20 December 2007

Habit of Charles IV

Fr. Schofield is shown this Jacobite relic.

It is a confraternity habit that once belonged to Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia (1751-1819), who after the death of his cousin, the Cardinal Duke of York, in 1807 was recognised by Jacobites as 'Charles IV'. By this time he had abdicated his Sardinian throne after the death in 1802 of his wife, the Venerable Marie-Clotilde of France (a sister of Louis XVI and now on the road to canonisation). Charles Emmanuel retired to Rome and actually died as a Jesuit novice at Sant'Andrea al Quirinale.

And from Jacobite Heritage:

For Charles Emanuel's baptism, Pope Benedict XIV sent the blessed swaddling clothes given only very rarely by the pope to the most important royal children.

Charles Emanuel was raised in a very religious - almost ascetic - household.
Charles Emanuel and his new wife met for the first time on September 6, 1775, when they renewed their marriage vows in the Chapel Royal at Les Echelles, Savoy. In spite of the political reasons for the union, the couple were well-matched; they shared a profound attachment to the Catholic faith. The fact that they were not blessed with children was treated by them as the will of God to which they should resign themselves. After seven years of married life, they chose to live together as brother and sister. [His wife would later be declared venerable by Pope Pius VII.]

Charles Emanuel was deeply troubled by the French Revolution whose effects were being felt throughout western Europe. In 1793 his brother-in-law King Louis XVI was executed. The following year his sister-in-law Queen Marie Antoinette met the same fate and the armies of the French Republic stormed into his father's dominions. Charles Emanuel took solace in his faith. In 1794 he became a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, taking the name Charles Emanuel of St. Hyacinth.

At the death of his father, King Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia, October 16, 1796, Charles Emanuel succeeded as King Charles Emanuel IV of Sardinia. It was a most difficult time to be a new monarch; Charles Emanuel referred to his throne as a "crown of thorns". After several years of fighting against the armies of the French Republic, his father had had to hand over to France the family's ancestral duchy of Savoy. The Sardinian state treasury was empty, the army was weakened and disorganised, and among the common people revolution was fomenting.

For the next two years the new king suffered a series of humiliations from the French Republic. On January 22, 1797, French agents conspired with local Jacobins in Turin to attempt an assasination of Charles Emanuel in the cathedral of Turin. A second assasination attempt in July 1797 at Stupinigi also failed. Finally, on December 6, 1798, the occupying French forces forced Charles Emanuel to abdicate all his remaining territories on the Italian mainland; he retained his sovereignty only over the island of Sardinia.
At the death of the Cardinal called Duke of York, July 13, 1807, Charles Emanuel succeeded to all of his British rights as lineal heir of King Charles I; he himself was the great-great-grandson of Henrietta Anne, youngest daughter of King Charles I. Charles Emanuel's hereditary rights were confirmed by the will of the Cardinal called Duke of York. Charles Emanuel was henceforward recognised by the Jacobites as "King Charles IV".

Throughout his life Charles Emanuel had taken a great deal of interest in the restoration of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) which had been suppressed in 1773. From 1806 until 1811 Charles Emanuel maintained a friendship with Saint Joseph Pignatelli, the Jesuit superior in Naples. The Society of Jesus was restored in 1814; six months later on February 11, 1815, at the age of sixty-four, Charles Emanuel entered the Jesuit novitiate at Rome. He took simple vows, but was never ordained priest. He lived with his confessor, doctor, chamberlain, and several others in his own apartments in the Jesuit novitiate next to the Chiesa di Sant' Andrea al Quirinale in Rome. He died there, October 6, 1819, when he was succeeded in his British rights by his brother Victor Emanuel. His remains lie in the Chiesa di Sant' Andrea al Quirinale. There is a monument to his memory in the Basilica di Superga.