March 1, 2021

The Calvary of Queen Maria Cristina


Queen Maria Cristina de Habsburg (1858-1929), second wife of Alfonso XII and mother of Alfonso XIII, is one of the most unknown and complex characters of European royalty, although sometimes it is believed to know almost everything about her. Let us now know, therefore, the psychological profile of this archduchess of the Habsburg dynasty, who became Queen Bourbon consort for her marriage and later regent after the death of her husband and during the minority of her son Alfonso XIII.

Dr. Manuel Izquierdo, one of Gregorio Marañón's favorite disciples, makes a retrospective analysis of his regal personality: «Leptosomatic constitution, he had a schizotymic temperament, and was, therefore, aristocratic, loyal, calm, serious, delicate, feminine ; He lived his inner life, an individual and private world.

The psychiatrist Vallejo-Nágera explains, on the other hand, what exactly that schizotymic temperament consisted of, characterized by a kind of mental reserve, called autism. According to that temperament, Queen Maria Cristina tried to isolate herself from the surrounding world to live more intensely the inner world of her own dreams and illusions. The queen was thus essentially introverted and little given, as such, to externalize her feelings.

According to Vallejo-Nágera, his autism was due to "an excessively sensitive susceptibility, nervousness and hyperesthesia, which retract him from the world as a defensive resource, because the delicate schizoid makes him suffer intensely the vulgar impressions of everyday life."

María Cristina was an idealistic and romantic woman, with great limitations to make friends but, yes, when she did, they were for life. The schizotymic temperament that defined it was frequent in the great philosophers and mathematicians, in the lyric and in certain pathetic, romantic and idealistic natures.

Vallejo distinguishes between cyclothymics, like Isabel II, and schizotimics, like María Cristina: «They possess (the schizothymic) what cyclothymics lack: fine spirit, capacity for abstraction, idealism, serene energy and tenacity: lack them, instead, practical reality of life, warm feelings, adaptability to the environment and humor. Cyclothymic people are preferable for social life; for the productive, intellectual life, the schizotimics meet better conditions ».

Arranged marriage

Let us add that Alfonso XII celebrated with Maria Cristina an arranged marriage in search of the legitimate heir he so longed for, which he got in extremis, since Alfonso XIII was a posthumous son. María Cristina, according to psychiatrist Enrique Rojas, was "cold and moved by reason." Quite the opposite of its predecessor in the nuptial bed, Queen Maria de las Mercedes, or the royal lover and opera singer Elena Sanz.

The second wife of the monarch did not marry in love, but little by little he succumbed to the king's undoubted charms until he fell at his feet. «María Cristina – notes Rojas -, a possessive woman, conditioned a situation of jealousy quite complex, because she was not a woman who resigned herself and demanded from her husband no longer the respect that he was willing to offer her, but affection».

The psychiatrist adds this more interesting final judgment even if it fits: «In this order of things, she did not accept the figure of a" favorite "in the Court, with which to have to go through the humiliation of having to dispute the love of her husband. When the king's extramarital relations were excessively conspicuous or prolonged, the queen intervened almost directly in seeking drastic solutions to interrupt them.

Maria Cristina had other charms. Hence the Spanish people speckled it, and rightly so, "Mrs. Virtues." With just twelve years he knew, in addition to the vernacular languages ​​of the Empire, Italian, French, English and some Spanish, and his studies did not prevent him from devoting many hours to art, since he was very fond of music and «bel canto» .

His musical passion and his duty as a queen made him regularly attend opera performances, where the eyes converged on her, feeling observed by the curious public who scrutinized the imprint of intimate pain caused by jealousy on her face.

No one like the Count of Romanones knew how to capture the interior torment of the queen during the performances: «It would take the pen of a Stendhal to describe the silent combat that was fought daily in the royal box, fight first of all with the woman himself, the toughest that can be maintained; nothing was translucent abroad, because jealousy means granting some belligerence to the lover, and this could not be granted by the sovereign. With unrelenting effort, he held tears and remained calm and indifferent. A rock outside.

The sovereign who was abbess

On October 10, 1876, the Austrian emperor Francisco José had named María Cristina abbess of the imperial and royal noble convent of Damas del Alcazar, in Prague. This institution, founded by Empress Maria Teresa, was not monastic, so its members could marry or enter into a religious order. Once the royal liaison with King Alfonso XII of Spain was agreed, the Austrian emperor ordered Maria Cristina to renounce the dignity of the abbess. There was no doubt that Queen Maria Cristina did not symbolize the type of woman for whom Alfonso XII sighed. The king liked to rage the girls well stuffed in meat, not caring very much if they dressed or not in the best dressmakers in Paris. Hence Maria Cristina had to endure a true ordeal from her marriage, accentuated if possible more by her own personality.

. (tagsToTranslate) josé maría zavala



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