When Mexico Had a Monarch

Modern Mexico had a home-grown monarch in Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Arámburu, better known as Agustín I, Constitutional Emperor of Mexico, born and bred in Morelia, which was called Vallodolid at the time. He didn’t last out a year before abdicating. His wife died in Philadelphia, where she lived for 37 years since his execution in 1824. His son married an American woman, Alice Green, and they had an American-born child, Agustín de Iturbide y Green, who ended up teaching at Georgetown University.

The connection didn’t end there.

The line might’ve died out, but for the French Intervention, which placed one of the Habsburg-Lorraine scions in charge of Mexico a few decades later, making the man born as His Imperial and Royal Highness Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph, Prince Imperial and Archduke of Austria, Mexico’s next monarch — Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico.

C.M. Mayo at Madam Mayo fills in what happened next:

After eight years of marriage without having produced any children, Maximilian offered to make a son of his younger brother Archduke Karl Ludwig his Heir Presumptive. Charlotte herself, of course, would travel to Vienna to retrieve the child. The answer to that was a definitive no. And then Maximilian— or perhaps it was his confessor, Father Fischer — came up with a most original idea. Why not adopt the two-and-a-half year old grandson of Mexico’s Emperor Agustín de Iturbide? Iturbide had ended up before a firing squad in 1824, but his memory as Mexico’s Liberator and protector of the True Faith was still venerated by many Mexicans, above all, the conservatives, many of whom were beginning to lose with Maximilian, his reliance on a foreign army, and what they perceived as his distastefully liberal leanings. Charlotte herself lobbied the little boy’s parents, Angel, the second son of the Liberator, and his American wife, Alice, with visits and flowers. In one message to Maximilian, the empress reported, “I always press them to understand that if they do not accept all our terms, nothing will come of it for any of them”. In September of 1865, in exchange for the highest honors and a hefty financial settlement, the child was delivered to Chapultepec Castle. Nine days later, however, his mother, nearly out of her mind with grief, insisted that her child be returned to her care— at least in his infancy. Maximilian and Charlotte not only refused to receive her; Maximilian had her and her husband forcibly deported, leaving them free to raise a scandal in Washington and Paris, where they lobbied the American Minister in Paris, John Bigelow, who went, in his words, “to the very verge of official propriety” to help his countrywoman. To no avail — however, a year later, when Maximilian recognized he could no longer protect the child, he ordered him returned to his parents.

Read on.

But the story doesn’t end there

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One comment on “When Mexico Had a Monarch

  1. When Mexico Had a Monarch

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