Friday, March 20, 2009

Life in the Temple Prison

In August 1792, Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, their children, and Louis' sister Madame Elisabeth were incarcerated in the Temple Prison. Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte later described their experiences in her Memoirs:
The following is the way our family passed their days.

My father rose at seven, and was employed in his devotions till eight. Afterwards he dressed himself and my brother, and at nine came to breakfast with my mother. After breakfast, my father taught my brother his lessons till eleven. The child then played till twelve, at which hour the whole family was obliged to walk in the garden, whatever the weather might be; because the guard, which was relieved at the time, wished to see all the prisoners, and satisfy themselves that we were safe. The walk lasted till dinner, which was at two o'clock. After dinner my father and mother played at tric-trac or piquet, or, to speak more truly, pretended to play, that they might have an opportunity of saying a few words to one another. At four o'clock, my mother and we went up stairs and took my brother with us, as my father was accustomed to sleep a little at this hour. At six my brother went down again to my father to say his lessons, and to play till supper-time. After supper, at nine o'clock, my mother undressed him quickly, and put him to bed. We then went up to our own apartment again, and the King did not go to bed till eleven. My mother worked a good deal of tapestry: she directed my studies, and often made me read aloud. My aunt was frequently in prayer, and read every morning the divine service of the day. She read a good many religious books, and sometimes, at the Queen's request, would read aloud.

~ Private Memoirs, by Madame Royale, Duchess of Angoulême, translated by John Wilson Croker. London: John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1823, pp.183-185



Ms. Lucy said...

I love the details in this page of her memoirs and would love to read even more of it. Thanks.

Gareth Russell said...

I wrote about the Princess Royal's presentation of her mother in my undergrad thesis. The wealth of anecdotal detail that she, and many other female royalist memoirists, recorded is one of their genre's most enduringly fascinating traits and certainly one that means their utility to the historian is beyond value.

lara77 said...

I thought how many times did the Royal Family of France wake up in the morning and realize the horror of their surroundings and what in God's Holy Name did they ever do to deserve such treatment at the hands of such evil men.

Matterhorn said...

In spite of her dry tone, or perhaps because of it, there is an immense pathos in her memoirs.