Marie Louise of Austria (Maria Ludovica Leopoldina Franziska Therese Josepha Lucia von Habsburg-Lothringen; 12 December 1791 – 17 December 1847) was the second wife of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French and later Duchess of Parma. As such, she was Empress of the French from 1810 to 1814, and subsequently ruler of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla from 1814 until her death.
As the eldest child of Habsburg Emperor Francis I of Austria and his second wife, Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily, Marie Louise grew up during a period of continuous conflict between Austria and revolutionary France. A series of military defeats at the hands of Napoleon Bonaparte had inflicted a heavy human toll on Austria and led Francis to dissolve the Holy Roman Empire. The end of the War of the Fifth Coalition resulted in the marriage of Napoleon and Marie Louise in 1810, which ushered in a brief period of peace and friendship between Austria and the French Empire. Marie Louise dutifully agreed to the marriage despite being raised to despise France. She was an obedient wife and was adored by Napoleon, who had been eager to marry a member of one of Europe's leading royal houses to cement his relatively young Empire. She bore Napoleon a son, styled the King of Rome at birth, later Duke of Reichstaedt, who briefly succeeded him as Napoleon II.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma , which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0