Charles II, Duke of Parma

Charles II, Duke of Parma
Charles II / Charles Louis
King of Etruria
Reign 27 May 1803 - 10 December 1807 (&100000000000000040000004 years, &10000000000000197000000197 days)
Predecessor Louis I
Duke of Lucca
Reign 13 March 1824 - 17 December 1847 (&1000000000000002300000023 years, &10000000000000279000000279 days)
Predecessor Maria Louisa of Spain
Duke of Parma
Reign 17 December 1847 - 17 May 1849 (&100000000000000010000001 year, &10000000000000151000000151 days)
Predecessor Marie Louise, Empress of the French
Successor Charles III
Spouse Princess Maria Teresa of Savoy
Princess Luisa
Prince Charles
Father Louis of Etruria
Mother Maria Louisa, Duchess of Lucca
Born 22 December 1799(1799-12-22)
Died 16 April 1883(1883-04-16) (aged 83)

Charles Louis of Bourbon-Parma (Carlo Ludovico di Borbone Parma) (22 December 1799 – 16 April 1883) was King of Etruria (1803–1807), Duke of Lucca (1824–1847), and Duke of Parma (1847–1849).


Early life and marriage

Charles Louis was born in Madrid as the only son of Louis, Prince of Piacenza, son and heir of Ferdinand, Duke of Parma, and his wife Infanta Maria Louisa of Spain, daughter of King Charles IV of Spain. In 1801, Charles Louis became Crown Prince of the newly-created Kingdom of Etruria as heir to his father, whom Napoleon had made King of Etruria. After his father's death in 1803, Charles Louis succeeded as King Charles Louis under the regency of his mother Maria Louisa. In 1807, Napoleon dissolved the kingdom and had Charles Louis and his mother brought to France. Charles Louis was promised the throne of a new Kingdom of Northern Lusitania (in the North of Portugal), but this plan never materialized, due to the break between Napoleon and the Spanish Bourbons in 1808.

After Napoleon's downfall in 1815, the House of Bourbon was not restored to the Duchy of Parma, which was instead given to Napoleon's wife, the Empress Marie Louise. The Congress of Vienna compensated the Bourbons with the Duchy of Lucca, which was given to Charles Louis' mother, with Charles Louis as her heir with the title Prince of Lucca. He was also promised the right of succession to Parma upon Empress Marie Louise's death.

On September 5, 1820, in Lucca, Charles Louis married Princess Maria Teresa of Savoy (1803–1879), daughter of King Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia. They had two children:

They were a mismatched couple who lived most of their married life apart from each other.

Duke of Lucca

On March 13, 1824 Charles Louis' mother died and he succeeded her as Charles I, Duke of Lucca. For the first few years of his reign he was largely absent from the duchy, leaving its government to his ministers led by Ascanio Mansi. From 1824 to 1827 Charles Louis travelled throughout Italy. From 1827 to 1833 he travelled in Germany where he owned two castles: Uchendorff and Weisstropp (near Dresden).

In the early 1830s Charles Louis began to take an increased interest in state affairs. In 1833 he granted a general amnesty in Lucca.

In foreign relations, Charles Louis recognised the King Louis Philippe of France, who had come to power in the July Revolution of 1830. He was also allied with the Carlists in Spain. In 1834, his uncle the Carlist claimant Carlos V made Charles Louis an Infante of Spain.

Duke of Parma and abdication

In 1847, the Empress Marie Louise died. Charles Louis succeeded as Charles II, Duke of Parma. The Duchy of Lucca was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, while Parma lost Guastalla but acquired Lunigiana.

In 1848, revolution broke out in Parma. On 19 April 1848 Charles abdicated in favor of his son, who had himself escaped. Later, Austrian troops led by Marshall Radetzki occupied the duchy and restored Charles II, but a second offensive by the Kingdom of Sardinia obliged Charles' final resignation on May 17, 1849. He lived the rest of his life in France, where he used the title Count of Villafranca. He died at Nice.


Further reading

Lucarelli, Giuliano. Lo sconcertante duca di Lucca: Carlo Ludovico di Borbone Parma. Lucca: Fazzi, 1986.

Trebiliani, M.L. "Carlo II di Borbone", Dizionario biografico degli italiani, 20: 251-258. Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana. Text also available in the Dizionario biografico degli Parmigiani.

Charles II, Duke of Parma
Cadet branch of the House of Capet
Born: 22 December 1799 Died: 16 April 1883
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Louis I
King of Etruria
(as Charles Louis)

Succeeded by
annexed by France
Preceded by
Maria Louisa
Duke of Lucca
(as Charles Louis)

Succeeded by
annexed by Tuscany
Preceded by
Marie Louise
Duke of Parma
(as Charles II)

Succeeded by
Charles III

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