Queen and Regent of Spain. He was born in Palermo (Italy) on April 27, 1806 and died at Sainte-Adresse (near Le Havre, France) on August 22, 1878. Fourth wife of Fernando VII, to his death in 1833 was appointed regent of Spain, given the minority of age of the daughter, Elizabeth II. His Government marked by clashes between Carlists and Liberals, supported him, he remained in this position until that a progressive uprising led by general Espartero forced her to resign and go into exile (1840). He returned to Spain in 1843, after the fall of Espartero, and had great influence on his daughter, including the election of her husband Francisco de Asís of Bourbonduring more than one decade. A liberal revolution in 1856 sent finally to exile, which put an end to its long period of political prominence in Spain.
She was the daughter of Francisco I of Bourbon, King of the two Sicilies, and María Isabel de Borbón (sister of Fernando VII). His training in Naples, while careful, was more cultural than political, and all his idea in this respect was in need of a strong authority. In may 1829 was the third wife of his uncle Fernando VII, María Josefa Amalia of Saxony. He had no offspring and almost immediately, by influence of Luisa Carlota (sister Princess), asked their relatives the Kings of Sicily the hand of María Cristina. This arrived in Spain in early December, held a few days (11) wedding in Aranjuez. It was well received by the Liberals as a possible son would be the heir to the throne and displacing Carlos María Isidroinfante, of absolute spirit. Soon María Cristina, who had adapted well with Fernando VII and had even moderate his absolutist attitude, became pregnant, and the King abolished by the pragmatic sanction of 1789 (and proactive mode) the Salic law, so that again was allowed to reign in Spain to the female offspring, in the absence of a male heir. Supporters of Carlos María Isidro, protested, and their fears were made when October 30 was born a girl, the future Isabel II.
A few months after the birth of a second child, Luisa Fernanda (January 30, 1832), ill Fernando VII, to whom Minister Francisco Tadeo Calomarde was able to start the abolition of the pragmatic sanction in a moment of extreme weakness and unconsciousness. María Cristina helped push her husband for fear of a civil war and the death of their daughters. The King recovered for some time, it desdijo and confirmed in his testament the rights of Isabel. To secure the throne of this, the Liberals offered their support to his mother on the farm (October 1832), which governed the country as Governor by the express desire of the King. From this position he obtained an amnesty and given important political positions liberals, attitude that kept the 29 September 1833, after the death of her husband because she was appointed regent. At three months, on 28 December 1834 at the Palacio Real in Madrid, he married new a Guard Corps of his guard, Agustín Fernando Muñoz (Duke of Riansares since 1843). Since it was a morganatic link, was it kept secret to avoid being forced María Cristina to leave the Regency.
Recognized only by France and England, was then confronted with the uprising by supporters of don Carlos, who started a civil war between "Christians" and "Carlist" (see: Carlist Wars). It did it prevent its first head of Government, Francisco Cea Bermúdez, although it was under his rule that became the long-lasting provincial partition that remains today (work of his Minister of development Francisco Javier de Burgos). To balance the pressure Carlist stressed their support to the Liberals, and appointed Francisco Martínez de la Rosa (January 1834). This Government data the actual statute, which approved a bicameral Cortes, and the signing of the quadruple Alliance (Spain, Portugal, France and England). To this the count of Toreno, José María Queipo de Llanosucceeded him in June of the same year. In September the growth of anti-clericalism (which killed even many friars in Madrid) caused his fall and replaced him with Juan Álvarez Mendizábal, even more progressive. MENDIZABAL applied a deep political confiscation of church property and some nobility, in order to clean up state finances and the country's economy. Most were sold at auction and created a new group of middle-class landowners, whose political influence originated the beginning of a moderate period.
Thus, from 1836, after the brief Government of Francisco Javier Istúriz and the mutiny of the sergeants of the farm (imposed by the recognition of the Constitution of Cadiz), short moderate governments followed one another: José María Calatrava; Eusebio Bardají and Azara; Narcissus of Heredia and Begines, count of Ofalia; Bernardino Fernández de Velasco, Duke of Frias; Evaristo Pérez de Castro and Antonio González and González, who in 1837 passed a new Constitution. María Cristina was much more akin to these. After the war against the Carlists in 1839 with the signing of the Convention of Vergara and the liberal victory, exploded several progressive riots led by general Baldomero Espartero. Taking advantage of the decline in popularity of the Queen because of her second marriage, María Cristina obliged to renounce the Regency (October 12, 1840). This, in the company of her husband, left Spain and settled in la Malmaison in Paris. There, protected by the French King Luis Felipe of Orleans, promoted with the help of general Ramón María Narváez opposition to Espartero, who in turn had made known to the courts the morganatic link Agustín Muñozand María Cristina.
Although the general Diego de León failed to its lifting in front of moderate military and he was shot, Narvaez conspiracy eventually succeeded, and in 1843, more than three years after his exile, could return to Madrid, confirming the courts their marriage on April 8, 1845. Only the role of Queen Mother, was recognized as the coming of age of Isabel II Declaration had anticipated. However, it did not lose its influence over her, and oriented her marriage with Francisco de Asís (nephew of María Cristina). He also did the same with the of her other daughter, Luisa Fernanda, who married Antonio of Orléans, Duke of Montpensier. Such interference did not like the progressive Liberals or European courts. Nor had good relationship with Narváez, although with Juan Bravo Murillo and other conservatives helped those who. For this reason, a new revolution initiated in another military uprising (Vicalvarada, 1854) opposed him openly and burned his residence, the Madrid Palacio de las Rejas.
Forced to leave the country again, the second and final exile of María Cristina began in Portugal, but soon moved back to France, Sainte-Adresse, where lived even more than twenty years. Then, since 1856, when property confiscated two years earlier were returned to him, he could visit Spain occasionally, and even attended the dethroning of his daughter (1868); to the enthronement of Amadeus I of Savoy; to the abdication of Prince Alfonso Isabel II, in June 1870 in Paris; the proclamation and fall of the first Republic (1873-1874) and to the Bourbon Restoration in his grandson Alfonso XII (1874). He died in 1878, five after her husband, with whom he had eight children in a well run marriage: María Amparo, Countess of Vista-Alegre; maría de los Milagros, Marchioness of Castillejo; Agustín, Duke of Tarancón; Fernando María, Viscount of dawn; María Cristina, Marchioness of la Isabela; Juan María, count of the memory; Antonio, who died shortly after birth; José María, count of Gracia. She was finally buried in the Pantheon of Kings of El Escorial given that with the enthronement of Alfonso XII was a wife, mother and grandmother of King; his initial desire was to have been buried in Tarancón with her second husband.
GONZÁLEZ DORIA, F. The Queens of Spain. Madrid: Wheat, 1999.
History of Spain. Vol. 24: "the Elizabethan era and the democratic administration (1834-1874)". Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1988.
MARTÍNEZ OLMEDILLA, TO. The fourth wife of Fernando VII. Madrid, 1957.
RIVERS MAZCARELLE, M. Queens of Spain: House of Bourbon. Madrid: Aldebaran, 1999.
VILLARRUTIA, Marquis of. The Queen Gobernadora-dona María Cristina de Borbón. Madrid, 1925.
ZORRILLA GONZÁLEZ DE MENDOZA, F. J. Genealogía of the House of Bourbon in Spain. Madrid: Editora Nacional, 1971.