marie-therese-charlotte

   On January 20, 1793, Louis XVI said farewell to his family. He was to be guillotined the next morning. Madame Royale later recorded their last meeting; it is said that she fainted when saying good-bye to her father.

About seven o'clock in the evening we learned the sentence by the newsmen, who came crying it under our windows: a decree of the Convention permitted us to see the King. We ran to his apartment, and found him much altered; he wept for us, not for fear of death; he related his trial to my mother, apologizing for the wretches who had condemned him; he told her, that it was proposed to attempt to save him by having recourse to the primary assemblies, but that he would not consent, lest it should excite confusion in the country. He then gave my brother some religious advice, and desired, him above all, to forgive those who caused his death and he gave him his blessing, as well as to me.

   My mother was very desirous that the whole family should pass the night with my father; but he opposed this, observing to her how much he needed some hours of repose and quiet. She asked at least to be allowed to see him next morning, to which he consented. But, when we were gone, he requested that we might not be permitted to return, as our presence afflicted him too much. He then remained with his confessor till midnight, when he went to bed….

Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars: Her Life, Her Times, Her Legacy - Elena Maria Vidal

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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.

Her compassion, her kindness, and even her wit kept her at the center of a loyal circle of loved ones. Those who were still alive and had adored her when she was seventeen adored her when she was seventy; young people who had the opportunity to meet her were awed by her spirit.

She always remained active in her charity work, busy with guests, and was always hospitable to anyone who showed respect to the cause of the legitimists. Madame de La Ferronnays described Marie-Thérèse as having a heart that ‘was a treasure of indulgence.’ … She could be fun and enjoyed lighthearted moments with family and friends, where she displayed the side of her personality that, as a child, her mother had named ‘Mousseline.’

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

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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.

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During the alarm for the life of the Queen, regret at not possessing an heir to the throne was not even thought of. The King himself was wholly occupied with the care of preserving an adored wife.

The Memoirs of Madame Campan

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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.

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On the 19th of December the king said to me while dining:  "Fourteen years ago you got up earlier than you did to-day.“  I understood His Majesty at once.  "That was the day my daughter was born,” he continued tenderly, “and to-day, her birthday, I am deprived of seeing her!”  A few tears rolled from his eyes, and a respectful silence reigned for a moment.  

JOURNAL OF THE TOWER OF THE TEMPLE DURING THE CAPTIVITY OF LOUIS XVI. BY CLÉRY