I know that he was a first cousin of her mother, born Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria-Teschen. But blood is not thicker than politics, and he obviously would not have recognized her husband, Alfonso XII, as the rightful king of Spain during his lifetime.
Yet, the reality of the matter is that his son was made to renounce his succession rights to the crown of the Two Sicilies (the controversial Act of Cannes in 1900) on the occasion. If the County of Caserta did not recognize his prospective daughter-in-law as the rightful heiress presumptive to the Spanish throne, then in his mind the potential union of two crowns (the very reason why a renunciation of rights was perceived to be necessary) should have been irrelevant -- especially since the kingdom of the Two Sicilies was no longer even reigning.
Carlo must obviously have required his father's consent for his marriage, in light of these actions. But it had to have been a purely PERSONAL, not dynastic, consent, given that Alfonso (who had succeeded as head of the house in 1894) did not regard his prospective descendants through his second son as having succession rights to the defunct throne of the former Italian kingdom. At most, they would simply enjoy Sicilian titles and styles.
Does this mean that he did, in fact, recognize Maria de las Mercedes as a potential queen regnant of Spain? I know that the marriage was highly controversial in her country, precisely because the bride's father-in-law had fought against her family during the Carlist wars. There were even violent protests and demonstrations -- perhaps foreshadowing the marriage in 1966 of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (then the crown princess) and Claus von Amberg. In both cases, love won out in the end, insofar as nothing thwarted the marriage (I know that Queen Regent Maria Cristina was personally supportive of her prospective son-in-law, as Queen Juliana was of hers).
The whole situation seems highly paradoxical, on the part of Alfonso, Count of Caserta. I'm not sure how to interpret his actions and decisions ...
« Back to index