I am Maria Carlotta Amelia Victoria Clementina Leopoldina, the princess of the Kingdom of Zixu and Fantasy, the monarch of the Kingdom of Bubble and Nightmare, the Kingdom of Paranoia and the Sea of Forgetfulness. The queen of the country, the queen of the country of lies. Today the messenger brought me news from the Empire. He told me that Charles Lindbergh was flying across the Atlantic in an iron bird to take me back to Mexico.
At the end of the Mexican writer Del Paso’s famous book “Anecdotes of Empire”, the Mad Queen Carlotta’s monologue is touching. The place that witnessed her transformation from a Belgian princess and a Mexican queen to a mad woman was the Miramar Castle, the love nest she built with her husband Maximilian.
The castle on the left, the queen on the right
”From the blue tide to the blue sky, filled with the fragrance of flowers, Miramar is a fairy tale castle that fills the poet’s heart with joy.” This is the poem of Maximilian, the builder of the castle. “Miramar” means “looking at the sea”. In Trieste, an important town in northeastern Italy, the strong sea breeze blows, and this castle with white towers and granite terraces is dazzling.
The entrance to this seaside castle is a small fountain, with water flowing against the glass lens, symbolizing the rhythm of the ocean. The promontory on which the castle was built was originally a wasteland. Under the careful care of master gardeners, palm trees, weeping willows and cedars are scattered throughout. The square towers and tall pointed arches highlight the Gothic style, and the castle also combines many elements of classicism and Byzantium. Complexity and diversity were the global trends in the 19th century.
The mistress of the castle, Carlotta, is the only daughter of King Leopold I of Belgium, the granddaughter of King Louis-Philippe of France, and the cousin of Queen Victoria of England. When she was young, she was famous in Europe and had an endless stream of suitors. It wasn’t until she met Maximilian that she secretly agreed. Maximilian was born into the noble Habsburg family. He was the Crown Prince of Austria and a descendant of the famous ruler Charles V. He was a talented man with a good reputation and outstanding talents. He was not only a naturalist, but also served in the Imperial Navy. He was destined to He is a man of the future. The two can be said to be a perfect match for each other. When she married in 1857, Carlotta dreamed of one day becoming the empress of the world.
Maximilian’s mother, Sophie, once commented on her two sons: Maximilian had an “incomparably rich inner world” that made people fall in love at first sight, while the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph was only “the most well-behaved”. Sophie had always disliked Franz Joseph’s wife Sissi and preferred Carlotta, who was also proud of her favor. But after Princess Sissi gave birth to Prince Rudolf, Maximilian could only take a back seat, and Carlotta’s dream of being queen was fleeting.
The decorative sculptures of Miramar Castle use the images of snakes and eagles. The snake symbolizes wisdom and the eagle symbolizes pride. The story of the battle between the two has been recorded as early as Aesop’s Fables.
Perhaps out of dissatisfaction with his mother’s favoritism, or fear that his younger brother would covet the throne, Franz Joseph squeezed Maximili out of Vienna and kept him stationed in Italy for a long time on the pretext of training the navy. The beautiful Italy is the ideal home for Maximilian and Carlotta. Maximilian finalized the design plan himself, and Miramar Castle was built.
Maximilian did not launch iron-blooded suppression as his brother wanted, but instead ruled with gentleness and enlightenment, winning himself a lot of praise. The furious Franz Joseph dismissed his brother, and Maximilian was happy to be free and focused on the grand project of the castle until the French Emperor Napoleon III sent the Mexican crown. Some historians believe that Carlotta, who had already missed her dream of being queen once, refused to miss another opportunity and caused a lot of gossip. It was in Miramar Castle that in April 1863, Maximilian signed the Miramar Agreement. According to the agreement, Napoleon III sent an expeditionary force to help him consolidate his throne. Carlotta’s dream of becoming a queen seems within reach.
The most ruthless emperor’s family
The news reached the ears of Franz Joseph. He agreed to send an army to help his brother wipe out the opposition forces in Mexico, but he also put stringent conditions on the table: Once Maximilian became the emperor of Mexico, he would lose his position as the emperor of Mexico. All Austrian inheritance rights, and his heirs will also be deprived of their titles. Maximilian, who had long been tired of the royal struggle, agreed and revealed his heart: “I will close the door and cheer for this, but what about Carlotta?” Carlotta
also has her own worries. She and Princess Sissi had a rift, and there might be some jealousy behind it: Carlotta lacked sentimentality, while Maximilian and Princess Sissi were both passionate about literature and art, especially admiring Heine, and they had a lot in common. What further estranged the sisters was an incident: Princess Sissi heard about the beautiful scenery of Miramar Castle and came to relax on vacation. As soon as she settled in, her pet dog got into trouble and killed Carlotta’s pet dog. Killed in one bite. Carlotta said some unpleasant things, and the two have been in a cold war for a long time.
Princess Sissi longed for the calm days at Miramar Castle. When she learned that Carlotta was about to go to Mexico, she sent a letter, which said: “You are fully qualified to live a peaceful and happy life. Why pursue meaningless fame and become a slave to the throne? The so-called fame and honor are actually a kind of hard labor. There are many annoying etiquettes every day. Why should we bear such hard labor at the expense of our own happiness? What? You have many orchids in Miramar, what’s wrong with living in such a quiet and beautiful environment?” A few words, revealing the true feelings, allowed the two sisters-in-law to put aside their previous feuds when they said goodbye.
Seizing the throne of Mexico is easier said than done. Despite all the difficulties, Maximilian still cared about the castle. Miramar Castle was still under construction, and he built Chapultepec Castle in Mexico, which made the financial pressure even worse. Napoleon III pulled the plug and took away the main French expeditionary force on the front line, leaving Maximilian in a desperate situation.
Carlotta, who regarded the title of queen as a treasure, refused to sit still and waited for death. She hoped to return to Europe temporarily and use her connections to bring in reinforcements. When she returned to Miramar Castle, the Austrian navy and the Italians cheered and greeted the Queen of Mexico, which made her very happy. She was in a good mood and also introduced the growth of vegetation in the castle and the construction progress of the small museum in the letter.
Unfortunately, the situation in Europe was unpredictable, Austria lost a war, and Franz Joseph had no intention or ability to interfere with his brother’s life and death. Belgium concentrated its energy on Africa and did not want to interfere in American affairs. Moreover, the guards sent by the two countries are going through life and death in Mexico. Carlotta soon realized that she might not be able to move any troops. Napoleon III, who had been preaching about Mexico’s bright future, now coldly and resolutely ignored her pleas.
The castle turned into a cage and witnessed countless tragedies
Carlotta has only one life-saving straw left, which is to ask the Pope for help, imploring him to coordinate all forces in Europe to fight for a glimmer of hope for her husband. However, the Pope had already heard that Maximilian’s reforms in Mexico had seriously damaged Catholic interests. He treated Carlotta with full courtesy, but refused to let go at all. Carlotta realized that the situation was over, and her hatred of Napoleon III grew day by day: if it were not for his rhetoric back then, the couple would still be enjoying a peaceful life in Miramar Castle. In despair and remorse, she went crazy, imagining that Napoleon III sent assassins to take her life everywhere. At the Vatican, she put on a black dress, a black velvet cloak and a black ribbon hat, looking pale and tired. She claimed that the streets were full of Napoleon III’s assassins, and if the Pope refused to take him in, she would sleep in the corridors of the palace for the night. In desperation, for the first time in the history of the Papal City, a female visitor stayed overnight.
Maximilian in Mexico was losing ground, and Carlotta in Europe was going crazy. She suspected that the people around her had been bribed, so she first fired the doctor and then dismissed most of the servants. She no longer eats any fruit or bread of unknown origin, buys live chickens and gives them to her personal maid to slaughter, and lets her pet cat test poisons for her. Austria sent top experts, who were convinced that Carlotta was suffering from persecution delusions, but claimed it was meningitis and left her at Miramar Castle to rest.
The gardens of Miramar Castle were built under the personal supervision of Maximilian. He introduced various rare plants from all over the world and turned the garden into an ecological garden. He and Carlotta lived here for only four years. By the time the castle was completed, he was dead and Carlotta had become a madwoman.
Carlotta often hallucinated, fantasizing about taking care of her husband who had escaped from death, and sometimes she would wake up and go out to continue her unfinished business of seeking help. Wearing no coat or hat, she always wanted to rush out of the castle, but was stopped time and again by loyal servants. To prevent accidents, the servants and doctors let her live on the second floor of the villa, nailed the windows, and guarded her day and night.
Maximilian was expelled from Mexico City and led a desperate resistance with stragglers. In Miramar Castle, Carlotta often said crazy things. She said that history had already written the script. Maximilian was a prophet and sorcerer, and the leader of a secret society, only to carry out the will of God. It was also said that Maximilian and the people in the Vatican were all Freemasons, and together they planned the blueprint for the world.
In 1867, Maximilian was shot, and Miramar Castle was returned to the Austrian royal family. Princess Sissi occasionally comes to stay here. Her son Rudolf embarked on the road of drinking to relieve his sorrow and suffered a mental breakdown, and eventually died in love with his lover. Princess Sissi died in an accidental assassination, and the murderer was an Italian young man.
Archduke Ferdinand, who succeeded Rudolf as Crown Prince, was intoxicated by the scenery of Miramar Castle and was keen to have picnics nearby. When his subordinates reminded him that there were assassins around the castle, he retorted: “My life is always in danger. I just need to put my faith in God.” The words came true. In 1914, two months after leaving the castle, Later, the Archduke was assassinated, igniting the fuse of World War I.
The Belgian royal family missed Carlotta who went crazy in Miramar Castle and took her back to Buschu Castle. There, she lived until 1927, hearing about the outbreak and end of the World War, the deaths of Rudolf, Princess Sissi, Archduke Ferdinand and Franz Joseph, and the shame of being captured by her enemy Napoleon III. and a lonely ending. She could fantasize as much as she wanted, still being in Miramar Castle, writing letters to her husband, and sharing one scene after another of the changes in the world.