Tuesday, June 9, 2015

24 kids and counting: Duke Roberto of Parma

June 9, 1905

Duke Roberto of Parma is a father again, reports the Marquise de Fontenoy.  This is the 24th child for the former sovereign of Parma.  He is without a doubt the "patriarch of European royalty."

The duke has been married twice.  His first wife, Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon-Two Sicilies died in childbirth in September 1882.  The infant was stillborn.  Two years later, he married Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal.

The newborn child is the 12th child for Roberto and his second wife.   He also has five grandchildren.  His eldest daughter, the late Princess Marie Louise, who was married to Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria, gave birth to four children before her death.  Her brother, Prince Elias is married to Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria, and they have one daughter.

Roberto succeeded to the throne following the "mysterious and unpunished assassination" of his father in 1854, when he was only six years old.  Five years later, he lost his throne when Piedmontese troops annexed Parma, an action that eventually led to the formation of the Kingdom of Italy.

He and his family sought refuge in Switzerland.  He eventually regained the right to live in Italy, but makes his home in Austria, where "he is accorded all the prerogatives and immunities with the utmost distinction and consideration."

Money is not an issue as the duke inherited the major portion of the fortune of his uncle and aunt, the Count and Countess de Chambord, as well as their chateau.

It is believed that the Duchess of Parma gave birth to a son, although this has not been confirmed.

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