Her Royal Highness the late Duchess d’Aumale
Maria Caroline Augusta de Bourbon, Duchess d’Aumale, whose death was yesterday briefly announced in these columns, was a daughter of Leopold, Prince of Salerno, of the Neapolitan branch of the Bourbons, and of Marie Clémentine, an Archduchess of Austria. She was born at Vienna on the 26th of April, 1822, and passed the early years of her life at the Court of Vienna. There, too, she was first introduced to the world under the care of her mother, the Princess of Salerno, and of her godmother, the Empress Caroline, third wife of her grandfather, Francis I. of Austria. She was, therefore, by her mother’s side a niece of the Empress Marie Louise, and a niece in the second degree of Queen Marie Antoinette.
The young Princess was in the bloom of youth when her family returned to take up their residence at Naples, and negotiations were opened in more than one quarter for her marriage. Her choice fell on the fourth son of King Louis Philippe, Henri d’Orleans, Duc d’Aumale, and heir of the House of Condé, a Prince of about her own age, but who had already, at 22, acquired no common distinction in the world by a brilliant campaign in Algeria, and especially by his exploit of the capture of the Smalah of Abd-el-Kader. The Duke and Duchess d’Aumale were married at Naples on the 25th of November, 1844. Their lot was destined to great vicissitudes of fortune - to splendour, to exile, to celebrity, to retirement, to great enjoyments and great sorrows, to distant journeys and to the simplicity of domestic life; but in all these changes and accidents the Duchess bore her part with an entire and devoted sympathy in the fate of her husband.
Several children were born of this marriage, which has just been thus prematurely terminated. But of these one only survives, the young Duc de Guise, born at Twickenham on the 5th of January, 1854, now the last representative of the Condé branch of the French Royal Family. Of the other children of this marriage two boys died in infancy. The eldest, known as the young Prince de Condé, who was born at St. Cloud on the 15th of November, 1845, was a young man of singular promise; but he, too, was pursued by the fatality which seems to have attached itself to that illustrious name. Having sailed on a voyage to the Australian colonies and the further East, he caught a typhus fever at Sydney, and died there, a few months after he had left England, on the 24th of May, 1866. From the loss of her firstborn, under those painful circumstances, the Duchess d’Aumale never wholly recovered, and in her last hours the thought of rejoining her son appeared to allay the pang of parting from those she loved on earth for ever.
In the earlier years of their married life the political and military duties of the Duc d’Aumale in the service of France fixed his residence as Governor-General in Algeria, where his young wife accompanied him, and where her name and his are not forgotten. The events of February, 1848, drove them into exile, and fixed them in this country, which they have from that time regarded as their home. It will be remembered hereafter to the honour of the Princesses of the French Royal family with what remarkable dignity and resignation they accepted an altered position, and among them the Duchess d’Aumale was conspicuous for the part she took in the pursuits and the amusements of her husband. She accompanied him to Spain, to Sicily, to Switzerland, to the East. She even shared his taste for the hardier sports of the field. She presided over the liberal hospitalities of Twickenham; but in latter years her favourite residence and mode of life was at Woodnorton, the Duc d’Aumale’s farm near Evesham, in Worcestershire, where she enjoyed without alloy the pleasures of English country life and the undivided society of her husband and her surviving son.
Nor did she take a less cordial share in the political interests of the illustrious family to which she belonged, both by birth and marriage. She had adopted with them the proud motto, “J’attendrai,” and if she lived not long enough to see again the land of France, she waited at least in resignation and hope until the will of Providence removed her to another world. Conscious of the danger attending the malady from which she had been suffering for the last six weeks, she called on Sunday for the last sacraments of the Church, received them with devout piety, and on the following day, blessing her son, and with her eyes still fixed on him who had been to her the supreme object of all earthly affection, gently expired.
Court Circular, The Times 8 December 1869.
Windsor Castle, Dec 7.
The Queen received last evening the melancholy intelligence of the death of the Duchess d’Aumale.
Her Majesty, accompanied by Princess Louise, paid a visit of condolences to his Royal Highness the Duke d’Aumale, at Orleans House, Twickenham (where all the other members of the family were assembled this afternoon.
Her Majesty travelled by a special train on the South-Western Railway to Twickenham, and returned to Windsor Castle at 5 o’clock.
The Countess of Caledon and Lord Charles Fitzroy were in attendance.
From Burke’s Royal Families of the World, Vol. I, 1977, pp. 92-93, 528:
Princess Marie Caroline Auguste of the Two Sicilies, b. at Vienna 26 April 1822, d. at Twickenham, Middlesex 6 December 1869, buried first at Weybridge, transferred to Dreux in 1876. She was the daughter of Prince Leopoldo of the Two Sicilies, Prince of Salerno (1790-1851; 6th son of Ferdinando IV, King of Naples and Sicily), by his wife and niece Maria Clementina Francesca Guiseppa (1798-1881; 6th daughter of Franz I, Emperor of Austria). She married at Naples 25 November 1844 Henri Eugène Philippe Louis, Duke of Aumâle (b. at the Palais Royal 16 January 1822, d. at Zucco, near Palermo 7 May 1897; buried at Dreux), a distinguished soldier, Inspector-General of the French Army 1879, exiled from France 1886, historian, author of «History of the Princes of Condé», member of the French Academy, Kt. Spanish Order of the Golden Fleece.
The surviving son (of 4), François Louis Philippe Marie, Duke of Guise, born at Twickenham, Middlesex 15 April 1854, died in the Faubourg St. Honoré, Paris 25 July 1872, and was buried at Dreux.
Obviously the Duke d’Aumâle was the fifth, not the fourth as The Times writes, of Louis Philippe I, King of the French (1773-1830-1848-1850).
This page was last updated on Tuesday 23 October 2001
(first time published on Thursday 6 March 2001).