9 thoughts on “WCW: Marie-Louise, Duchess of Parma

  1. And an uncredited role, played by Violet Rensing, in Marlon Brando’s 1954 “Desiree”. 7th from the bottom on the IMDb full cast list…

  2. Just a small correction: Napoleon had at least two acknowledge illegitimate children, one with Josephine’s lectrice and one with his beloved Polish mistress, Marie Walevska. The birth of the latter was what convinced him that he was not the sterile one in his marriage and that he had to divorce and remarry a younger, more fertile bride.

    1. Indeed – Napoléon and Marie Walewska’s son, Alexandre Colonna-Walewski, was an open secret at first. After Napoléon’s death and during the Second Empire, Alexandre was a well received French diplomat. Alexandre apparently sounded exactly like Napoléon. One time, while Alexandre was giving a speech in Paris, naturally some veterans were in the crowd. One veteran burst into tears on hearing his voice. Alexandre asked to meet the veteran and the veteran explained: “I never thought I’d hear that voice again! You sound just like your father!”

      And I think it’s important to note that while yes, Napoléon was made aware he wasn’t infertile, the War of the Fifth Coalition played a huge role in the necessity and urgency of Napoléon’s divorce. It’s often overlooked in that regard.

  3. My favorite is Mavie Hörbiger, who I think was finally allotted some personality haha. Mavie Hörbiger is just beautiful as Marie-Louise. I don’t think any of them really were given that much room to breath as a character, though.

    Also, slight note: your image from Napoleon and Love (1974) is interestingly from something else. I believe it’s Daniele Lebrun, but either way it’s from Joséphine ou la comédie des ambitions (1979). I can tell because in the foreground is Daniel Mesguich as Napoléon, the actor who had the most eerie resemblance to young Napoléon I’ve ever seen:


  4. It’s a pity Marie Louise is just a spear carrier for Napoleon on celluloid. She led a very interesting and emotionally conflicted life. Married young to a man she’d been brought up to consider an orgre she seems to have been afraid of Napoleon, though gratefully recognizing his kindness to her. She went on to achieve an unusual degree of independence and happiness for a royal woman of the time, presented with her own little kingdom and able to choose men she wanted in her bed.

  5. I just last night finished a book on her. Marie Louise’ biggest issue was going with the last advice she heard…she was talked out of joining Napoleon after his first exile and then, after having written him letters for two years of how she could not bear being away from him, pretty much forgot she ever knew him lol…the love of her life was her second husband the general…she had some children by him before Napoleon died. She married him secretly right afterward. The third husband was her advisor after the general died so she married him too lol. But she did a lot of charity and public works for Parma, her mini kingdom.

  6. Ironically, although her son by Napoleon (actually a quite colourless youth of no particular talents as far as anybody knows, who died young of TB) is the only one of her descendants people bother about, it’s the eldest son of her eldest son with Count Neipperg who actually had a crucial impact on history.

    He was the second Prince Montenuovo (a translation into Italian of the Count’s name) and became Obersthofmeister (Grand Master of the Court) to the Emperor Franz Josef. As such he was the arbiter of court ceremonial and etiquette, wehich obessed him. He hated Franz Ferdinand and his morganatic wife (possibly because his own grandparents’ marriage had been morganatic), and took every possible opportunity to humiliate her. When the couple were assassinated he persuaded Franz Josef that, as Franz Ferdinand had left very strict instructions in his will that they were to be buried together, it would be utterly improper to have a state funeral that included a non-Imperial wife, and ensured that their funeral and burial was carried out as shabbily and privately as possible.

    Had there been a state funeral, the crowned heads of Europe, most of them close cousins, would all have as a matter of course have turned up and would have found themselves talking to each other; it would have been impossible for the politicians and generals to hijack the course of events and set their countries on the collision course that was the Great War.

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