The Noble Donna Marie Said Testaferrata (1820-48)


Donna Marie Said-Testaferrata born at Santi, North of Rabat, Malta on the year of 1820 to Principe Salvatore Said and Marie Dimech-Testaferrata. Her life was interesting enough due to her relationships to three very interesting nobleman of note. It all started when Barone SceberrasTrigona had asked her father, Salvatore if he could take Marie on as his children’s friend and minder, as they were of similar age. Marie’s brothers and sisters were also invited to the household of Sir Pasquale Sceberras Trigona and for several years. Marie had fallen in love with Alexander Sceberras D’Amico Inguanez, Pasquale’s eldest son as they would spend many hours together at the beach or in the fields around Rabat, Malta. Pasquale wanted Alexander to concentrate with his studies and focus on girls at a latter stage, so Pasquale would take Marie away and have long chats to ensure that Alexander got the message. Marie was afraid of Pasquale and did as he said, though Pasquale was attracted to her in such a manner as she was now a lady of 17. An age when marriage was highly considered, though Pasquale had other ideas though her father wanted to arrange a marriage contract with another gentleman which meant that her association with the Sceberras Trigona as to end. Instead, Pasquale arranged to have his son Alexander and Marie engaged as a plot to keep her under his wing.  Alexander had fancied the idea and both parties accepted the terms and conditions of the dowry. On the announcement of the engagement, February 1838, Marie was three months pregnant. Alexander wanted to marry her on the learning of the news from Marie, though Salvatore was disgraced and wanted out of the engagement. Alexander’s father was surprised and too wanted out as his reputation in Malta was an essence. Marie now single and her marriage contract ended, she was fast approaching her first child’s birth and under the care of the Nuns in Mdina, where she stay till the birth of the child. Her conditions were to have the child then leave Malta for Europe as a Mistress to a French Prince which she has approved to rid the shame of both families.
August had fast approached and heavily pregnant, the Nuns prepared for the birth of this child which Marie was to leave orphan, only to receive funds from both families to enter priesthood or the nunnery. The secrecy of this was essential and the Nuns were champions at helping out where possible with their noble benefactors. Alexander was not able to see this child till much later in life when his son Carmelo Trigona became a Priest. His birth was without problems in August 1838 and Marie was given a week to recover and to move to a foreign country for life. Her parents and siblings all had been given access to see Marie and to say their good byes. They were able to be in contact via letters or to visit her in Europe. But Marie wasn’t able to return to Malta for good as the deal which both parties mutually agreed upon.
Her life now in Rome, a long journey by ship to Calabria then coach to Rome, where she meet her  new Master, Prince Charles Laurien Bonaparte, Principe di Canino e Musignan. Prince Louis took an instant liking to her and had placed her in an apartment where she was to be his mistress and lady of the night for his pleasures. Marie had slowly grown to enjoy her new home and the trappings of the Italian aristocratic friends. Her homesick of home slowly faded and her love of Charles grew fonder. Marie was being paid to live a peaceful and colorful life under Charles. Charles’s wife had been aware of Marie’s existence and too had taken a liking and invited her to her home from time to time. This more or less kept Charles loyal to his wife and his mistress, no large amount of different women to his bedside, one could say a complete life with one’s desires at ease. The Italian Aristocracy had always kept mistresses and it was a way of life in the 19th century. Her travels were mainly in and out of Rome to a country set palace or mansion for the day of tea and activities, though Marie was earning a respect by her new friends as a role model. Though now Marie had bore four children in the five years of living in Rome, and the year of 1845, Charles Laurien wanted no more, her job was done. Though her children had became part of Charles-Laurien family and even registered as born by his wife, not as Marie’s children. Her first son was Napoleon Charles Bonaparte, born 5th February 1839, succeeded as the 5th Principe di Canino e Musignano and Principe by the Pope. Dying 1899 in Rome, and marrying Maria Cristina de Principi Ruspoli, with three children. Marie’s second child was a daughter, Bathilde Bonaparte, born 26 November 1840 and dying in Paris 1861. Married 1856 to Louis, Comte de Cambaceres, with issue. Marie’s third child was a daughter Albertine, but died after several months after birth in 1842. Her last child with Charles-Laurien was born Charles Albert, born 1843 and dying 1847 in his infancy.
Marie left behind three children all so very young and all not knowing their real mother. But now she was set up to go to London.
1845, Marie arrived in London in the spring to meet her new Master, the Lord Ebury and was housed in Holland Park where Lord Ebury was to spend time with Marie and also close to London. Marie settled quite well and also invited to the country estate of the Lord Ebury from time to time as a family friend. Though Marie was all alone in a big city without her children would constantly write to them via her family in Malta and Paris and slowly made friends with those living within her area. Though many suspected her to be the mistress of Lord Ebury though she denied it as only being good friends, but the problem lies where his lordship was constantly coming over and spending nights over. The neighbors suspected that they were more then good friends.  As a gesture, Marie had invited some of her neighbors round for drinks and had acquitanted them with Lord Ebury, this surely stopped the problem right on their tracks. We believe some of the neighbors were paid off to keep quiet.  After six months, Marie become pregnant and in 1846 bore a son at the cottage which she lived in. Lord Ebury was present at the birth and gave him the name of Robert. Though Lord Ebury never acknowledged him as his son, but according to Marie’s letters, she was paid dearly for the upkeep of the household and for the children. This was an arrangement which kept both parties happy and Marie was never in short supply of housing, food or clothing.
At this stage of her life, Marie was aging and slowly finding difficulty with looking after her son. Lord Ebury then had hired a Maid called Rita Camilleri from Malta whom instantly helped Marie, and both become friends very quickly. This had become a major relief for Marie as she now relied on Rita more and more as the time progressed. Nearly two years had passed and Robert was growing up fast. Marie still seeing Lord Ebury was spending less time with her, so she made the most of each visit. At the age of 27, Marie has embarked on an amazing journey and her fifth child was her sole being to living. This was her time to really enjoy motherhood as she never spent time no longer then six months before they were either adopted or sent away. Marie again becomes pregnant and experiencing difficulties with the joys of carrying a child. She spent weeks in bed with Rita attending to mistress and her son.  The pregnancy was taken a toll but the physician advised to stay in bed and to eat well. Marie saw little of Lord Ebury but was in contact via messages sent from Rita to his London Address.
Now it was her seventh month pregnant and still lying in bed, pains starting to get worse and the Physicians had advised that she now try and have the baby or died in the progress when the baby is due. Lord Ebury agreed to start the process of cutting Marie open and to deliver the child and then hopefully Marie may regain strength to recover from the birth. This was to become a serious operation and Marie was with high fever and both mother and child can die. The other alternative was to help progress Marie to start natural labor and perhaps look at the effects of that. Effects either way seemed to look horrible for Marie. The surgeons took the decision of natural labor and Marie started immediately giving birth. Several hours in fact but her strength grew rapidly worse and still trying to give birth. The surgeons immediately then cut her open to save the child and then vainly save Marie. Birth was a success, a girl was born, but Marie bled and died the following morning on July 27th 1848 she died in her sleep. Her bed was full of blood from the constant bleeding. Lord Ebury now in morning had immediately sent a message to Malta to fetch her brothers to come to London for the belongings of Marie and her two children. Rita had nursed the little girl whom was called Marie-Eleanore and was a healthy little baby.
Marie’s body was taken to the mortuary and was buried the next day privately in a London cemetery with the marking on her tombstone of “Marie”, “1820-48”. Marie died giving birth and her legacy was to be carried on with her children whom she left behind. Lord Ebury gave her a memorial mass when her brothers arrived three weeks later to London and that was the end of the Lord Ebury’s contact with his two illegitimate children. Both Robert and Marie-Eleanore were to be brought back to Malta to live with their uncles and cousins about six months after their mother’s death. 
Lord Ebury had commissioned a painting of Marie which became the only known one done which survives to this day.

The Genealogy


Principe Salvatore Said, Principe de Sayd e Bibino Magno, married to Marie Dimech Testaferrata, with issue (other issues)
1. Marie Said-Testaferrata, (1820-48)., Mistress firstly to Alexander Sceberras D’Amico Inguanez, Barone di Castel Cicciano e Montagno di Marzo., Mistress secondly to HH. Prince Charles-Laurien Bonaparte, 4th Principe di Canino e Musignan., Mistress thirdly to Lord Robert Grosvenor, 1st Baron of Ebury of Ebury Manor., with issue.
1.1. (First Liaison) Fr. Carmelo Trigona, (1838 - 1888 Naples), Priest, dunm.
1.2. (Second Liaison)  HH, Prince Napoleon Charles Bonaparte, (1839 - 1899), 5th Prince of Canino and Musignano, married 1859 Rome to Donna Christine Ruspoli, with issue.
1.2.1. HH, Princess Zenaide Bonaparte, (1860-1862), d.inf.
1.2.2. HH, Princess Mary Bonaparte, (1870-1947)., married 1891 to Enrico Gotti, dsp.
1.2.3. HH, Princess Eugenie Bonparte, (1872-1949), married 1898 Rome to Napoleon Ney, Prince of Moscow, Duc d'Elchingen, dsp.
1.3. HH, Princess Bathilde Bonaparte, (1840 - 1861), married 1856 Paris to Comte Louis de Cambaceres, with issue.
1.3.1. Zenaide de Cambaceres, (1857 -1932), married to Raoul Napoleon, Comte Suchet, 3rd Duc d'Albufera, with issue. Napoleone Suchet di Albufera, (1875-1879), d.inf. Louis Joseph Suchet, Duca di Albufera, (1877 - 1953), married 1904 Paris to Anna Vittoria Massena d'Essling de Rivoli, with issue Louis Victor Suchet, Duca di Albufera, (1905 -1995), maried 1935 to Simone de Chevigne, with issue. Isabelle Suchet di Albufera, (1932 -., married 1957 to Patrice Verge, with issue. Louis-Emmanuel Verge, (1958 -, married 1987 to Veronique de Laguiche, with issue. Maude Verge, (1989-. Alice Verge, (1992-. Aimee Verge, (1994 -. Denis Verge, (1961 -, married 1987 to Dorothee de Liedekerek-Beaufort, with issue. TheodoreVerge, (1992-. Alexandre Verge, (1997 -. Eleonore Verge, (1999 -. Anna Maria Suchet di Albufera, (1934 -, married 1959 Paris to Alain, Comte de Cheyron du Pavillon, with issue. Guy, Comte du Cheyron du Pavillon, (1969 -., married 1998 to natalie Leuthenmayr, with issue. Comte Alain du Cheyron du Pavillon, (2000-. Comte Elie du Cheyron du Pavillon, (2002- . Comte Rome du Cheyron du Pavillon, (2005 -. Thibault, Comte du Cheyron du Pavillon, (1969 -, married 2010 to Raphaelle Morand. Ivana du Cheyron du Pavillon, (1960 -, married 1986 to Xavier Strauss, with issue. Rodolphe Strauss, (1990 -. Victoria Strauss, (1988 -. Moina Strauss, (1993 -. Louis Strauss, (1995 -. Anne du Cheyron du Pavillon, (1963 -, married 1987 to Aymard, Barone de Ladoucette, with issue. Baron Charles de Ladoucette, (1987 - 2009), dunm. Baron Emmanuel de Ladoucette, (1989 -. Baron Come de Ladoucette, (1992 -. Ines de Ladoucette, (1994 -. Sixtine de Ladoucette, (2003 -. Paola Suchet di Albufera, (1936 -, married 1957 Paris to Francois, Vicomte de Vigneral, with issue. Guillaume, Vicomte de Vigneral, (1965 -, married 2008 to Sylvia Leuthenmayr, with issue. Tancrede, Vicomte de Vigneral, (2010 -. Allegra, Vicomtess de Vigneral, (2011-. Beatrice de Vigneral, (1958-, married 1980 Paris to Henry Lannes, Comte de Montebello, with issue. Tristian Lannes de Montebello, (1983 -. Cyrille Lannes de Montebello, (1988-. Amalia Lannes de Montebello, (1982 -. Camille Lannes de Montebello, (1986-. Laure de Vigneral, (1960 -, married 1983 Paris to Philippe Guerand, with issue. Victor Guerand, (1987 -. Maxime Guerand, (1990-. Gaspard Guerand, (1992 -. Clementine Guerand, (1985 -. Helen Suchet di Albufera, (1942 -, married 1968 Paris to Yves Aubin, with issue. Edouard Aubin, (1974 -, marroed 2003 to Claire d'Ussel, with issue. Vladimir Aubin. Alexis Aubin. Alice Aubin, (2010-. Anne-Charlotte Aubin, (1969-, married 2000 to Fergal Purcell, with issue. Aimee Purcell, (2001-. Claire Purcell, (2003 -. Honorine Aubin, (1971 -, married 1996 to Antoine Dupuy d'Angeac, with issue. Gabrielle Dupuy d'Angeac, (1996-. Gaspard Dupuy d'Angeac, (1997-. Louis Dupuy d'Angeac, (1998 -. Genevieve Suchet d'Albufera, (1944 -, married 1968 Paris to Charles Louis, Comte de Maud'Huy, with issue. Simone, Comte de Maud'Huy, (1969-. Romain, Comte de Maud'Huy, (1973-. Alexis, Comte de Maud'Huy, (1974 -, married 2011 to Tatyana Franck. Constance Suchet di Albufera, (1947 -, married 1972 to Alain Fauchier-Delavigne, with issue. Emmanuel Fauchier-Delavigne, (1975 -, married 2003 to Sophie Brigitte Aline Decoutere. Adrien Fauchier-Delavigne, (1980-. Benjamin Fauchier-Delavigne, (1984 -. Hortense Fauchier-Delavigne, (1973 -, married 1999 to Renaud Meltz, with issue. Yse Meltz, (2003 -. Moina Fauchier-Delavigne, (1978-. Napoleone Suichet, Duca di Albufera, (1912-2006), married 1943 to Claude de Ladoucette, with issue. Emmanuel Suchet, Duca di Albufera, (1944-, married 1974 to Elizabeth de Fontanges, with issue. Armand Suchet di Albufera, (1976 -, married 2011 to Laetitia de Benoist de Gentissart. Guillaume Suchet di Albufera, (1979-, married 2011 to Anne-Hortense Douence. Pauline Suchet di Albufera, (1974-, married 1998 to Comte Alexandre de Chavagnac, with issue. Rose de Chavagnac, (2003-. Josephine de Chavagnac, (2006-. Marie Zenaide Suchet di Albufera, (1985 -. Francois Suchet di Albufera, (1945 -), d.inf. Philippe Suchet di Albufera, (1947 - 1994), married 1971 to Pierrette Lacaze, with issue. Charlotte Suchet di Albufera, (1973 -. Anna Suchet di Albufera, (1975 -. Anne Suchet di Albufera, (1953 -, married 1979 to Gilles Charpentier, with issue. Antoine Charpentier, (1986-. Julie Charpentier, (1984 -. Paule Suchet di Albufera, (1910-1991), married 1934 to Francois, Marquis de Grammont, with issue. Jeanna Marie de Grammont, (1935 - 1989), dunm. Bathilde Suchet di Albufera, (1887 - 1920), married 1909 (Div 1925) to Leon Dufresne, Vicomte de Sant-Leon, dsp.
1.3.2. Leonie de Cambaceres, (1858 - 1909), married to Comte Charles Marie Michel de Goyon, 3rd Duc de Feltre, with issue. August de Goyon, Duc de Feltre, (1884- 1957), married 1933 Paris to Helen Seton, with issue. Michel de Goyon, Duc de Feltre, (1935 -, married (1) 1965 NYC (Div 1978) to Barbara Baker, married (2) 1978 Paris (Div 1983) to Christiane Talou, with issue. (First Marriage) Henri de Goyon de Feltre, (1965 -. Leslie-Anne de Goyon de Feltre, 1968-.
1.4. HH, Prince Charles Albert Bonaparte, (1843 - 1847), d.inf.
1.5. (Third Liaison) Robert Ebury Said, (1846-79), (dunm?)., adopted after Marie’s death by his Uncle and brought back to Malta.
1.6. Marie-Eleanor Ebury Said, (1848-1927)., adopted after Marie’s death by her Uncle and brought back to Malta . Later travelled in a group to Lebanon where she met Abdul I-Llah, then married  HH. Amir Abdul l-Ilah, Grand Sharif and Amir of Mecca, (r.1881-82, 1908)., with issue.
1.6.1.  Sharif Salim Pasha, married with issue. Sharif Dr Ahmad Hazim Bey, married HRH, Princess Jalila of Hijaz, dsp. Sharif Hashim Bey. Sharif Musbah Khanum.
1.6.2. Sharifa Abdiya Khanum, dunm.
1.6.3. Sharifa Nafissa Khanum, (1886-1958), married 1906 to King Ali ibn Hussein, King of the Hijaz, Grand Sharif of Mecca GBE, with issue. HRH, Prince Abd al-Llah of Hiaz, Crown Prince of Hijaz, GCMG, GCVO, (1913-58 ), Regent of Iraq, (1939-41), Head of the Hashimite House  (1951-58 ), married (1) 1936 to Melek Yehia, married (2) 1948 to Faiza al Tarabulsi, married (3) 1956 to Hiyam al-Habub of the Rabia tribes of Kut. HRH, Princess Khadija Abdiya of Hijaz, (1907-58), dunm. HRH, Princess Aliya of Hijaz, (1911-50), married 1934 to King Ghazi I of Iraq, with issue. King Faisal II of Iraq, GCVO, (r1939-58),  (1935-58), dunm. HRH, Princess Badia of Hijaz, (1920-98), married Sharif Hussein bin Ali’ Bey, with issue.  Sharif Muhammad bin Al-Hussein. b. at Baghdad, Iraq, 1950. m. a Persian lady. Sharif 'Abdu'llah bin Al-Hussein. b. at Baghdad, Iraq, 1952. m. 1988, Antonella Sophia Gabrielle Maria (b. 24th December 1957), only daughter of The Hon John Wynn Harvey, by his wife, Elena Maria-Theresa [The Hon Mrs John Harvey], younger daughter of The Noble Giambattista, Marquess Curtopassi, of Rome Italy. He has issue, two sons and one daughter: Sharif Abdu'l-illah bin 'Abdu'llah. b. 13th March 1992. Sharif  Hassen bin 'Abdu'llah. b.  1st November 1994. Sharifa Badia bint 'Abdu'llah. b.  1990. Sharif 'Ali bin Al-Hussein. b. at Baghdad, Iraq, 1956, educ. Univ. of Essex. (Self-proclaimed Pretender to the Throne of Iraq (not in accordance with the laws of succession). m. Lina, and has issue, one son and three daughters. HRH, Princess Jalila of Hijaz, (1923-55), married Sharif Dr Ahmad Hazim Bey, dsp.


1. (Correspondence) Archives of the Principe’s de Sayd e Bibino Magno. 
2. The Diary of Donna Marie Said-Testaferrata
3. Burkes Peerage 2005 edition.
4. The Royal Family of Jordan for data regarding the Amir’s of Mecca and Hijaz families and descendants.
5. It is believed that the children with Charles Lauren Bonaparte were HH. Prince Napoleon Charles Bonaparte, 5th Principe di Canino e Musignan, (1839-99), HH. Princess Bathilde Bonaparte, (1840-61), married 1856 to Louis, Comte de Cambaceres, and HH. Prince Charles-Laurien Bonaparte, (1843-47), d.inf. a swap from those his wife had who died in childbirth - still unproven.

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