Maria Teresa Felicitas d'Este

Maria Teresa Felicitas (French: Marie Thérèse Félicité; 6 October 1726 – 30 April 1754) was a Princess of Modena by birth and Duchess of Penthièvre by marriage. She was the mother-in-law of Philippe Égalité and thus grandmother to the future Louis-Philippe of France.

Maria Teresa d'Este
Duchess of Penthièvre
Madame la duchesse de Penthièvre par Daniel Klein, Collection du musée de l'Ile-de-France, Sceaux.png
Portrait attributed to Daniel Klein, c. 1745-47.
Born(1726-10-06)6 October 1726
Ducal Palace, Modena
Died30 April 1754(1754-04-30) (aged 27)
Château de Rambouillet, France
Maria Teresa Felicitas d'Este
FatherFrancesco III d'Este, Duke of Modena
MotherCharlotte Aglaé d'Orléans
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Youth (1726–1744)Edit

The Duchess of Modena with Maria Teresa, by Nicolas de Largillière

Maria Teresa Felicitas was born on 6 October 1726 at the Ducal Palace of Modena in Modena, Italy.[1] She was the eldest daughter of Francesco III, Duke of Modena and Charlotte Aglaé d'Orléans. Before her birth, her parents had two sons, Alfonso and Francesco, both of whom died in 1725.

Her parents' marriage was not happy and her mother eventually returned to her native France. The Duchess took up residence in the Luxembourg Palace in Paris, with the permission of Louis XV. It was while her mother was in France that she saw the opportunity to marry her daughters into the royal family; such alliances between princes du sang and princesses from a small Italian duchy was highly unexpected. Maria Teresa was engaged to her second cousin, Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, Duke of Penthièvre. Her younger sister, Maria Fortunata, would also become a member of the French royal family in 1759 through her marriage to another cousin, Louis François Joseph, Prince of Conti.

Marriage and death (1744–1754)Edit

Posthumous portrait, by Rosalie Grossard.

The Duke of Penthièvre was Maria Teresa's mother's first cousin. Charlotte Aglaé's mother was the sister of the duke's father, Louis Alexandre, Count of Toulouse. The wedding took place on December 29, 1744 in Modena, followed by another ceremony at the Palace of Versailles. The Duke had inherited a great fortune when his father died in 1737. According to some contemporaries, their marriage was a very happy one.

The couple's happiness would come to an abrupt end with the death of Maria Teresa on April 30, 1754, a day after giving birth to their seventh child, Louis Marie Félicité, who also died shortly after. After her death, her mother tried to arrange a marriage between her widower and her younger sister, Princess Matilde. However, the grieving duke declined the offer and never remarried.


Maria Teresa and her husband had seven children, but only two survived infancy:[1]




  1. ^ a b Journal de la vie de S.A.S. madame la Dsse. d'Orléans, douairière
  2. ^ Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 86.

External linksEdit