Story of Max and Carlota

W hen Maximilian was executed his beautiful wife Carlota was desperately touring Europe, pleading for help for her husband. Napoleon III, Emperor of France had placed them on the throne of Mexico, backed with French gold and a French Army, but he had given up on his dangerous Imperial adventure in North America and refused to help. It drove Carlota mad to be turned down by the very man who had sent them on their ill-fated journey across the sea, to a country that didn't want them. Later it was claimed that during this final interview with Napoleon and his lovely wife Eugenie, a servant brought a silver pitcher with a cooling drink for Carlota, hysterically she wildly drew back from the servant exclaiming the drink was poisoned and they were trying to get rid of her, too. After the death of her husband Carlota fell into deep depression and serious mental illness. Fifty years later she died, still addressed as Empress of Mexico, in a castle in her native Belgium. She was 86 and the year was 1927.

It was a sad ending to a story that had begun many years before, full of promise and the happiness of royal newlyweds. She was the daughter of Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, born in 1840. Charlotte, as she was known before becoming Empress of Mexico, was a lovely girl short, with dark eyes and hair. She was serious and intent with a strong personality, attracted to Bach and reading history books for pleasure. Maximilian was quite a contrast to her, tall and fair, frivolous and pleasure loving. They married on July 27, 1856 when she was 16 and he was 24. MORE

Carlota dressed Italian-style

Max and Carlota

Maximilian and Carlota at the time of their marriage

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