di Virginia Lalli Maria Sofia Wittelsbach Possenhofen (Baviera) 1841 - Monaco di Baviera 1925 Sofia Maria Amalia was born on October 4 in Possenhofen Castle in Bavaria by the Dukes Massimiliano Wittelsbach and Ludovica, daughter of the King of Bavaria, Louis I. It is the fifth of eight children of the Bavarian dukes, younger sister of Sissi was born in 1837 and future wife of Franz Joseph of Habsburg Emperor of Austria. It grows in the mountains and lakes of Bavaria, in the castle park with the family. From Monaco communicate to Ludovica mother in a Mediterranean kingdom a young prince was looking wife. You Francis of Bourbon, the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Maria Sofia knows the groom through a miniature rimanendone favorably surprised. On January 8, 1859 in Monaco celebrated a wedding by proxy by Francesco Maria Sofia in the palace chapel of Monaco. January 13 Maria Sofia leaves Monaco with his entourage to travel to Vienna and later embarks in Trieste to reach her husband in Bari. On February 3, the Lightning enters the port of Bari. The houses and the streets are decked with flags. The whole city has been poured on the docks. In a carriage waiting for her there is Francis, who does not look to some beautiful portrait of miniature, but not Maria Sofia betrays his disappointment. Arriving in Naples, it was impressed by the splendor of the capital and by the magnificence of the Royal Palace. Francis had a melancholy and introverted character. His mother Maria Cristina of Savoy had died in the odor of sanctity at just 24 years, 15 days after giving birth; Francis had studied ecclesiastical law and theology. Loved more theology that politics and devoted more time to prayer that the affairs of state. Dead Ferdinand II, father of Francesco, May 22, 1859, Mary becomes Queen Sofia, just 18 years old, alongside Francis II, twenty-three. July 7 breaks out the revolt of "Tito", Swiss mercenaries, vigorous army neoborbonico, who openly expressed their opposition to the new sovereign. At midnight, the rebels appear in front of the Royal Palace of Capodimonte where was the royal family. Maria Teresa predispne to flee with her children. Francis retired to pray. Maria Sofia, exposing themselves to the risk of a gunshot to the window and looks out, listening to the shouts in German can understand the reasons for the uprising. He calls some officers and ordered them to talk to the insurgents. Tempers seemed to subside and the negotiations come to fruition. Maria Sofia persuades her husband to replace the Swiss mercenaries with Bavarian regiments that are sent by his uncle, King Maximilian. Brilliant, seductive, Queen Maria Sofia to one year from the wedding is the center of a social awakening. Receptions, gala shows, dance festivals and public ceremonies begin to occur in the capital with the presence of real and their staff and passions (swimming, riding, fencing) arouse curiosity and admiration for the new queen. Meanwhile Piedmont militarily occupied Lombardy, and annexing the plebiscites also of the entire central Italian system. 11 May 1860, when a telegram of Castelcicala prince had announced to the King of Garibaldi's landing at Marsala, Maria Sofia never tired of repeating Francis to ride a horse at his side: "The Wittelsbach thrones conquer them and defend them mounting his horse with sword in hand. " In the general climate of disorientation that prevailed at court, only Maria Sofia was determined to follow any strategy which opposed the enemies. She never tired of inciting the King to take charge of the army and take action, sure that all the people would have supported and followed. But Francis II, apart from its natural indolence, as it was influenced by ministers and ambiguous collaborators, could not make those decisions that the situation demanded. After the resignation of Pianell the King offered him the post of head of government to the general Ischitella, but these after several attempts, put in charge by claiming that "everyone refused to be minister at that time, which saw the dissolution of the Kingdom , and no one wanted to compromise. " "To those you do not give the Order of San Gennaro", he will tell his wife while he is anxious to distribute honors when danger looms. "But the Order of every man for himself." Francis decided to leave Naples and moved to Gaeta recalling the army and the rest of the fleet. He plans to concentrate its forces between Gaeta and Capua and set up a line of defense between the two forts and between the Volturno and the Garigliano. When the actual leave the palace Maria Sofia claims not to want to see the ministers for the farewell. "We will be back soon," he repeated to the servants who greeted her. "From the day of his arrival in Gaeta - writes Amedeo Tosti, his biographer - Queen Maria Sofia had taken to exert a great, unusual activities: visit to the wards of the barracks, inspections on strengthening work, preparations for caring for the wounded and the sick, contacts with the population, in which the young Sovereign was not slow to become popular. " Marcel Proust will be to define "soldier queen on the ramparts of Gaeta." When in Gaeta, the situation will become more and more tragic because of the epidemic of typhus, the terrible cold of that year, the scarcity of food, the Queen will always respond to the invitation of her husband not to leave the stronghold. Not least proved to be the King that divides every hardship and deprivation with his soldiers and the population, and diminished hopes for a military intervention on the part of some European power (Austria, Spain, Russia). On February 11, the State Supreme Council, convened by King Francis, recognizes the need for an honorable capitulation. Now resigned to that fate unjust, Neapolitan real Francis II and Maria Sofia on the morning of February 14, they embark on the ship Mouette that would take them in the Papal States. With the fall of Gaeta and the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, Maria Sofia and her husband go to Rome in exile, the capital of what had been the Papal States. King Francis establishing a government in exile in Rome, which enjoys diplomatic recognition by the European states. On his arrival in Rome, Maria Sofia, he was determined to continue the fight by all means. The primary task of this government was first of all to organize resistance against the Piedmontese in the Kingdom. Maria Sofia was the "inspiring resistance true" even if the enthusiasm alternated periods of discouragement. During his stay in Rome the queen is made the subject of a tabloid campaign to discredit it. In February of 1862 it appears some obscene pictures of the actress naked and making the rounds of all the courts of Europe. The photos will be revealed later to be the skillful assembly in which the Queen's head was mounted on the body of a young prostitute portrayed in suggestive poses. The investigations lead the papal police arrest of Antonio Diotallevi and his wife Costanza Vaccari authors of the crime, but the suspicion is that the principals belong to the Piedmont party. Shyness of Francis, who was also suffering from phimosis, made the marriage unconsummated for many years. During the Roman exile, Maria Sofia falls in love with an officer of the Papal Guard, the Belgian Count Armand de Lawayess, with whom he has a relationship, and gets pregnant. He retires to her parents' home in Possenhofen, where a family council decides who will give birth in secret to avoid scandal. The November 24, 1862 Maria Sofia gives birth to twin girls, in the convent of St. Ursula in Augsburg. A child is immediately assigned to the Lawayss family and the other to the maternal uncles. A year later, on the advice of his family, Maria Sofia decides to confess the affair to her husband. Subsequently, the relationship between the two improves for some time. Francesco undergoes an operation that allows him to consummate the marriage, and Maria Sofia became pregnant a second time. The December 24, 1869, after ten years of marriage, Maria Sofia gives birth to a daughter, Princess Maria Pia Cristina of the Two Sicilies. Unfortunately, the little girl lives only three months and died 28 March 1870. Maria Sofia and her husband will not have any more children. With the fall of Rome and the Papal States September 20, 1870, the king and queen move to Bavaria. On May 25, Maria Sofia reached in Vienna's sister Elizabeth. Francesco few weeks after part and settles in a small castle on Lake Starnberg under the name of Count of Castro. Since that time the royal couple will live almost always separate. Maria Sofia spends much time in Monaco, and then moved to Paris. Still hopes to regain the lost kingdom, coming to have contacts with anarchist and insurrectionary world, as to be nicknamed by Proust's "Queen of the Anarchists." During World War I, Maria Sofia actively sided with the German Empire and Austria-Hungary in the war with the Kingdom of Italy. Nevertheless he used to visit the Italian POW camps and engage in assisting. The soldiers did not understand who it was that old lady who spoke their language with a strange German- Neapolitan accent and calling news especially in southern countries. Meanwhile, because of its activities in favor of the Central Powers, the former Queen of Naples he was forced to leave France and took refuge in Monaco, where it continues, as always, his battle. In the years that follow Maria Sofia will attend the end of the glorious Austro-Hungarian Empire and the rise of Fascism in Italy (which very intrigued). At eighty former Queen of Naples every morning was still the usual horseback riding. It is said that when in 1922 received the visit of the princess Maria Jose, eighteen year old daughter of his niece Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, Maria Sofia requires it to swear that he would never marry one of those barbarians Savoy. The death takes before the marriage. Francis II died in Arco di Trento in 1894 as Maria Sofia died in Monaco in 1925. Fonti, risorse bibliografiche, siti A. Petacco, La Regina del Sud, Milano, Arnoldo Mondadori 2009 A. Tosti, Maria Sofia ultima regina di Napoli, Milano, 1947