Marie Thérèse Charlotte (19 December 1778 - 19 October 1851), the eldest daughter and only surviving child of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, passed away only three days after the 58th anniversary of her mother’s execution.
MAY SHE, A TRUE DAUGHTER OF FRANCE, REST IN PEACE.
Royalty Meme ♛ [2/8] Royal Children ↳ Marie-Thérèse Charlotte, Madame Royale
Marie-Thérèse Charlotte was the firstborn child of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Though she was not the son and heir many had hoped for, her long-awaited birth on December 19, 1778–eight and a half years after her parents’ wedding–was nonetheless cause for celebration. From birth, she was styled “Madame Royale,” the customary title of the French king’s eldest daughter. Both of her parents delighted in her. Her mother called her “Mousseline” and was the stricter of the two. She did everything in her power to instill Marie-Thérèse with a sense of humility and charity. Her father, on the other hand, had a tendency to spoil her, and she in turn idolized him. She was something of a “daddy’s girl.”
When Marie-Thérèse was almost three, her mother gave birth to a son at last. She and Louis-Joseph were joined by a second brother, Louis-Charles in 1785 and, briefly, by a baby sister called Sophie the following year. Sophie died just three weeks before her first birthday. The royal children were quite close, so both Sophie’s death and that of the sickly Louis-Joseph in the summer of 1789 were hard blows for the entire family.
Marie-Thérèse, however, was a very tall and healthy child. Pretty and intelligent, she took her status as Madame Royale quite seriously. Because she tried to emulate her mother’s regal behavior in public, some accused her of being haughty and arrogant.
The outbreak of the French Revolution produced rapid and dramatic changes in the eleven-year-old princess’ life. These began with her family’s move from Versailles to Paris in late 1789. Three years later, with the monarchy abolished, they were imprisoned in the Tower Temple. There,
Marie-Thérèse became increasingly isolated from her family. Her father was executed in January 1793; her brother, just eight, was taken away in July; and she was separated from her mother a month later. Her aunt and only remaining companion, Madame Elisabeth, was also executed the following spring. She spent another year in the Temple, during which time she wrote that she was “the most unhappy person in the world. She can obtain no news of her mother; nor be reunited to her, though she has asked it a thousand times.”
The day before she turned seventeen, Marie-Thérèse was released a from prison. She went to Vienna before moving to Latvia, where in 1799 she married her cousin Louis-Antoine and became the duchess of
Angoulême. She and her remaining family spent the next fifteen years in England. When Napoleon was exiled in 1814, her uncle assumed the throne as Louis XVIII. Unsurprisingly, Marie-Thérèse found her return to France difficult emotionally. In 1824, Louis XVIII died and her father-in-law–who was her father’s youngest brother–became King Charles X. She was now Madame la Dauphine. She continued her charitable work and attempted to rehabilitate her parents’ memories until her father-in-law and then her husband both abdicated during the Revolution of 1830. Marie-Thérèse lived out the rest of her life in exile. She remained a staunch royalist and a devout Catholic until her death in 1851 in Vienna.
“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…”
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.
Envelope from a letter written by Pope Pius VI on February 3, 1796, containing the dispensation for the marriage of Louis Antoine d'Artois, Duc d'Angouleme Marie-Therese-Charlotte de France. The dispensation was required because they were so closely related, being first cousins.