“Poor little girl, you are not what was desired, but you are no less dear to me on that account. A son would have been the property of the state. You shall be mine; you shall have my undivided care; you will share all my happinesses and you will alleviate my sufferings…”
Thérèse had lived in many places, but there was none so haunted as Trianon, or as vibrant with memory. Its haunting was a wistful and compelling call to linger, as if the murmuring poplars and cedars entreated one to stay forever. The soul seemed drawn into an enchanted realm where time itself dallied. She breathed in the scented air. No one would ever live there for long in peace; no one could ever again make it a dwelling place, for the person who had enlivened Trianon with her own spontaneous magic was gone from the world. Trianon was no longer a home, but a tangible dream of lost happiness.
→ Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and their children
Madame Fille du Roi, the main preoccupations of Marie Antoinette were not political.Her chief joy was in the precocious development of her daughter. Marie Therese had the big blue eyes and healthy complexion that in babies make for admiration. She was also tall and strong, walking in her basketwork stroller by the time she was eight months old and shouting out, “Papa, Papa.” These preferential cries did not offend her mother; on the contrary she was delighted that father and daughter were in this way linked more strongly. As for Marie Antoinette, she could hardly love her more than she did , the child who was “mine”.
This tiara was made in 1819/1820 for Marie Therese Charlotte, Duchesse d’Angouleme, as a gift from her husband, Louis Antoine, the Duc d’Angouleme. It was made of unmounted stones from the French crown jewels, and set in gold and silver. It contains 40 emeralds and over a thousand diamonds.
When her father in law/uncle Charles X abdicated the throne in 1830, as did her husband immediately after, the family went into exile and Marie Therese was forced to return the tiara to the treasury. It remained packed away until Napoleon III came to the throne, when it was frequently worn by his wife, Empress Eugenie. Unfortunately, there are no known portraits or photographs of either woman wearing it. When Napoleon III went into exile in 1870, Eugenie also had to return the tiara to the treasury.
It was displayed at the Paris World’s Fair in 1878, and then at the Louvre in 1884. In 1887, it was sold at auction along with the majority of the other french crown jewels. It wasn’t seen again until it surfaced in the vaults of the Wartski jewellers. The owner was apparently unaware of its’ history, but allowed it to be displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1982-2002. The tiara was then but up for sale, but the British government placed a temporary export ban on it so that funds could be raised to keep it in the country. They weren’t successful in raising the money, but an arrangement was made with the Louvre museum to have it returned to their collection. It is now on display there, along with other surviving items from the French crown jewels.