Charlotte of Belgium

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Charlotte of Belgium

1840 – 7 JUNE
The princess Marie Charlotte of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was born in Laeken and she was the youngest and sole female child of Leopold I King of Belgium and his second wife Louise Marie of Orléans.

On her mother’s death she was placed in the care of her governess, the Countess Denise of Hulst, of whom she was deeply fond.

During a ball at the palace of Laeken Charlotte met the Archduke of Austria Ferdinand Maximilian.

1856 – 23 DECEMBER
She was officially engaged to Maximilian.

1857 – 27 JULY
She married Maximilian and set off on a honeymoon that included various stops in Europe, Schönbrunn, Trieste and Venice, among others.

1857 – 6 SEPTEMBER
Alongside Maximilian, Charlotte made her official entry to Milan, the capital of the Lombardy-Veneto region, of which her husband was Governor since February 1857.

1859 – JULY
After having resigned from the post of Governor of Lombardy-Veneto, Maximilian moved to Trieste with Charlotte, where they came to live first in the Castelletto and then in the castle itself.

During a journey begun in November with Maximilian, Charlotte remained in Funchal, on the island of Madeira, for a few months, while Maximilian continued his journey to Brazil.

1864 – 14 APRIL
Charlotte and Maximilian left Miramare for Mexico where, as Empress, Charlotte devoted herself to the needs of the local population.

1866 – 13 JULY
Due to the critical situation of the Mexican empire, Charlotte set off for Europe in order to ask for help from Napoleon III and Pope Pius IX.

1866 – AUGUST
She arrived in Paris where, after many vain attempts, she obtained an audience with Napoleon III.

1866 – 19 AUGUST
Napoleon III communicated to Charlotte that France could do nothing for Mexico.

1866 – 27 SEPTEMBER
She was received by the Pope, who unexpectedly did not honour his promises of help.
Charlotte began to show the first signs of a mental illness from which she would no longer recover.

1866 – 9 OCTOBER
Back in Miramare, Charlotte was placed in the care of the doctors Riedel and Jilek, who diagnosed her with a state of madness.

Charlotte was kept in the dark about the tragic death of Maximilian for many months.

1867 – 27 JULY
Brought back to Belgium, Charlotte left Miramare for good.

1927 – 19 JANUARY
Charlotte died in Bouchot.
Her mortal remains were laid to rest in the Church of Nôtre Dame in Laeken.


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