Maria Giovanna Batista of Savoy
- Born: 11 Apr 1645
- Marriage: Charles Emmanuel II Duke of Savoy
- Died: 15 Mar 1724 at age 78
Marie Jeanne Baptiste of Savoy, Duchess Consort of Savoy (Italian: Maria Giovanna Battista di Savoia) was Regent of the Duchy of Savoy from 1675 to 1684. She was the second wife of Charles Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy and by him the mother of Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia.
Marie Jeanne Baptiste de Savoie was born in Paris, the daughter of Charles Amadeus of Savoy, 6th Duke of Nemours and Élisabeth de Bourbon, herself a granddaughter of Henry IV, King of France via her father César de Bourbon, Légitimé de France.
In 1662 Marie Jeanne Baptiste was engaged to Charles V, Duke of Lorraine, but on 10 May 1665 she married Charles Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy (1634-1675). They had one son, Victor Amadeus of Savoy, who was Duke of Savoy from 1675 to 1730 and later King of Sicily and Sardinia.
After the early death of her husband, Marie Jeanne Baptiste became regent of Savoy in the name of her underage son.
An energetic and ambitious woman, she called herself Madama Reale in honor of her respected mother-in-law Christine de France, (also half sister of César) who had also reigned as a regent of Savoy.
She tried to gain the throne of Portugal for her son by engaging him to his cousin Isabel Luísa, Princess of Beira, only child and presumptive heiress of her father, Peter II of Portugal. This would have left Marie Jeanne Baptiste permanently in full control of the Duchy of Savoy as Regent because her son would have had to live in Portugal with his new wife.
But the birth of a son for King Peter II of Portugal and a revolt in Piedmont supported by Victor Amadeus forced Marie Jeanne Baptiste to abandon her plans and hand over power to her son on 14 March 1684.
The period of her regency included intervention in the bizarre personal affairs of the composer Alessandro Stradella, who sought refuge in Turin from the wrath of the Venetian noble Alvise Contarini. Stradella, charged with instructing Contarini's mistress Agnese Van Uffele in musical arts, fell in love with her and ran off with her. Contarini hired assassins to murder Stradella in the streets of Turin. Unsuccessful, they sought asylum at the French embassy.
Marie Jeanne protested vigorously to Louis XIV about the behavior of the French ambassador, but was able to use the incident to resolve outstanding political differences with France. She also had Van Uffele's father imprisoned. In the end, Stradella made up with Contarini, and left Turin for Genoa without Van Uffele.
Retired from politics, she still had a great influence over her granddaughter Princess Marie-Adélaïde of Savoy, who married Louis of France in 1697 and who became Dauphine in 1711. She instructed the young girl in the ways of the French court of Louis XIV by means of a continuing correspondence.
She lived in the Palazzo Madama in Turin, still named after her and her mother-in-law, and died in that city in 1724.
She was the last Countess of Geneva, which was united with Savoy after her death. She was also the Duchess of Aumale - a title that she sold in 1686 to Louis Auguste de Bourbon (son of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan and cousin of Anne Marie d'Orléans)
Maria married Charles Emmanuel II Duke of Savoy, son of Victor Amadeus I Duke of Savoy and Christine Marie Bourbon of France. (Charles Emmanuel II Duke of Savoy was born on 20 Jun 1634 and died on 12 Jun 1675.)