Maria Luisa of Parma

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Maria Luisa of Parma
Maria Luisa of Parma, Queen of Spain.jpg
Portrait of the Queen by Vicente López, after original by Goya (1816).
Queen consort of Spain
Tenure 14 December 1788 – 19 March 1808
Spouse Charles IV
Carlota Joaquina, Queen of Portugal
Infanta Maria Amalia
Maria Luisa, Queen of Etruria
Ferdinand VII
Carlos, Count of Molina
Maria Isabel, Queen of the Two Sicilies
Infante Francisco de Paula
Full name
Luisa María Teresa Ana
House House of Bourbon (by birth)
House of Bourbon-Parma (by marriage)
Father Philip, Duke of Parma
Mother Princess Louise Élisabeth of France
Born (1751-12-09)9 December 1751
Parma, Italy
Died 2 January 1819(1819-01-02) (aged 67)
Barberini Palace, Italy
Burial El Escorial
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[citation needed].

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.[citation needed]

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:




  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. ^ a b 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. ^ a b 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. ^ Queen Arms description. Encuadernación Real Biblioteca. Royal Library. Royal Palace of Madrid (In Spanish).


  • 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).
  • HUGUES, Robert, Goya (London: Harvill Press, 2003).

See also[edit]

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