Princess Marie Amelie of Baden

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Marie Amelie of Baden
Duchess of Hamilton and Brandon
Marie Amelie of Baden.jpg
Born (1817-10-11)11 October 1817
Karlsruhe, Baden
Died 17 October 1888(1888-10-17) (aged 71)
Baden-Baden, Baden
Spouse William Hamilton, 11th Duke of Hamilton
Issue William Douglas-Hamilton, 12th Duke of Hamilton
Charles Douglas-Hamilton, 7th Earl of Selkirk
Mary Victoria, Princess Festetics von Tolna
Full name
Marie Amelie Elizabeth Caroline
House Zähringen
Father Charles, Grand Duke of Baden
Mother Stéphanie de Beauharnais

Princess Marie Amelie of Baden (Marie Amelie Elisabeth Caroline; 11 October 1817 – 17 October 1888) was the youngest daughter of Charles, Grand Duke of Baden and Stéphanie de Beauharnais,. In 1843, she married the Scottish nobleman William Hamilton, Marquess of Douglas and Clydesdale. They became the Duke and Duchess of Hamilton upon the death of William's father in 1852. Their only daughter Mary married the future Albert I, Prince of Monaco and was the mother of Louis II.

Princess Marie was a cousin of Napoleon III of France, as well as a friend of his and his wife's, Empress Eugénie. She often accompanied the couple at official events, and provided them lodging when they visited her outside France.

Family and early life[edit]

Princess Marie Amelie was born in Karlsruhe, the youngest daughter of Charles, Grand Duke of Baden, and his wife Stéphanie de Beauharnais, the adopted daughter of Napoleon I of France.[1][2] Charles' daughters married into several great European ruling families.[3] Marie Amelie's older sister Princess Louise married the Swedish prince Gustav, Prince of Vasa, and her other sister Princess Josephine married Karl Anton, Prince of Hohenzollern.[4] Louise was the mother of Queen Carola of Saxony, while Josephine was the mother of Carol I of Romania and Queen Stephanie of Portugal.


On 23 February 1843, she married the Scottish nobleman William Hamilton, Marquess of Douglas and Clydesdale, the only son of the 10th Duke of Hamilton.[1][2] The couple had two sons and one daughter: William (later 12th Duke of Hamilton), Charles (later 7th Earl of Selkirk and Lieutenant of 11th Hussars), and Lady Mary Victoria (later wed to Albert I, Prince of Monaco in 1869).[5]

After her wedding, she relocated to Brodick Castle on the Isle of Arran, which was built in her honour in the Bavarian style. She then moved later on Hamilton Palace in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Her husband succeeded as Duke of Hamilton upon the death of her father-in-law in 1852.[6] The Duke at least mainly lived in Baden-Baden and Paris after his marriage.[2]

Duchess of Hamilton[edit]

The Duchess was a cousin and friend of Napoleon III of France.[7][8] She and her husband accompanied Napoleon during his official state entry into Paris in 1852,[8] and she was present in 1860 when he visited her in Baden, at a popular summer resort for Paris' upper classes.[9] She also accompanied the Emperor at an 1855 celebration in honor of King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia[10] and the 1856 baptism of Napoléon, Prince Imperial.[11] Napoleon's wife, Empress Eugénie, was also reported as being a friend of Marie,[12] and the Empress would often stay with Marie when she visited Baden and Scotland.[13][14] Eugénie angered many when she insisted that Princess Marie take precedence and be seated with the Imperial Family.[15] In 1860, an exhausted Eugénie wished to leave France but found that her destinations on the continent were limited due to political concerns; Princess Marie, sympathetic to her plight, successfully offered Eugénie a stay at her husband's home in Scotland.[16]

Princess Marie with one of her children

In 1853, the Glasgow Free Press reported that the Duchess had converted to Roman Catholicism.[17] Stéphanie de Beauharnais died seven years later. Queen Sophie of the Netherlands, a friend of Stéphanie's, later claimed that Marie Amelie "behaved ill to her" mother, blaming this on her "Catholic bigotry". Sophie was particularly upset that the Duchess of Hamilton failed to see her mother on her deathbed, though her husband did make the visit.[18] Five years later, in an 1867 letter, Queen Sophie described Marie Amelie as "bloodless, fat, sick," and complained that her sons were "restless and bad," while her daughter was "far from handsome."[19]

In 1863, the Duke collapsed while dining at the Maison dorée, Boulevard des Italiens in Paris.[2] Once his party realised his condition was serious, he was brought back to Hôtel Bristol in Place Vendôme. Marie Amelie arrived at his side, and while he seemed to be recovering, he died suddenly three days later, on 15 July 1863.[2][20] He was fifty-two years old.[21] His wealth at death was estimated at under £140,000.[2] She was styled Marie Amelie, Princess of Baden, Dowager Duchess of Hamilton after her husband's death.

Princess Marie occupied the Villa Stephanie in Baden-Baden, where her daughter used to visit her annually. In 1904, the contemporary journal Lady's Realm reported that the place was the "rendezvous of the very best cosmopolitan society."[22] She was a friend of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. As of 1867, she and her son were being associated with a disreputable company, the type that his mother Queen Victoria urged him to avoid.[23] Marie also paid and received visits to members of the British Royal Family, including the Duchess of Kent[24] and Queen Victoria.[25] She died in Baden-Baden, aged 71.

In 1869, her only daughter Lady Mary Victoria Hamilton married Prince Albert (later Albert I), son and heir of Charles III, Prince of Monaco.[26] The union was unhappy, however, and Mary left Monaco and her husband after giving birth to an heir, Louis II. The marriage was annulled in 1880.[27] She later married the Hungarian magnate Tasziló Festetics, living from that point onwards mainly in her husband's native country.[28] Through Mary, Marie is the great-great-grandmother of the current reigning prince of Monaco, Albert II.


The Duke and Duchess of Hamilton had the following issue, two sons and one daughter:[5]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 11 October 1817 - 23 February 1843: Her Grand Ducal Highness Princess Marie Amélie of Baden
  • 23 February 1843 - 18 August 1852: Her Grand Duchal Highness Princess Marie Amélie, Marchioness of Douglas and Clydesdale
  • 18 August 1852 - 8 July 1863: Her Grand Ducal Highness Princess Marie Amélie, Duchess of Hamilton and Brandon
  • 8 July 1863 - 17 October 1888: Her Grand Ducal Highness Princess Marie Amélie, Dowager Duchess of Hamilton and Brandon



  1. ^ a b Martin 1866, p. 148.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Sanders 2004.
  3. ^ Nichols Barker 2011, pp. 29–30.
  4. ^ de Saint-Amand 1900, pp. 44–45.
  5. ^ a b Lodge 1872, pp. 274–75.
  6. ^ Dod 1855, p. 287.
  7. ^ Nichols Barker 2011, p. 29.
  8. ^ a b Mansel 2003, p. 16.
  9. ^ de Saint-Amand 1900, pp. 143–44.
  10. ^ "The Crimea". The Manchester Guardian. 1 December 1855. p. 7. Retrieved 6 May 2014.  (subscription required)
  11. ^ "France". The Manchester Guardian. 16 June 1856. p. 1. Retrieved 6 May 2014.  (subscription required)
  12. ^ "London, Sunday, November 18". The Observer. 18 November 1860. p. 4. Retrieved 6 May 2014.  (subscription required)
  13. ^ "Latest News". The Manchester Guardian. 6 October 1864. p. 3. Retrieved 6 May 2014.  (subscription required)
  14. ^ "The Two Empresses". The Observer. 18 November 1860. p. 7. Retrieved 6 May 2014.  (subscription required)
  15. ^ Nichols Barker 2011, p. 30.
  16. ^ Nichols Barker 2011, p. 75.
  17. ^ The Glasgow Free Press, as cited in "Varieties". The Manchester Guardian. 3 September 1853. p. 5. Retrieved 6 May 2014.  (subscription required)
  18. ^ Württemberg 1989, p. 206.
  19. ^ Württemberg 1989, p. 272.
  20. ^ Loliée & O'Donnell 1910, pp. 75–77.
  21. ^ Mansel 2003, p. 148.
  22. ^ Lady's Realm 1904, pp. 466–67.
  23. ^ Ridley 2013.
  24. ^ "Court and Fashionable". The Observer. 11 November 1855. p. 4. Retrieved 6 May 2014.  (subscription required)
  25. ^ "Buckingham Palace". The Observer. 14 May 1860. p. 4. Retrieved 6 May 2014.  (subscription required)
  26. ^ "French Affairs". The Observer. 26 September 1869. p. 5. Retrieved 6 May 2014.  (subscription required)
  27. ^ Leigh 2008, pp. 101–02.
  28. ^ Lady's Realm 1904, p. 466.
Works cited