09.07.

1848: Catholic Monarch with 24 Legitimate Sons and Daughters

1848: Catholic Monarch with 24 Legitimate Sons and Daughters
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 9 July 1848
  • Such a large number of children is rare in Christian rulers, especially if not counting the illegitimate children given by mistresses. It is interesting that one of his daughters was the famous Empress Zita of Bourbon-Parma - the wife of the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire - Blessed Charles of Austria.

On this day an interesting ruler was born – Duke Robert of Parma and Piacenza. 

He is interesting by the fact that he had as many as 24 children, all legitimate. His wife, Maria Pia, bore him twelve children, before dying in childbirth at the age of only 33 years. As a widower, Duke Robert remarried and his new wife bore him another 12 children.

Such a large number of children (24) is rare in Christian rulers, especially if not counting the illegitimate children given by mistresses. In cultures where numerous wives are allowed, rulers tend to have several hundred children.

For example, King Saud of Saudi Arabia had over 100 sons and daughters, but with more than 20 women. African monarch Sobhuza II of Swaziland had 210 children with 70 wives. Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif from Morocco set the record in number of offspring with between 867 and 888 children with a large number of wives and concubines.

Duke Robert of Parma is still significant by the fact that he had 24 children in Catholic, monogamous marriages. Among these 24 children were 11 sons and 13 daughters. It is interesting that one of his daughters was the famous Empress Zita of Bourbon-Parma – the wife of the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire – Blessed Charles of Austria. The process for the beatification of Empress Zita was opened and she currently holds the title of Servant of God (her husband is already a Catholic blessed).

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