MT: albumen print on paper mounted on card (9x6 / C:11x6)
TX: printed at lower left of margin in French <FRANCK. PHOT.>, inscribed with fountain pen at lower center of margin <Reine Marie Amélie>, inscribed with pencil at rear upper left <Reine Marie Amélie>, printed at upper center <PHOTOGRAPHIE / DE / FRANCK / MÉDAILLES D'OR D'ARGENT. / 18 / RUE VIVENNE / AU 2ME ÉTAGE / Tous les Clichés sont conservés>, stamped below <MAISON / ALPH GIROUX>
CM: Maria Amalia Teresa of the Two Sicilies (26 April 1782 – 24 March 1866) was Queen of the French from 1830-1848, consort to King Louis-Philippe. § She was born Marie-Amelie on 26 April 1782 in Caserta, Italy. Her parents were the King of Naples, Ferdinand IV, and his wife, Maria Carolina. Her mother’s sister, Marie-Antoinette, was queen of France at the time of Marie-Amelie’s birth and her grandmother was Maria-Theresa. As a young Italian princess, she was educated in the Catholic tradition which she appears to have taken to heart. Her mother, Maria Carolina, like her famous mother before her, Marie-Therese, made an effort to be a part of her daughter’s life, though she was cared for daily by her governess, Donna Vicenza Rizzi [C. C. Dyson, The Life of Marie-Amelie 1910 D. Appleton & Company, New York, p.31] As a child, Marie-Amelie’s mother and her aunt, Marie-Antoinette, arranged for her to be engaged to Marie-Antoinette’s son, the future king of France, due to which, her mother encouraged her to remember that she would someday be his queen [Dyson, 35]. Tragically, her young finance passed away in 1789 [Dyson, 37]. § Marie-Amelie faced chaos and upheaval from a young age. The death of her aunt Marie-Antoinette during the French Revolution and her mother’s subsequent dramatic actions emblazoned the event in the young girl’s memory [Dyson, 39]. She was forced to leave her home at the age of 18 and spent the next few years jumping from various royal dwellings to escape turbulent times in Italy. While in flight, she encountered her future husband, Louis-Philippe, also forced from his home in France due to political complications of the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon. Louis-Philippe's father, the previous Duc d’Orleans, had been guillotined during the French Revolution, though he had advocated it in the early years [Dyson, 100 €]. The two were married in 1809, three years after they met in Italy whereupon Marlie-Amelie became the Duchess d'Orleans. Unfortunately for Marlie-Amelie, she went to France with her new husband in 1814, where she attempted to make a home with her growing family, but with Napoleon’s brief return, she was forced to flee yet again. Prior to her husband’s rise to power, Marie-Amelie and her husband had to cope with a persistent money problem due to the fact that they had no income aside from that which they were given by the English crown [Dyson, 112]. This must have been particularly difficult for Marie-Amelie given her ideas in the superiority of royals and the ways in which they were to conduct themselves. During the d’Orleans’ time in France prior to Louis-Philippe’s coronation, the family lived in the Palais-Royale which had been the home of Louis-Philippe’s father, the previous Duc d’Orleans. Despite the monetary worries of the family, in total, the house was returned to its original splendor at cost to the couple of eleven million francs [Dyson, 153]. § In 1830, following what is known as the July Revolution, Louis-Philippe became king of France, with Marie-Amelie as his consort and queen of the July Monarchy. Marie-Amelie did not play an active role in politics and in fact made a concerted effort to remove herself from it. This seems to have been the result of her personality, training, and conception of the role of monarchy. She may also have been aware of the backlash in France against women asserting power over politics where, it was thought, they had undue influence. This became painfully clear with the example of her late aunt, Marie-Antoinette. Though she was not a political woman, as a queen known to be a staunch supporter of monarchy in its traditional conception, Marie-Amelie was able to escape the suspicion of many of the French who worried that her husband’s ideology was not monarchical enough and tended toward middle class, bourgeois, values at the expense of the proper treatment and conduct of royalty. § After her husband was forced from kingship in the extremely turbulent events of the Revolution of 1848, the royal family fled to England. Louis-Philippe died two years later. After the death of her husband, Marie-Amelie continued to live in England where she attended daily Mass and was well known to Queen Victoria [Dyson, 295]. Queen Marie-Amelie passed away on 24 March 24 1866 [Dyson, 306]. After her death, the dress she had kept since 1848 when her husband had left France was put on her, according to her desire [Dyson, 307].
[Megakles Rogakos 12/2009]
DYSON, C. C. The Life of Marie-Amélie: Last Queen of the French 1910 D. Appleton & Company, New York