Sunday, 18 May 2014

A Lady of Many Names: Maria Josepha Amalia of Saxony

Maria Josepha Amalia of Saxony (Maria Josepha Amalia Beatrix Xaveria Vincentia Aloysia Franziska de Paula Franziska de Chantal Anna Apollonia Johanna Nepomucena Walburga Theresia Ambrosia; Dresden, Saxony, Germany, 6th December 1803 – Aranjuez, Spain, 18th May 1829)

Maria Josepha of Saxony by  Francesco Lacoma y Fontanet, 1820
Maria Josepha of Saxony by  Francesco Lacoma y Fontanet, 1820

Well, having taken the time to navigate her name, the tea is well and truly poured so let's meet Maria Josepha Amalia of Saxony. Her life was as short as her name was long but it was certainly not uneventful.

When Maria Josepha Amalia was just a few months old her mother, Caroline of Parma, died and her father, Maximilian, Crown Prince of Saxony, sent the little girl off to be raised in a convent. Here she developed a piety and faith that never left her, even when she left the convent behind to enter the world.

Elsewhere, our old friend Ferdinand VII of Spain was on the hunt for a bride, having been left a widower with no heirs by the death of his second wife, Maria Isabel of Portugal. Prince Maximilian suggested that he might know of just the girl and the match was made, with 25 year old Ferdinand marrying 16 year old Maria Josepha Amalia on 20th October 1819 in Madrid.

The king was enraptured by his new wife's poised and demure demeanour, not to mention her considerable beauty but the young last found life as a bride something of a culture shock. As she struggled to adapt to this new existence the court waited on tenterhooks for an heir to arrive.

And waited.

With two childless marriages behind him, Ferdinand's latest match continued to be fruitless as the queen refused to grant her husband access to her bed, so devout was her faith. Finally Pope Pius VII himself prevailed upon her to at least try for an heir but it was not to be. Rarely seen in public, the young queen died of a fever at home in Aranjuez, leaving her husband bereft.

Life in the Georgian Court, true tales of 18th century royalty, is available at the links below.


  1. Lumme what a bucketful of names to load on a defenceless infant!

  2. shared this onto my blog under names....

  3. Any idea where the 'Nepomuk' of the boys and 'Nepomucena' came from? I couldn't find any when I looked up the house of Wettin

    1. It comes from her father but I can't find where it originated...

    2. It is after the Martyr St. John Nepomucene, patron saint of Bohemia, who was tortured to death for refusing to break the seal of the confessional.

  4. Thank you! I've never heard of him, I'm afraid, and I thought I was quite well up on saints!