marie therese of france

“She is the only man in the family.”
Napoleon Bonaparte said this of Marie Therese Charlotte, the only surviving child of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette when she first rallied people against him after his escape from Elba. She refused to flee from his troops and rallied support for the King (her uncle) while he and the other members of the royal family fled.
In the end she left as well, not wishing for the people who had rallied to her to be killed, and she is them to save their loyalty for another time.
So these words spoken by Napoleon were after she left, effectively saving her people and ensuring they would not be spilling their own countrymen’s blood. She was brave, courageous and merciful.

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WOMEN’S HISTORYMARIE-THÉRÈSE DE FRANCE (19 December 1778 – 19 October 1851)

Marie-Thérèse Charlotte de France was the eldest child of Louis XVI de France and Maria Antonia von Österreich. She was much adored and spoiled by her father, but her mother was determined that Marie-Thérèse would not grow up to as arrogant has her unmarried great-aunts. She was only 11 when the French Revolution began and it is doubtful that she understood what was happening. In June of 1791, she and her family attempted to flee France, but they were caught at Varennes and taken back to Paris.

Afterwards, Marie-Thérèse was separated from her parents. Her father, mother, and paternal aunt were all executed and her younger brother died in prison, but she was not told of their deaths until August of 1795. She was freed from the tower in December of that year and went into exile in Austria where she was reunited with her uncles, Louis-Xavier de Provence and Charles-Philippe d'Artois. On 10 June 1799, she married her cousin, Louis-Antoine, the son of Charles-Philippe.

In 1814, Napoléon Bonaparte was toppled from power and her uncle, Louis, was restored to the throne as a constitutional monarch. She returned to France then and ordered that her parents’ bodies be dug up and reburied in the Saint-Denis Basilica. Her older uncle died in 1824 and was succeeded by her other uncle and father-in-law, which meant that she was the dauphine. Charles’ reign was short-lived, however, and he and Louis-Antoine both abdicated in 1830. Afterwards, Marie-Thérèse and her husband lived in exile in Prague. Louis-Antoine died in 1844 and Marie-Thérèse moved to Austria, where she spent the rest of her life. She died on 19 October 1851 of pneumonia.

Marie-Thérèse of France aged 17 by Heinrich Friedrich Früger, c. 1795

In December 1795, seventeen-year-old Marie-Thérèse, the only surviving child of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, fled Paris’s notorious Temple Prison. Kept in solitary confinement after her parents’ brutal execution during the Terror, she had been unaware of the fate of her family, save the cries she heard of her young brother being tortured in an adjacent cell. She emerged to an uncertain future: an orphan, exile and focus of political plots and marriage schemes of the crowned heads of Europe. [She was] an astonishing woman whose life was shrouded in mystery, from her birth in front of rowdy crowds at Versailles, to her upbringing by doting parents, through to Revolution, imprisonment, exile, Restoration and, finally, her reincarnation as saint and matriarch. 

- Marie Thérèse: The Fate of Marie Antoinette’s Daughter, Susan Nagel

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A small sample of Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun’s beautiful portraits in the “Woman Artist in Revolutionary France” exhibit at the MET. The portraits here include those of Marie Antoinette, Yolande de Polastron, the Duchess of Polignac, Marie Therese Charlotte of France and Louis Joseph, Vigée Le Brun herself, and her daughter, Jeanne Julie Louise le Brun.

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Today I went to Kostanjevica monastery in Gorica, Slovenia. I’ve visited tombs of the Bourbons, known also as Little St. Denis.

The tombs of the last members of the French royal family of the Bourbons can be found in the crypt of the church of Kostanjevica. These nobles were exiled from France in the revolution of 1830. At first they found refuge in Edinburgh, Scotland; from there they went to Prague, in the current Czech Republic. Finally they came to Gorica where they were received as the guests of Count Coronini.

Charles X died of cholera on November 6, 1836, in the Coronini Palace, seventeen days after his arrival in Gorica. Before his death, he asked to be buried here.

In addition to this last French king, several other members of the Bourbon family found their final resting places in the church crypt, including Marie Thérèse of France.

Versailles- Elisa Lasowski as  La reine Marie Thérèse

& George Blagden as Roi Louis XIV ♥ 

Love is the crowning grace of humanity, the holiest right of the soul, the golden link which binds us to duty and truth, the redeeming principle that chiefly reconciles the heart to life, and is prophetic of eternal good” 

(Petrarch) 

Marie Antoinette with her two eldest children, Marie-Thérèse Charlotte and the Dauphin Louis Joseph, in the Petit Trianon’s gardens, by Adolf Ulrik Wertmüller

Louise de La Vallière (Françoise Louise de La Baume Le Blanc; 6 August 1644 – 7 June 1710) was a mistress of Louis XIV of France from 1661 to 1667. She later became the Duchess of La Vallière and Duchess of Vaujours in her own right. Unlike her rival, Madame de Montespan, she has no surviving descendants. Louise was also very religious and she led a religious penance for herself near the end of her life.

Early life

Louise de La Vallière was born in Tours, the daughter of an officer, Laurent de La Baume Le Blanc (who took the name of La Vallière from a small estate near Amboise) and Françoise Le Provost. Laurent de La Vallière died in 1651; his widow remarried in 1655, to Jacques de Courtarvel, marquis de Saint-Rémy, and joined the court of Gaston, Duke of Orléans, at Blois.

Louise was brought up with the younger princesses (the future Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Duchess of Alençon, and Duchess of Savoy), the half-sisters of La Grande Mademoiselle. After the death of Gaston, Duke of Orléans, his widow moved with her daughters to the Luxembourg Palace in Paris and took the sixteen-year-old Louise with them.

Louis XIV

Through the influence of a distant kinswoman, Mme de Choisy, Louise was named Maid of honour to Princess Henrietta Anne of England, sister of King Charles II of England, who was about her own age and had just married Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, the King’s brother. Henrietta (known as Madame) was extremely attractive and joined the court at Fontainebleau in 1661. Her friendly relationship with King Louis XIV, her brother-in-law, caused some scandal and fed rumors of a romantic affair.

To counter these rumors, the King and Madame decided that Louis should pay court elsewhere as a front, andMadame selected three young ladies to “set in his path”, Louise among them. The Abbé de Choise reported that the seventeen-year-old girl “had an exquisite complexion, blond hair, blue eyes, a sweet smile … [and] an expression [at] once tender and modest." One of her legs was shorter than the other, so Louise wore specially made heels.

Mistress

Louise had been at Fontainebleau only two months before becoming the king’s mistress. Although she was intended to divert attention from the dangerous flirtation between Louis and his sister-in-law, Louise and Louis soon fell in love. It was Louise’s first serious attachment and she was reportedly an innocent, religious-minded girl who initially brought neither coquetry nor self-interest to their secret relationship. She was not extravagant and was not interested in money or titles that could come from her situation; she wanted only the King’s love. Antonia Fraser writes that she was a "secret lover not a Maîtresse-en-titre like Barbara Villiers.”

Nicolas Fouquet’s curiosity in the matter was one of the causes of his disgrace, for, when he bribed Louise, the King mistakenly thought that Fouquet was attempting to take her as a lover.

In February 1662, the couple fell into conflict. Despite being directly questioned by the King, Louise refused to tell her lover about the affair between Henrietta and the comte de Guiche. Coinciding with this, Jacques-Benigne Bossuet delivered a series of Lenten sermons in which he condemned the immoral activities of the King through the example of King David’s adultery—and the pious girl’s conscience was troubled. She fled to the convent at Chaillot. Louis followed her there and convinced her to return to court. Her enemies—chief among them, Olympe Mancini, comtesse de Soissons, niece of Cardinal Mazarin—sought to orchestrate her downfall by bringing her liaison to the ears of Louis’s queen, Maria Theresa of Spain.

During her first pregnancy, Louise was removed from the Princess’ service and established in a lodging in the Palais Royal, where, on 19 December 1663, she gave birth to a son, Charles, who was taken immediately to Saint-Leu and given to two faithful servants of Jean-Baptiste Colbert. Despite the secrecy of the transfer, organised by a doctor Boucher who was present at the birth, the story quickly spread to Paris. The public scorn at a midnight mass on 24 December resulted in a distraught Louise escaping home from the church.[6]

Downfall

Concealment was practically abandoned after her return to court, and within a week of Anne of Austria’s death on 20 January 1666, La Vallière appeared at Mass beside Maria Theresa. Ashamed of her conduct, she treated the queen with humility and respect. In return, the queen was reportedly venomous towards her during the five-year affair, continuing even after the affair really ended—unaware that the king had taken another mistress.

After five years, Louise’s favour was waning. On 7 January 1665 she had given birth to a second son, Philippe, and on 27 December of that year she gave birth a third son, Louis;but the three children soon died, Charles on 15 July 1665, Philippe before the autumn of 1666 and Louis shortly after. A daughter was born at Vincennes on 2 October 1666. In May 1667, by letters patent confirmed by the Parlement de Paris, Louis XIV legitimised his daughter, who was named Marie Anne de Bourbon and was given the title of Mademoiselle de Blois. Louis XIV also made Louise a duchess and gave her the estate of Vaujours. As a duchess, Louise had the right to sit on a tabouret in the presence of the queen, which was a highly prized privilege. However, Louise was not impressed. She said her title seemed a kind of retirement present given to a servant who was retiring. Indeed she was correct, for Louis commented that legitimising their daughter and giving Louise an establishment “matched the affection he had had for her for six years”: in other words, an extravagant farewell present.

On 2 October of that year, she gave birth to their fifth child, a son named Louis, but by this time her place in the King’s affections had been usurped by Françoise-Athénaïs, marquise de Montespan, whom both she and the queen (both pregnant when the affair began) had thought of as a trusted friend. Under the pretense of her pregnancy, Louise was sent away to Versailles while the King and the court were at the scene of the war; however, she disobeyed the King’s orders and returned, throwing herself at his feet sobbing uncontrollably. In a strange twist of fate, she ended her relationship with the King in the same way in which she started: used initially as a decoy for Louis and “Madame”, Louise now became a decoy for her own successor, as Louis made her share the Marquise de Montespan’s apartments at the Tuileries to prevent the legal manœuvres of the Marquis de Montespan (who wanted to get his wife back) and to keep the court from gossiping.

Mme de Montespan demanded that Louise assist her with her toilette, and Louise did so without complaint. Whenever the king wished to travel with his real mistress, Athénaïs, he made both Louise and Athénaïs sit in the same carriage with the queen. Since Athénaïs was married, it meant that both the king and she were committing adultery, a mortal sin. Louise had refused a smokescreen marriage for this very reason. (In cases where one partner is unmarried, canon law of the Roman Catholic Church considered a carnal affair to be simply fornication.)

Mlle de La Vallière was the godmother of Athénaïs’ and Louis XIV’s first daughter, who was given the first name Louise. Louise hated being the decoy for Athénaïs and begged and wept often to be allowed to join a convent. She took to wearing a hair shirt, and the strain of being forced to live with her former lover and his current mistress caused her to lose weight and become increasingly haggard.

She attempted to leave in 1671, fleeing to the convent of Ste Marie de Chaillot, only to be compelled (once more by order of the King) to return. In 1674, she was finally permitted to enter the Carmelite convent in the Faubourg Saint-Jacques in Paris under the name of Sister Louise of Mercy.

When Louise left the Court, the new Duchess of Orléans (born Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate) took care of the education of her only surviving son, Louis. He later was involved in a scandal with his uncle Philippe de France and Philippe’s favourite, the Chevalier de Lorraine, and died in 1683 while in exile in Flandres.His loving sister and aunt were greatly affected by his death, while his father did not shed a tear. His mother, still obsessed with the sin of her relationship with the king, said upon hearing of her son’s death:

I ought to weep for his birth far more than [for] his death.

Madame de Maintenon asked Louise if she had fully considered the discomforts that awaited her at the Carmelite convent which ended up including being forbidden to wear the shoes that allowed her to walk without a limp. “When I shall be suffering at the convent”, Louise replied, “I shall only have to remember what they made me suffer here, and all the pain shall seem light to me.” The day she left, she threw herself at the feet of the Queen, begging forgiveness: “My crimes were public, my repentance must be public, too.”

She took the final vows a year later, accepting the black veil from the queen herself, who kissed and blessed her. The queen already had a habit of spending brief sojourns at the convent for spiritual consolation and repose. Interestingly, later in life, Mme de Montespan went to Louise for advice on living a pious life. Louise forgave her, and counselled her on the mysteries of divine grace. She died in 1710. The Duchy of La Vallière went to her daughter Marie Anne as did the fortune she had acquired during her life as Louis’s mistress.

La Vallière’s Réflexions sur la miséricorde de Dieu, written after her retreat, were printed by Lequeux in 1767, and in 1860 Réflexions, lettres et sermons, by M. P. Clement (2 vols.). Some apocryphal Mémoires appeared in 1829, and the Lettres de Mme la Duchesse de la Vallière (1767) are a corrupt version of her correspondence with the Maréchal de Bellefonds.

Apparently eager to extend the naturalness and freedom of her country haven to all aspects of her offspring’s life, Marie Antoinette outfitted Madame Royale in the simple, unstructured muslin gaulles that she and her adult friends had made famous, and the young princes in sporty, unconfining sailor suits.

These were the costumes worn by Marie Antoinette’s two oldest children in a portrait that the Swedish artist Adolf Ulrik von Wertmuller painted of them and their mother – posing in front of the Petit Trianon’s Temple of Love – for Gustavus III, King of Sweden. And when the painting was shown at the Paris Salon of 1785, the public again rallied against the inappropriate clothing styles it placed on display, even though the Queen herself had been represented wearing altogether traditional panniers, a cinched corset, lace sleeves, pearl bracelets, and a low headdress that Rose Bertin has confected from a slate-blue satin that highlighted the blue of the consort’s eyes, For the Wertmuller portrait, Marie Antoinette had even abandoned her signature Habsburg roses, though Madame Royale held a clutch of them, as if reprising, in miniature, her mother’s pose in La Reine en gaulle. In this way, the royal children’s unconventional outfits may have reflected badly on their mother, despite her visible effort to reign in her own previous excesses of fashion.

Queen of Fashion, What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution - Caroline Weber