What an interesting book Il Prigioniero degli
This book doesn't just treat the short life-story of Franz, as later they would have called him but also the one of Napoleon, in a wondeful fresco of fights, dominations, defeats, and sad ends.
Famous, intelligent, prestigious and rich, once he lost his power thanks to viscious people close to him and personal errors like the campaign in Russia, will be abandoned by everyone.
He committed an error when he married that girl from Austria, Maria Luisa. French people tried Marie Antoinette, another austriac girl, but she was a big delusion; this one would have been the same.
But no: absolutely a worsest version of Marie Antoinette to my point of view, this Maria Luisa.
Marie Antoinette died with the husband, she followed him in his sad destiny; they escaped away together, Maria Luisa disappeared completely from the existence of Napoleon, uninterested at the new life she would have had with him, frugal, not anymore splendid at the Elba. Her dad would have introduced to her another man, with which she had children once she was still married with Napoleon; but, first of all she returned to Austria, for abandoning there little Franz, in that Austriac Court that would have been his cage for enjoying her new life in Italy with her companion and new children.
Napoleon adored Franz.
When he divorced from Josephine he did it also because he needed to have a successor; he became in the while emperor and a kid was indispensible.
The choices the wrongest one, because Austrians were acute and smart politicians; they manouvred Napoleon with great sophistication. Napoleon was a man of action, that ones were men who enjoyed the idea of destroying him with all themselves.
The operation was conducted successfully well by Metternich, an evil soul as you will see. But you see: business is business, we could read this story in that way.
At first Maria Luisa appears happy and cheerful with his groom. Surrounded by luxury, she had everything she wanted; she didn't have any kind of maternal affection and once born the little baby, very sweet and cute, she preferred spending her time in other activities. Painting, walking, racing with horses, everything but not to see around that baby. Napoleon adored the little one, who, in his idea would have become the king of Rome. Dominations of Napoleon had great vastity; but his campaign in Russia meant the end of his military successes like also the perennial fight with a powerful state like the Church was.
The governess of this little baby considered the wife of Napoleon a discutible person because she didn't care at all of this poor little baby.
Franz, affectionated to his mother didn't understand this behavior, but after all, his existence was beautiful! surrounded by people in love for him.
Then the wind changed, they, mom and son rushed away, abandoning France for Austria, where the kid became someone else; a sick boy, plenty of maladies, segregated in various castles: everything, from letters to books he read were checked and controlled, because Franz hadn't to remember sunny France, his past, and first of all his daddy: Napoleon. He was a prisoner but he did never understand this.
To Napoleon the defeats and that kid so distant to him, impossible to see anymore meant a big disgrace.
The brainwashing operated on Franz was made under many levels; he could not speak french anymore but just the local language, slowly slowly french people affectionated to him and part of the staff of the kid were removed, fired, for giving place to austriac people.
The existence of this boy has been completely manouvred; he hasn't never had freedom.
When some friends proposed him of escaping away, the young boy, constantly followed and without the same adventurous spirit of his dad, because his spirit killed by many malicious, horrible people, and so chained, trapped, procrastinated, for personal fears and because maybe the unknown, for someone kept in a cage the entire existence as he was, meant to leave his comfort zone and probably he was scared of the sentiments that he could have proved.
No one knows if he had relationships; it is known that girls fell in love for him; he was slim, blond, very tall and absolutely attractive. A person who later we would have met as another hard person, Sofia, the mother of Emperor Franz Joseph with which Sissi had violent discussions with, was in her young age a completey different girl. She helped a lot Franz during his short existence, she was a normal girl with good sentiments; his death meant to her a big shock and... fever; once she recovered her character changed forever, becoming pessimistic, hard and closed, without any kind of compassion as the one we later would have known.
I personally found a great compassion and sadness for this kid, and young boy, because he was a real prisoner and no one should be kept prisoner. Maybe it was great that he died so soon. I imagine his soul incarnated somewhere else, loved, appreciated by people and for once, free to be who he wanted to be.
Not just a "problem" to keep under control, not just someone who needed to be tamed. It's horrible and devastating what it was done with this kid, and when people act in this way at many levels is devastating; things like these ones should never happen because it means stealing the existences of people and no one should do that.
I suggest this book to everyone.
I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.
Anna Maria Polidori