Maria d'Este

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Maria d'Este (8 December 1644 – 20 August 1684) was a Modenese princess and Duchess of Parma as the wife of Ranuccio II Farnese, Duke of Parma. She was a daughter of Francesco I d'Este, Duke of Modena and Maria Caterina Farnese.[1]

Maria d'Este
Maria d Este.jpg
Duchess consort of Parma
Tenure1 October 1668 – 20 August 1684
Born(1644-12-08)8 December 1644
Died20 August 1684(1684-08-20) (aged 39)
Burial21 August 1684
SpouseRanuccio II Farnese, Duke of Parma
IssueFrancesco, Duke of Parma
Antonio, Duke of Parma
Maria d'Este
HouseHouse of Farnese
House of Este
FatherFrancesco I d'Este, Duke of Modena
MotherMaria Caterina Farnese


Maria was the eighth child and fourth daughter of Francesco I d'Este, the reigning Duke of Modena since 1629. Her mother was a daughter of Ranuccio I Farnese, Duke of Parma.


Maria was born in Modena to Francesco I d'Este, Duke of Modena and his consort Maria Caterina Farnese. A member of the House of Este, she was a princess of Modena by birth.

In order to cement relations between the House of Farnese, Maria's older sister Isabella d'Este had been married to Ranuccio Farnese, Duke of Parma, son of Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma and Margherita de' Medici in 1664. Isabella died in 1666 as a result of childbirth.[2] In order to preserve the union between the two ducal houses, the unmarried Maria became Ranuccio's next consort.

A wedding was signed by proxies in October 1667 and formally in Modena on 1 January 1668 she was duly married to the widowed Ranuccio Farnese.[1] The marriage produced seven children; she also had two stillborn children. Out of the seven, three survived infancy, however none of them went on to have further children.

Maria died in Parma at the age of 39. Her husband survived her by ten years. Her two youngest sons, Francesco and Antonio, each became the Duke of Parma. Antonio was the last member of the House of Farnese, the duchy of Parma going to the Spanish House of Bourbon in 1731.

Maria was buried at the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata in Parma on 21 August 1684. She has no surviving descendants.


  1. Isabella Francesca Maria Lucia Farnese (14 December 1668 – 9 July 1718). She was a Benedictine nun in Santa Maria di Campagna Monastery of Piacenza;
  2. Vittoria Maria Francesca Farnese (24 December 1669 – 15 September 1671);
  3. A son (24 June 1671 – 28 June 1671);
  4. Vittoria Farnese (19 November 1672), twin of Caterina;
  5. Caterina Farnese (19 November 1672), twin of Vittoria;
  6. A son (26 December 1674);
  7. Eleonora Farnese (1 September 1675 – 3 November 1675);
  8. Francesco Maria Farnese (19 May 1678 – 26 February 1727) succeeded as Duke of Parma; married Dorothea Sophie of the Palatinate, had issue;
  9. Antonio Francesco Farnese, Duke of Parma (29 November 1679 – 20 January 1731) married Enrichetta d'Este, no issue.


References and notesEdit

  1. ^ a b Lundy, Darryl. "The Peerage: Maria d'Este, Principessa di Modena". Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  2. ^ The child she gave birth to was Odoardo Farnese, Hereditary Prince of Parma, the father of the famous Elisabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain.

See alsoEdit