Portrait of Marie Henriette of Austria, queen consort of King Leopold II of Belgium.

GHÉMAR FRÈRES.

From Krul Antiquarian Books (Hoofddorp, Netherlands)

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Bruxelles, ca. 1865. Original photograph, carte de visite, albumen print, 9,5 x 6,5 cm. - Atelier de Photographie Ghémar Frères, 27, rue de Écuyer, Bruxelles. Marie Henriette of Austria (Marie Henriette Anne; 23 August 1836 - 19 September 1902) was the queen consort of King Leopold II of Belgium. Marie Henriette was one of five children from the marriage of Archduke Joseph, Palatine of Hungary, and Duchess Maria Dorothea of Württemberg. Marie Henriette was a cousin of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, and granddaughter of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor through her father. Marie Henriette was lively, energetic, and endeared herself to the people by her elevated character and indefatigable benevolence, while her beauty gained for her the sobriquet of "The Rose of Brabant". She was also an accomplished artist and musician, and a fine horsewoman. When she was 16, she married 18-year-old Prince Leopold of Belgium, the heir to the throne, on 22 August 1853. Leopold was the second-surviving son of Leopold I of Belgium and his French wife, Louise of Orléans; Marie Henriette was the sister-in-law of Charlotte of Belgium, future Empress of Mexico and a cousin by marriage to Victoria of the United Kingdom and Maria II of Portugal. The marriage was arranged to strengthen the status of the Belgian Monarchy: as the former Protestant monarch of a newly established monarchy, the Belgian King wished his son to marry a member from a Roman Catholic and prestigious dynasty, and the name Habsburg was one of her more important qualities. Henriette was a vivid and energetic person interested in riding. Pauline de Metternich wrote that theirs was a marriage "between a stable-boy and a nun, and by nun I mean the Duke of Brabant". Henriette is said to have had a terrible temperament. The marriage became unhappy and the couple lived more or less separate lives. She became queen in 1865. After the death of their son in 1869, the couple separated completely after having made a last attempt to have another son, which, however, resulted in their daughter Clementine. She gave her daughters a very strict upbringing. Her main interest was in her Hungarian horses. She lived most of her life unhappy and discontented. In 1895 she retreated to Spa to live out the remainder of her days; her youngest daughter Clementine replaced her as First Lady at the Court in Brussels for the remainder of her husband's life. Marie Henriette died at the 'Hôtel du Midi in Spa; she had bought the house 1895 after separating with her husband. She was buried in the Royal Crypt at the Church of Our Lady of Laeken in Brussels. Her husband later married (though illegally under Belgian law) his mistress Caroline Delacroix. She was the 607th Dame of the Royal Order of Queen Maria Luisa. Marie Henriette also held the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert. KEYWORDS:belgium/photo. Bookseller Inventory # 58721

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