Friday, December 18, 2009

The Empress of Farewells: The Story of Charlotte, Empress of Mexico

The Empress of Farewells: The Story of Charlotte, Empress of Mexico is a 2002 book written by Prince Micheal of Greece.

This book is centered on Empress Charlotte of Mexico.  Born the daughter of Leopold I (The First King of the Belgians) and his wife Queen Louise-Marie. She is the sister of Leopold II and Aunt to Crown Princess Stephanie of Austria and Albert I of Belgium. She was close to her Mother although she was her Father's daughter. Charlotte was particularly close to her Grandmother, Queen Maria Amelia of France. When she was only 10 years old, Charlotte's Mother died. After her death, Charlotte began to become more reclusive.

On July 1957, Charlotte married Archduke Maximilian of Austria (Max).  The Archduchess Sophie, Charlotte's Mother-in-law, took a liking in Charlotte and thought of her as the perfect wife for an archduke. Charlotte didn't liked the Empress Elisabeth (Sisi) and had great animosity against 'Sisi' because of her close relationship with Max. Maximilian is then appointed Governor of  Lombary and Venetia though soon he was demoted by his overly jealous brother, Franz Joseph I of Austria. Although they did not complain about their treatment both still wished for something more.

Somewhere in the 1860s, Napoleon III of France began creating the Mexican Empire. He offered it to Maximilian and reluctantly accepted the terms of Renunciation of his and his heirs claims to the Austria throne to become Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico.  Maximilian's and Charlotte's reign began with "great" enthusiasm from the Mexican people. Max and Carlota had no children but they did adopt a child named Augustin Itrubide.Which led many people to ask the question why? Did he not like Charlotte. There had been many rumors near the end of Max's reign that he had been having affairs with the local Indians. Was he impotent? OR? Was he a homosexual?

After only a few months, Napoleon began pulling troops out of Mexico which was a mortal blow to the new empire. Charlotte went back to Europe in an attempt to save her husbands throne. She failed. And she began to suffer from paranoia. She never again saw Maximilian. Maximilian was was executed in 1867. His last words were "Poor Charlotte".

After, Maximilian's death Charlotte went insane. Charlotte was still "deeply" in love with her husband and cherished his possessions. Charlotte spent the rest of her life imprisoned first at Miramar (Max's treasure home) and then at Castle of Bouchout.She died on the 19 January, 1927. She died of natural causes and in the end she finally was reunited with Maximilian.

I give this book a 4/5. I did like the book a lot but the author did asks too many questions and it was nerve racking after a while.It is a medium read and a little better than an average book. This is one of the rare books on Empress Charlotte of Mexico so if you have the chance I suggest you read it.   



  1. A good review, I thought along similar lines when reading it; why raise questions if you're not going to address them or at least give a pov on them? Personally, I don't give any credence to the affair rumors on the part of Max or Carlota. Most agree that Max was made sterile from a VD he picked up in Brazil long before his marriage (which would rule out him fathering a child with the gardner's wife in Cuernavaca) and Carlota was constantly accompanied in her troubled last days of travel so no chance that there was any dallying with Van der Smissen. Plus, if you read their letters to each other, up until the very end, they both certainly sounded extremely devoted to each other to me. Hope you don't mind if I cross-link your review...

  2. Interesting review, MiMi. I am glad to have found your blog. I have one on Belgian royalty, here:

    Best wishes for the new year.