Królowa matka – szara eminencja

Barbara Obtułowicz



Queen mother – the grey eminence


This article is about Maria Christina of Bourbon (1806–1878), the wife of Ferdinand VII, king of Spain, and her efforts to maintain de facto authority in the country after her husband’s death in 1833. At first, she used the fact that her three year old daughter, Queen Isabella II, was queen regnant of Spain for this purpose. After Isabella’s coming of age, her mother became the grey eminence. At that time she gained control of the activity of the constitutional organs of the state: i.e. the
Spanish Crown, the government, and the parliament, forcing them to take decisions in accordance with her private interest, rather than the Spanish raison d’état. The author presents how the queen mother managed to gain such a wide range
of powers, in what areas she was especially active, and why in these ones (policy, economics, finances) rather than in others. The author also gives reasons which induced Maria Christina to intervene in the country’s internal affairs. Among the most important ones listed, is not the ambition to be in power which, in fact, she did not have, but the keen desire for her children of the morganatic marriage with the guard Augustin Fernando Muñoz to live decent lives and be wealthy. Moreover, Maria Christina’s competence to play this difficult role has been evaluated along with the support she got from moderate liberals (moderados), and the far – reaching consequences of ten years of rule of Mrs. Muñoz – for Spain as well as for her family and collaborators.

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