Charles II, Duke of Parma bigraphy, stories - Monarchs

Charles II, Duke of Parma : biography

22 December 1799 - 16 April 1883

Charles Louis of Bourbon-Parma (Carlo Ludovico di Borbone Parma) (22 December 1799 – 16 April 1883) was King of Etruria (1803–1807), Duke of Lucca (1824–1847), and Duke of Parma (1847–1849).

He was the only son of Louis, Prince of Piacenza, and his wife Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain. Born at the Royal Palace of Madrid at the court of his maternal grandfather King Charles IV of Spain, he spent his first years living at the Spanish court. In 1801, by the Treaty of Aranjuez, Charles became Crown Prince of Etruria, a newly created kingdom formed from territories of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Charles moved to Italy with his parents and in 1803, not yet four years old, he succeeded his father as King of Etruria under the name Charles Louis I.

His mother Infanta Maria Luisa assumed the regency while Charles Louis minority lasted. In 1807 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the kingdom of Etruria and Charles Louis and his mother took refuge in Spain. In May 1808 they were forced to leave Spain by Napoleon who arrested Charles Louis' mother in a convent in Rome. Between 1811 and 1814 Charles Louis was placed under the care of his grandfather the deposed King Charles IV of Spain.

After Napoleon's fall, in 1817, Infanta Maria Luisa became Duchess of Lucca in her own right and Charles Louis, age sixteen, became hereditary Prince of Lucca. In 1820 he married Princess Maria Teresa of Savoy. They were a mismatched couple and had only one surviving son.

At his mother's death in 1824, Charles Louis became the reigning Duke of Lucca as Charles I. He had little interest in ruling. He left the duchy in the hands of his ministers and spent most of his time traveling around Europe. A liberal movement led him to abdicate Lucca in favor of the Grand Duke of Tuscany in October 1847 in exchange for financial compensation, as he wanted to retire to private life. Two months later, in December 1847, at the death of the former Empress Marie Louise, he succeeded her as the reigning Duke of Parma according to what had been stipulated by the Congress of Vienna.

His reign in Parma as Duke Charles II was brief. He was ill received by his new subjects and within a few months he was ousted by a revolution. He regained control of Parma under the protection of Austrian troops, but finally abdicated in favor of his son Charles III on 14 March 1849. His son was assassinated in 1854 and his grandson Robert I, the last reigning Duke of Parma, was deposed in 1860. In exile Charles Louis assumed the title of count of Villafranca. He spent the last years of his life mostly in France, dying at Nice on 16 April 1883.


In 1820 his mother arranged his marriage with Princess Maria Teresa of Savoy (1803–1879), one of the twin daughters of King Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia. The wedding took place in Lucca on 5 September 1820. Maria Theresa, who turned seventeen two weeks after the wedding, was tall and beautiful. They were said to be the most handsome royal couple. They had two children:

  • Luisa Francesca (29 October 1821 – 8 September 1823)
  • Charles III, Duke of Parma (1823–1854)

Charles Louis was witty, charming and of a gregarious nature. Maria Theresa was melancholic and, unlike her husband, she was a deeply devout Catholic. They were a mismatched couple who lived most of their married life apart from each other. "Even if there was no love", Charles Louis later commented, "there was respect".

King of Etruria

right After his father's death, Charles Louis, who was only three years old, succeeded him as King Charles Louis I of Etruria. He was under the regency of his mother Maria Luisa. In 1807, Napoleon dissolved the kingdom and had Charles Louis and his mother brought to France. Charles Louis was promised the throne of a new Kingdom of Northern Lusitania (in the north of Portugal), but this plan never materialized, due to the break between Napoleon and the Spanish Bourbons in 1808. Charles Louis, his mother and sister looked for refuge in Spain, arriving at the court of Charles IV on 19 February 1808. Spain was in unrest, and less than three months after they arrival, all members of the Spanish Royal family were taken to France on Napoleon's orders, while Napoleon gave the Spanish crown to his brother Joseph Bonaparte.

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Living octopus

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