Marie-Thérèse of France, nicknamed "Madame Royale", was the first child of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. "Never has a woman in history been more pursued by misfortune," the Duchess of Dino asserted not without lucidity, speaking of the last runner-up in France. From this "Aliénor" of the XIX ° century, "the only man of the family" according to Napoleon, our history has too long been ungrateful and unjust. Who was really Marie Thérèse of France, Duchess of Angouleme, granddaughter of Emperor, daughter, sister, wife, niece and daughter-in-law of Kings?
« Muslin the serious " in the tournament
With an already strong character, she is from an early age as Saint Simon would have said "Girl of France to the pierced chair". If she has an intense affection and admiration for her father Louis XVI, her relations with her mother are more confused. Indeed, Marie-Antoinette loves her daughter, but she wants to combat this pride and this haughty inclination of her daughter and to do so uses very modern means of education for the time.
At eleven she sees her world crumble. The French, who acclaimed him with deference, scolded his parents. The Swiss Guards in bright uniforms contrast with the French Guards who no longer line up with his path or that of his parents. Psychologically the shock is severe.
Incarcerated with her parents at the age of fourteen, she saw everything, knew everything, and for many will not have forgotten anything. It will be the cruel gulf that will be maintained between her and the history of France, the great grievance.
The temple orphan
The walls of the Temple protect it from the insults of the populace but not those of certain guards. Detention will mean the death of her father for her. It will also be the successive separations with his brother, with his mother and finally with his aunt Madame Elisabeth. Alone and isolated, in harsh conditions of detention, she unsuccessfully requests to be imprisoned with them. Unimaginable destiny because she is the only person in Europe to ignore for almost 2 years what really happened to those close to her.
The Terror succeeded the Directory. In 1795, it was traded with Austria. A new prison awaits him, that of the Hofburg in Vienna. We want to marry her to Archduke Charles but she refuses because she does not want to marry an enemy to her country. He is forced to mourn his family. She is no longer Marie Thérèse but the "Orphan of the Temple". " Louis XVIII Persuaded the tsar to intervene and in 1799 Austria freed its prey. She leaves for Courland to join her paternal family and share their life as outcasts and emigrants.
France's last runner-up
She married her cousin the Duke of Angoulême in 1799. She now became the prisoner of her uncle "Louis XVIII" who saw in her the vibrant and flamboyant flag of the crown and the bourbons. She becomes the icon of the monarchical cause, an Antigone who is denied happiness. Despite her misfortunes, she pleads with her uncle the cause of the French by preaching to him that it is through heart and love that he will win back his people. A sterile marriage, an unwanted life in exile driven from European countries, helps to forge and harden her character. In 1814, Napoleon collapsed and the Bourbons returned to France in "foreign vans".
However, their future hung by a thread because if Bordeaux had not cheered the Lys, the allies would not have reestablished Louis XVIII. As soon as they arrived, it was bee hunting and the very young princess who preached moderation to her uncle in 1799 would prove to be the most determined to erase the imperial memory. We judge her by her appearance, her abrupt manners. In 1815, the Eagle returned. The Duchess is in Bordeaux for the ceremonies of the return of the Bourbons and will show everyone her true nature which will make some people regret the Salic Law.
The Heroine of Bordeaux and the terrible rights
She deploys great energy in Bordeaux. Napoleon grew impatient with the rout of his authority against the walls of Bordeaux. She urges the population to resist, she swears loyalty to the army, she prances in a horse-drawn carriage in front of a population under the spell of so much courage. On the other side, the general sent by Napoleon will declare that with his binoculars he saw the Duchess writing the most beautiful pages of her life. Faced with the risk of exposing the people of Bordeaux to terrible reprisals for a longer period of time, the Duchess abdicated and embarked in Pauillac.
Napoleon will admire not this bravery but this courage, and he will give him the best compliment by saying that he was the only man in his family. This heroic action now makes her all-powerful after Waterloo. She refuses compromise and claims terrible rights, ones she has earned by standing up to the Emperor and which will damage her reputation.
The " Queen »Marie-Thérèse of France
Dauphine of France on the death of Louis XVIII, she traveled through France and was a communicator before the hour. Never has a Bourbon known France as much as it does. Charles X waits until she is not there to take the famous ordinances which provoke the Revolution of 1830. On hearing the news, she knows that all is finished. The people knowing that she is on the roads do everything to stop her and make her hostage. But years of captivity and exile have hardened the Duchess who manages to join the King. The latter abdicated with difficulty in favor of his son, whom he ordered to abdicate in favor of his nephew the little Duke of Bordeaux. In this chaos of 1830, Marie Thérèse will be Queen for 3 minutes.
Exiled in England at the beginning and then in the Austrian states, she will devote her last years to the education and training of her nephew, who became the Count of Chambord. She maintains an intense and active network across Europe which keeps her informed of everything. On his death in 1851, all the courts of Europe mourned and even in France the future Napoleon III presided in the chapel of the Elysée at an official mass. Indeed, Louis XVIII declaring " If the crown were roses, I would gladly give it to my niece. She is thorny, I keep her Hadn't made her a great French figure.
- Madame Royale, by André Castelot, Perrin edition, 1999.
- Les Princes du malheur, by Philippe Delorme, Perrin edition, 2008.