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HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > The Second Empire through the Lens of A.A.E. Disdéri

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André Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri 
Empress Carlotta of Mexico 
Carte de visite 
Paul Frecker 
Grand Duke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria, brother of Emperor Franz Joseph, ruled as Emperor Maximilian of Mexico from 1864 to 1867.
When Napoléon III's army occupied the country, Maximilian, under the impression that he would be welcome in Mexico, accepted the position of Emperor. However, he encountered strong resistance from the deposed president Juarez. When the USA insisted on the withdrawal of the French troops, Maximilian was abandoned by his Imperial ally. Forced to assume personal command of the army, he was captured by Mexican republicans after the siege of Queretaro and executed by a firing squad.
His wife Carlotta was born Marie Christine Amélie, the daughter of Leopold I, King of the Belgians. She married Maximilian in 1857 and accompanied him as Empress when he went to Mexico. After the withdrawal of French troops, she went to Europe to implore Napoléon III to restore military aid, and to beseech the Pope for help, but her mental health broke down under the strain of her failure. She never returned to Mexico, but lived on after her husband's execution for sixty unhappy years. She spent many of these in an asylum, finally dying in Belgium in 1927. 
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