The Ducal Family of Parma in 1773.

Maria Amalia holds their eldest son, and only one to survive past infancy, Louis I of Etruria. Between her and Ferdinand is their eldest child, a daughter named Carolina of Parma.

Another daughter, christened Maria Antonia after her father’s aunt, the Queen of Sardinia, would join the family the following year.


Prince Carlos Hugo and Princess Irene

The controversy surrounding the marriage occupied the press for many months and caused a constitutional crisis in the Netherlands. Princess Irene, Queen Juliana’s second daughter, secretly converted to Catholicism in 1963 — something discovered only when she was photographed kneeling at Mass in Madrid. Immediately there were suspicions that she was engaged to a Catholic, and Prince Carlos Hugo was identified as that man.

It was considered the worst possible union on account of the historic antipathy between the two nations and Franco’s support of the Nazis . Queen Juliana immediately sent a private secretary to Madrid to dissuade Irene from marrying “a Fascist”. The Princess agreed to fly home — at which point the Queen, believing that the wedding was off, broadcast this fact to the nation on the radio.

She was wrong. When the plane landed, Princess Irene was not on board. The Queen and Prince Bernhard took a military aircraft to Spain, but had got only as far as Paris when the Dutch government announced that it would resign en masse if a Queen of the Netherlands alighted on Spanish soil.

Irene, meanwhile, went into hiding in a convent. She then took a suite of rooms near Carlos Hugo, and the two communicated by standing at their respective windows and exchanging hand signals; she feared that her telephone was tapped and that she might be kidnapped by the Dutch government.

Franco then received Carlos Hugo, perhaps seeing benefits and prestige in an alliance with the House of Orange. Finally, in February 1964, Prince Bernhard flew to Spain and brought the young couple back to the Soestdijk Palace in the Netherlands, where they had a heated discussion with the prime minister, Victor Marijnen.

With Carlos Hugo demanding a huge Catholic wedding, Queen Juliana thought the marriage would bring down the monarchy. Though Princess Irene declared her marriage to be a way of ending religious strife, Marijnen refused government approval. While the Queen continued to try to sabotage the wedding, the young couple flew to Rome for an audience with Pope Paul VI.

Queen Juliana was then due to go to Mexico on an official visit, taking Princess Irene with her. Again the Princess failed to show up at the airport. She then declared herself a Carlist supporter, attending a rally in Spain, and promptly lost any vestige of Dutch support.

The couple were married in Rome on April 29 1964 by Cardinal Paolo Giobbe, former Apostolic Nuncio to the Netherlands, with no members of the Dutch royal family present. They then settled in Madrid. The Princess instantly forfeiting her claim to the Dutch throne.

Matters eventually calmed down, and Queen Juliana and Carlos Hugo’s father were pictured holding the couple’s first-born son, Carlos, at his baptism in 1970. Another son and two daughters followed, but the couple divorced in 1981.

The Duchy of Parma had been established by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 after a complicated war of succession . King Ferdinand VII of Spain died without a male heir in 1833, and appointed his daughter Isabella to follow him. The King’s younger brother, Don Carlos, refused to recognise Isabella II’s rights, and instigated the first Carlist war, which lasted until 1839.

From him descended the Carlist claimants, who were supported only by the most reactionary of the Spanish nobility. As Time magazine pointed out at the time of the marriage crisis in 1964: “Descended from him [Don Carlos] is a list of chronically unsuccessful Carlist pretenders, including Irene’s fiancé.”

Carlos Hugo was born in Paris on April 8 1930 and baptised with the copious names of Hugues Marie Sixte Robert Louis Jean Georges Benoît Michel. In 1963 he was re-baptised as “Carles Hugues” by judgment of the Court of Appeal of La Seine, France.

He was the elder son of Xavier, Duke of Parma, and his wife, Madeleine de Bourbon-Busset, and educated at the Sorbonne and Oxford. His uncle Felix was the husband of Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg; one aunt married King Ferdinand I of the Bulgarians, while another, Zita, was the last Empress of Austria.

Carlos Hugo’s father was the seventh son of Duke Roberto I (who had 24 children) and had become head of the family after the deaths of two mentally diminished half-brothers and another half-brother and his unmarried son. Duke Xavier publicly claimed the throne in 1952 and, in 1957, declared his son and heir Prince of the Asturias and Duke of San Jaime. In February 1964 Carlos Hugo assumed the title of Duke of Madrid. He succeeded his father in 1977, claiming the thrones of Parma, Etruria and Spain. He also claimed to be head of the Constantinian Order of St George.

Following Duke Xavier’s death, Carlos Hugo styled himself Carlos VIII. To be a pretender when General Franco was in power was something of a lost cause (he consistently dismissed the claim), but the family took it seriously. In 1967 both Carlos Hugo and his father were banned from Spain as potential threats to the unity of the state.

Franco appointed Prince Juan Carlos (grandson of the last King, Alfonso XIII) as his successor and he duly became King when Franco died in 1975. A year later, ever ready to denounce the royal incumbent, Carlos Hugo re-entered Spain and attended a Carlist party celebration at Montejurra. This turned into a massacre when two Carlist sympathisers were shot dead by terrorists of the Far Right.

In 1979 Carlos Hugo abandoned his claims and became a naturalised Spanish citizen. The following year he left the political arena. In 2002 he donated the archives of the House of Parma to Spain’s national archives. But on September 28 2003 he suddenly reasserted his claim, with declarations of new titles for his children.

In 2002 Carlos Hugo came to London to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in Westminster Abbey. (She had been a godmother to Princess Irene.) In February 2008 it was announced that he was suffering from cancer, and he died in Barcelona on August 18, 2010. Source


The family of Robert I, Duke of Parma, is rather interesting.

Robert fathered TWENTY FOUR children with two different women.

Ten married and had children, six were mentally disabled, three didn’t survive infancy, four became nuns, one was deaf, and one became the last Empress of Austria. Oh, and two sons fought in the Belgian Army while two fought in the Austrian Army during WWI. 

Impressive, huh?

Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès (October 18, 1753-March 8, 1824), French lawyer and statesman. Born into a noble family in Montpellier, he studied law and succeeded his father as a counselor in the court of accounts and finances there in 1774. He supported the French Revolution and was elected to the National Convention in 1792, representing the department of Hérault and proclaiming the first republic the same year. De Cambacérès was a moderate, protesting the Convention’s right to sit as a court to try Louis XVI, but he did vote “guilty” at the end of the trial. In 1799, he was appointed Minister of Justice; in that capacity, he supported Napoleon Bonaparte’s coup of 18 Brumaire, in which Napoleon become First Consul and de Cambacérès was named Second Consul. Napoleon directed him to lead a commission to revise the nation’s cumbersome, confusing and outdated laws and the result was the Code Civil des Français, better known as the Napoleonic Code, which went into force on March 21, 1804. This code enshrined many of the most important principles of the French Revolution, such as abolishing privileges based on birth, allowing for freedom of religion, and establishing the idea of qualification for employment by merit rather than influence or purchase; however, the Code had a negative impact on the rights of women, as it determined the supremacy of the husband/father over his wife and children and abolished the right of mutual divorce. Through Napoleon’s conquest of much of Europe, the legal code written by de Cambacérès became law in most of Europe, and would influence legal concepts elsewhere, notably in the Middle East and Latin America. De Cambacérès was relatively open about his homosexuality, never marrying and sharing his life with several men; indeed, de Cambacérès’ penchant for cruising the Palais-Royal was so well known that it was even mentioned in debate in the National Assembly. As a result, many assume that the decriminalization of homosexuality in France is due to his influence; this is not the case: sodomy was decriminalized in 1791, during the early days of the Revolution and before he had entered the government; the laws were simply not reinstated. As Second Consul, de Cambacérès – whom Napoleon had named a prince of the Empire as well as the Duke of Parma in 1808 – was often the de-facto leader of the French Empire during Napoleon’s many military engagements away from the country. After Napoleon’s fall from power and the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in 1814, de Cambacérès was briefly stripped of his citizenship and threatened with exile, but his status was restored in 1818 and he lived quietly in Paris until his death in 1824.

Family of Robert I, Duke of Parma

Children with Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
- Princess Marie Louise (Princess Consort of Bulgaria)

- Prince Ferdinando (died in infancy)
- Princess Luisa Maria
- Enrico, Duke of Parma and Piacenza
- Princess Maria Immacolata
- Prince Giuseppe
- Princess Maria Teresa
- Princess Maria Pia
- Princess Beatrice
- Elias, Duke of Parma
- Princess Maria Anastasia
- Prince Augusto / Princess Augusta (stillborn)

Children with Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal
- Princess Maria della Neve Adelaide
- Prince Sixtus
- Princess Xavier of Bourbon-Parma (Carlist pretender to the throne of Spain)
- Princess Francesca
- Princess Zita (Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary)

- Prince Felix of Luxembourg
- Prince René
- Princess Maria Antonia
- Princess Isabella
- Prince Luigi
- Princess Henrietta Anna
- Prince Gaetano

D is for Robert I, Duke of Parma
  • Born: July 9th, 1848 in Florence, Italy
  • Died: November 16th, 1907 in Florence, Italy
  • Full Name: Roberto Carlo Luigi Maria di Bourbon
  • Mother: Louise Marie Therese d'Artois
  • Father: Charles III, Duke of Parma
  • Married: Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon- Two Sicilies (b 1849- d 1882), Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal (b 1862- d 1849)

  • Became duke at the age of six when his father was assasinated, his mother was his regent.
  • He was deposed at the age of eleven when Italy was united.
  • He father TWENTY FOUR children, only three of whom died in infancy, with two wives.
  • His first wife, Maria Pia, died in childbirth along with their twelfth child.
  • Six of his children (all with Maria Pia) had some form of mental disability. I was unable to find out to what extent or what there diagnosis were. After his death, Maria Antonia (his second wife) had them declared legally incompetent. 
  • One daughter was deaf (Henrietta) and three became nuns.
  • Ten of his children married and had children.