Prognathism is well recorded as a trait of several historical individuals. The most famous case is that of the House of Habsburg, among whom mandibular prognathism was a family trait; indeed, the condition is frequently called “Habsburg Jaw” as a result of its centuries-long association with the family. Among the Habsburgs, the most prominent case of mandibular prognathism is that of Charles II of Spain, who had prognathism so pronounced he could neither speak clearly nor chew as a result of generations of politically motivated inbreeding.
Maria Carolina of Austria, Queen of Naples and Sicily, died of a
sudden stroke in Vienna on this day, September 8th, in 1814. She was 62
years old, and was the last surviving of the 16 children of Maria
Theresa and Francis I.
She was in exile after Napoleon
conquored Naples, and shortly before her death she wrote this letter to
her daughter, Maria Cristina:
“Nothing on earth moves me any more; my fate was settled and decided the
day that I was chased like a play-actress and thrust out of Sicily…. My
life is ended in this world…. I am no longer interesting except to a
few old women who never stir out of their own doors, but who come to see
the last of the great Maria Theresa’s children. The Prater is in its
lovely green and full of flowers; but nothings seems beautiful to me any
To quote the book
In Destiny’s Hands: Five Tragic Rulers, Children of Maria Theresa
Justin C. Vovk:
The body of Queen
Maria Carolina of Naples and Sicily, dressed in a black taffeta gown,
veil, lace cap, and silver fabric shoes, was taken to lie in state
before the funeral. The Baroness du Montet described her visit to the
Queen’s memorial on Sept 10:
In the Queen’s last
sleep there is a trace of sadness, of infinite weariness. Maria
Carolina, who thought she would die in Naples, had her portrait set
up on a tomb in the Capuchin convent in Vienna together with a tender
and moving inscription, a gentle testimony of the poor lady’s desire
to be buried near her august parents. A sensitive but vain
precaution, since the Queen’s mortal remains have been buried on the
Maria Carolina was indeed buried in the Imperial Crypt with her ancestors, in Tomb 107. After her death, Napoleon wrote to his brother Joseph saying “That woman knew how to think and act like a queen, while preserving her rights and her dignity….”.
Just nine months after her death, her husband was restored to the throne.
A portrait of the family of Ferdinand IV and Maria Carolina of Austria, done in 1783 by Angelica Kauffman.
Maria Theresa plays the harp on the far left, and next to her is her brother Francis with a dog. Ferdinand and Maria Carolina are in the middle, with
Maria Cristina Teresa
leaning on her mother. Maria Luisa sits in a carriage on the far right, and Maria Amalia sits in her sister’s lap. Prince Gennaro sits on a cushion on the floor, dressed in blue.
Four other children had died of smallpox before the portrait was done; Prince Carlo in 1778, Princess Maria Anna in 1780, Princess
Maria Cristina Amelia
in 1783, and Prince Giuseppe in 1783. Another daughter,
Maria Cristina, was stillborn the same year the portrait was completed.
On 17 December 1778, Carlo Tito had died at the age of 3. Unfortuantely another tragedy was to hit Maria Carolina’s family. On 21 February 1780, she found herself saying goodbye to little Marianna. Since the Queen was pregnant again, she wanted to be convinced that the vital spirit of her daughter had relocated itself into Gennaro, born shortly afterwards on 12 April. She felt she had to live with resignation, like many other women, the inevitable alteration of life and death.
Pregnant again, on 18 June, 1781, the Queen gave birth to Prince Giuseppe, and, on 26 April the following year, Princess Amalia was born in Caserta.
The Diary of Queen Maria Carolina of Naples, 1781-1785: New Evidence of Queenship at Court - Cinzia Recca
A series of pastel portraits done around 1762 by Jean-Étienne Liotard.
They depict the eight daughters of Maria Theresa and Francis I to survive childhood: Maria Anna, Maria Christina, Maria Elisabeth, Maria Amalia, Maria Johanna, Maria Josepha, Maria Carolina, and Maria Antonia.
children would collectively rule over more than half of Europe at the
height of their power and would become the most controversial leaders of
the eighteenth century, shaping the course of history for generations
In Destiny’s Hands: Five Tragic Rulers, Children of Maria Theresa - Justin C. Vovk
However, although the two smallest Archduchesses were outwardly a most delightful pair of girls, all big blue eyes, pretty pink pouts and fair ringlets, they were apparently a pair of terrors, who led their nurses and governesses a merry dance and were frequently reprimanded by their mother, who would often exasperatedly complain that of all her daughters, Maria Carolina was the one who had most inherited her own bold spirit thanks to her propensity for playing practical jokes on the ladies of the court, behaving pertly and being generally full of mischief and mutiny. It’s likely that the more strong willed Maria Carolina was very much the ring leader in all of this, but the fact that Maria Antonia would retain a playful, teasing streak for most of the rest of her life suggests that she very much entered into the spirit of things and was not exactly an innocent bystander in her sister’s pranks. In the end, however, the Empress made good on her threats to separate the two and in 1768 they were indeed eventually divided and made to take their lessons alone.
Marie Antoinette: An Intimate History - Melanie Clegg
On January 12th, 1740, Archduchess Maria Carolina of Austria was born. Her full name was Maria Carolina Ernestina Antonia Johanna Josepha, and she was the third child and third daughter born to Maria Theresa and Francis I.
Sadly, the little Archduchess did not live very long, becoming
gravely ill and dying just over a year after her birth. She was buried
in tomb 53 in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna.
Two younger sisters were named in her memory. One died tragically the
day of her birth, and one would go on to become Queen of Naples and
Sicily, and be the longest lived of all of Maria Theresa’s children.