Spanish Royalty: Charles IV (1788-1808)


Figure 1.--Goya painted this almost painfully realistic portrait of King Charles IV and Queen María Luisa in 1800. Some suggest that the painting suggests that the Queen was the dominant forxce in the marriage. I believe the children are Princess Marie Isabella and Prince Francisco. I'm not sure who is in te background, perhaps one of the king's brothers. Princess Marie Isabella married King Francis I (Bourbon) of Sicily in 1802. Prince Francisco de Paula was Duke of Cadiz and married Luisa (Bourbon) of Sicily in 1819. Their child, Francisco de Asis married Queen Isabela, King Ferdinand's daughter, in 1846. Prince Francisco wears a red velvet skeleton suit. This was a popular style throughout Europe and did not have the political connotations of thde Kings' wig and knee breaches.

Charles IV (1748-1819) had the misfortune of reigning during the tumultous period of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. He succeded from his father, Charles III because his older brother was retarded. The Spanish master Goya was a court artist and painted several highly relalistic portraits of the royal family. Unlike his father, he proved to be ineffectual as king. After only a few years (1792) he turned the government over to his first minister, Godoy. Godoy was the favorite of his wife, María Luisa of Parma. After the French Revolution turned increasingly radical, King Charles like other European monarchs, entered the First Coalition against the new French Republic (1793). The war did not go well and Spain in 1795 made peace with France, signing the second Treaty of Basel. King Charles was one of the few European monrachs to ally themselves with Napoleonic France, especially interesting because Charles was a Bourbon king. Spain with the Treaty of San Ildefonso (1796) joined Spain France in a war with England that was mostly fought at sea. The French and Spanish suffered a major naval defeat at Cape St. Vincent (1797) and a disastrous defeat at Trafalgar (1805) totly destroying Spain as a sea power. Trafalgar left Britain in undisputed command of the sea for a century. The convention of Fontainebleau (1807) led to the Peninsular Campaign of the Napoleonic Wars. King Charles, who was attempting to seieze Portugal, allowed a French army to cross Spain and to fight the British in Portugal. Later French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte turned on King Charles and the French marched on Madrid, a popular uprising led to a coup at Aranjuez (1808). King Charles was forced to abdicate in favor of his son, Ferdinand VII. Napoleon then duped both Charles and King Ferdinand who had tried to reach an understanding with him, into a meeting at Bayonne, France. Onece there, he forced both Cgharles and Ferdinand to abdicate. Napoleon made his brother Joseph Bonaparte king of Spain. Napoleon kept both captive in France until 1814, when Allied armies invaded France and forced Napoleon to surender.

Parents

Charles IV was the son of King Charles III and Queen Mary Amalia of Saxony. The two married in 1765.

Father

King Charles IV was the son of King Charles III (1716- ) and Maria Louisa (Wettin) of Parma (1724- ). Charles III was yhe son of King Philip V (Bourbon) of Spain (1683- ). His mpther was Isabella Elizabeth (Farnese) (1692- ).

Mother

Charles IV's mother was Mary Amalia of Saxony. Her father was Frederick Augustus II (Wettin) of Saxony, King of Poland (1696- ). His mother was Princess Marie Josephe (Habsburg) (1699- ), a daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph I (1678- ). The Holy Roman Empire was a weak confederation of German states.

Siblings

King Charles III and Queen Mary Amalia had 13 children. Several died in infancy or childhood. The same proved true of Charles IV's children. This reflects the high infant mortality rate of the day, but for well cared for royal children the number of deaths seems extrodinarily high. The first child was Marie Elizabeth (1740-42) whi died at a very young age. Marie Josepha (1742) died in infancy only a few months after her birth. Marie Elizabeth (1743-49) lived only a few years. Marie Josepha (1744-1801) was the first child to survive to adulthood. She never married. Maria Luisa (1745-92) married Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II. One of their children, Francis II became Holy Roman Emoperor and Austrian Emperor who opposed Napoleon through many coalitions. Their first boy was Philipp Anton (1747-77). Although there was great joy that five daughters, Spain finally had an heir. Unfortunately the boy proved to be retarded. The future Charles IV (1748-1819) was the second son. Marie Therese (1749-1750) also died in infancy. The future Ferdinand IV (1751- ) became King of Naples and Sicily. Like his brother Charles, his throne was userped by the Bonapartes. He married Maria Carolina (Habsburg-Lotharingen). Gabriel Antonio Francisco (1752-1788) who married Maria Ana Vitória Josepha (de Bragança). Marie Anna (1754-55) died in infancy. Anton Pascal (1755-1817) married Marie Amalie (Bourbon). The last child was Franz Xaver (1757-71) died as a young teenager.

Childhood

Charles was born in 1748 in Naples.

Childhood Clothing

We have no information on how Charles and his brothers and sisters were dressed as boys.

Goya

The Spanish master Goya was a court artist and painted several highly relalistic, not always flattering, portraits of the royal family. Goya showed some cartoons to Charles III. Members of the royal family and aristocrats were impressed with his work, including Prince Charles. When the prince rose to the throne on the death of his father, he appointed Goya court painter. Goya along with El Greco and Velasquez is one of the three great pillars of classical Spanish art, to which Picasso has to be added in our modern era. Between the death of Velasquez in 1660 and the thunder bolt of Picasso's Guernica, it was Goya who dominated Spanish art. Goya addressed many different genres and styles. He was the court painter to Charles IV. He is widely known for his portraits of Spanish nobility, including boys, but he also painted many accomplished scenes of peasants and ordinary street life. Spme of his most famous paintings are the images from the vicious Peninsular Campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars. His portraits provide many insights of how boys dressed in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries--the point at which specialized children's clothes were emerging in Europe.

Education


Marriage

Queen María Luisa (1751-1819) was the daughter of Duke Philip (Bourbon) of Parma (1720- ). Her mother was Princess Elizabeth of France (1727-1759), a daughter of French King Louis XV. Charles and María Luisa were first cousins. They married at a young age. Charles was about 17 years old and María Luisa was about 14. María Luisa gradually gained considrable influence over her more passive husband. Some suggest that the Goya painting shown here suggests that the Queen was the dominant force in the marriage (figure 1). Charles clearly listened to his wife on matters of state affairs. The appointment of Manuel de Godoy, a handsome guardsman who had impressed the young princess, as first minister was her idea.

Children

King Charles and Queen María Luisa had an impressive 14 children. Many did not, however, sirvive childhood. The children mostly married within the Bourbon family. The eldest child Karl Klemens (1771-74) died as a young child. Charlotte (1775-1830) as a young girl married the future King John VI (de Bragança) of Portugal and Brazil in 1785. Marie Louise (1777-82) also died as a young child. Marie Amalie (1779-98) died at age 12. Karl Dominik (1780-83) also died very young. Marie Louise (1782-1824) married Duke Louis I (Bourbon) of Parma of Parma in 1795. Marie Louise and Louis I were to figure in Charles' efforts to seize Portugal in cooperation with Napoleobn. Twin boys Karl Franz (1783-84) and Philipp Franz (1783-84) both died at only 1 year of age. The future Ferdinand VII (1784-1833 was the seventh child. His younger brother Charles (1788-1855) was made Duke of Molina. Ferdinand's failure to follow the Salic Laws resulted in Carlista Wars on his behalf. Charles married Princess Francisca (de Bragança) of Portugal in 1816. He died in exile in Trieste in 1855. Marie Isabella (1789-1848) married King Francis I (Bourbon) of Sicily in 1802 (figure 1). Marie Therese (1791-94) died as a young child. Philipp (1792-94) also died as a young child. Francisco de Paula (1794-1865) was Duke of Cadiz and married Luisa (Bourbon) of Sicily in 1819 (figure 1). Their child, Francisco de Asis married Queen Isabela, Ferdinand's daughter, in 1846.

Reign

Charles IV had the misfortune of reigning during the tumultous period of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. He succeded from his father, Charles III because his older brother was retarded. Unlike his father, Charles III, he proved to be ineffectual as king. After only a few years (1792) he turned the government over to his first minister, Godoy. Godoy was the favorite of his wife, María Luisa of Parma.

French Revolution

After the French Revolution turned increasingly radical, King Charles like other European monarchs, entered the First Coalition against the new French Republic (1793). Godoy has strongly favored intervention, The goal was to restore King Louis XVI to the throne. Louis was, however, guillotined. The war proved a dissaster and Spain in 1795 made peace with the French Repoublic, signing the second Treaty of Basel. Spain with the Treaty of San Ildefonso (1796) joined France in a war with Portugal and Britain that was mostly fought at sea and was lead to the end of Spain as an important naval power. The French and Spanish suffered a major naval defeat at Cape St. Vincent (1797), but worse was to come.

Napoleonic Wars

King Charles was one of the few European monrachs to ally themselves with Republican and then Napoleonic France--especially interesting because Charles was a Bourbon king. A disastrous naval defeat at Trafalgar (1805) totaly destroying Spain as an important sea power. Trafalgar left Britain in undisputed command of the sea for a century. The convention of Fontainebleau (1807) led to the Peninsular Campaign of the Napoleonic Wars.

Portugal

Spanish kings had long coveted Portugal. King Charles in 1807 signed a secret treaty with Napoleon. The French and Spanish were to seize Portugal and most of it to be divided between Gofoy and Charles' daughter María Luisa who would become Queen of Etruria. Charles was to become Emperor of the Americas. King Charles, who was attempting to sieze Portugal, allowed a French army to cross Spain and to fight the British in Portugal. Charles agreed to provide 16,000 Spanish troops to assist the French in Denmark. Napoleon was also involved in secret negotiations with Prince Ferdinand. King Charles arrested his son and accused him of plotting to dethrone him and murder his mother and Godoy who was closely associated with the Queen. His parents reortedly forgave him which seems difficult to understand if the charges were true. The image of the royal family was badly tarnished.

The Peninsular Campaigns

The difficulties of the Spanish royal family helped convince French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte that the time was right to seize Spain. A French army was already in Portugal, austensibly allied with the Spanish, fighting the British. French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte turned on King Charles and the French army marched on Madrid. The French invasion launched a new phase of the Penisular Campaign. The Peninsula Campaigns lasted 8-9 years and devestated ares of hte country. It was in the Peninsular Campaigns that Britain's Duke of Wellington made his name. The Campaign was notable for its savegery and ot proved extremely costly to the French. The term guerrella fighters was coined by the Spanish.

The Succession

After Napoleon's forces moved on Madrid, there was a popular uprising. King Charles who had signed an akkiance with Napoleon was in part balmed for the turn of events. A palace revolution at Aranjuez forced the dismissal of Godoy and the abdication of King Charles, although he immediately declared that his abdication was forced upon him and thus invalid (1808). Ferdinand VII was enthusiastically received by the Spanish people. Ferdinand was convinced that his army could not effectively resist the French and that an arrangement was necessay with Napoleon. He refussed the Portuguese option of resisting Napoleon from the Spanish colonies in America. Napoleon then duped both Charles and King Ferdinand who had tried to reach an understanding with him, into a meeting at Bayonne, France. Onece there, he forced both Charles and Ferdinand to abdicate. Napoleon made his brother Joseph Bonaparte king of Spain. Napoleon kept both captive in France until 1814, when Allied armies invaded France and forced Napoleon to surender and Ferdinand was restored to the throne. Charles died in 1819.








Christopher Wagner








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Created: September 19, 2002
Last updated: September 19, 2002