Maria Theresa of Spain

From Academic Kids

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Some suspected Theresa's death in 1683 was foul-play.

Maria Theresa of Spain (in French: Marie Thrse) (September 10, 1638 - July 30, 1683), queen consort of France as wife of Louis XIV of France, was born at the Escorial as the daughter of Philip IV of Spain and of Elisabeth of France (1602 - 1644).

She was called, in France, Marie-Thrse d'Autriche : her aunt, Anne of Austria, also Spanish princess, was also called from the Austrian archiducal title, that the Habsburg of Spain always wore.

By pretending to seek a bride for his master in Margaret of Savoy, Cardinal Mazarin had induced the king of Spain to make proposals for the marriage of his daughter with Louis XIV, and the treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659 stipulated for her marriage with the French king, Marie renouncing any claim to the Spanish succession. As the treaty, however, hinged on the payment of her dowry, which was practically impossible for Spain, Mazarin could evade the other terms of the contract. Marie Thrse was married in June 1660, when Philip IV with his whole court accompanied the bride to the Isle of Pheasants in the Bidassoa, where Louis met her.

The new queen's amiability and her undoubted virtues failed to secure her husband's regard and affection. She saw herself neglected in turn for Louise de La Vallire, Mme. de Montespan and others; but Marie Thrse was too pious and too adoring of her husband to openly resent the position in which she was placed by the king's avowed infidelities. Provided the Queen acted with dignity and didn't make a scene, the King would leave her to her own devices, with her dwarves, chocolate and maids. With the growing influence of Madame de Maintenon over his mind and affections he bestowed more attention on his wife, which she repaid by lavishing kindness on the mistress.

Marie Thrse had no part in political affairs except in 1672, when she acted as regent during Louis XIV's campaign in the Netherlands. She died on 30 July 1683 at Versailles, not without suspicion of foul play on the part of her doctors. There is, however, no real proof that the Queen was poisoned. Her death was probably the only occasion in her life that caused the King any sort of emotion on his part, albeitly briefly, apart from his sadness at losing so many legitimate children in infancy. Of her six children only one survived her, the dauphin Louis, who died in 1711.

Perhaps the quote that Marie Thrse should be most famous for is the infamous line "If they have no bread then let them eat cake!" since it was undoubtedly Marie Thrse who uttered this infamous one-liner, rather than her unfortunate descendant Marie Antoinette.

It was rumoured that the Queen gave birth to a 'black' daughter, which was then hushed up by the King and her doctors. No proof of the existence of this child was ever found, but considering both husband's and wife's Spanish and Moorish ancestry, it may have been no surprise if was true.

See the funeral oration of Bossuet (Paris, 1684), E. Ducere, Le Mariage de Louis XIV d'aprs les contemporains et des documents indits (Bayonne, 1905); Dr Cabanes, Les Morts mysterieuses de l'histoire (1900), and the literature dealing with her rivals Louise de la Vallire, Madame de Montespan and Madame de von Spanien fr:Marie-Thrse d'Autriche (1638-1683) ru:Мария Терезия Австрийская


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