5 days ago
Maria Annunziata Bonaparte, known as Caroline Bonaparte, was Queen of Naples and of the kingdom of the two Sicilies. Indeed, she was married to Gioacchino Murat, who obtained the crown of Naples during the French Empire by intercession of Caroline herself (who was Napoleon's sister).
After moving to Naples, Gioacchino obstacled Caroline's participation in politics, arguing she was too close to her brother and to France, thus not interested in taking care of her own kingdom.
Then, Caroline spent all her time on decorating her residences, in particular Palazzo Reale, which was restructured and provided with French-style gardens.
Keen on ancient history, she subsidized the archaeological excavations of Pompeii and the restoration of an ancient Roman domus. She also included in the Royal Palace collection a real Roman mosaic from Herculaneum, representing the mythological Medusa.
At the same time, Caroline invested heavily in the economic field, favoring and developing the luxury manufacturing sector: she modernized silk and cotton weaving factories, and the coral's manufacturing laboratories of jewellery, a field in which Naples became the largest producer at that time.
She also imported the French lifestyle in Naples, by promoting arts, fashion, theaters and French-taste cooking.
When her husband's kingdom collapsed in 1815, Caroline was sent to exile in Vienna. In 1821, she moved to Trieste at "Villa Murat", belonging to her sister Elena.
However, Naples remained her great love, and for the rest of her life she kept the title of Countess of "Lipona", anagram of "Napoli". Caroline Bonaparte Murat is often forgotten in favor of her illustrious "enemy" Marie Caroline of Austria, already Queen of Naples as the wife of Ferdinando I of Bourbon, deposed by Napoleon in 1808 and refugee in Palermo. Between 1808 and 1815 Naples had two Queens with the same name, and none of them had the chance to go back to Naples after the departure.
In this painting of 1808 by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun - the portraitist of Marie Antoniette who survived the French Revolution - Caroline is portrayed with her daughter Letizia. #HistoricalBeauties #sharethebeauty #thebeautyofhistory