|Infante Philip, Duke of Calabria (1747-1777)|
An 18c. portrait of a young blond boy, standing,
wearing ornate dress, and a red sash
Philip, son of King Charles, grandson of King Philip, was born with disabilities that became more apparent as he grew. His head was large for his body; he had seizures; he did not learn to speak. Witnesses said he didn't easily make eye contact. He was raised with his siblings and tutored with his younger brother, Charles. When Philip was twelve, a group of doctors and officials were charged with determining if he was competent to reign; they watched him for two weeks, and said no, Philip cannot fulfill that inherited role.
So, as a young man, relieved of the right and obligation to be king, Philip, Duke of Calabria, lived in palaces at Capodimonte and Caserta. He was not hidden; his regular public appearances were important for clarifying the reasons behind his younger brothers' positions. He apparently enjoyed eating and drinking, and a particular quirk was mentioned in one account: he enjoyed having gloves put on his hands--layers and layers of gloves, finger by finger, sometimes more than a dozen layers of gloves on each hand. (I wonder what today's occupational therapists would make of that! Was there a special case of Philip's glove collection, numbered by size, so they would nest just right?) Into adulthood, palace staff had some difficulty keeping Philip from "embracing" women at the court; they tried to keep him away from women, but he learned to slip away.
Philip, Duke of Calabria, died in the fall of 1777, from smallpox. He was thirty. He's buried in Naples, at the Church of Santa Chiara. I wish I knew that when I visited Naples several years ago; I might have gone to pay my respects.