Saturday, June 19, 2010

Betrothal of Marie-Antoinette

The following is an account from Anna Bicknell's 1897 biography. I find it interesting that Marie-Antoinette prayed in the Capuchin crypt before going to her wedding in France. (It was after I visited the same crypt in the mid-1990's that I felt compelled to write about her.)
On the 21st of January, 1770, Marie-Antoinette received the wedding-ring sent by the Dauphin. The 21st of January! On that very day, twenty-three years later, Louis XVI ascended the scaffold! But who could then foresee what the future would bring forth.
On April 16 the official demand was made to the widowed Empress, in the name of the "most Christian King," by the Marquis de Durfort. On the 17th the Archduchess solemnly renounced her rights in Austria. On the 19th a ceremony of marriage by proxy was performed (the Archduke Maximilian representing the Dauphin of France), and the official signatures were then appended to the imperial register of births, deaths, and marriages. It is said that through one of those mysterious forebodings which are sometimes felt on solemn occasions, the hand of Maria Theresa trembled as she signed her name to the record sealing her daughter's fate.
The young Princess was then required to spend three days in meditation and prayer, as a preparation for her future state. On April 21, after receiving holy communion, she was taken to pray before the tombs of her ancestors, where lay the father who had loved her with peculiar affection, and whom she had lost in her early childhood.
Then came the final parting from her mother, the last meeting in this world, for in those days few people traveled, and sovereigns never left their states. In the case of Marie-Antoinette not only her mother and the imperial family deeply felt the pangs attending such a separation, but the household and even the city of Vienna mourned the departure of the bright, amiable girl, whom all loved. But it must be; and, amidst the tears of all who knew and loved her, Marie-Antoinette went forth to her unknown fate.
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4 comments:

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Know about the Capuchin crypt and Habsburg Imperial burials?

Knock - knock

"Who is there?"

Name

"We do not know him" (slam)

Knock - knock

"Who is there?"

Titles (in full)

"We do not know him" (slam)

Knock - knock

"Who is there?"

"A poor sinner"

"Ah, hims we do know" (door opens)

Julygirl said...

What family would not feel trepidation sending their young daughter off to the most illustrious and debached court in Europe.

MadMonarchs said...

Maria Josepha (1751-57) was to marry Ferdinand IV of Sicily, but she had to go and prey in the vaults to, where someone who died of smallpox had just been interred. Maria Josepha caught smallpox, too, and died. Hence, her younger sister Maria Carolina was send to Naples to marry King Ferdinand IV.

elena maria vidal said...

They say that Maria Josepha was the prettiest of the daughters, or one of the prettiest. The person who had just died was her sister-in-law, Maria Josepha of Bavaria, the second wife of Joseph II. Sad. But Maria Carolina rose to the occasion.