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Marie Louise of Austria
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Monarch
    (December 12, 1791-December 17, 1847)
    Born in Vienna, Austria
    Daughter of Emperor Francis I of Austria
    Married Napoleon Bonaparte (March 11, 1810)
    Empress of France (1810-14)
    Duchess of Parma (1814-47)
    Her full name was the unwieldy Maria Ludovica Leopoldina Francisca Theresa Josepha Lucia.
    Napoleon originally wanted to marry Tzar Alexander I's sister Anna, and he decided to marry into the Austrian royal house only because the Russians kept dragging their feet.
    She was kept in the dark while French and Austrian officials negotiated the details of the proposed marriage.
    She had to marry Napoleon by proxy, with her uncle standing in for the groom.
    She had been raised to hate the French, which must have made for some awkward moments in the marriage.
    Her father re-joining the coalition against her husband (August, 1813) presumably outdid all previous awkward moments.
    While Napoleon was in exile on St. Helena, she had two children with Count Adam Albert von Neippering (who she married after Napoleon's death).
    She was fluent in German, English, French, Spanish, Italian and Latin.
    Napoleon had murals in his palace depicting the French army defeating Austria covered up in deference to her.
    Napoleon said that with her there was 'Never a lie, never a debt,' in apparent reference to first wife Josephine's affairs and overspending.
    She gave Napoleon the son he had hoped for.
    Her pregnancy was so difficult that Napoleon said, 'I had rather never have any more children than see her suffer so much again.'
    Upon arriving in Parma as Duchess, she noted, 'People welcomed me with such enthusiasm that I had tears in my eyes.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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