Louise Marie Thérèse D'Artois - Biography

Biography

Louise's father died when she was five months old. When her grandfather abdicated in 1830, Louise joined the rest of her immediate family in exile, eventually settling in Austria. As the granddaughter of the king, Louise was a petite-fille de France. Her younger brother, Henri, Duke of Bordeaux, was King of France and of Navarre from 2 to 9 August 1830, and afterwards the Legitimist Pretender to the throne of France from 1844 to 1883.

On 10 November 1845, at Schloss Frohsdorf in Austria, Louise married Ferdinando Carlo, Hereditary Prince of Lucca, known as Charles III, Duke of Parma and Piacenza after 1849. On 17 December 1847 Empress Marie Louise died and her father-in-law succeeded as Duke Charles II of Parma. The Duchy of Lucca was incorporated in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and she and her husband ceased being Hereditary Prince of Lucca becoming instead Hereditary Prince of Parma.

Her father-in-law was the Duke of Parma for a few months. In March 1848 revolution broke out in Parma supported by King Charles Albert of Sardinia. Ferdinando Carlo escaped from Parma, but was taken prisoner at Cremona. He remained a prisoner at Milan for several months until the British government negotiated his release. After a brief sojourn on the island of Malta, he travelled to Naples and then Livorno where he was joined by Louise Marie Thérèse who had just given birth to their first son. Then the family sought refuge in England and Scotland.

In August 1848 the Austrian army entered Parma, and officially restored Charles II. Ferdinando Carlo and his family, however, remained in England, since hostilities continued between the Austrian and Piedmontese armies. For several years Charles II had considered abdicating in favour of Ferdinando Carlo, but he delayed in the hope that when he did so things would be more secure for his son.

On 24 March 1849 the abdication of Charles II was announced. Ferdinando Carlo, still living in England, succeeded to the title of Duke of Parma, Piacenza, and the Annexed States taking the name Charles III. On 18 May 1849 her husband re-entered Parma, but left again two days later. He did not take over the administration of the duchy until 25 August.

When her husband was murdered in 1854, Louise served as Regent for their young son, the new duke Robert I. Like the other rulers of the Central Italian states, she and her son were ousted during the Franco-Austrian War of 1859, and they retired to Austrian protection in Venice.

Various schemes following the war either for her and her son's restoration in Parma, or territorial swaps which might leave them ruling over Tuscany, Modena, or the Romagna, came to nothing, as the whole of central Italy was annexed by Piedmont in March 1860. Louise lived out the remainder of her life in exile.

Louise died on 1 February 1864 at the age of forty-four in the Palazzo Giustinian in Venice. She was buried in her grandfather Charles X's crypt at the Franciscan monastery Kostanjevica in Görz, Austria (now Nova Gorica, Slovenia).

Other members of the French Royal Family buried there include her brother Henri, Count of Chambord, her aunt Marie Thérèse of France, and her uncle Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême.

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