Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Naples & Sicily Queens--

View of Giovanna I's Naples
File:Jana1 neapol.jpg
Giovanna I of Naples

Queen of Naples 1343

Other titles:
Countess of Provence
Countess of Forcalquier
Princess of Achaea 1373
Duchess of Calabria 1333
Princess of Salerno 1334

"He had one son, Charles Duke of Calabria, who married Marie de Valois, sister of Philip of France, and he seems to have been a most accomplished prince, a great favourite of the people of Naples, who gave him the title of 'The Illustrious.' During two years he held the post of 'Captain of the People' at Florence. But he did not long enjoy the honours of his position, for he died young, leaving two infant daughters, Guiovanna, the subject of this notice, and a younger sister, Maria." (The Most Illustrious Ladies of the Italian Renaissance: 76)

"In 1328, the two little princesses, Joanna and Mary, by their father's death, through fever caught while out hawking in the Campagna, had been left to the care of their widowed mother, Mary of Valois. Their grandfather, King Robert, consequently took measures to settle the succession to his crown and all his dominions on Koanna, and, in case of her death, upon Mary. Unfortunately for them, as if wedded to calamity, their mother survived her husband but three years, when, therefore, they became orphans." (Queen Joanna I of Naples: 31)
Joanna I & grandfather
Robert the Wise of Naples
Personal & family background.
"Robert had one son, charles Duke of Calabria, remarkable for his accomplishments, his filial piety, and his love of justice, who unhappily died before his father. (The prince had espoused Maria de Valois, sister of that Philippe de Valois, who disputed the crown of France with our Edward the Third, and by her, who survived him only three years he left two infant daughters, Joanna and Maria. Joanna, the elder of these princesses, became afterward one of the most celebrated, most accomplished, and most unfortunate of women and queens.) Her elegant biographer has truly observed, that in person, in character, in conduct, in her destiny and tragical end, Joanna can only be compared to Mary Queen of Scots: the parallel, as we shall see, is indeed singularly close, and perhaps of the most remarkable and interesting which is presented in history." (Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns: 66)

Giovanna I's physical appearance & personal qualities.
" . . . Giovanna is described with large black eyes, with glossy raven locks, with a delicate mouth and open brow, the ensemble conveying an impression of gentleness and melancholy. She was so beautiful, says M. Dumas, that her dying grandfather took her for an angel sent by God to console him in his agonies. . . ." (Westminster and Foreign Quarterly Review, Vols. 29-30: 20)

Giovanna at 17 years old who beauty astonishes.
"The years glide by softly enough. Andreas increases in stature though not in attractiveness. Joanna has grown to be her grandfather's idol. Her beauty astonishes even those who live with her; her warm-hearted energy heightens her uncommon talents. All are her captives, as well as himself. She is seventeen; and seventeen in Naples---is it not the bloom of beauty and something more than the sweet border of womanhood?" (Queen Joanna I of Naples: 38)

A portrait by the Chevalier de Brantome.
"In a later day, the to-susceptible Chevalier de Brantome saw the Queen's portrait, and he tells us" 'It was more angelic than human. She is painted in a splendid gown of crimson, velvet, embroidered with gold and silver lace. This robe is almost in the exact fashion of the ladies of our day on great occasions, which is called 'Boulonnaise,' adorned with many tags of gold. On her head she wear a bonnet on a cushion. In truth, this fine picture displays all her beauty, sweetness, and majesty so well, that one becomes enamoured of her mere image.' . . ." (Queen Joanna I of Naples: 38)

A personal testimony by Boccaccio.
" . . . Boccaccio, however, gives his simpler personal testimony: 'She was fairly and goodly to look upon.' Moreover, as to her intelligence, we have the explicit statements of Petrarch and Boccaccio that she appreciated all their merits." (Queen Joanna I of Naples: 38)

Giovanna's accomplishments and character.
" . . . Filled with this enthusiastic conviction of the advantages of learning, the king surrounded his granddaughter with the best preceptors in science and literature which could be procured throughout all Italy. Those chronicles which differ most on the character and conduct of Joanna are yet all agreed on one point --- all bear testimony to her extraordinary talents and her love of literature; and the Neapolitan historians assert, that at twelve years old 'she was not only distinguished by her superior endowments, but already surpassed in understanding, not only every child of her own age,but many women of mature years.' To these mental accomplishments were added a gentle and generous temperament, a graceful person, a beautiful and engaging countenance, and the most captivating manners." (Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns: 70)

Giovanna's love life.
"Giovanna was not fond of her distant cousin, now her husband; rumors circulated that she preferred the company and bed of a lady-in-waiting. She certainly had a succession of male lovers throughout her reign; and when Prince Andrew was summoned from his chambers in the castle of Aversa on the night of September 18, 1345, and strangled by unknown assassins, sexual rumor and Hungarian political purpose conspired to place the blame squarely on Giovanna's supposedly depraved hear. . . ." (Apocalypse in Rome: 167)

Giovanna's reputation.
"It wasn't just natural calamities that ripped apart what the earl Angevins built. The kingdom was not served well after Robert the Wise died in 1343. His heir died before him, and his throne went to his nymphomaniac granddaughter, Giovanna I. She had four husbands and numerous lovers, and she is said to have been under the spell of a Franciscan named Robert of Mileto. After taking the wrong side in the 'Great Schism' between the French pope, Clement VII, and the Roman pope, Urban VI, she was excommunicated, then murdered by her successor, a cousin, Charles (III) of Durazzo. He seized the throne in 1381. For the next four years, the court was in so much confusion that the noble families of Naples were able to usurp power and, in 1386, they elected six nobles and two merchants as a city government." (Naples at Table: Cooking in Campania: xxxv)

Modern-day refutation of her medieval reputation.
" . . . Several chroniclers claimed she was a nymphomaniac. Nancy Goldstone, her modern-day biographer, says slurs were easy to launch against a woman, but the charges were highly unlikely given that Joanna had a strong Catholic practice and faith." (: 116)

Wife of:
Murder of 
Andrew of Hungary
1. Andras of Hungary (1327-1345), Duca di Calabria 1333, mar 1333-1345

"One day they ask Philippa about those other oddly-attired ill-mannered strangers, who do not seem to mingle happily with either the poets or painters, with the diplomatists, or with the king's suite? Why do they keep apart and use such a funny language? They are the Hungarians, and that awkward boy with a dark ill-shaven friar beside him is, of course, Andreas, their cousin. It is indeed he, who, in view of King Robert's fatal bargain, has been sent to be affianced to Joanna, and is now being brought up at court. He is, as his face says plainly, guileless, but indolent; prefers food to anything else, and is likely always so to do; heavy-jawed, dull of eye, and, compared to Neapolitan boys, clumsy of figure. . . ." (Queen Joanna I of Naples: 35)

Andras's character.
"Andreas, on the contrary, had been surrounded by his rude Hungarian attendants, and grew up weak, indolent, and unpolished, though without any of those evil dispositions and degrading and profligate propensities which have been imputed to him. . . ." (Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns: 71)

"At the age of seven, Joanna had been married to Carobert's six-year-old son Andrew, the diplomatic plan being that the Hungarian claim to Naples would be peacefully vindicated in the rule of the couple's children. Once Joanna became queen, however, Hungarian pressure for Andrew to be recognised as king intensified, to be met by equally intransigent Neapolitan resistance which culminated, on the night of 18 September 1345, in the discovery of Andrew's strangled body in a palace garden." (The Guardian)

" . . . On the death of Charles II of Naples, in the beginning of the fourteenth century, Caribert, son of the eldest son of Charles, who had died king of Hungary, and Robert, the eldest living son, contested the crown. The pope decided on Robert: but though his was not only given with that spiritual authority which had such weight in a superstitious age, but also with the temporal authority of feudal lord of Naples, the conscience of the scrupulous Robert, called the 'Wise,' was not satisfied; and he felt he was fulfilling an imperative duty by turning the Angevin succession again into that direct line from which, in his person, it had deviated. The plan he fixed upon was the marriage of Giovanna, his grand-daughter and heiress, with Andreas of Hungary, youngest son of Caribert. Never did good intentions produce a more disastrous result. The spoiled child of the south, and the uncouth son of the north, detested each other from the depths of their hearts; one joyed in the luxuries of a court life, the other revelled only in the delights of the chase, and mutual contempt was all that could be expected from the nature of the two characters." (Westminster and Foreign Quarterly Review, Vols. 29-30: 20)

Andras's murder.
" . . On the night of the 18th of September, Andreas was called from the queen's apartment by the information that a courier had just arrived from Naples, and waited to confer with him. In the gallery adjoining he was seized by some persons whose names were never exactly known; they stopped his mouth with their gloves, strangled him by means of a cord or handkerchief and suspended his body from the balcony, whence, the cord breaking from the weight, it fell into the garden. The murderers were proceeding to bury in on the spot, but, an alarm was given by the king's nurse, they fled precipitately, and made their escape." (Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns: 74)
File:Louis of Taranto.jpg
Luigi I of Naples
2. Luigi I di Napoli (1320-1362), mar 1347-1362
Joint Protector & Defender of the Kingdom 1347; Vicar-General of the Kingdom 1347

Wedding of
Joanna I of Naples
& Luigi of Taranto
"More than two years after the death of Andreas, Joanna married, by the advice and recommendation of her ministers, her second cousin, Louis of Taranto, a brave, accomplished, and very handsome prince, who from his singular beauty, acquired the name of Phoebus, or the Day. . . ." (Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns: 78)

"Two years later, Giovanna gave much satisfaction to her people by marrying her second cousin, Prince Louis of Taranto, a man of distinguished courage and talent, and so strikingly handsome that he was spoken of as another Phoebus. . . ." (The Most Illustrious Ladies of the Italian Renaissance: 85)

"Three years of comparative tranquility ensued. In 1362 Louis of Taranto died of a fever, the consequence of his own intemperance. He had latterly given himself up to a course of dissipation, which must have grieved and displeased his consort; but she loved him to the last, in spite of the wrongs and infidelities of which she had too often to complain." (Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns: 84)
James IV of Mallorca
3. Jaume IV de Mallorca (1336-1375), mar 1363-1375

"Being left a second time a widow, and without children, Joanna was advised by her council to enter into a third marriage, as necessary to the tranquility of her kingdom. She agreed to the election of her ministers, whose choice had fallen on James of Majorca, the son of the King of Majorca, and their union was celebrated with great magnificence. The marriage-feast was held at Gaeta, and a lovelier spot could hardly have been chosen to celebrate a royal bridal. . . ." (Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns: 86)

"The Prince of Majorca bore a high character for honour and bravery. But Joanna was not destine to derive either happiness or advantage from this most luckless marriage. Within three months after their union, her husband quitted her to avenge the death of his father, who had been treacherously murdered by King Peter of Aragon. Joanna was therefore left alone and unaided to guide her fickle people and rule her turbulent nobility. She had the grief to hear that her husband, whose valous was more rash than prudent, was first defeated, and afterward . . . taken prisoner and detained in Aragon. His generous queen paid an immense ransom for his freedom; but no sooner had he returned to Naples than he prepared another expedition to avenge his father. Joanna used every argument, and even descended to entreaties, to dissuade him from his purpose, but in vain; he pursued the war with all the inveterate obstinacy of hatred and revenge, and in the midst os his violent career he fell sick and died." (Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns86)

"Three years later she lost her idolised husband, who died of fever, brought on by his own intemperate habits. But she was not very long suffered to remain a widow, for her Ministers felt great anxiety to secure an heir to the kingdom. She was willing to abide by their choice, which fell on Giacomo, the son of the King of Majorca, and for the third time she went through the marriage ceremony. The bridal festivities were held by the lovely Bay of Gaeta, and the Prince of Majorca bore so high a character that once more there seemed to be a prospect of happiness for Giovanna. But within three months, her husband set off on an expedition to Spain to avenge the murder of his father by Pedro of Aragon. He was defeated and taken prisoner, notwithstanding the generous help of Edward the Black Prince. His wife pain an immense ransom for him, but, once free, nothing would deter him from repeating the same rash enterprise, in the course of which he fell a victim to malarious fever." (The Most Illustrious Ladies of the Italian Renaissance: 88)

4. Otto von Braunschweig-Grubenhagen (1320-1398), mar 1376-1382

" . . . [S]he was induced to enter into a fourth marriage, at the age of forty-six; her choice fell on Otho of Brunswick, a prince of the Guelph family, distinguished for almost every accomplishment of mind and person, and of years equal to her own. Without demanding the title of king, or arrogating any power unto himself, this generous, brave, and amiable man won and deserved the entire affection of his queen, and maintained her throne for some time in peace and security." (Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns: 88)

"Thus forsaken, with fresh troubles arising on every side, the usual remedy was once more pressed upon the poor Queen, and at the age of forty-eight she was induced to take as her fourth husband Otho of Brunswick, Prince of a Guelph family, and about her own age. The choice seems to have been good, for we hear of him as a brave, handsome man, of cultivated taste and kindly disposition, who won the affection of his wife and never failed in her devotion to her. For some years they seem to have reigned in tranquil security, beloved by their people and at peace with the outer world." (The Most Illustrious Ladies of the Italian Renaissance: 90)

Her lovers were:
File:Robert Taranto.jpg
Seal of Robert II of Taranto
1) Roberto II di Taranto (1318-1364)
Prince of Taranto, 1332-1346; King of Albania (1332-1333); Prince of Achaea, 1333-1346 & titular Latin Emperor (Robert II), 1346-1364.

Husband of Marie de Bourbon (1315-1387), mar 1347

2) Luigi di Taranto.
[See husband # 2 above]

" . . . She quickly exchanged her young lover, Robert of Taranto, for Louis of Taranto himself and defied her accusers. . . ." (Apocalypse in Rome: 167)

Scenes & places in Giovanna's life.
Castel Nuovo

File:Joan II of Naples jamesII of Bourbon.jpg
Giovanna II of Naples
& Jacques II de Bourbon

Queen of Sicily & Naples
File:Wilhelm Austria.jpg
Wilhelm of Austria
Wife of:
1. Wilhelm of Austria (1370-1406), Duke of Austria, 1386-1406, mar 1401, son of Leopold III von Osterreich & Viridis Visconti di Milano.

" . . . When Ladislas was at length in peaceable possession of his kingdom, his first care was to consolidate his power by forming a suitable alliance for his sister, and he married her, in 1403, to William, the son of Leopold III, Duke of Austria; within three years she became a widow, and returned to Naples, where she resided in the court of her brother during the remainder of his reign." (Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns: 97)

"The rivalry of these two favourites caused so many troubles and dissensions, that Giovanna was persuaded to seek protection in marriage with some foreign prince. Her choice fell on Jacques de Bourbon, Comte de la Marche, a distant relation of King Charles of France, who brought a train of French knights with him, and the marriage was celebrated with much splendour. Her husband can scarcely have been ignorant of the lady's reputation, but as he gradually learned the whole truth with regard to her, his indignation knew no bounds, and he sternly imprisoned her in her own apartments, taking upon himself the absolute government of the realm." (The Most Illustrious Ladies of the Italian Renaissance: 96)

"In 1415, Johanna married James, with a contract that gave her husband the titles of Prince of Taranto and Duke of Calabria, but not the king title. Immediately after the wedding, however, James executed Pandolfello; he established his direct control over the courtyard through French officials of his choice, and forced Johanna to grant him the functions of the king of Naples, by keeping her segregated. In September 1416 the nobility broke out against James, violent riots in the capital, until he was forced to give up the title of king, to dismiss officials who controlled the court and to release Johanna. . . ." (Messer Gianni Caracciolo: The Favourite of the Queen)

" . . . Married to Giacomo di Borbone in 1415 , he was imprisoned the following year after a rebellion by Neapolitan barons, outraged by his cruelty: in 1419 the Bourbon was freed and driven out of the Kingdom. . . ." (Treccani)

Being a woman and a woman-ruler in Medieval Naples.
"Recently, historians have tended, however, to give Joanna II the benefit of the doubt. Anecdotal accounts of her personal vices are less the focus of interest than is the fact the Naples in the 1300s and early 1400s was pretty much ungovernable, especially by a woman —any woman; "Femines non sunt ut homines viriles" (“Women are not as virile as men,” said the Florentine Doppo degli Spini when asked  about Giovanna, thus converting what is biologically delightful into would-be profundity about ability to govern.) She did surround herself with a lot of men, but almost all of them were potential power brokers. These, again, included, but were not restricted to, William of Austria, Padofello Alopo, James II of Bourbon, Sergianni Caracciolo, and Munzio Forzo, some of whom she married, some of whom she adopted and some of whom she just made love to. The Angevins had taken a risk in the mid-1200s by moving the capital of the kingdom from Palermo to Naples. True, a capital in southern Italy, once removed from Sicily, was no longer as exposed to the potential flanking pincer moves of Islam in Spain and in the Balkans; it was also closer to the dynastic homeland, France; but it was also closer to the centers of northern European military and diplomatic intrigue. Giovanna may have been doing what she thought needed to be done to stabilize her kingdom." (Naples: Life, Death & Miracles)

Regent-mother's influence.
"She was born at Naples in 1371, and was the only daughter of Charles of Durazzo by his wife Margaret, the favourite niece and adopted daughter of the first Joanna. At the death of her father she was about fifteen, and during the minority of her brother Ladislas, remained under the guardianship of her mother, who had been declared regent. The kingdom was divided between the party of Ladislas and that of Louis of Anjou, who were both in their infancy; Margaret of Durazzo, the mother of Ladislas, and Marie de Blois, the mother of Louis, were at the head of the respective parties. These two women were very different in character, but they were equal in talents, and for twenty years carried on the terrible struggle for power with equal boldness, capacity, and obstinacy, while armies moved at their bidding, and statesmen and warriors were but as the tools with which they worked out their purposes." (Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns: 96)

Queen of Naples in her own right.
"But the reign of the first queen Joanna had set a precedent for a queen regnant in Naples. Joanna II's mother, Margaret of Durazzo, had provided yet another model of a woman wielding political power. When Charles III died in 1386, Margaret governed Naples as regent for the son and heir, Joanna's younger brother, Ladislaus. But when Ladislaus died in 1414, after three childless marriages, Joanna was able to follow him onto the throne, becoming queen of Naples in her own right." (
The Monstrous Regiment of Women)

Myths & scandals surrounding Giovanna II.
"Joanna II, on the other tentacle, is the preying mantis man-eating queen that Neapolitans still speak of when they point out this or that building and whisper, “That’s where Joanna murdered her men after making love to them.” These sites “include but are not restricted to” (to hedge my bet with some legalese) the Villa Donn’Anna at the beginning of the Posillipo coast; the no-longer extant Villa of Poggioreale; a ruined mystery villa on a chunk of rock at water’s edge in Sorrento; and the alligator-infested sub-dungeon of the Maschio Angioino (the Angevin Fortress) at the main port of Naples. Such tales are usually replete with hidden torture chambers and may include 100% un-verifiable episodes of sex with horses. This Joanna came to the throne at the age of 45 after a dissolute life. She brought with her a young lover and went through a series of others in a period that is one of the most confusing in the confusing history of Naples. The traditional view is that she was not a particularly astute woman, and that her reign was one long scandal, one which ran through even the reign of her immediate successor and did not end until the entire Angevin dynasty was replaced by the Aragonese.

Giovanna II's realms.
"It was a treacherous inheritance. Of the crowns she could now claim to wear, that of Jerusalem was no more than a paper title, and that of Sicily had been wrested from her great-great-grandfather by the King of Aragon. The kingdom that was left to her was Naples, stretching from the Apennines down to the toe of Calabria, and including, across the waters of the Mediterranean, the county of Provence, where the papal court now presided over western Christendom from the city of Avignon. Joanna's realm was rich, fertile and powerful, and stood in the centre of the economic and political cross-currents that ebbed and flowed across Europe – but none of its many qualities made it easy to govern." (The Guardian)

Giovanna's scandalously profligate conduct.
"The conduct of Joanna bother before and after her marriage had been scandalously profligate; equally without beauty or virtue, she yet contrived to keep a strong party round her, for she had talents of a certain class, and what she wanted in understanding was supplied by artifice. All the opprobrium with which her former life had covered her did not prevent her from being proclaimed queen as the heiress of her brother Ladislas, and on his death in 1414, his sceptre, ill gotten and blood-stained as it was, passed into her hands, to be further polluted and degraded, and at length flung, like a firebrand, between the rival houses of France and Spain. Joanna was in her forty-fourth year when she ascended the throne. . . ." (Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns: 97)

Influence of "favourites" linked to sovereign by romantic ties.
"When Johanna received the crown of the Queen of Naples, in 1419, she was 41 years old and was the widow of her first husband, Duke William, married in 1403 and died three years later. From the beginning of her reign, in the management of state affairs, there had much influence some so-called favourites, people more or less illustrious, often linked to the sovereign also by romantic ties. The fashion was spread in all the courts of Europe, in the bigger courts, as in France and England, but also in the smaller ones; especially in the courts where the throne was seated by a queen, the role of favourite took on relevant influence. . . ." (Messer Gianni Caracciolo: The Favourite of the Queen)

Her lovers were:
Muzio Attendolo Sforza
1) Muzio Attendolo Sforza.
"...[She was] noted for her amorous affairs. She employed the condottiere Attendolo Sforza, said to be her lover... Her favourite (and lover) Giovanni Caraccioli was murdered in 1432...." (The Routledge Companion to Medieval Warfare: 54)

" . . . The famous Condottiere Sforza had entered the service of the late king, and was now commander-in-chief of the army. His real name was Jacopo Attendolo, a peasant of Cotignola, on the plain of Faenza, who enlisted in one of those companies of adventurers always ready to fight for pay under any banner; and rising to high command by his skill and bravery, he received the name of 'Sforza,' inherited by an illustrious line of princes." (The Most Illustrious Ladies of the Italian Renaissance: 96)

Lover in 1416-1432.

The most famous and controversial of her love relationships.
" . . . In September 1416 the nobility broke our against James, violent riots in the capital, until he was forced to give up the title of king, to dismiss officials who controlled the court and to release Johanna. The protagonist of this revolt was Ser Gianni Caracciolo, who became the new favourite of the Queen. During this period, it began for Johanna, what will go down in history as the most famous and controversial of her love relationships. Ser Gianni ousted James II from all political activities, making him totally harmless. Left the scene her husband, Johanna was finally able to celebrate her coronation. On 19 October 1419 she was consecrated sole and legitimate sovereign of Naples with the name of Johanna II." (Messer Gianni Caracciolo: The Favourite of the Queen)

"The father of the young Duchess of Maddaloni had been the richest nobleman in the kingdom of Naples. The principality of Avellino had been two hundred years in the family of Caracciolo, brought by Caterina Filangieri to Sergianni Caracciolo. She was of Norman descent, of which the Neapolitan nobility are almost as proud as the English nobles and gentlemen, who often fabricate a pedigree to prove their descent from the 'companions of the Conqueror!' He was the distinguished favourite of the second Joanna, who made him great seneschal of the kingdom, and intrusted him with the government for a long time, till the year 1432, when he met with his death by the dagger of his rival, who...fell a sacrifice in fact which not only destroyed him but convulsed the whole kingdom. . . ." (The Carafas of Maddaloni: 233)

" . . . He was the distinguished favourite of the second Joanna, who made him great seneschal of the kingdom, and intrusted him with the government for a long time, till the year 1432, when he met with his death by the dagger of his rival, who . . . fell a sacrifice in fact which not only destroyed him but convulsed the whole kingdom. . . ." (The Carafas of Maddaloni: Naples Under Spanish Dominion:  233)

"In the meantime, even Muzio Sforza was freed, and Giovanna had a new lover, Urbano Orilia, even if there was a young nobleman who started to attend the Neapolitan Court: Sergianni Caracciolo and soon the Queen fell in love with him, and because of that love the court life was conditioned for 16 years. While Giovanna tried to be allied to the Papacy, still for the matter of the investiture, Sergianni followed, without any obstacle, the route followed by Pandolfello and by Giacomo de la Marche : Sergianni kept the Queen far from every man who could have disturbed his relationship and day after day Sergianni got more and more political relevance. Once again Queen Giovanna showed herself as an unconfident woman delegating the care of the government to her lovers, while Sergianni tried to get as much as advantages as possible for him and for his family." (Giovanna d'Angio)

A man of birth & discretion and a handsome and grace person.
" . . . Meanwhile a new favourite was daily gaining unbounded influence over the susceptible heart of Queen Johanna. Caracciolo, a man of birth and discretion, and of a handsome and graceful person, was promoted to the office of grand seneschal; and procured the removal of Sforza from court upon the honourable employment of checking the ravages of the mercenary Braccio. But the return of the victorious Sforza and the rivalry of the two favourites soon filled the city with confusion; and Johanna could only quiet the murmurs of her people by consenting to the banishment of the beloved Caracciolo. The place of his exile was, however, too near the city to prevent his interference in public affairs; and, from the island of Procida, Sergianni continued to exert his influence over his queen and mistress. . . ." (The History of the Western Empire: 142)

Affair's end & aftermath.
" . . . He was created Grand Seneschal, Duke of Avellino, and Lord of Capua. One day, in 1432, he desired the queen to make him Prince of Salerno, and, when she refused, he boxed her ears. His most deadly foe, the Duchess of Sessa, overheard the quarrel, and finding her mistress afterwards in tears, prevailed upon her to consent to the death of Caracciolo. The next morning he was found murdered in his room by men who summoned him to open, saying the queen was seized with apoplexy, and could not die without seeing him. He was buried in secret by four monks in the chapel he had built." (Cities of Southern Italy and Sicily: 126)

"After the retreat of Alfonso from Naples, Johanna continued to enjoy an unmolested reign. Age had quenched the fires of lust; the life of her once-loved Sergianni was sacrificed to jealousy and suspicion; and he was assassinated with the connivance, if not by the command, of his mistress. . . ." (The History of the Western Empire: 142)

3) Pandolfello Piscopo (d.1415)
Lover in 1406.
Grand Chamberlain to Queen Giovanna II 1414.

"One of her favourites at that time was a man of low birth but imposing presence, Pandolpho Alopo, who, from being her cup-bearer, she promoted to be Grand Seneschal, and whose influence over her was so great that he practically ruled in her name, hated and despised by all. But he was soon to meet with a rival. . . ." (The Most Illustrious Ladies of the Italian Renaissance: 96)

" . . . In Naples, the ascent to the throne of Johanna II, inaugurated the tradition of the favourites, when Pandolfello Piscopo was welcomed into the good graces of Johanna. He was a noble-looking, nicknamed Alopo, due to premature baldness. . . ." (Messer Gianni Caracciolo: The Favourite of the Queen)

A man of good birth and great beauty.
" . . . The reigning favourite, at this time, was one Pandolfo Aleppo, a man of good birth and great beauty. The queen, who, after the death of her husband and brother, had cast off all affectation of restraint, had made this man chamberlain of the palace, and allowed him to order all things in the kingdom. . . ." (Life and Times of Francesco Sforza Duke of Milan: 179)

Lovers before & during her marriage to Wilhelm of Austria.
"In 1406 Giovanna was given as a bride to William, Duke of Austria, but after 4 years William died and Giovanna came back to Naples. She didn't care about politics very much and she still went on wasting her time, together with Ladislao. It was during that time that she revealed to everybody her love relationship with Pandolfello Piscopo. Their relationship had been going on since she was a very young girl; Pandolfello, engaged as drink-organiser (coppiere), followed Giovanna to Austria and came back to Naples with her." (Women in Myth and Legends)

"Entering the Angevin court in Naples at a very young age, he attracted, for his beauty and elegance, the attention of the sister of King Ladislao, the princess Giovanna, who wanted him his cupbearer and in his retinue even when he went to Austria, bride of William of Habsburg." (Treccani)

"In 1414, on the death of King Ladislaus, his sister Joanna succeeded him as queen. She was 43 when she became queen, past child-bearing age and already known for her promiscuity. The following year, she was persuaded to leave her lover, Alopo, who was twenty years her junior, and marry James of Anjou, but the marriage was a disaster. James murdered Joanna's lover but was defeated by his wife and her barons and forced to leave the country.

"...[Giovanna II] gave him the office of Grand Seneschal (1414), making him the arbiter of political life and government of the kingdom. He fell from grace after a short time, when the Queen married James of Bourbon, by order of which he was beheaded." (Sapere.It)

"The princess' fame started to spread about her resorting to all the pleasures of the senses and became more wingspread when her relationship with when it was known to all his ties with Pandolfello Piscopo, called Alop (i.e., the bald). Pandolfello was hired as a butler, had joined the noble seat of Portanova but there were rumors that in reality he was only a former groom chosen by then Princess Giovanna for his rugged and sturdy appearance."  (LaIstoriadiNapoli.It)

"The next Day the King caused Count Pandolfello to be taken, and carried to Prison in the Castle dell' Uovo, where he was most cruelly tormented, and confessing all that the King wanted to know, he was condemned to die, and on the first of October he was let to the Market-place, where he was beheaded, and his Body was afterwards shamefully dragged through the City, and then hung by the Feet, to the Queen's great Grief, and the great Joy of all the Servants of King Ladislaus." (The Civil History of the Kingdom of Naples: In Two Volumes, Volume 2: 299)

For love, power, or just sex.
" . . . She did surround herself with a lot of men, but almost all of them were potential power brokers. These, again, included but were not restricted to William of Austria, Pandofello Alopo, James II of Bourbon, Sergianni Caracciolo, and Muzio Forzo, some of whom she married, some of whom she adopted and some of whom she just made love to. . . ." (Matthews. 2006)

Power play.
The years that followed were marked with a series of conflicts between Joanna, her powerful feudal barons and her various lovers. Childless and without siblings, the destination of the crown of Naples after Joanna's death became a crucial question. Joanna repeatedly changed her mind about her successor. In 1422, she adopted Alfonso V, King of Aragon as her heir, but later reverted to the Angevin line and selected Rene of Anjou (father of Margaret, wife of Henry VI of England) as her heir, thus ensuring a war of succession on her death in 1435. . . ." (Renaissance Naples)

Affair's end & aftermath.
"Meanwhile, in the summer of 1415, Giovanna's new spouse arrived in Manfredonia, who, according to the agreements, should have been titled only Duke of Calabria and vicar general of the Kingdom; but the barons, who went to pay homage to him on arrival, recognized him as kings, eager to free themselves from the dominance of Aloppo and Sforza, and easily led him to imprison them. With the complicity of the castellan of Castel Nuovo, the Aloppo. he was captured while hiding in the queen's rooms. Tortured and summarily tried, he was beheaded in the market square in September 1415. A few years later the queen, who had been shocked by that tragic story, formally rehabilitated her memory." (Treccani)

4) Urbano Orilia.

"In the meantime, even Muzio Sforza was freed, and Giovanna had a new lover, Urbano Orilia. . . ." (Giovanna d'Angio)
Maria Karolina of Austria
Queen of the Two Sicilies
Queen of Naples & Sicily

Wife of Ferdinando IV of Naples (III of Sicily), mar 1768

"King Ferdinand was tall for his age, with a fine head, blue eyes, very white skin and gentle features. His body was covered with herpes, a condition his doctor considered to be indicative of good health! He had a talent for mechanics, but his tutors' sole preoccupation seemed to ne not their pupil's mind but his health---and his constitution was indeed to bust." (Crowned in a Far Country: Portraits of Eight Royal Brides: 69)

A reevaluation of Maria Carolina's place in history.
"Modern scholars have not been well disposed towards Maria Carolina as a woman, a mother, or a monarch. Indeed, some have compared her vicissitudes to those of her sister, Marie Antoinette. Moreover, while many intellectuals and scholars of her period were fascinated by the queen's life, few modern historians have given her space in their works. As a result, Maria Carolina had become little more than a ghost who is recalled in the public imagination only as one of the root causes of the political turbulence that culminated in the revolution of 1799. Indeed, throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, she suffered waves of criticism emanating from revolutionary, nationalistic, and 'anti-feminist' historiographical traditions that found its way into biographies of the queen. In consequence, Maria Carolina now has a poor reputation, but it is the intention of this chapter to show that she was a politically effective queen, contrary to the reports of her detractors and subsequent biographers." (Forgotten Queens in Medieval and Early Modern Europe)

" . . . For the next twenty years she ruled Naples in all but name, initiating wise reforms and striving to exterminate corruption. Then came the French Revolution, which destroyed her beloved sister Marie Antoinette, and with that cruel death, Maria Carolina lost her reason." (Crowned in a Far Country: 70)

Maria Carolina's physical appearance & personal qualities.
"Lady Anne Millar saw Maria Carolina at the age of twenty and noticed that she was developing a physical beauty that she used to charm Ferdinand---and others. She saw a beautiful woman with 'the finest and most transparent complexion I ever saw.' Maria Carolina's hair was glossy light chestnut, her eyebrows darker that her hair. Her eyes were large, brilliant and dark blue. Her Nose inclined to aquiline, her mouth was small. her teeth were white and even, framed with very red lips (which were, Lady Anne Millar, reported, 'not of the Austrian thickness'). She had dimples in her cheeks when she smiled. She was 'just plump enough not to appear lean,' with a long neck, an easy deportment, a majestic walk and a graceful attitude and action." (Crowned in a Far Country: 73)

Rumoured gallantries & scandals.
"There was much contemporary gossip about Maria Carolina's 'gallantries,' as it seemed that every woman in Naples, young or old, beautiful or ugly, had a lover or more. The court was considered by visitors to be licentious and indecent, and its members to behave with 'brazen familiarity.' It is true that John Acton seems to have been more than a friend but it is not certain he was her lover. She also had many favorites, but she definitely appeared to be more interested in power than in passion. Perhaps she enjoyed both. Or perhaps her 'gallantries' were in fact no more than flirtations. . ." (Crowned in a Far Country: 84)

Her lover was:
John Acton
6th Baronet

Also known as Sir John Francis Edward Acton, 6th Baronet.

"Sir John Acton (1736-1811), son of a London goldsmith and a French lady of Besancon, where Acton was born. Having entered the Tuscan navy, Acton so distinguished himself in that service that he was entrusted with the organisation of the Neapolitan naval forces. He then became commander-in-Chief of the Neapolitan army and Prince Minister. He detested the French, and his influence over Queen Caroline, whose lover he is said to have become, was disastrous for the kingdom of Naples. "  (The La Tremouille Family: 289)

" . . . She found her man in 1778 when her brother Peter Leopold sent an energetic administrator named John Acton to Naples to advise on building a navy. Born in France but descended from an English Jacobite family, Acton had served in the French navy before going to Tuscany to advise the Grand Duke on naval matters. He now followed Tanucci's footsteps from Florence to Naples, where his task initially was to advise on naval matters. However, the queen soon gave him the job of reorganizing the army and expanding the Kingdom's economy and trade. Within two years of his arrival, Acton was the queen's favourite and by repute also her lover. In 1779 he was appointed Secretary for the Navy and in 1780 acquired the posts of Secretary for War and Finances, making him the most powerful minister at the Neapolitan Court." (Davis, 2006, p. 24)

"On my arrival at Naples I requested Italinsky to present me to the Chevalier Acton. We found him at a table covered with papers. He was a thin, sickly-looking man, with a gaunt and sallow countenance and black eyes. His demeanour showed at every movement the ravages of time; he walked with a stoop, and constantly groaned under the weight of his labours and misfortunes. Yet he was said to be the favourite lover of the Queen Caroline, who was the absolute mistress of her husband and the kingdom. Nothing was done except by her will, and even official letters bore her signature by the side of the King's, to show that they governed together. . . ." (Memoirs of Prince Adam Czartoryski and His Correspondence with Alexander I, Volume I: 219)

"The court at Naples had long been distinguished for its licentiousness. The Queen made no secret of her relations with her paramour and prime minister Baron Sir John Acton. The scenes of the old days at Naples, with Nelson and his beautiful mistress, Lady Hamilton, were easily repeated at Palermo. the only difference was that Lord Acton was far handsomer and more agreeable than the one-eyed, one-armed Nelson, infatuated as he was by the charms of one vulgar woman to the exclusion of all others." (Parsons, 2009, p. 83)

" . . . Instrumental in the queen's discovery of Freemasonry may have been her lover, Sir John Acton. The son of an Irish surgeon practicing in Besancon, Acton shared Marie-Caroline's hatred for the French because he had been dishonorably discharged from their navy. After selling his services to various small Italian principalities, Acton arrived in 1778 in Naples, where he introduced Masonry and convinced the queen to have him appointed Minister of the Neapolitan navy. . . ."  (Napoleon's Sorcerers: The Sophisians: 36)

Physical Traits & Personal Qualities: "...Maria Carolina...had dark blue eyes, chestnut hair, and an unquenchable thirst for politics...." (Herman, 2007, p. 191)
Maria Isabel of Spain
Queen of Two Sicilies

Queen of the Two Sicilies 1825

Wife of:

Her lovers were:
1) Charles Hesse (1792-1832)
Prussian officer.
Lover in 1814-1815?

"Mr. A. Francis Steuart states that Captain Hesse was reputed to be a natural son of the Duke of York, and was for some time an aide-de-camp of the Duke of Wellington. After he left the household of the Princess of Wales he lived at Naples, where he became the lover of the Queen. Expelled from that city, he went to Turin, and there married. He was killed in a duel in France in 1832." (An Injured Queen: Caroline of Brunswick: 328)

"Hesse's life was full of singular incidents. He was a great friend of the Queen of Naples, grandmother of the ex-Sovereign of the Two Sicilies; in fact, so notorious was that liaison, that Hesse was eventually expelled from Naples under an escort of gendarmes. He was engaged in several affairs of honour, in which he always displayed the utmost courage; and his romantic career terminated in his being killed in a duel by Count Leon, natural son of the first Napoleon. He died as he had lived, beloved by his friends, and leaving behind him little but his name and the kind thoughts of those who survived him" (Reminiscences of Captain Gronow: 219)

2) Peter von Schmuckler.
Lover in 1835-1838.
Austrian officer
Caroline Bonaparte

Queen of Naples & the Two Sicilies

Also known as:
Duchess of Lipona: " . . . [W]hen the queen of Naples and her husband were expelled, and following the execution of her husband, the demoted Caroline had to choose a new name. . . She called herself Countess of Lipona---an anagram of 'Napoli' . . . ."

Queen Caroline's physical appearance& personal qualities.
" . . . Caroline was quite clever and would later prove her governmental abilities in Naples. She was the only fair-haired member of the family, small and slender, not as beautiful as Pauline, but with a delightful pink and white complexion and brilliant, large eyes."  (Napoleon's Elites: 41)

Queen Caroline's spouse & children.
She married, in 1800, Joachim Murat. "The question of a suitable marriage now came up. Jean Lannes had wanted to marry her; likewise Augereau; and even General Moreau had been mentioned as a possible husband. But Caroline had met and fallen for the handsome Joachim Murat on a visit to Rome, and as usual over these years she simply went to her brother and got her own way. She and Murat signed the marriage contract in the Palais du Luxembourg on January 18, 1800. The bride received a dowry of 40,000 francs and 12,000 francs worth of jewels and furs. As time went on she bore the marshal four children, but more significantly now devoted herself to obtaining ever-increasing wealth and status. She fully believed the end 'justifies' the means. If she couldn't get what she desired by pushing Murat's career or scheming with Talleyrand and Fouche, then she used flood of tears and bitter reproaches on Napoleon himself. She even slept with Junot when he was the Governor of Paris and therefore had precedence over her husband in the capital. (It got Junot the sack!) (Napoleon's Elites41)

Caroline Bonaparte's lovers were:
Jean-Andoche Junot
Duc d'Abrantes

Also known as:
General Andoche Junot.

"Caroline Bonaparte never visited Berg, but remained in Paris where she was reputedly the lover first of General Junot and then of the dashing young Austrian ambassador, Count Clemenz von Metternich. . . ." (Naples and Napoleon: Southern Italy and the European Revolutions, 1780-1860: 141)

2) Charles Cavel
" . . . [h]er final lover was a young man called Charles Cavel, obviously on the make. Having failed to secure the contents of her will, he afterwards sold the family her letters for an alleged 60,000 francs." (Napoleon's Elites: 43)

3) Francesco MacDonald
"Achille's mother, Caroline, still brooded in splendid exile. Her flirtation with Prince Metternich having gotten her nowhere, she now played out her days at a palace in Florence as a faux countess with new lover Francesco MacDonald, her deceased husband's foreign minister in the heyday of the kingdom of Naples. . . ." (Twice A Princess: 151)

"Her closing years years were sad indeed. Thought politically too dangerous to be allowed near other Bonapartes, once her children had grown up and left she had as her sole companion General Francesco Macdonald (who perhaps she married secretly). . . ." (Napoleon's Elites: 43)

4) Prince Klemens von Metternich.
Maria Sophie of Bavaria.jpg
Maria Sophie of Bavaria
Queen of Two Sicilies
Queen of the Two Sicilies

Also known as:
the Angel of Gaeta
the Warrior Queen"  . . . She earned the reputation of a “warrior queen” due to her bravery in the Expedition of the Thousand, a conflict where revolutionary republicans overthrew the monarchy of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. . . ." (Crowns, Tiaras & Coronets)

Daughter of: Maximilian Joseph, Duke in Bavaria & Ludovika of Bavaria.

Wife of: Francesco II di Dos Sicilias, mar 1859

Maria Sophia of Bavaria
Her lover was:
Armand de Lawayss.(?-1870)
Lover in 1861/62?
Belgian aristocrat & ; military officer
Lieutenant in the Papal Guards

Twin natural offspring:
1. Daisy de Lawayss (1862-1871)
2. Violet Lawayss (1862-?)

" . . . While in exile in Rome, Maria Sophia fell in love with an officer of the papal guard, Armand de Lawayss, and became pregnant by him. She retreated to her parents' home at Possenhofen in Bavaria, where a family council decided that she must give birth in secret to prevent scandal. On 24 November 1862, Maria Sophia gave birth to a daughter in St. Ursula's Convent in Augsburg. The child was immediately given to another family. . . . " (Arrayed in Gold)

" . . . Francis suffered from phimosis, which is why their marriage went unconsummated. While in Rome, Maria Sophie had an affair with an officer named Armand de Lawayss and she became pregnant by him. She left for her parents' home to keep it a secret and later gave birth in a convent. Sources differ on what [happened?] to the child or children. Some say she had a daughter, others that she had twins. Either way, it was given to Armand de Lawayss' family and disappears from history. The Italian Wikipedia page mentioned the births of Daisy and Violet de Lawayss. The children were separated. Violet was sent to live with Ludwig of Bavaria, Maria Sophie's brother, and Daisy was recognized as Armand's daughter and she lived with him in Brussels. Armand died in 1870 and Daisy followed shortly, both probably died of tuberculosis. However, as this is a wikipedia (sic) page it can be edited by anyone and we must take this information with a grain of salt. The secret was well guarded either way."  (History of Royal Women)

"The wealth and privilege in Maria Sophia's life were, to a certain extent, overshadowed by personal tragedies. Her only child by her husband died in infancy. Also, thanks to Armand de Lawayss, a Belgian count and officer in the foreign forces holed up in Rome, she had twins in 1862. Both of them survived and both were taken from her by her all-wise,scandal-conscious royal Bavarian relatives. It is not clear that she ever saw them again, except once or twice, briefly and under supervision. . . ." (Around Napoli)

"As part of the amnesty, the end came, Francesco and his queen were granted an escort to Rome, still sovereign Vatican territory and not to be annexed for another ten years by the Savoyard crown. Under papal protection, they established a shadow court, vainly hoping for some new Congress of Vienna, or some new counterrevolution along the lines of 1849, to restore Bourbon rule to the South. Among the sad coterie surrounding them was Armand de Lawayss, a Belgian count who was the queen's lover---her first lover, since the marriage to Francesco had remained unconsummated because of his phimosis. When Maria Sofia found herself pregnant in 1862, she returned to her ancestral home at Possenhofen, where she gave birth in secret to a daughter immediately spirited away, and placed with Lawayss's family. Whether she ever saw the child again is unclear. The birth seven years later of a daughter by Francesco, who had undergone surgery for the condition that had kept the first decade of their marriage chaste, was the great joy of her life, though brief, the child died after only a few months." (Naples Declared: A Walk Around the Bay)

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