Albany, Louisa Maria Caroline
ALBANY, LOUISA MARIA CAROLINE, COUNTESS OF, daughter of Prince Gustavus Adolphus of Stolberg-Gedern, was born at Mons on the 27th Sept. 1753, and assumed the title of Albany in 1772, when she married the Pretender, Charles Edward, grandson of James II. of England. Her husband was much older than herself, and their union proved very unhappy. There were no children, and the Pretender, who was a confirmed drunkard, treated his wife with such brutality that her health and even her life were endangered. In 1780 she obtained a legal separation, and entrusted herself to the care of her husband's brother, the Cardinal of York, who placed her in a convent, and afterwards removed her to his own house at Rome. Here she was frequently visited by the poet Alfieri, who made her the object of what seems to have been the only pure attachment of his life, and who, according to his own avowal, was indebted to her influence for all that was best in his works. (See ALFIERI.) In 1788 she was freed from her bonds by the death of the Pretender, and in the same year she is said to have been secretly married to Alfieri. For the remainder of her life she resided at Florence, where she continued to be known as Countess of Albany, and distinguished herself as a patroness of literary men and artists. Alfieri died at her house in 1803, and in 1810 she caused a monument to his memory, by Canova, to be erected in the church of San Croce. With the death of the Cardinal of York in 1807 the Stuart line became extinct, and the countess, who died on the 29th January 1824, was the last who was known by the name of Albany. She was buried beside Alfieri in the church of San Croce.