Marie Louise, Empress of France, Duchess of Parma

BORN 12 Feb 1791, Wien: Hofburg - DIED 17 Dec 1847, Parma, Emilia-Romagna
BIRTH NAME Maria Ludovica Leopoldina Franziska Therese Josepha Lucia
GRAVE LOCATION Wien: Kapuzinergruft, Tegetthoffstraße 2

Daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. In 1810 Napoleon asked for her hand after his separation of Joséphine de Beauharnais. On the advice of Metternich her father accepted and thus she became empress of France. In 1811 she gave birth to Napoleon's much wanted heir, the Duke of Reichstadt.

When Napoleon abdicated in 1814 was escorted to Aix-en-Bains. Officially to take the waters but in reality to prevent her from joining Napoleon with her son. She was granted the Duchy of Parma later in 1814 and in 1815 she didn't follow her husband to St. Helena. She took little notice of their son, who grew up at the court in Vienna and lived a lonely life until his death in 1832.

Count Neipperg had accompanied her to Aix-en-Bains and before they were there they had started an affair. He accompanied her to Parma when she moved there in 1816 and they had two children (Albertine, Countess of Montenuovo and Wilhelm Albrecht, Prince of Montenuovo) before she married him morganatically after Napoleon's death in 1821. They had two more children who died young.

Neipperg died in 1829. In February 1831 she had to leave Parma because of an insurrection led by the Carbonari, who cried out against prime minister Werklein. But the Austrians restored order and she was soon able to return to Parma. In 1833 the Count de Bombelles was sent to her from Austria as her new grand chamberlain. She married him secretly in 1834, her second morganatic marriage.

• Son: Napoleon II, Duke of Reichstadt
• Husband: Napoleon I Bonaparte (1810-1821, Saint-Cloud, Hauts-de-Seine)
• Husband: Neipperg, Adam Albert, Count von (1821-1829)

Related persons
• was painted by Gérard, François
• was drawn by Kriehuber, Josef
• was painted by Lefèvre, Robert

7/2/1810Marriage contract between Napoleon and Marie Louise signed in Paris [Napoleon I Bonaparte]
27/2/1810Napoleon informs the Senate that he will marry Marie Louise of Austria [Napoleon I Bonaparte]
11/3/1810Marriage ceremony Marie Louise in Vienna. Napoleon was not in Vienna and was represented by Archduke Karl. [Napoleon I Bonaparte]
5/11/1810Louis Napoleon Bonaparte is baptised at the Palace of Fontainebleau. Napoleon I served as his godfather and empress Marie Louise as his godmother. His father, who lived separated from his mother Hortense, stayed away. [Napoleon I Bonaparte][Napoleon III Bonaparte]
0/4/1814Metternich asks for a separation of Napoleon I and Marie Louise. He wanted to separate her from Napoleon who was banished to Elba, She was offered Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla by the Congress of Vienna. [Napoleon I Bonaparte]
24/9/1814Marie Louise and Count Neipperg become lovers. Count Adam Albert von Neipperg accompanied Marie Louise on a journey to Aix-les-Bains when Napoloen was at Elba. Forced by bad weather they had to spend the night at the inn "Die Goldene Sonne" at Küssnacht and during the night they became lovers. It is believed that Marie Louise had been after him for a while and Neipperg didn't resist. [Napoleon I Bonaparte][Neipperg, Adam Albert, Count von]
30/6/1815Marie Louise hands over her son Napoleon II to Count Dietrichstein. Dietrichstein would become responsible for the education of her son. The Austrians forbade him to use the name Napoleon and he received the title Duke of Reichstadt instead. [Napoleon II, Duke of Reichstadt]
18/4/1816Marie Louise arrives in Parma. The congress of Vienna had decided that she would become the ruler of Parma. She was accompanied by her lover Count Neipperg. [Neipperg, Adam Albert, Count von]
15/2/1831Marie Louise flees from Parma during the Carbonari uprising. A provisional government was formed by Count Filippo Luigi Linati. From Piacenza she asked her father and Austrian troops were send to restore order. Prime minister Josef Werklein, who had been appointed by the Austrians, was replaced. The resurrection ended on March 31th and she returned to Parma. On 29 September she granted amnesty to the protesters. 


The tomb of Marie Louise of Austria at the Kapuzinergruft, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (13 Aug 1995)


Metternich, Staatsman und Kavalier, Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, München, 1978
Point de Vue (Images du Monde), Point de Vue, Créteil
• Schiel, Irmgard, Marie-Louise, Une Habsbourg pour Napoléon, Duculot, Paris, 1992
Marie Louise - Wikipedia
Napoleon III - Wikipedia

Marie-Elisabeth, Prinzessin von Sachsen-Meiningen

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 25 Apr 2022