Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1792-1813 - Wimbledon House (Wimbledon)

Princess consort of Monaco Maria Caterina Brignole was born on 7 October 1737 at the Palazzo Brignole Sale (or Palazzo Rosso) in Genua. Her father was the Genovese ambassador to France. In 1755, her mother proposed a marriage between Maria Caterina and Prince Honoré III of Monaco who had been her own lover previously. The latter needed to provide an heir to the throne and was attracted by Maria Caterina’s youth and dowry. Her father disagreed because of the bad reputation of Prince Honoré, but relented after intervention of Louis XIV. In a turbulent relationship two sons were born, but the couple lived separate lives. Honoré did not bring his wife to London during his state visit in 1768. Her relationship with Louis Joseph de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, was an open secret in France. He helped her obtain a separation from her husband and the right to manage her own fortune. She joined him at his residence Chateau de Chantilly in Paris and she lived there until the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789. In 1791, she stayed with Condé in Koblenz at the French exile émigré court. The prince led the Condé army of émigrés until the court at Koblenz was dissolved in 1792. The couple then moved to London. Prince Honoré of Monaco died in 1795. She and the Prince de Condé were married in London October 1798, although the marriage was kept secret for a decade. She died at Wimbledon House in Wimbledon in March 1813, and was buried at the French chapel, St Aloysius Church, in Somers Town.

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