, the Duchess of Berry was an exceptional theatre-goer. She was the patron of the Théâtre du Gymnase, which changed its name, for a time, to the théâtre de Madame, in her honour. She attended the Odéon at least nine times during 1824 to 1828. She contributed to benefit performances, such as that of Rossini's La dame du lac (1826), benefiting victims of the fire at the Antonio Franconi's Cirque Olympique; she contributed 500 francs.[4]

La moisson (1822) by Auguste-Xavier Leprince, oil on canvas, 24.2 x 32.1 cm, featured in her 1822 sale

The Duchess of Berry and her first husband, Charles-Ferdinand d'Artois, were enthusiastic art collectors. Her sale of 1822 was novel for its catalogue which contained lithographic reproductions of all the works.[5][6] Lithography, invented by Alois Senefelder, had only been fully described in 1818 in Vollstandiges Lehrbuch der Steindruckerei, translated into French in 1819. The lithographs, produced by Isidore Laurent Deroy[7] sparked an interest in the technique as a means for reproducing art.[8]

She was a collector of landscapes; her collection featured at least three by Ruisdael.[9] She had several genre scenes by Auguste-Xavier Leprince[7] and she owned works by Jan van der Heyden,[10] Michel Philibert Genod,[11] François Marius Granet, Pauline Auzou, Jean-Claude Bonnefond, Charles Marie Bouton, Martin Drolling, Hortense Haudebourt-Lescot and Achille Etna Michallon, among many others.[5]

The duchess was known to patronise the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, commissioning notable works by Jean-Charles-François Leloy.[12]


Children with Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry:[13]

Children with Ettore Carlo Lucchesi-Palli, 8th Duke della Grazia:[13]

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 5 November 1798 – 24 April 1816 Her Royal Highness Princess Carolina of Naples and Sicily
  • 24 April 1816 – 14 February 1820 Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Berry
  • 14 February 1820 – 17 April 1870 Her Royal Highness The Dowager Duchess of Berry



  1. ^ Later Kingdom of the Two Sicilies which was created in December after her marriage aged 17


  1. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica. "Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Sicile, duchess de Berry". Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Mackenzie-Stuart, A.J. A French King at Holyrood" John Donald Publishers Ltd., Edinburgh, (1995), ISBN 0 85976 413 3
  3. ^ Ca' Vendramin Calergi: La storia
  4. ^ Everist, Mark (2002). Music Drama at the Paris Odéon, 1824 - 1828. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520928909. 
  5. ^ a b Bonnemaison, Féréol; Fereol Bonnemaison & J. Didot l'aîné (1822). Galerie de son Altesse Royale Madame la duchesse de Berry. Tome 1 (in French). Paris. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Bonnemaison, Féréol; Fereol Bonnemaison & J. Didot l'aîné (1822). Galerie de son Altesse Royale Madame la duchesse de Berry. Tome 2 (in French). Paris. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Strachan, Edward; Edward Strachan; Roy Bolton (2008). Russia and Europe in the Nineteenth Century. Sphinx Fine Art. p. 52. ISBN 9781907200021. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Verhoogt, Robert (2007). Art in Reproduction: Nineteenth-century Prints After Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Jozef Israëls and Ary Scheffer. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. p. 84. ISBN 9789053569139. 
  9. ^ Slive, Seymour (2001). Jacob Van Ruisdael: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings, Drawings, and Etchings. Yale University Press. pp. 45, 100, 244. ISBN 9780300089721. 
  10. ^ Sutton, Peter (2006). Jan Van Der Heyden: (1637 - 1712). Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300119701. 
  11. ^ Athanassoglou-Kallmyer, Nina (1989). French Images from the Greek War of Independence (1821-1830): Art and Politics Under the Restoration. Yale University Press. p. 137. ISBN 9780300045321. 
  12. ^ Préaud, Tamara; Tamara Préaud, Derek E. Ostergard, Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts (1997). The Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300073386. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Darryl Lundy (9 March 2007). "Maria Carolina Ferdinanda Luise di Borbone, Principessa delle Due Sicilie". Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  14. ^ [1]

Further reading[edit]

  • Cronin, Vincent. Four Women in Pursuit of an Ideal. London: Collins, 1965; also published as The Romantic Way. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966.

External links[edit]