Elizabeth Farnese, queen of Spain, born Oct. 25,1692, died in 1766. She was a daughter of Edward II., prince of Parma, and of the duchess Sophia Dorothea of Neuburg. Her ungainly appearance and headstrong disposition alienated from her the affections of her mother, and her education was neglected; but those who proposed her as a consort to Philip V. in the hope of making her their tool were greatly disappointed. The king of Spain on becoming a widower in 1714 resigned himself to the guidance of the French princess des Ursins, the favorite of his late beloved queen, and desired to follow her advice in the choice of a second wife. The princess selected Elizabeth on account of her apparent disqualification for an exalted position, and she was married to the king before the end of the year. But the first act of the new queen was to cause the dismissal of the princess, and she soon gained a complete mastery over her weak-minded husband and over the affairs of Spain. By her ambition and intrigues, and the great schemes of her minister, Cardinal Alberoni, Europe was thrown into confusion.
Her eldest son Don Carlos obtained possession of the Two Sicilies. (See Charles III. of Spain.) Car-lyle, in his " History of Frederick the Great," characterizes her as " a termagant, tenacious woman, whose ambitious cupidities were not inferior in obstinacy to Kaiser Karl's, and proved not quite so shadowy as his."