Kirkpatrick, Maria Manuela, countess of Montijo

BORN 24 Feb 1794, Malaga - DIED 22 Nov 1879, Madrid: Carabanchel
BIRTH NAME Kirkpatrick, María Manuela Enriqueta
GRAVE LOCATION Madrid: San Lorenzo y San Jose, Calle de la Verdad (next to Southern general Cemetery) (in the 2nd patio, between four cypress trees)

Maria Kirkpatrick was the daughter of William Kirkpatrick of Conheath, a Scotsman who was a wine merchant and the Consul of the USA in Malaga, Spain. Her mother was Marie Françoise de Grivegnée, born in Liège. She was talented and lively and in 1817 she married Don Cipriano de Palafox y Portocarrero, a Bonapartist and veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, who became Count of Montijo in later years.

They had three children. A boy, Paco, died very young. María Francisca de Sales (1825-1860), known as Paca, became countess of Alba and Eugénie (1826-1920), well known as empress of France. During the 1830s she went to Paris with her daughters for their education and there she met Frederick Villiers. She first saw him in 1832 and methim again in 1833 and probably they became lovers. She also befriended Prosper Merimée who was involved in theeducation of her daughters. Maria Manuela told him the story on which he based his famous "Carmen".

In 1837 she went to England, but soon afterwards she returned to Paris. Her husband died in 1839 and around the same time Villiers married Lady Katharine Foster-Barham. She became very active in society and found her daughters their husbands. Merimée was actively involved in arranging the marriage between Eugénie and Napoleon III.

Napoleon III made it clear that her presence at the French court wasn't wanted and she returned to Spain, where she lived at Carabanchel, Madrid. In 1843 she became the mistress of Ramón Mariá Narváez after he gained power in Spain. She lived long enough to witness the fall of the Second Empire in France, forcing her daughter Eugénie to move to England. She died in 1879 in Carabanchel.

• Husband: Montijo, Cipriano Palafox y Portocarrero, count of (1817-, Granada)

Related persons
• was a friend of Mérimée, Prosper
• was a friend of Stendhal

0/0/1849Louis Napoleon dines with Maria Manuele de Montijo and her daughter Eugénie. Maria Manuela and Eugénie were staying in Paris and they had been introduced to him. He ordered his secretary Bacciochi to invite them for a diner at Saint-Cloud. Apart from Bacciochi nobody was present. After the diner he offered his arm to Eugénie who responded that her mother should receive that honour. He walked armed with Maria Manuela and Eugénie received the arm of Bacciochi. [Napoleon III Bonaparte]


The grave of Cipriano and Maria Manuela de Montijo at the cementerio San Lorenzo y San Jose, Madrid.
Picture by Androom (07 May 2012)


The grave of Cipriano and Maria Manuela de Montijo at the cementerio San Lorenzo y San Jose, Madrid.
Picture by Androom (07 May 2012)


• Bierman, John, Napoleon III and his Carnival Empire, Sphere Books, London, 1990
• Ridley, Jasper, Napoleon III and Eugénie, Constable, London, 1979
Wikipedia (EN):

Kiss, August

Published: 18 Nov 2012
Last update: 10 Mar 2022