Informal Diplomacy and Women’s Networks at the Savoy-Carignano Court (Seventeenth Century)
This volume investigates the family affairs of the Savoy-Carignano dynasty, with a special focus on women: they are, in fact, prominent between the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, a crucial phase for the family and its territorial governance. The position of the Savoy-Carignano family was extremely delicate and forced them to deal both with Turin and Paris-Versailles, keeping a constant eye on the opportunities offered by the court of Vienna. The strategic balance between different courts, skilfully guided by Marie de Bourbon, Princess of Carignano, is at the heart of this book. Two case studies will be taken into account, in which female figures played a decisive role, mobilising networks of relations and refining negotiation strategies. On the one hand, the controversial wedding of Prince Louis-Thomas, count of Soissons; on the other, the marriage of Prince Emanuel Philibert. The diplomatic incidents triggered by these family affairs forced Mary of Bourbon, the true matriarch of the family, to counterbalance the effects, for the survival of the entire dynastic clan. The letters by the Savoy-Carignano princesses, in the most acute phases of the conflict, outline a sort of resilient epistolary, encouraging us to reflect on the weight of female figures for the consolidation of a patrimony of symbols and privileges, which represented an essential step for a dynasty claiming full territorial sovereignty.