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Maria Sophie Amalie Bavarian Duchess, the last Queen Consort of Naples - the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (4 October 1841 - 19 January 1925)


The story of a marriage which was consummated only ten years after the match. However, meanwhile, the young wife gave birth to twins, of course, secretly... (Part 1)

Maria Sophie was born in 1841. In 1859 she married the heir to the throne of Naples, Francis (Francesco) II of Bourbon, the son of Ferdinand II, King of Naples. Francis was not good-looking at all, what is more, he had some other problems, which turned out later. The marriage was a political one, Ferdinand II wanted to ally himself with the Emperor of Austria, a powerful fellow absolutist - and with this match, it was possible since Empress Elisabeth was the elder sister of Marie. (Source of this paragraph)



It was Maria’s mother, Ludovica, who forced this marriage but her father, Duke Maximilian wanted to prevent it after having got to know about the “strange things” of Prince Francis. The marriage was supported by the Bavarian King due to political reasons. Eventually, they got married but the match was not consummated because of “the health problems" of the husband...

However, Maria Sophie knew (and understood) nothing about her husband’s problem due to her prude education. In the 19th century, in accordance with the spirit of the Puritan, which was very typical among the nobility and the ruling class, sex education was not usual, what is more, it was regarded as a taboo as far as the girls were concerned. (Visit: The Wedding Night and What was Left out of the Film Sissi)


After the death of her father-in-law, Ferdinand II, her husband, Francis inherited the throne and Marie Sophie became the Queen, however, their country, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, soon "disappeared", thanks to Garibaldi 's troops, who occupied that in 1861. /Gaeta battle Soran (November 5, 1860 - February 13, 1861 )/ During the battles, Marie Sophie got the name, “the Warrior Queen" because she recruited the soldiers and nursed the wounded while offering them her own food.

A website Naples Life, Death & Miracles- reads the following:

Sophie “was ‘the angel of Gaeta’, who would ‘wipe your brow if you were wounded or cradle you in her arms while you died’. (…) She was intelligent, lovely and headstrong; she could ride a horse and defend herself with a sword. She was everything you could ask for — a combination of Amazon and Angel of Mercy."

Marie Sophie in the middle of the painting by Carl Theodor von Piloty


That time the couple’s marriage was still not consummated, and Maria Sophie temporarily left Francis, with whom she did not have any marital relationship. Soon after that she fell in love with a Belgian count, Armand de Lawayss, and soon she gave birth to twins in 1862. Their relationship and her pregnancy were kept in secret by her Bavarian family. Needless to say that it would not have cast a good light on the Duke and the Bavarian Royal family, not to mention the imperial couple. Mary gave birth to her children in a monastery in Augsburg but the little girls were taken away from her after the labour.

One of the little girls, Viola, was taken by Marie's brother, Louis, and she grew up knowing to be his child. The other one was given to her father, Count Armand, and raised by him, however, her short life ended - she died of tuberculosis in 1871. The girls sometimes met their mother, whom they believed to be their "aunt", and they considered themselves as cousins.

What happened to Marie Sophie after this? Did she go back to her husband?


In Hungarian: Sisi húga, a harcos királyné

Work Cited:
Sigrid-Maria Grössing Sisi családi körben. (112-138) Gabo Kiadó, 2013
Photo: 1.Painted by Franz Hanfstaengl (1859), 2. Royal Collection