Monday, June 10, 2013
Consort Profile: Queen Anne Marie d'Orleans
In 1688 Anne Marie gave birth to another daughter, Maria Luisa of Savoy, who was eventually married to the Duke of Anjou, the new King Philip V of Spain. This set off the War of the Spanish Succession in which the Duke of Savoy took the side of the Austrians against France and Spain. It must have been a painful ordeal for Anne Marie with relatives on both sides of the conflict. She was herself half French and half British with France on one side and Britain on the other. Her husband was on the side of Austria and Britain while her daughter and half-siblings were on the side of Spain and France. The war began in 1701 and in 1706 Anne Marie had to take her young sons and flee Turin as it was besieged by French and Spanish forces led by her half-brother the Duke of Orleans and her son-in-law King Philip V of Spain while her husband stayed on to defend the city. It seemed hopeless but Victor Amadeus II was able to hold out long enough for the Austrians (under Prince Eugene of Savoy) and the Prussians to come to the rescue and win the battle. When it was all over in 1713 the Treaty of Utrecht rewarded Victor Amadeus II with a royal crown; the Kingdom of Sicily. However, he was later forced to trade that for the Kingdom of Sardinia. This was seen as a lesser prize, nonetheless, it brought recognized royal status to the House of Savoy and made Anne Marie Queen consort of Sardinia.
Queen Anne Marie sadly died at her villa on August 26, 1728 of heart failure, one day before turning 59. She had already outlived all but two of her six children and was buried at the Basilica of Superga in Turin next to all but the two who had been married off to France and Spain.