Monday, October 5, 2009

The Duc d'Angoulême, husband of Madame Royale

Louis-Antoine, the Duc d'Angoulême, was the nephew of Louis XVI, being the oldest son of the Comte d'Artois. The Comtesse d'Artois, mother of Louis-Antoine, gave him over to the servants to raise and he had many health problems. He was painfully shy, awkward, unattractive, impotent, unsocialized - all the qualities usually and unfairly attributed to his uncle Louis XVI. It was planned from his childhood that he would marry his first cousin Madame Royale, Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte de France, the daughter of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

After her release from prison and temporary stay in Vienna (where she almost married Archduke Karl), Marie-Thérèse married Louis-Antoine in Mitau in Courland (Latvia) in 1799. Their uncle, Louis XVIII, wrote love letters in Louis-Antoine's name to Marie-Thérèse in order to get her to marry her cousin because Louis XVIII needed her with him in order to further his goal of gaining the Throne of France. Marie-Thérèse discovered too late that Louis-Antoine did not write the love letters.

For many years scholars debated as to whether or not the marriage of the Duc and Duchesse d'Angoulême was ever consummated. According to the research of Dr. Susan Nagel, author of the most recent biography of Marie-Thérèse, the marriage was indeed consummated at some point. From the fact that the matter was ever in doubt, we can guess that perhaps the marriage was not all it should have been. However, Marie-Thérèse never sought an annulment or took lovers.

Louis-Antoine loved the military and actually distinguished himself as a soldier and even as a commander on several occasions. It was his courage that won Bordeaux to the side of the Bourbons in 1814. He was known to be a very devout and kindly man to those of his household, as was his wife, although they both had tempers and quarrelled with each other. He was closer to his uncle Louis XVIII than he was to his father Charles X (Artois). However, he and his father made the terrible blunders which led to the final collapse of the Bourbons and the rise of the House of Orléans to the throne in 1830, as is described in the novel Madame Royale.

Louis-Antoine is often known as Louis XIX because he was king for about 10 minutes after his father abdicated; then he himself signed the abdication as well. An eccentric and pathetic character but a frustrating one....His wife, Marie-Thérèse, stayed with him to the end of his life (1844); they had become tender companions and best friends over the years in spite of many troubles, or perhaps because of them.


Anonymous said...

Dear Elena Maria: Let me share with you and your most excellent readers these analysis of just three of the Nostradamus prophecies in regards to Madame Royal:

""Century X.--Quatrain 17. [I. 184.]
La Royne Ergaste voyant sa fille blesme
Par un regret dans l'estomach enclos:
Cris lamentables seront lors d'Angolesme,
Et an germain mariage forclos.

The stranger Queen, seeing her daughter fading
By reason of the deep regret she endured inwardly:
The cries of Angoulême will be lamentable,
And the marriage with her cousin-germain foreclosed.

The Princess did marry the Duc d'Angoulême in 1799, but there was no issue,--mariage forclos. The Queen wished to marry her daughter to a German Prince: hence all the grief. The Abbé Torné-Chavigny ('L'Histoire prédite et jugée par Nostradamus," ii. 28) had the merit, M. le Pelletier says, of this learned interpretation. I cannot quite see this, as M. Bouys gave the same interpretation as far back as 1806, though with a particularity a little less minute. The prophecy thus unravelled is the more wonderful, as the event seems so little worth recording. There is the same exactitude and precision shown as where a kingdom is at stake.

Sixaine 55. [I. 186.
Un peu devant ou après très-grand' dame,
Son ame au ciel, et son corps soubs la lame,
De plusieurs gens regrettée sera,
Tous ses parens seront en grand' tristesse,
Pleurs et souspirs d'une dame en jeunesse,
Et à deux Grands la deuil delaissera.

A little before or after a very great lady,
The soul [of Madame Elizabeth shall rise] to heaven, her body under the blade,
She will be grieved for by many persons;
All her family connections will be cast into deep sorrow,
One lady very young [Duchesse d'Angoulême will shed] tears and sighs,
And two great ones will be depressed with mourning.

This can be mistaken for no one but Madame Elizabeth, the sister of Louis XVI., her niece, the Duchess d'Angoulême, and the two brothers of Madame Elizabeth, the count of Provence and the Count of Artois. This is not one of the very striking stanzas, but the forecast is still notable, and occupies its position very well as one in a considerable series.

Should these prophecies be true, I only regret the Louise's had none to read and interpret them. That could have saved so much pain, blood, tears and remorses for the future generations.""
Comment by Maru:
One bonus! Nostradamus is telling us through this last prophecy that the heaven does exist, as he "sees" the soul of Madame Elisabeth going up to heaven.--

Oh! here is the link:
There are also other spaces devoted to the Convention Nationale and The French Revolution.. Thanks!!

elena maria vidal said...

I never heard any of this, Maru. Wow. Thank you. Some Catholic people look down on Nostradamus but what he prophesied did seem to come to pass. I think he was a Third Order Franciscan, too. Thanks so much for a fascinating contribution!

Stephanie A. Mann said...

Thank you very much for the portraits of Le Duc. I was so surprised that the Susan Nagel biography of Marie Therese did not include a portrait of her spouse! That seemed a very odd oversight.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes. I think that sometimes authors of serious biographies are at the mercy of their publishers. The site below has many, many pictures of the Duc and Duchesse:

May said...

Dear Elena Maria~ I'm *finally* reading "Trianon"- beautiful! Thank you!

elena maria vidal said...

Thank YOU, Matterhorn! I am delighted!

jehanbosch said...

I am very glad someone discovered the marriage was not a sham. For around 1820 the Duchess mistakingly thought she was pregnant. And that can mean only one thing. Clearly she was the dominant partner. Also there were few people around to cure the Duchess'traumas and a completely normal marriage would probably not have worked.
Indeed the couple sometimes were of a different political opinion.As a rule he was less conservative but she was more clever.
As for the pregnancy: at that time she posed for a portrait imitating Gabrielle d'Estree, most surprisingly..