Maria Anna of Savoy, Duchess of Chablais

Maria Anna of Savoy (Maria Anna Carolina Gabriella; 17 December 1757 11 October 1824) was a Princess of Savoy by birth and Duchess of Chablais by her marriage to her uncle, Prince Benedetto, Duke of Chablais.

Maria Anna of Savoy
Duchess of Chablais
Born(1757-12-17)17 December 1757
Royal Palace, Turin
Died11 October 1824(1824-10-11) (aged 66)
Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi, Turin
Royal Basilica, Turin, Italy
SpouseBenedetto, Duke of Chablais
Full name
Maria Anna Carolina Gabriella di Savoia
HouseHouse of Savoy
FatherVictor Amadeus III of Savoy
MotherMaria Antonia Ferdinanda of Spain

Early life

Born at the Royal Palace of Turin, she was the sixth child of Prince Victor Amadeus, Duke of Savoy and, since 1773, King of Sardinia, by his wife, Maria Antonia Ferdinanda of Spain, as daughter of Philip V.

Maria Anna was the fourth but third surviving daughter of her parents. Her two older sisters were the future "grand daughters in law" of Louis XV of France, Princess Maria Giuseppina, who married the future Louis XVIII of France in 1771 and Princess Maria Teresa, who married the future Charles X of France in 1773. Their younger surviving sister, Maria Carolina, married Anthony of Saxony.[1]

Three of her brothers were the last three Kings of Sardinia from the senior line of the House of Savoy: the future Charles Emmanuel IV, Victor Emmanuel I and Charles Felix. After the death of the last one in 1831 without issue, the throne passed to Charles Albert, Prince of Carignano and next legitimate male heir.


After the weddings of her older sisters to French Princes, was arranged the marriage between Maria Anna and her paternal uncle Prince Benedetto, Duke of Chablais, younger half-brother of Victor Amadeus III (as the son of Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia and his last wife, Elisabeth Therese of Lorraine). The wedding took place on 19 March 1775 at the Chapel of the Holy Shroud in Turin.[2] They had no children but had a happy union: although they were close, Maria Anna always saw him as her uncle.[3] Their official residence were the Palazzo Chiablese and the Ducal Castle of Agliè.[1] She had good relationships with her sisters-in-law Marie Clotilde of France, Princess of Piedmont and Maria Theresa of Austria-Este, Duchess of Aosta.[4]

When in December 1798 the Republic of France invaded the Kingdom of Sardinia, the whole royal family went into exile. The Duke and Duchess of Chablais left Turin and moved to Sardinia, where they remained until the end of 1799. Then they left the island and settled in Rome at the Papal States. In 1805, they spent a few months in Florence as guests at King Louis I of Etruria, and his wife Queen Maria Luisa.[1]

In Italy, the Duke of Chablais was given control of the Army of Italy which contained French troops and intended on restoring the monarchy in France after the execution of Louis XVI in 1793.[5] He took part in the Battle of Loano.

Benedetto, Duke of Chablais died on 4 January 1808 in Rome. In 1816 the now Dowager Duchess of Chablais received her younger brother Charles Felix their cousin Charles Albert. By that time, the states and properties of the House of Savoy where recovered; during Maria Anna's absence, the Palazzo Chiablese was used by Camillo Borghese, 6th Prince of Sulmona and his wife, the famous Pauline Bonaparte.[6] However, Maria Anna didn't returned to her homeland immediately: in 1820 she acquired the Villa Rufinella in Frascati near Rome, having bought the property from Lucien Bonaparte. In 1822, despite protests from her brother and cousin, Maria Anna settled in Florence, despite the fact that the city actively participated in the period of unrest in the Kingdom of Sardinia the previous year.[1]


Only at the beginning of 1824 Maria Anna returned to Piedmont, where in the Castle of Moncalieri meet her brothers, the former King Victor Emmanuel I and the new monarch Charles Felix. In the summer of the same year, together with Charles Felix and his wife Maria Cristina she made a trip to Savoy, where they visited Hautecombe Abbey.[1]

Maria Anna died at the Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi in Turin in 1824 aged 66 and was buried at the Royal Basilica of Superga. She bequeathed all her properties, including the Palazzo Chiablese, the Ducal Castle of Agliè and the Villa Rufinella in Frascate, to her brother Charles Felix.[1]


Titles and styles

  • 17 December 1757 19 March 1775 Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Anna of Savoy
  • 19 March 1775 4 January 1808 Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Chablais
  • 4 January 1808 11 October 1824 Her Royal Highness the Dowager Duchess of Chablais

References and notes

  1. Maria Anna, Duchesse di Chiablese (1757 - 1824) in: Archived 2016-08-21 at the Wayback Machine [retrieved 2 June 2016].
  2. "Savoia". Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  3. The Edinburgh magazine, or Literary miscellany, p 25
  4. Louis Leopold d'Artemont: A Sister of Louis XVI - Marie-Clotilde de France, queen of Sardinia (1759-1802), London, London, 1911, p. 86.
  5. Louis XVI's sister Marie Clotilde of France was wife of Charles Emmanuel IV and queen consort since October 1796
  6. Palazzo Chiablese in: [retrieved 2 June 2016].
  7. Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 26.
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