At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

17 September 2017

Maria Luisa of Savoy

Girl from Turin ruled Spain while a teenager

Maria Luisa was little more than a child when she was married to Philip V of Spain
Maria Luisa was little more than a child
when she was married to Philip V of Spain
Maria Luisa of Savoy, who grew up to become a queen consort of Spain with a lot of influence over her husband, King Philip V, was born on this day in 1688 at the Royal Palace in Turin.

She was the daughter of Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy, and his French wife, Anne Marie d’Orleans.

Philip V of Spain wanted to maintain his ties with Victor Amadeus II and therefore asked for Maria Luisa’s hand in marriage. She was wed by proxy to Philip V in 1701 when she was still only 13.

Maria Luisa was escorted to Nice and from there sailed to Antibes en route to Barcelona. The official marriage took place in November of the same year.

Maria Luisa was both beautiful and intelligent and Phillip V was deeply in love with her right from the start.

In 1702 when Philip V left Spain to fight in the War of the Spanish Succession, Maria Luisa acted as Regent in his absence.

Philip was soon captivated by his young bride's beauty
Philip was soon captivated by his
young bride's beauty
She was praised as an effective ruler despite being only 14 years old. She gave audiences to ambassadors, worked for hours with ministers, and prevented Savoy from joining the enemy. She inspired people to make donations towards the war effort and her leadership was admired throughout Spain.

Maria Luisa gave birth to her first child, Infante Luis Felipe in 1701. She gave birth to three more children, but only two of them survived infancy.

After becoming ill with tuberculosis, Maria Luisa died in 1714 at the age of 25. She was buried at San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

Philip V married again only a few months after her death. As all three of her children died without issue, Maria Luisa had no descendants.

Turin's Palazzo Reale on sunny Piazza Castello
Turin's Palazzo Reale on sunny Piazza Castello
Travel tip:

The Royal Palace of Turin, the Palazzo Reale, where Maria Luisa was born, was built by Emmanuel Philibert, who was Duke of Savoy from 1528 to 1580.  He chose the location in Piazza Castello because it had an open and sunny position. In 1946 the building became the property of the state and in 1997 it became a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Filippo Juvarra's façade of Palazzo Madama
Filippo Juvarra's façade of Palazzo Madama
Travel tip:

Another beautiful building in Piazza Castello, is Palazzo Madama, which housed the Italian Senate during the period Turin was the capital of Italy. In 1637, Christine Marie of France, the regent for Charles Emmanuel II, chose it as her personal residence and refurbished the inner apartments. Another regent, Marie Jeanne of Savoy, lived in the palace 60 years later and invited many artists to decorate the building. She was known as Madama Reale, conferring upon it the nickname of Palazza Madama.

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