Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day

A May Queen in 1887. (Photo courtesy of New Westminster Public Library)

Happy 1st of May!


MadMonarchist said...

A remarkable woman Queen Marie-Jose. I wonder if she had any clue what was in store for her when she married? They "looked" like such a good couple -what a shame. Some might also find it ironic that a Belgian princess was marrying a Savoy prince when so many Belgians served so admirably in defending Rome from the Savoy army. Of course, I am always glad to see royal reconciliations but in this case I suppose it didn't finally matter anyway. Still, she showed a willingness to put duty first that is sadly rather out of fashion today.

May said...

She used to tell a story about her visit as a little girl to one of her great-aunts who had been the last Queen of Naples, before the unification of Italy. When her great-aunt found out that the family were thinking of an eventual marriage between Marie-José and the Savoy heir, she strongly disapproved, naturally considering the Savoys usurpers, and told her great-niece: "If you marry him, you will never be happy."

Marie-José was quite troubled by this, but her mother told her afterwards, that dynasties seizing the throne from one another happened frequently in history, in any case.

Marie-José had always hoped for a happy and collaborative marriage like that of her parents, but she was disappointed, and the situation was made all the worse by having to live under Mussolini.

I think however she would have made a great Queen.

King Albert used to say she was the most brilliant of all his children, and added that she should have been the heir to the throne of Belgium!

The marriage was a complicated issue; perhaps the subject for another post. Some of the things said against Umberto seem to have been stirred up by the fascist regime to discredit the monarchy, it's not clear that they could necessarily be proven, (from what I've read).

Marie-José did not blame her husband, personally, for the fact that the marriage never seemed to work out, but there was certainly a great deal of unhappiness. Yet they seemed to retain a genuinely strong mutual respect and affection. After Umberto's death Marie-José said: "He was a man of great rectitude and personal virtue... he would have made an ideal King, he had all the qualities..."

Ingrid Mida said...

What a pretty photo!
Thanks for being a follower of my book blog (Blog of a Bookworm). I've decided to integrate my posts into my other blog Fashion is My Muse and I hope to see you there. Best wishes!

May said...

I'm looking forward to it. Thanks for visiting!