Monday, April 12, 2010

More About Marie-Antoinette's Adopted Children


I have already posted on Marie-Antoinette's adopted children so I was delighted to find an article with further information. Most people are unaware that the Queen adopted a young African boy and had him raised in the palace. To quote:
In 1787, Marie Antoinette was presented with an unusual gift from the famous traveller Chevalier de Boufflers, who had recently returned from Senegal. He offered the Queen a parrot (to join the vast and rowdy crew of pets that already terrorised Versailles) and a young Senegalese boy. Normal practice at the time would have been to dress the boy up and take him into service (much like the boy pictured in the above painting), but on this occasion Marie Antoinette had him baptised and renamed Jean Amilcar, and instructed one of her houseboys to look after him.

All three of these children remained with Marie Antoinette as the royal family was ousted from Versailles in October 1789, and moved to the Tuileries Palace in Paris. At this point, Jean Amilcar was placed in an institution for children at Saint-Cloud, and Marie Antoinette sent monthly payments to provide for his upkeep. When she was moved from the Tuileries to much tighter imprisonment at the Temple, she was unable to keep up these payments, whereupon it was said that the boy was cast out by the charity, and he starved to death on the streets.
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8 comments:

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

That is horrible! That is absolutely horrible! There isn't enough paper in the world to write about the sufferings brought about by the Revolution, which were as soul-searing as they were needless. And I'm just thinking about the sufferings of the children!

I'm sure the Queen was thinking of all her children when she was in prison, and the thought that she could not care for all of them must have been one of her worst torments.

elena maria vidal said...

It is truly heart-breaking, E.

lara77 said...

I guess "Liberte Egalite Fraternite" did not extend to a black child adopted by Her Majesty the Queen!

elena maria vidal said...

It seems not.

Philippe said...

The other posts on this blog are outstanding! This was one great in that the history of the queen's children is too-often forgotten or completely unknown. Culture&Stuff's post on Marie-Antoinette's trial is just as astute.

elena maria vidal said...

I agree, Philippe. I will be linking to the excellent post on the Queen's trial as well.

laughingsalmon said...

Such a sad little story...But it does go a help to "flesh out" MA as a caring woman...Not just as a doomed fashion plate as much of the public believes,I feel...

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

And to think there are black people here who - never having heard of Jean Amilcar, obviously - think of Marie-Antoinette as something like slavery and colonialism combined (not to mention that colonialism in some cases, such as Mr Brazza, helped end slavehunt) ... and of Monarchy fans as "racist"!