Maria Vittoria of Savoy

Maria Vittoria of Savoy
Princess of Carignano
Marchioness of Susa
Spouse Victor Amadeus, Prince of Carignan
Issue
Louis Victor, Prince of Carignan
Anna Teresa, Princess of Soubise
Full name
Maria Vittoria Francesca di Savoia
House House of Savoy
Father Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy
Mother Jeanne Baptiste d'Albert de Luynes
Born 9 February 1690(1690-02-09)
Turin, Savoy
Died 8 July 1766(1766-07-08) (aged 76)
Paris, France

Maria Vittoria of Savoy (Maria Vittoria Francesca; 9 February 1690 – 8 July 1766) was an illegitimate daughter of Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia and his favourite mistress Jeanne Baptiste d'Albert de Luynes, estranged wife of Joseph Ignace Scaglia, Count of Verua. She was an ancestor of Victor Emmanuel II of Italy and thus the whole present pretending Italian Royal Family. She is also a descendant of the pretenders of France.

Contents

Early life

Maria Vittoria Francesca di Savoia was the child of Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy and his favourite mistress Jeanne Baptiste d'Albert de Luynes. Born in Turin on 9 February 1690, her parents affair had begun in early 1689 when her mother Jeanne Baptiste had caught the eye of the Duke of Savoy. Her mother was originally unwilling to become the mistress of the Duke but was encouraged by her husband, mother in law and even the Dukes wife Anne Marie d'Orléans.[1]

Her parents were soon in love and the reign of her mother Jeanne Baptiste had begun at the Savoyard court; her mothers husband was horrified at Jeanne Baptiste having become the Dukes mistress and soon extracted many a favour from the Duke. Her mothers popularity made her unpopular at the Savoyard court and at one point she was nearly poisened and it was none other than the Duchess of Savoy who helped Jeanne Baptiste with her illness and helped her recover. Maria Vittoria's father became obsessed with Jeanne Baptiste; he had her shut up from view of the court for some time; Jeanne Baptiste decided to flee Savoy in 1700 and seek refuge in France, ruled by Louis XIV.

Maria Vittoria had one full sibling Vittorio Francesco who died in 1762, aged 68 having had no children. When her mother fled Savoy in 1700, Maria Vittoria and her brother were left in Savoy and were thus cared for by a loving father. It was her father who organised Maria Vittoria's marriage to Prince Victor Amadeus of Savoy, son of the Prince of Carignan. The Princes of Carignano were members of the so called House of Savoy-Carignan and a cadet branch of the House of Savoy. They were the most important people in the Duchy of Savoy after the Ducal family themselves.

Her father had her legitimised and created her the Marchesa di Susa.

Marriage

Engaged to the son of the dead Prince of Carignan and Maria Angela Caterina d'Este in mid 1714, she married Prince Victor Amadeus of Savoy at the Castle of Moncalieri on 7 November aged 23. Her father gave her husband an annual income of 400,000 livres partly to appease the union; her father was fond of Prince Victor Amadeus but in 1717, her husband was deeply in debt and lost the Kings favour.[2]

As a result Maria Vittoria's husband fled to France in July 1718 during the Regency of Philippe d'Orléans; her husband travelled as the Comte de Bosco and soon after in Maria Vittoria followed; her husband set about founding an Italian opera house with his own set designs, only one of the grand schemes for which Vittorio became notorious in Paris. He had engaged the best voices in Italy for the project, but sadly it folded within two months. It appears that Paris was not then ready for such an ambitious project.

France

The couple settled in Paris amongst the court of the infant Louis XV who lived at the Tuileries Palace. Her husband was created Intendant des Ménus Plaisirs - a sort of Master of Ceremonies by the Régent and the couple lived at the Hôtel de Soissons which they claimed by right of the Soissons inheritance which had been confiscated when Savoy had become an enemy of France under Louis XIV during the War of the Spanish Succession. During the Regency, Maria Vittoria and her husband led a louche life at the Hôtel de Soissons turning it into one of the most dangerous for gambling in the capital. Maria Vittoria eventually developed a close relationship with Cardinal Fleury [3] However, she was also an intimate of the Duke of Bourbon, Louis XV's prime minister after the death of Phillipe d'Orléans.

These connections were important as the Prince Victor Amadeus proceeded to incur massive debts in France to add to those already contracted in Savoy (he eventually died a bankrupt in 1744) so it was important to keep in with the great officers of the court of France.

Of a dramatic nature, she happily intruiged with the Duke of Bourbon and reported all happenings to her father back in Savoy. She also reported first and last attempt of Queen Marie to try to influence Louis XV politically - which involved the Duke of Bourbon's trying to dispose of Fleury, a move which ended very badly for Monsieur de Bourbon. However, the Maria Vittoria sided with Fleury, and when Monsieur de Bourbon suggested via an intermediary that if she tried to mend the relationship between himself and the Cardinal that he would pay off her husband's huge debts in both France and Savoy and settle an income of half a million livres on her, she indignantly refused.

Although the Queen sought her advice as to how to reconcile with the King, who had been very offended by Marie's attempts to interfere between himself and Fleury, Maria Vittoria never became very intimate with the Queen and in 1726 she and Fleury were speculating about who would replace Marie if she should die in childbirth.

She saw her son marry Christine of Hesse-Rotenburg[4] in 1740.

Later life

Her husband died at the Hôtel de Soissons in April 1740 heavily in debt; she lived quietly as a widow but successfully managed to marry her only surviving daughter Anna Teresa[5] to marry the once widowed Charles de Rohan, Prince of Soubise. Anna Teresa had one child; Victoire de Rohan was the governess of Louis XVI's daughter Marie Thérèse of France.

In 1763 Leopold Mozart wrote in a letter that "today my little girl was given a small, transparent snuff-box, inlaid with gold, from the Princess Carignan, and Wolfgang a pocket writing case in silver, with silver pens with which to write his compositions; it is so small and exquisitely worked that it is impossible to describe it".

She died in Paris on 8 July 1766 aged 76. She was the paternal grand mother of the princesse de Lamballe, friend of Marie Antoinette.

Issue

  • Prince Joseph Victor Amadeus of Savoy (1716 - 1716)
  • Princess Anna Teresa of Savoy (Turin, 1 November 1717 - Paris, 5 April 1745) married Charles de Rohan and had issue;
  • Prince Louis Victor of Savoy, Prince of Carignano (Paris, 25 September 1721 - Turin, 16 December 1778)
  • Prince Victor Amadeus of Savoy (1722)
  • A stillborn daughter (1729)

Ancestry

References

Notes

  1. ^ daughter of Philippe de France (brother of Louis XIV) and Princess Henrietta of England
  2. ^ |Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy had become King of Sicily in 1713 due to the Treaty of Utrecht ending the War of the Spanish Succession
  3. ^ She pretends to be devout and makes money out of the transactions of the court through the Cardinal, with whom she is on good terms.
  4. ^ whose sister Caroline of Hesse-Rotenburg had married the disgraced Duke of Bourbon in 1728
  5. ^ known as Anne Thérèse in France

See also


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