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Infanta Luisa Fernanda, Duchess of Montpensier

Infanta Luisa Fernanda, Duchess of Montpensier

The basics
Quick Facts
A.K.A. S. A. R. Doña María Luisa Fernanda de Borbón Infanta de España, S. A. R. Doña María Luisa Fernanda de Borbón, Doña María Luisa Fernanda de Borbón, Luisa Fernanda Infanta of Spain, Su Alteza Real María Luise Fernanda de Borbón Infanta de Espagña, S. A. R. María Luisa Fernanda de Borbón, María Luisa Fernanda de Borbón, S. A. R. María Luisa Fernanda de Borbón Infanta de España, Luisa Fernanda, Duchesse de Montpensier, Doña María Luisa Fernanda de Borbón Infanta de España, María Luisa Fernanda de Borbón Infanta de España
Gender female
Birth 30 January 1832 (Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain)
Death 2 February 1897 (Seville, Comarca Metropolitana de Sevilla, Seville Province, Andalusia)
Star sign Aquarius
Mother: Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies
Father: Ferdinand VII of Spain
Siblings: Agustín Muñoz1st Duke of TarancónIsabella II of SpainMaría Amparo Muñoz1st Countess of Vista Alegre
Spouse: Antoine, Duke of Montpensier
Children: Princess Marie Isabelle of OrléansMercedes of OrléansInfante Antonio, Duke of GallieraInfanta Maria Christina de Orléans
The details

Infanta María Luisa Fernanda of Spain, Duchess of Montpensier (30 January 1832 – 2 February 1897) was Infanta of Spain and Duchess of Montpensier. She was the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand VII of Spain and his fourth wife Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies, the queen-regent, who was also his niece.



When her elder sister Isabella II of Spain succeeded to the throne, Infanta Luisa Fernanda was heiress-presumptive to the crown between 1833 and 1851, when Isabella's oldest surviving daughter was born.


Isabella had been engaged to their first cousin the Duke of Cádiz, who was known to be homosexual and rumored impotent. Their kinsman, the King of the French calculated that no children would be born from Isabella's marriage, and planned the crown of Spain to eventually devolve to his own grandchildren. For this purpose, Luisa Fernanda was engaged to the Duke of Montpensier, the youngest son of King Louis Philippe, who also was Luisa's mother's first cousin.

Luisa Fernanda, only 14 years old, and Antoine, 22, had their nuptials on 10 October 1846 as a double wedding with Isabella and Francis', and young Antoine was elevated to the rank of an Infante of Spain. The couple moved to Paris and later to Sevilla. The relationship between Isabella and her sister was tense, due to Antoine's conspiracies against the queen.

Antoine's father was deposed in 1848. The same year, the then 16-year-old Luisa Fernanda gave birth to their first child, Maria Isabel. After Isabella was deposed, the family went into exile. Luisa returned to Sevilla years later, already widowed, where she died. She is buried at Escorial.


Infanta Luisa Fernanda with her husband Duke of Montpensier and four of their children

Luisa Fernanda and Antoine had nine children, but only five reached adulthood.

  • Infanta Maria Isabel (1848–1919), who married her first cousin Philippe, comte de Paris (1838–94), the French claimant, and became known as Madame the comtesse de Paris. She had several children, including Princess Louise of Orléans, the maternal grandmother of King Juan Carlos I.
  • Infanta Maria Amelia (1851–70).
  • Infanta Maria Cristina (1852–79). After her younger sister Mercedes died, she was engaged to Alfonso XII, five years her junior, but she died before the wedding.
  • Infanta Maria de la Regla (1856–61).
  • [?] (1857–1857).
  • Infante Fernando (1859–73).
  • Infanta Maria de las Mercedes (1860–78), otherwise Princess Marie des Graces d'Orleans-Montpensier, who married her first cousin Alfonso XII and is historically known as Mercedes of Orléans, Queen of Spain. No children.
  • Infante Felipe Raimundo Maria (1862–64)
  • Infante Antonio, Duke of Galliera (1866–1930), became Duke of Galliera in Italy. He married his first cousin Infanta Eulalia of Spain (1864–1958), daughter of Isabella II, and had two sons: Infante Alfonso and Infante Luís.
  • Infante Luis Maria Felipe Antonio (1867–74)


Of all her children, just Isabelle de Paris and Antonio di Galliera left issue. Through Antonio, the now non-royal line of dukes di Galliera continues. Alfonso's grandchildren lost royal status due to non-dynastic marriages. The current Duke di Galliera is Alfonso's great-grandson, Don Alfonso Francesco de Orléans-Borbón y Ferarra-Pignatelli.

Through Marie Isabelle, she became great-grandmother of king Manuel II of Portugal, Amedeo, Duke of Aosta, Aimone, Duke of Spoleto and Luis Filipe, Duke of Braganza; great-great-grandmother of Juan Carlos I of Spain and Henri, Count of Paris.

Candidate for the Ecuadorian throne

There are several documents, mostly diplomatic correspondence between Latin American embassies settled in London, in which the personal participation of the king Louis Philippe I is presumed in the plans to create a Kingdom of Ecuador traced by the former president Juan Jose Flores, because the French Government officially denied the support when those were presented in Paris some weeks before. For this, the King bring his own money in exchange for placing one of his descendants in the Ecuadorian throne.

According to Francisco Michelena Rojas, Ecuador's ambassador in London, the plans to create a Kingdom of Ecuador traced by the former president of that South American country, General Juan Jose Flores, would have been echoed in the major European Courts with interests in America. Michelena mainly accused France of stirring in different ways to establish its domination, offering their princes under family alliances, or their protectorate, trying to influence governments against national interests and humiliating their novel nationalities. For this, the money needed for the expedtition probably coming from the king Louis Philippe I.

In the other hand Manuel Moreno, Argentina's ambassador in London, also suspected the French intervention in Ecuador, believing that the candidacy to the throne offered to Agustín Muñoz of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, third child of the second marriage of the Queen Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies, was only apparent and provisional, and that basically everything was run by the French monarch to end with the other part of the Treaty of Utrecht, and bring the House of Orléans to Latin America. Moreno based his hypothesis on the strategic marriage between Antoine d'Orléans, Duke of Montpensier, and the Spanish infanta Luisa Fernanda, for whose benefit would actually be the future monarchy their pretend to set up in America from Ecuador.

Titles, styles, and arms

  • 30 January 1832 – 10 October 1846: Her Royal Highness Infanta Luisa Fernanda of Spain
  • 10 October 1846 – 4 February 1890: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Montpensier
  • 4 February 1890 – 2 February 1897: Her Royal Highness The Dowager Duchess of Montpensier

The Duchess's complete style, after her marriage, was: Su Alteza Real la Serenísma y Egregia Señora Infanta Doña Luisa Fernanda de Borbón y Borbón, Duquesa de Montpensier (in English: Her Royal Highness the Most Serene and Egregius Lady Infanta Doña Luisa Fernanda de Bourbon, Duchess of Montpensier).



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