by Susan Flantzer
Over the years, we’ve had several discussions on our forum about which royal had the longest string of names. The subject of this article may be the winner: Maria Josepha Amalia Beatrix Xaveria Vincentia Aloysia Franziska de Paula Franziska de Chantal Anna Apollonia Johanna Nepomucena Walburga Theresia Ambrosia of Saxony.
The third wife of King Ferdinand VII of Spain, Princess Maria Josepha Amalia of Saxony was born in Dresden (Germany) on December 7, 1803. She was the youngest child of the seven children of Prince Maximilian of Saxony and his first wife Princess Caroline of Parma, who was a granddaughter of Maria Theresa of Austria. When Maria Josepha Amalia was only three months old, her mother died and she was sent to a convent to be raised by nuns. Her childhood in the convent was quite austere and as a result, she was a very ardent Roman Catholic.
The first two (of four) wives of King Ferdinand VII of Spain had died and he had no surviving children. His choice for a third wife was the nearly 16-year-old Maria Josepha Amalia. The couple was married in Madrid on October 20, 1819. The king fell in love with the beautiful, young princess, but her youth and inexperience made the adjustment to marriage difficult. There was much pressure upon Ferdinand VII to produce an heir. There were rumors that Maria Josepha Amalia’s devout Roman Catholicism caused her to believe that sexual relations between spouses was wrong and that it took Pope Pius VII to convince her that such relations were permissible. Nevertheless, the marriage remained childless and Maria Josepha Amalia died of a fever at the age of 25. She was buried in the royal crypt at the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo El Real. King Ferdinand VII eventually got his heir through his fourth marriage to Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies who gave birth to Queen Isabella II of Spain.