Princess Maria Luisa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
|Princess Maria Luisa|
|Countess of Bardi|
21 January 1855|
Naples, Two Sicilies
23 August 1874 (aged 19)|
Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France
|Spouse||Prince Henry of Bourbon-Parma, Count of Bardi|
House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (by birth)|
House of Bourbon-Parma (by marriage)
|Father||Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies|
|Mother||Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria|
Princess Maria Luisa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (full Italian name: Maria Luisa Immacolata di Borbone, Principessa di Borbone delle Due Sicilie) (21 January 1855, Naples, Two Sicilies – 23 August 1874, Pau, Armagnac, France) was the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies and his wife Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria. She was known for her piety and for her charity to the poor.
Maria Luisa was born at the Palace of Caserta. She was baptised with the names Maria Luisa Immacolata; her godmother was Princess Maria Luisa Carlota of Parma. Her father died when she was only four years old and she was raised primarily by her mother.
In 1860, when Maria Luisa was five, her half-brother King Francis II of the Two Sicilies was defeated by the Expedition of the Thousand. She and her family fled to Rome where they resided briefly at the Quirinal Palace at the invitation of the Pope Pius IX. Her mother rented the Palazzo Nipoti in Rome, and it was there that she lived for the next seven years.
Even as a child Maria Luisa was known for her piety. She was particularly devoted to her namesake patrons, the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Saint Aloysius Gonzaga. On 24 December 1865, she made her first communion in the chapel in the Roman College where Saint Aloysius made his vows.
Following their mother's death, Maria Luisa and her siblings moved into the Palazzo Farnese, the residence of her half-brother King Francis II. She was taught Italian, French, and German. She became a competent artist in both oil and watercolour.
In October 1867 Rome was attacked by the forces of Giuseppe Garibaldi. Maria Luisa and her sister Maria Pia were given refuge in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City until the papal victory at the Battle of Mentana.
On 25 November 1873 in Cannes, Maria Luisa married Prince Henry of Bourbon-Parma, Count of Bardi, son of Charles III, Duke of Parma and his wife Princess Louise Marie Thérèse of France. Henry's older brother Robert had married Maria Luisa's older sister Maria Pia in 1869.
After the wedding Henry and Maria Luisa went to Egypt for their honeymoon. There she became sick with a fever. The couple decided to return home, and on 30 March 1874 they disembarked at Marseilles.
It was decided to take Maria Luisa to the town of Cauterets where there were sulphur baths. On the way they stopped at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes where she was immersed in the water twice. Her physicians said that her case was hopeless, and at the end of July it was decided to move her to Pau. She died there on 23 August, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Titles and styles
- 21 January 1855 – 25 November 1873: Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Luisa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
- 25 November 1873 – 23 February 1874: Her Royal Highness The Countess of Bardi
- Spillmann, 9
- Spillmann, 120.
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- "Maria Immacolata of Bourbon". Catholic World 21 (1875): 670-81.
- Spillmann, Giovanni. Intorno alla vita di Sua Altezza Reale Maria Immacolata di Borbone, contessa di Bardi. Roma: Tipografia Poliglotta della S.C. di Propaganda, 1875.