Sweet Caroline of Baden, The First Queen of Bavaria

An interesting story on why Caroline, the first queen of Bavaria wasn’t a friend of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Bavaria is one of the geographically largest and most historical states in Germany. With a sense of autonomy, Bavaria is located in southmost of Germany, where I live. It is culturally rich, with many ancient cultural sites, including the in the fifties established Romantic Road. Also, Bavaria boasts of some of the most prestigious ancient royal houses of Europe.

Her Life

Caroline von Baden was the first Queen of Bavaria, famous among Bavarians for her love for art, culture, and her sympathy for protectionism. She was trained in art and followed the passion of her mother Friederike Amalie von Hessen-Darmstadt in artistry. Queen Caroline was renowned as a clever and confident woman, yet a caring and supportive mother.

Princess Caroline of Baden, as she is otherwise known, was born July 13, 1776. Daughter from Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden. She married Maximillian I of Bavaria in 1797. She had a twin sister named Amalie, who never married, one surviving brother named Charles, Großherzog von Bavaria, and four younger sisters with grand titles. Queen Friederike from Sweden, Zarin Loise from Russia, Großherzögin Wilhelmine from Hessen and Maria von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel.

Caroline grew up in a exceptionally near to her family, with a fondness for her sisters and devoted mother. She inherited her mother’s love for art and painting skills. She equally developed a hatred for the French, evident in her dislike of Napoleon Bonaparte. I understand she also as the creative inspiration for noble art and cultural history from her stepson the later King Ludwig I of Bavaria.

Running from French army advancement, Caroline met her prospective husband, Maximilian, the 40-year old Duke of Zweibrucken. He was a recently widowed Duke with four children. They married in her hometown, Katharine, in 1797 and raised their family in Mannheim.

Although she came from a very powerful family, her mother, Amalie, ensured that all her children married into various royal houses of Europe.Therefore, the Charles Louis family had an extensive network of powerful monarchs in Europe.

Nevertheless, Caroline’s marriage was very significant, as Maximilian subsequently emerged as the Elector of Bavaria, causing the entire family to move to Munich. Subsequently, due to close ties with France and Napoleon Bonaparte’s involvement, Bavaria became a Kingdom, and Maximilian and his wife, the first king and queen of Bavaria. King Maximilian died in 1825 and Queen Caroline 16 years later in the year 1841. She remains known as a queen who promoted protestant movements and turned Bavaria into a cultural heritage.

Ties with the enemy

Despite Queen Caroline’s dislike for Napoleon Bonaparte, her family often had close ties with France, especially her husband, Maximilian. Maximilian was an ally of France.

Napoleon Bonaparte and France were instrumental to Maximilian and Caroline becoming the king and queen of Bavaria. He spearheaded the Treaty of Pressburg in 1805, which elevated Bavaria to the status of a Kingdom, incorporating into it Austrian holdings conquered by France. This treaty equally created the King of Bavaria. Therefore, Queen Caroline and her family were beneficiaries of the cohesive power of France during the 18th century.

Furthermore, there was a piece of mahogany furniture in the queen’s audience room, which signified their ties with France. This furniture, which was in the Nymphenburg palace, was produced in France. It indicated the political ties between the Maximilians and Napoleon. And the direct ties between Maximilian and Napoleon were one that benefitted Bavaria, making it a kingdom and enabling it to increase in size and importance among other kingdoms.

Feud with Napoleon

Caroline’s dislike for Napoleon Bonaparte is frequently related to her mother. Some say she inherited her mother’s dislike for anything French. Therefore, despite her husband’s ties with Napoleon, she expressed her reservations. This was possible in the 18th and 19th century because Queen Caroline grew to be a self-confident woman, best educated by her mother. The latter was both a devoted mother and a politically enlightened duchess. Therefore, Queen Caroline didn’t shy away from expressing her own opinions. For example, despite the Catholic affiliations of her husband, she remained a Protestant and promoted it in Bavaria. En passant, all queens that followed her in Bavaria were protestants.

The death of Louis Antoine Henri de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien, a member of the House of Bourbon of France exacerbated her intense dislike of Napoleon Bonaparte. When younger, Sweet Caroline had been destined to marry hin. She was remarkably in love with the Duke, but her family had to withdraw all intention of marriage because of possible French opposition. This disrupted her plans to connect her beloved.

Furthermore, the execution of Louis Antoine de Bourbon by France on allegations of plotting to overthrow the regime in France fueled her dislike for the French. Especially Napoleon Bonaparte’s involvement in the murder, which led to her developing dislike for the self-named French Emperor. Therefore, the instigation of Napoleon against Louis Antoine and his subsequent murder led to Caroline having to wed a 40-year elderly widower, Maximilian.

Another major rift occurred when Napoleon intended to involve Caroline’s favorite stepdaughter Augusta as a wife for his stepson, Eugene de Beauharnais (buried in the St. Michaels Church in Munich). This marriage would be politically significant for the family, as Napoleon intended to elevate Bavaria to the status of a kingdom. Caroline rejected the idea, as she did not want her beloved Augusta into Napoleon’s family, far more than purely political reasons.

She vehemently rejected the proposal because of her personal behaviours. I consider this baffling as based on her biografy, she appreciated arts and had more of a French upbringing than German. But, knowing Caroline’s thoughts of him, Napoleon and his wife Empress Josephine offered numerous gifts to Caroline and Augusta in an attempt to gain her approval. But these gifts didn’t do considerably to revise her impression of Napoleon. She narrowly approved the marriage when she realized that her beloved Augusta was in love with Eugene. That was what ultimately changed her mind, as she desired that her stepdaughter be happy in marriage. Eugene and Augusta got married in 1806.

Never-ending Pain

Although her French past, she developed more to her later culture documenting many times through her life her growing antipathy for France and it’s Napoleon. Not merely did her Duke of Enghien death on Napoleon’s hands, but her family were also repeatedly forced to flee from advancing French forces while she grew up. One of those moments was where she met her future Maximilian, Duke of Zweibrucken, our later King Maximillian I of Bavaria.

But despite the alliance between Maximilian and Napoleon, Caroline’s thought of the French never seemed to change, even as she died. Though an artist, a protestant, and a queen who enjoyed and incorporated culture Bavaria. She never seemed to be able to forgive Napoleon and the French for the murder of the Duke of Enghien, despite her loving marriage to Maximilian.